Friday, February 29, 2008


Sustains, nourishes and providing happiness. Develops all.
In Pudhu Agraharam, Sri Rama and Sri Sita are seated in the same throne, as in the sloka vaidehi suradrumadale....Hanuman is seated at the feet of the Lord. He is holding Srimad Ramayanam in one hand and Veena [a musical instrument] in the other hand. This is unique. Lakshmana is holding the bow of Sri Rama as well as his own bow. With Bharatha and Shatrugna, the Lord graces in the Pattabhishekam -Coronation- pose.
His name protects all. Or, His name will get us everything. In kulam tharum pasuram, Thirumangai Alwar tells that the name Narayana will get everything - good lineage, wealth, wipe off sufferings, heavens, more than a mother cares for. His name will give Himself. Heavenly tree Karpagam, can give whatever one wants; but it can not give itself. Sri Narayana is also like a Karpagam tree, but can give Himself also, says Alwar -thannai thandhidum karpagam. In Srimad Ramayana, when Vali and Sugreeva fight, Sri Rama shoots an arrow at Vali and it pierces Vali's chest and he falls down. Vali did not see Sri Rama, but when he takes out the arrow, he finds the name Sri Rama inscribed on it. The moment he reads that and raises his head, he sees Sri Rama standing in front of him. This is how poet Kamba describes the scene in his Ramayanam epic - mummai sal ulagirku.. moola mandiram... By this we understand, that
mere chanting of His name will get Him to us. He not only sustains everything in this Universe, but develops also.
Thus in the first sloka of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama sthothram, we see Nine names -Viswam, Vishnu, Vashatkara, Bhootabavyabavatprabhu, Bhootakrut, Bhootabrut, Bhava, Bhootatma and Bhootapavana. All these show that there are none superior or equal to Him. He is Omnipresent in all at all times. These show His Leadership or Swamitvam. He is the Protector of all.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Atma of everything.
Our body has an atman inside and atman only activates and controls the body. When we call someone by that person's name, does the name represent the atman or body? Just like our body has atman, He resides in all animate and inanimate objects -chetanam and achetanam. Chetanam means possessing knowledge and not has life in it. Achetanam means without any intellect. Our body is achetanam. Atman is chetanam. By this name, the Lord is considered as the atman in all living and non-living things in the Universe. In the siddhantha of Swami Ramanuja, all the three types of sayings in vedas -bheda, abheda and ghataka - are accepted. In bheda words in vedas, universe and the Lord are separate. In abheda words they are said to be one or same. Ghataka words, relate God and the world just like soul and body. Bhootatma means controller of all. Everyone acts according to his karma decided by the Lord. For this reason, He is also called shasta or controller from inside.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Creates all by His divine sankalpam
Supporting all His creations.
All are His belongings.
Carnatic Music Trinity - Thyagaraja Swami, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Shatri- were all born on the shores of Kaveri. Today's [27th February 2008] lecture is from the sannidhi of Sri Pattabhi Rama in Pudu agraharam, which has been visited by Thyaga Brahmam and Muthuswami Dikshitar. We will see three names together today. Earlier we saw He is the Lord in the past, present and future. Bhoohkrut means He is the creator of the Universe and all in it. Bhoothabrut, denotes He sustains this Universe and all in it. Bhava means He is inseparable from all His creations. So, He creates, sustains and remains part of everything. Insect spider secretes a liquid and spins a web to catch other insects. Later, it swallows back this silky web. Similarly the Lord, by His divine sankalpa, creates the Universe and later, during pralayam, swallows and protects the entire Universe in His stomach. This is how Upanishads say of the Lord. After creation, He sustains everything. One is by anupravesam or by being the soul in all. Another is to protect them externally, as seen in Sri Varaha avatar or Sri Koorma avatar or as Adisesha. He is inseparable from everything, just like we can not separate whiteness from milk. In Bhagavad Gita, He says that just like a thread supports many pearls in a necklace, He is in all. We see the necklace and the individual pearls, but we do not see the thread inside supporting. Similarly, He supports everyone. Prathuk means separable and aprathuk means inseparable. So He is in all by this aprathuk siddhantham or the quality of inseparableness. There is nothing which He did not create, He did not sustain and in which He remains separable.

