Author Topic: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry  (Read 19923 times)

Nagaraj

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Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« on: September 19, 2011, 12:18:43 PM »
Dear friends,

I wanted to start a topic on Vishnu Sahasranamam. I feel Vishnu Sahasranamam is an excellent stotram that portraits the highest Brahman. Its a very common practice to chant Vishnu Sahasranamam in most South Indian houses even today. I have always found many parallels in the Sahasranama and Bhagavan's teachings and felt it would be great opportunity to go through the 1000 names of Vishnu here with the interpretations of Bhagavan's teachings.

When we listen to the name "Vishnu" what immediately comes to our mind is only the figure of Vishnu with a mace, Abhaya Hastam, etc... which is fine but it is more important to discern the real meaning of the word "Vishnu" which means "He who pervades everywhere" what Bhagavan says as "the Self, which is everywhere"

Learning Vishnu Sahasranamam and chanting it with understanding by itself is Self Enquiry exactly as revealed by Bhagavan.

Most of us have questions regarding the methodology of Self Enquiry. Practices such as Chanting Vishnu Sahasranamam by itself is method, as in we need not even worry about method as to how to do self enquiry, whether it is like this? or different? or am I doing it correctly? etc... The method/formula is already given in the form of Shlokas and we only need to contemplate on the shlokas in that order which is Self Enquiry itself.

Chanting Vishnu Sahasranamam itself is Enquiring into Self.

Salutations to Bhagavan
« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 12:26:19 PM by Nagaraj »
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Subramanian.R

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Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2011, 03:59:17 PM »


Dear Nagaraj,

Yes. Vishnu Sahasranamam is one of the best hymns that shall confer
both bhakti and jnana. Chanting this poem is good for everyday and
particularly on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  I chant this on Wednesdays
and Saturdays. Sri Sankara's first bhashyam, even before Brahma Sutra
Bhashyam and Gita bhashyam, was for Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam.
One should read Sankara Bhashyam which has been written on advaitic
mode. There are many bhashyams for Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam.



Arunachala Siva.   

Nagaraj

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Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2011, 11:00:00 AM »
Many are already aware about the occurance of Vishnu Sahasranaamam, it appears during the battle between the Kauravas and Pandavas  . This was reveled by Bheeshma to Yudhishtra when he lay in a death bed of arrows. Adi Shankara's commentary directly begins from this verse -

श्री वैशंपायन उवाच

श्रुत्वा धर्मानशेषेण पावनानि च सर्वशः ।
युधिष्ठिरः शांतनवं पुनरेवाभ्यभ्याषत ॥ १ ॥


Vaishampaya, the pupil of Veda Vyaasa, continues to narrate these incidents to Janamejaya, son of Parikshit who was the son of Abhimanyu and grand son of Arjuna and whose Uncle was Lord Krishna.

Yudhishtra had already listed to various other Dharmas by Bheeshma about Raja Dharma, and many other Dharmas very carefully and fully. Finally, He was most interested in the way to Salvation and wanted to know the marga or the way to cleanse himself off avidya/ignorance and He asked The Great Pithamaha once again -

(continued)
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Nagaraj

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श्री युधिष्ठिर उवाच Yudhishitra asks
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2011, 11:52:46 AM »
किमेकं दैवतं लोके किं वाप्येकं परायणं ।
स्तुवंतः कं कमर्चंतः प्राप्नुयुर्मानवाः शुभम् ॥ २ ॥

को धर्मः सर्वधर्माणां भवतः परमो मतः ।
किं जपन्मुच्यते जंतुर्जन्मसंसारबंधनात् ॥ ३ ॥


Kimekam daivatam loke kimvapyekam parayanam
stuvanth kam karchantah prapnuyurmaanavashubham

ko dharma sarva dharmanam bhavatah paramomatah
kim japamuchchate jantur janma samsara bandhanaat

We have to put ourselves in Yudhishtira's position! As in it should not be seen as Yudhishtra is asking this question to Bheeshma, the spirit has to be that we are ourselves asking this question to Bheeshma (Ramanar), we are seeking light.

Which is that One God (Truth) in the entire universe, which is the One we have to read, study, know, become aware? What is it that
by worshiping which, venerating which, knowing which can a man attain all auspiciousness as declared by the Scriptures?

O Grand Sire, what is it in you opinion, the greatest Dharma/Karma/Duty among all other Dharmas/Karmas/Duties by which one attains to that perfect Exaltation or Salvation? What is that Japa (Sadhana) by chanting whose name (performing that Sadhana) can ordinary folks, simpletons, all creatures can get released from the bondage of this Samsara?