Monday, February 25, 2008

SVS11 [Bhoota bhavya bhavat prabhu - 4] (1.4)

Today's [26th February 2008] lecture is from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal temple in Kalyanapuram, near Thirukandiyur Divya Desam. It is on the banks of Kaveri and on the opposite banks is the samadhi of Sadguru Thyagaraja of Thiruvaiyaru. Many great scholars belonged to this place. Bhootha = past, bhavya = future and bhavat = present. He is the Lord in the past, present and future. Some are the lords for a limited time as in our offices. We obey their orders as long as their tenure as our boss is there. But either by retirement or other reasons, when the person is no longer our boss, we do not obey his orders. All gods other than Sriman Narayana have a tenure and so they can not be identified by this name. They are not Lords for ever. Sri Vishnu is the Lord in the past, present and future, and His Lordship extends to all places and on all objects and in all stages. Brahma is called Prajapati, as he creates all creatures in this world. But his position is not permanent and the Puranas say that once Brahma performed meditation at the fag end of his tenure, and when the Lord appeared, he requested Him to grant an extension to his tenure so that he could be Prajapati for some more time. We have to note that this position also is granted by the Lord only. We can also interpret this name to indicate Sri Vishnu is the Lord for persons in all the three times - past, future and present. When Sri Rama came to forests in exile, the sages there welcomed and told that though He was not ruling Ayodya, they recognised Him as the Paramatman and so would regard Him as Lord even in the forests.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

SVS 10

Commentators of SVS say that these names of the Lord have the effect of bestowing the objective for which they are chanted or in other words they have the power of mantra. So, it is recommended that SVS is learnt from an Acharya, as is done for mantra. Vashatkara means the Lord is able to command from anywhere to anyone and at anytime. Upanishads acclaim Him as shastha for this reason and He is sarva niyantha. By this He does not lose any of His qualities. In olden days Kings used to go in disguise to see whether the administration was functioning properly and whether subjects had any complaints. The Lord also takes many avatars, but His qualities are not reduced. So, when He takes an avatar His quality of Command also does not fade as can be seen in an example. In Srimad Ramayana, Jatayu is more fortunate than King Dasaratha. When Dasaratha died his Son Sri Rama was not there to perform the last rites; while Jatayu, when died, was fortunate to have Sri Rama to do the last rites. While performing the last rites, Sri Rama, Who was born as an ordinary human, commands that the soul of Jatayu to go to Vaikuntam and that soul would have no more rebirths! We have to see here that when Viswamitra, by his yoga power sent Trisanku, to heavens, Indra the ruler of heavens, pushed Trisanku down. We can not force guests on third parties. This shows the greatness of this name of the Lord. In yagnas [holy fire rituals], swaha and vashatkara are frequently chanted and the gods are immensely pleased with those words. Because these symbolise the invitation to them and offering the havis [holy offerings]. The Lord says He is the yagna, the recipient of havis and bestower of the results of the yagna. Vashatkara denotes the mantras in yagnas to invite the Lord and request Him to accept the havis.

Friday, February 22, 2008

SVS9 [Vishnu: - 2] (1,2)