This question is verily displays out quest, this questions exactly reflects our own position. We are all in the same shoes of Yudhishtira. Its our inner most urge to know the ultimate reality, its our innermost urge to know God, its our innermost urge to realise our Self. Lets ask the Grand Sire Bheeshma our deepest desire to know the ultimate Truth. O' Ramana, what is it that we need to do? what is the One Truth that we need to know? What is the one Sadhana that we need to do to know? the performance of which Sadhana shall reveal to me, a common man, a simpleton, the Greatest of all Auspiciousness as declared by the Scriptures?

O Ramana, what is the one Duty above all other duties? What is the most important thing above all the other important things in all Scriptures and Dharmas? O Ramana, by studying which, by worshiping which, by Knowing which, by Enquiring which, a simpleton like myself can attain to the Great Exaltation as declared by the scriptures?

This also reveals dichotomies that Yudhishtira had even then! There were already so many ways, some say, do this you will realise, others say do that you will realise, and few other say leave all that, do this and you will realise... what to do? so much confusion? Do I follow this guru or that Guru? Do I follow this God or that God, there are millions of Gods, and other religions say their God is the only God and my religions say this is the only God? Do I follow this religion or that religion? Do I follow Dvaita, Advaita or Visishtadvaita? Or do I believe that there is no God? O' God, what can I believe? So much Confusion. There are already millions of methods, which method to follow? There are hundreds of sadhanas, what sadhana do I do? How do I chose what is good for me?

In such utter confusion, out of extreme Virakti, Vexation, lets ask the Great Grand Sire, Bheeshma (Ramanar) to reveal to us just the Only One thing alone that would suffice in knowing our Self and attain Realisation.

Salutations to Bhagavan
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 12:17:53 PM by Nagaraj »
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

ramana_maharshi

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Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2011, 01:11:31 PM »
very well explained nagaraj garu.

yes self enquiry method is ultimate.

Nagaraj

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Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2012, 05:05:20 PM »
श्री भीष्म उवाच

Sri Bheeshma Uvacha

Bhishma begins to reply to Yudhishtira's query as follows:

जगत्प्रभुं देवदेवमनंतं पुरुषोत्तमम् ।
स्तुवन्नामसहस्रेण पुरुषः सततोत्थितः ॥ ४ ॥


Jagat-prabhum deva-devam Anantam purushottamam
Stuvan naama-sahasrena Purushah satatotthitah.

That which/who is the Master (prabhu) of this world (Jagat), which/who is Source of all Gods (DevaDevam), God of even Gods, which/who is immeasurable, infinite (anantam) and is the 'being' 'spirit' (Purusha) (what ever is, let us call it Purusha)

Which/whose different (1000) names (nama) of this Purusha, if you worship, contemplate/meditate (Stuti) raises onself to limilessness.

Bhishma begins to say right away, that the meditation of that 'being', which is addresed as Purusha, the first, primordial one, what ever is, the first of everyrthing, itself would uplift oneself to the limitlessness.

Lets look further, in the next  :)

Salutations to Bhagavan
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Ravi.N

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Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2012, 05:29:41 PM »
Nagaraj,
Yes,chanting Vishnu SahasranAmam is a wonderful sadhana and is recommended by KAnchi mahAswami.The 'Vishnum' as you have rightly mentioned is the all pervasive aspect of the Divine.It occurs in the well known chant to Vigneswarar (piLLaiyAr)-suklam baradharam vishnum-This hymn to Vigneswara is a Great Stotra to begin any sadhana.It prepares the mind in an instant and sets it on course.

Namaskar.

Subramanian.R

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Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2012, 05:46:52 PM »

The dhyana sloka in the beginning of Vishnu Sahasranamam, sukalam baradharam vishnum, sasi varNam chaturbujam...

Anna Subramania Iyer in his Tamizh book (Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chenai) says:

He who is wearing white attire, all pervading, one who has effulgence like moon, with four hands, and a face with bubbling
ananda, I meditate on Him for removing all the obstacles (in completing this scripture).

Where does Ganesa come in this sloka?  Firstly he has got five hands including the trunk. He is of the grey or blue color.

If one takes chaturbujam as one who consumes the four - mind, intellect, ego and chittam (mind stuff), then it is okay.
But the other question about his complexion remains.

Arunachala Siva.     

Subramanian.R

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Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2012, 06:48:44 PM »
Dear srkudai,


That interpretation is fine. If it is invoking Ganesa, then how can he be described as sasi varnam? sasi means chandra.
But Ganesa is called kapila varna, one who has grey in complexion.

Arunachala Siva.   

Ravi.N

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Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2012, 11:00:57 PM »
Subramanian,
Quote
Where does Ganesa come in this sloka?  Firstly he has got five hands including the trunk. He is of the grey or blue color.

If one takes chaturbujam as one who consumes the four - mind, intellect, ego and chittam (mind stuff), then it is okay.

Master TGN used to narrate how after Nehru's death,when Sri Lal Bahadur Sastri became the Prime Minister of India,in the theatres just before the start of a film they used to show him in the Documentary film.People used to laugh at his short stature and comic face.After the war with Pakistan in 1965,when Lal Bahadur took a tough stand and called for the Aggression to be put an end to-People began to see him differently.They perceived his valour and courage-and whenever after that ,any documentary featuring him would invoke awe and deep respect for this simple man.
With this we will be in a position to understand why this Sloka is such a key one and is always a Prime Sloka that is recited by one and all-whether one does sandhya Vandana or any other pooja or Homam.It is not the outer description of the form but the inner character that is the focus of this sloka.
The Lord in the form of Vigneswara is invoked through this Mantra-He is Shuklambara dharam,meaning that he is wearing a white robe-His Nature is Shuddha Satva.
He is Vishnum-Vast and present everywhere.
Sasi Varnam-Who has a moonlike ,soothing quality.
Chatur bhujam -we need not count whether he has two or four or Five hands.We only need to remember that Hands symbolize 'Doing' or 'Giving'-Chatur means 'Able',so chatur Bhujam means that there is nothing he cannot do or give(This is how I see it.You may refer to other commentators and what they have to say).
Prasanna Vadanam-Means one whose visage is inviting and welcoming,Calm and composed.

When one meditates on Lord Vigneswara,all his vignams(obstacles and restlessness)are quelled.

Kanchi Mahaswami has given some wonderful ,delightful talks on PiLLaiyAr.He says that even in Vaishnava temples when other symbols of siva,Parvathi .Karthikeya are left out ,PiLLaiyAr is worshipped as Thumbikkai Azhwar.Such is the ubiquitous presence of this endearing Lord.

Namaskar.



Subramanian.R

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Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2012, 01:53:59 PM »
Dear Nagaraj, Ravi and srkudai,

I am not anti-Pillaiyar like late Ramswamy Periyar (he was a trustee of a Pillaiyar temple!). What I was writing is, why
should the invocatory song be interpreted by Anna Subramania Iyer, (who is a great scholar himself ) like that?

Arunachala Siva. 

Subramanian.R

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Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2012, 02:12:09 PM »
Dear Nagaraj,

Sri B.V. Narasimha Swami in his Self Realization, compares Sri Bhagavan with Sri Rama and goes to say how various epithets
for Sri Rama also suit Sri Bhagavan:

1. niyatatma - of fixed principles.

2. vashee -self controlled.

3. neeti man - Wise and just.

4. vAgmi - master of linguistic expressions.

5. sriman - favored of fortune.

6. Arya - Noble

7. sarvasama - Equality towards all.

8. sadheka priya darshni  -  always wears a smiling countenance.

9. dharmajna - knowing the dharma sastra.

10. samruthiman - with a powerful memory.

11. pratibhanavan - inventiveness, resourcefulness of imagination.

Arunachala Siva.




Ravi.N

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Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2012, 03:12:41 PM »
Subramanian,
I do not see much of a difference in what aNNa has said and my understanding.It is not clear whether it is you or aNNa who doubted the identity of the Deity in the DhyAna sloka.I presume it is you who raised the question whether it was meant as a Stotra for Lord Ganesa.
The interesting story is that VyAsa when he contemplated on writing the mahAbhArata had a problem-He could get to the source of inspiration and bring out the story in utterance;yet he needed the help of a scribe to take it down faithfully as the inspiration gushes out.Who else but Lord Ganesha could solve this problem?He invoked the blessings of lord Ganesha and humbly requested him to be his scribe.Ganesha ,the Child God is not one to be trifled with-He put his condition that he can do it on one condition;the condition is that VyAsa should not keep him waiting.He would lay down the scribe and quit should that ever happen.Vyasa agreed to this condition.In Vishnu sahasranamam ,it is thus that he invokes the Blessings of Pillaiyar to remove all obstacles to his inspiration keep pillaiyar occupied!If he does not do it in the first sloka,he may not get another chance!He knew pretty well what happened to lord Siva when he forgot to invoke the First God-PillaiyAr!

vyAsa had to struggle to keep pillaiYar occupied as he with wrote with Great speed with his 'Teeth'(Again symbolic in the sense that he just latched onto what was said ).VyAsa devised a ploy to keep pillaiyar occupied by using some 'Fillers' or 'Riddles' called Guttu slokas.As PillaiyAr paused to think about these,VyAsa would go ahead and compose some more verses and got a breather to match the speed of Ekadanta.
Here is a wonderful example of a Guttu sloka that kAnchi mahAswAmi(who else has such a wonderful insight into all these!)in the course of a casual conversation with a devotee narrates:
ajnAnena AvRitaM jnAnaM

For this shloka occuring in the Bhagavad Gita, the rare meaning that Sri PeriyavaaL told me in saMbhASaNaM (conversation) when he was camping in a place called Mahagav:

PeriyavaaL: Know that there are Guttu Shlokas in Bharatam (Mahabharata)?