He is pervading in all, animate living organisms and inanimate materials. Vishnu: sarvatomukha: is the saying. Anoraniyan, mahato mahiyan- He is smaller than the minutest and bigger than the biggest. He is inside an object impossible to be further divided. He is there in every droplets of water in the vast ocean. Alwar says that such a droplet appears for Him like the vast spread sky we see. At the same time is also present in the Universe and the Universe is a tiny bubble on Him. Vishnu word occurs thrice in SVS. Eko vishnumahatbhootham pratakbhoothan anekaca threenlokan vyapya bhoothatma bhungte buk avyaya. He is present in every object separately, and at the same time, He is presnt in all as one, and thus pervades all. He pervades all the three worlds. There is no object or place without Him. Sarvam vishnumayam jagat. Sri Vishnu puraman says, He is there in all bright objects, He is there in the Universe, in the forests and in all animate and inanimate objects. Vishnu also indicates one of His forms. Though this word Vishnu comes at three places, the interpretations will vary. In Sanskrit, saindava means born in ocean as well as born in Sindhu. While eating if one demands saindhavam, he wants salt and not horse, which originated in Sindhu. Similarly, when one is about to take a journey, saindhavam there indicates horse and not salt, which originates from ocean. So place of occurance decides the interpretation. Normally, we consult panchangam and make sankalpam indicating the day, thithi and star, etc. If we are not able to know these details, then shastras say that we can do sankalpam saying Vishnu day, Vishnu thithi, Vishnu star, etc. and perform the rituals. We will pray the all pervading Vishnu and invoke His blessings.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Naimisaranya Kshetram is counted among the 108 Divya Desam. Nemi in Sanskrit means Discus and because it remained here, this Kshetram is called Naimisaranyam. The great 18 Puranas are reported to have appeared here. Great sages were associated with this Kshetram, The Naimisaranya mandapam in Venus colony, in Chennai, also is as sacred, as many noble scholars have lectured on Puranas and sanctified the place. From this place this lecturer [Sri U.Ve. Ananthapadmanabhachariar swamy] is going to give lectures on Gopika geetham, for six days starting 28th February, 2008. We will now start the Divya namam [Sacred names]:
In the first sloka 9 names are told. Viswam means the entire Universe. Swami Parasara Bhatta says that this name reveals the totality or completeness [ paripoornatvam]. His Swaroopam [entity], Roopam [ images], Gunam [quality] and Vibhooti [wealth] are spread all over. Swaroopam means the Paramatma tatvam or entity and it is present everywhere. Roopam means the Divya mangala vigraham or idols, are spread as Sri Rama or Sri Ranagantha, etc. Gunam means auspicious and good qualities. We can see only some good qualities in persons or objects in this world. But the Lord possesses all the qualities in abundance. Upanishads say He has heyapratyanikam kalyanika... That is He has qualities opposed to bad qualities and auspicious [kalyana] qualities in abundance. None has all these qualities and His qualities also do not vary with place, time or object. Bhagavan means He has six qualities - Gyana, Shakti, Balam, Aiswaryam, Veeryam and Tejas. Swami Parasara Bhatta says the word Bhagavan associated with others is just out of respect and only the Lord Sriman Narayana possesses all these six qualities and so the word Bhagavan fits only Him. Bheeshma also says yani namani gownanai... He says these names are based on the Lord's qualities [guna]. Sri Krishna also says that He is praised by His guna. Yet another way of interpreting this name Viswam is by the cause - effect theory. By seeing the pot, effect, we understand the cause, mud, and its qualities. So if we can understand the Universe, then we can appreciate the Lord, Who is the Cause.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Swami Parasara Bhatta is considered as the Purohita of Sri Ranganatha of Srirangam. Today's [20th February 2008] lecture is from the Aswametha mandapa hall of Sri Asthika samajam, in Venus colony, Alwarpet, Chennai. Here great scholars like Brahma sri Anantharama Dikshitar, Mukkur sri LakshmiNarasimhachariar, Thoopul sri LakshmiNarasimhachariar, sri Balakrishna Sastrigal, sri Krupandavariar, etc., have lectured and sanctified the minds of lots of listeners. Bheeshma in reply to Yudhishtra's questions tells that he considered worshiping the Lord Sri Krishna as the most important and practiced it. Further he tells Yudhishtra four slokas, of which the fourth sloka has to be joined with each of the three other slokas. Why should we worship Lord Sri MahaVishnu?
Paramam yo mahatteja paramam yo mahatapa paramam yo mahat brahma parama yo parayanam. [1]
Pavitranam pavitram yo mangalanam cha mangalam. Deivatham devathanancha bhoothanam ya avyaya pitha [2]
Yatasarvani bhoothani bhavantyadi yukagame yasmincha pralayamyanti punareva yugakshaye [3]
Tasya loka prathanasya jagannathasya bhoopate vishnornama sahasram me srunu papa bayapaham[4]
Papabayapaham = sins run away in fear, srunu = by listening to, Vishnor nama saharam = the thousands of names of Sri Vishnu.
Paramam yo mahat teja = = [Such a Sri Vishnu's] radiance is greater than the greatest. Swami Desika says that when Lord Sri Varadaraja appeared in the yagna performed by Brahma in Kanchipuram, the Sun appered like a mere lamp in bright sunlight! Tapa = all are afraid of Him [ Vedas proclaim that in constant fear of the Lord all stars, Sun, Wind and Moon are active in their duties]. Paramam ya parayanam = He is the most sacred and supreme destiny for us.
Pavitranam pavitram = sacred among sacred, Ganges is sacred because it originated from the feet of the Lord. Mangalanam cha mangalam = auspicious among auspicious. Sanctity and auspiciousness are inherited from the Lord. Deivatham devatanamcha = He is the supreme and the only God among all gods. Bhoothanam ya avyaya pitha = He is the father for all living beings. Third sloka tells that from Whom the entire Universe originated and unto Whom all the Universe would integrate, His greatness can be listened to from me [Bheeshma].

Monday, February 18, 2008


Bheeshma prepares to reply. In front of him, apart from the Pandavas, are his Acharya Veda Vyasa, sages Devala, Sumandhu, Bylar, Jaimini, etc. More than all Sri Krishna, also called as Paramatma, Pundarikaksha, was also there. Bheeshma is overcome by an ocean of emotions and the questions triggered wonder and happiness in him. His eyes are brimming with tears at his inability to get up and welcome all of them with folded hands. Sri Krishna consoled him and asked him to speak what he wanted to clearly and with His blessings all the discomforts in the body would disappear. He will not have tiredness or amnesia or repetition of what was told. With those blessings of the Lord, he first answers the sixth question [Kimjapan muchyate jantu janma samsara bhandanaath?]. Jagatprabhum anantham purushthamamsthuvan nama sahasrena purush sattatothitha. He is the Lord of all and entire Universe, with no beginning nor end. Chanting the thousand names of Him is the means. Next he replies to questions 3 and 4 [Sthuvantha kam? Kamarchanda prapnuyar manavasubham?]. Tameva charchayan nityam bhaktya purusha avyayam. Dhyayan sthuvan namasyancha yajamana tamevacha. Daily archana should be made. Archana is an act of the body with hands offering flowers and mouth praising Him. Devotion should be without pride and publicity. Meditation, praising His names and prostrating are all important for the mind, mouth and body. Like for Gajendra, the Lord will instantly be in our midst to accept our offerings. Like in the story of Ajamila, chanting His names would protect us. Bheeshma then replies to the third question. Anadhinidhanam vishnum sarvaloke maheshwaram lokadhyaksham sthuvan nithyam sarva dukhadi ko bhavet. He is neither created nor destroyed, spread all over without exception. He is the Commander of all for all activities. He is to be worshiped continuously. Our body ailments, natural calamities and troubles from others will all vanish. Now, he answers the fifth question[ko dharma sarva dharmanam bavatha paramo matah?]. Yat bhaktya pundarikaksam sthavairorchita narasatha. Worshiping the Lord daily is my {Bheeshma's} dharma or means, says Bheeshma.


When there was a conflict between devas and asuras, with asuras gaining, devas were told that they could crush the asuras if they used a weapon made of the back bone of the great sage Dadeechi. So, Indra, chief of devas approached the sage and prayed for his backbone. Knowing well that conceding to this request would end his life, the sage agreed as it was for a noble cause benefiting the world. The devas won the war. The pond here is named after that great sage and is aclled Dadeechi theertham. Our commentators say that more than the Lord, it is His name which renders help for the needy and cite the example of Draupati, when her modesty was under trial in the court of Duryodana. The Lord is like a lump of gold [gold biscuits], while His name is like an ornament of Gold. Though both are gold and have the same value, it is the ornament which is sought after and useful to decorate in many ways. When Yudhishtra and others stood before Bheeshma, their grand father, in repentance for all happenings in the war, Bheeshma consoled them and offered advise on good conduct as human being, as a king and as an ordinary person. Finally, Yudhishtra asks six questions and in answer SVS is born. Yudhishtra asks:
  1. Kimekam daivatam loke = which is that one entity which is supreme and regarded as God?
  2. Kimvapekam paraayanam = which is the single final destination for us?
  3. Sthuvantam kam = who is to be praised?
  4. Kamarchanda prapnuyur manavasubham = who is to be worshiped to attain welfare?
  5. Ko dharma sarva dharmanam bhavata paramo matha = though you [Bheeshma] have preached so many dharma, which is the one you follow and regard as supreme dharma ?
  6. Kim japan muchyate jantu janma samsara bhandanath = by chanting which or whom, every living being gets liberated from this samsaram [worldly life]?
Yudhishtra requested answers for his questions.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


In India, persons dying in some Kshetrams attain moksham. In some other places, death in the water of that Kshetram will get moksham. But only in Kurukshetra, death on the ground or in water or in air space, would fetch Moksham. This is a reason for choosing this place for the war in Mahabharatha. The lake here is called Brahama sarovar and is very sacred. In the Ayurveda medical treatise Charaka samhita, it is mentioned that SVS parayanam would cure many nerve related ailments. In Jyotish shastra [Astrology], SVS is calimed to ward off ill effects of many planets. Those who perform sahasra bhojanam, as a prayaschittam [repentance] and wherein thousand brahmins would be fed, each one of them has to be nominated by one nama of SVS. Kadambari is considered as a very excellent literary work of Bhana Bhatta in Sanskrit. In that it is mentioned that for normal and safe delivery, SVS is cahanted continuously outside the labour room, along with Veda recitation. Swami Parsara Bhattar in his introduction to his commentary on SVS, lists six reasons for the eminence of SVS.
  1. It is the essence of Mahabharata.
  2. Many great sages like Vyasa, Vasishta, Bylar, Sunandu, etc., chant SVS.
  3. It has been presented by Veda Vyasa, who grouped Vedas and who edited 18 puranas.
  4. It was told to Yudhishtra by Bheeshma, considered as Mahatma.
  5. SVS is approved for chanting by many noble persons and our great elders.
  6. Like Gita and in the direction of Gita, SVS is an easy way to reach Moksham.
Normally we start SVS with introductory sloka ' shuklambaradaram..". These slokas are chanted by followers of all the three schools of philosophy - Shankara's advaitam, Ramanuja's visishtadvaitam and Madhva's dwaitam.
Shuklambaradaram..shantaye is invocation of Sri Hayagriva, an avatar of Sri Vishnu.
Yasayadvarati.. vishvaksenam tamasraye invokes Vishvaksena, the Army Commander in Vaikuntam and is the husband of Sootravati. He is prayed to remove all hurdles.