Myself: These are Guttu Shlokas because they were composed to reduce the speed of PiLLaiyar's (Ganesha's) writing.

PeriyavaaL: There is a Guttu Shloka in Gita! You know?

Myself: Don't know.

PeriyavaaL: 'aj~nAnenanAvR^itaM j~nAnaM tena muhyanti jantavaH | j~nAnena tu tadaj~nAnaM yeSAM nAshitamAtmanaH ||' (5.15,16)

"Atma who is jnAnarUpam (in the form of knowledge) is veiled with ajnAnaM (ignorance). People are deluded because of that. If the ajnAnaM is destroyed by jnAnaM, Moksha will be attained."

Isn't this doctrine puzzling, confusing? How can ajnAnaM veil jnAnaM? If it is veiled, how by that same jnAnaM will ajnAnaM be destroyed? -- is the confusion. Vinayaka blinks. In those few seconds Vyasa has readily composed the shlokas of many chapters.

For this puzzle that comes in the fifth chapter, he gives the answer in the tenth chapter!

teshAmenukampArtham ahamaj~nAnajaM tamaH |
nAshayAmi AtmabhAvastaH j~nAnadIpena bhasvatA ||

To show mercy on the bhaktAs who always sing and think only about me and melt by those acts in their hearts, I as the jnAna rUpi (form of knowledge) enter the state of mind that remains akhaNdAkAram (not fragmentary, entire, whole) and is known as AtmabhAvam (state of the soul), reach the prati-bimbam (reflection), strengthen the jnAnam and set aside (the veil) of ignorance.

(In other words, svarUpa jnAnam by itself will not set aside ignorance. It only notifies its presence. But if the same svarUpa jnAnam is reflected by the akhaNdAkAra vritti (expansion of mind)( that results from continued experience of the state of meditation on the Vedanta Maha Vakhyas after studying and reflecting on them, that will immediately burn the ignorance. Even if the sun has the svabhAva (inherent nature) to burn cotton, it burns the cotton only when the rays touch it through a special lens!)
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PillaiyAr is easily pleased with a few leaves of Grass.He does not even need the abhisheka water.He is ubiquitous,it does not matter whether he is out in the open,under the shade of a tree,or in a temple or even in finger full of moulded turmeric!He is present everywhere-Vishnum(not vishnu).Just contemplating him for a few seconds by tapping at the temples would invoke his blessings and clear the restlessness and obstacles to sadhana.

Namaskar.


Subramanian.R

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Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2012, 03:37:42 PM »
Dear Ravi,

It is a very interesting story about Ganesa and Vyasa as told by Maha Periyava.  I am not sure, I have read this in Periyava's collection\
of essays on Vinayaka, in a separate book.  Vinayaka has helped all gods to remove their obstacles in life and war. When Siva went
to destroy Tripura, He went without praying to Ganesa. Ganesa made his chariot wheel to break. Suddenly Vishnu appeared as
Bull and Siva took the bull and proceeded, of course, after praying to Ganesa.  Ganesa's help to Muruga is well known.  He was only
responsible for Muruga marrying VaLLi.  How about Krishna? Periyava said that once Krishna looked at the prohibited fourth digit moon
and he got into serious of troubles, with Chyamagantha Mani issue. Ultimately He prayed to Ganesa to remove the 'sin' of seeing
the fourth digit moon and thereafter Krishna's troubles vanished. About Uma. There is a story in Sri Devi Mahatmyam, about Ganesa
helping Devi to have the obstacles removed, only after Devi praying to Ganesa!

Whether Anna is right and whether this thambi is right,  (Anna should always be right), we got a good number of stories about
Vinayaka.

Yesterday on the Tamizh New Year Day, I was thinking about Uchchi Pillaiyar of Tiruchy Rockfort, for whom there would have
been long hours of milk abhishekam.

For me in Basavangudi, Bangalore, a Ganesa temple in Netta kallappa Circle is my favorite. Any problem, pray to that Ganesa
for breaking three coconuts, the problems were solved in my case.    This Ganesa was found out under the playground nearby,
about 20 years back when Mr.   Hegde was the Chief Minister. He agreed to allot land (from out of the play ground) to build a
small temple for Ganesa, in one corner. The temple is quite famous in this area.

Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

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Re: Vishnu Sahasranamam and Self Enquiry
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2012, 07:23:55 PM »
Dear Nagaraj,

Vishnu Sahasranama is a great slolka that soothes the mind. But it has nothing to do with Self Inquiry.

Arunachala Siva.