Introduction continues. Adi Shankaracharya, also known as Shankara Bhagavadpada, wanted to write a commentary on Lalitha sahasranamam, before he undertook the bigger work of commentary on Brahma soothram. So, he deputed his disciple to get Lalitha sahasranamam book from library, three times. Every time the disciple came with a copy of Sri VIshnu sahasranamam [SVS[ book only. When Adi Shankaracharya enquired with surprise, why the disciple was bringing only Sri Vishnu saharanamam, the reply was that a beautiful woman [Saraswathi] in the Library wanted Adi Shankaracharya to write commentary on the Sri Vishnu sahasranamam only. Adi Shankaracharya thereafter wrote the commentary on SVS. Even names commonly used to refer other gods, like Shiva, Sthanu, etc., refer Sri Vishnu only, writes Narayana Bhattadri in his Narayaneeyam on Sri Guruvayurappan. Another great Acharya who wrote commentary on SVS is Swami Parashara Bhattar, son of Swami Koorathalwan. His commentary is called Bhagavad Guna darpanam. [Darpanam = mirror]. His commentary explains the endless auspicious qualities of the Lord, exhibited in the Five states of the Lord - Param [Vaikauntam], Vyuham [ as Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyuman and Aniruddha]. Vibhava [ avatars like Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Sri Narasimha, etc.], Hardha [ inside all hearts of us] and Archa [as Sri Venkatesa or Sri Ranganatha, etc.].

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Today [13th February 2008] also introductory remarks. Vyasa, who composed Mahabharatam epic, is credited with grouping of Vedas into Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana and so he is called Vysa. Parasara, father of Vyasa, tells his disciple Maitreya, that he praises his son Vyasa, who is called Krishna Dwaipayana, not because he is his son, but as the incarnation of Sriman Narayana. He hails from a glorious family. Sage Vasishta was his great grand father, sage Shakti was his grand father and sage Parashara was his father. Not only that. His son was sage Sukha, always referred to as Sukha Bramham. When after the war, Yudhishtra was very much perturbed, Vyasa tried to console him, in vain. Then Vyasa asked him to seek advice from Bheeshma, on the arrow bed in Kurukshetra, when Yudishtra was fortunate to hear Sri Vishnu sahasranamam. So, in a way Vyasa was tha catalyst for this jewel in the great epic. Bheeshma was Vyasa's dear disciple.


With the blessings of Sri Krishna Paramatman, our Acharyas and my esteemed Acharya Sri Mukkur Swami, I propose to translate lectures on Sri Vishnu sahasranamam. Sri U.Ve, Anantapadmanabhacharya Swami, sub-editor of Sri Nrusimhapriya [Tamil], is a popular upanyasaka [lecturer] in religious circles. He has started a series of lectures on Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam in Jaya TV daily from 645a.m for about 15 minutes. The program is titled Dhinam oru Divyanamam. My translation will not be word to word nor every word spoken in the lecture; but I propose to condense it to the extent possible so that reading will not be strenuous. Before starting I would request readers of this blog to pardon me for mistakes in translation and the language. At the same time, it is needless to request to point out the mistakes in giving honest comments.
The lecture started on 11th February 2008 with pranams to the Lord and all the Acharyas. The lecture is in the background of Kurukshetra, the venue of the great war of Mahabharata. It is also the place where Bhagavad Gita and Sri Vishnu sahasranamam were born. Mahabharatha has many jewels like Vidura needhi, Yaksha prasnam, Bhagavad Gita and many more. But Sri Vishnu sahasranamam is considered as the crown jewel as it talks of Sri Krishna only and the Lord remained as a witness to the words of Bheeshma. Because of this Bheeshma is considered as one of the greatest persons.
Bheeshma is lying on the arrow bed formed by Arjuna. In the presence of Pandavas and sages and the Lord Himself, Bheeshma proclaims the qualities of the Lord by Sri Vishnu saharanamam. Bheshma was remembered by Sri Krishna when Bheeshma was about to die. This privilege none other got it. In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna tells that while all try to regard Him as their inner soul, Sri Krishna regards gyanis as His soul.