Vishnusahasranama Bhashya

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Mar 15 16:54:13 CST 1999

With all the recent discussion about Samkhya and Maya, I've neglected my
postings of Shankaracharyas Vishnusahasranama Bhashya.  I'll try to be
more prompt now.  (And note to the readers: this is not a literal

I left off last time with Yudhishtira asking Bhishma six questions, here
are the answers.  (Note they are answered in a different order to which
they were asked.)

> 6  By the repeated practice of which Dharma will creatures be released
>    from the chains of samsara?

A man should diligently sing the 1000 names of the God of Gods, the
Lord of the world, the infinite Purushottama.

Here a man (Purusha) stands for a jiva in general who is clothed (pura) in
a body.  He should sing the names of Purushottama the best among the
jivas or the highest of the jivas who is Ananta (infinite or unbound by
time and space), the Jagatprabhu or lord of the world (because the world
depends on Him) and who even the Gods such as Brahma, Indra etc. worship
as God.

> 3,4. By praising whom and worshipping whom will Men gain the highest good?

Worshipping with flowers etc. and Bhakti the indestructible and
unchanging Purusha, singing His praise and bowing down to Him only, the
worshipper by praising Vishnu, the Supreme Lord of all the worlds, the
regulator of all the worlds, will transcend all sorrows.

In the last shloka Purusha was used to mean jiva.  Here it refers to
Bhagavan.  Because there is really no differece between the jiva and
Brahman.  The physical and Mental worship of Vishnu Bhagawan will cause
the worshipper to be able to transcend all sorrows. Because He is
sarvalokamaheshwara.  The great lord of all the worlds.  Loka means "seen"
because the world refers to whatever is seen.  The basis of the senses
such as seeing is Vishnu Bhagavan.  He is the lokadhyaksha. Adhyaksha can
mean regulator or administrator.  All the activities of the world occur
because of and are regulated by Him.


He Who Brahman holds dear, the knower of all Dharmas, who brings fame to
all beings, who is the ruler of the world, the supreme Truth who is the
cause of samsara in all beings.

Just as you treat someone you love as your own self and their pains
become your pains and their joy becomes your joy, is the relation
between the jiva and Brahman.  Of course Brahman has the same relationship
with all jivas, truly all our one.  But only a few enlightened ones
understand that.  Only for them is the relationship two-way.  So we can
specially point out Vishnu Bhagavan etc. as "Those who hold Brahman dear"
because they hold Brahman dear.

> 5. Of all the Dharmas, which do you consider the best?

To me, the most superior  of all the Dharmas, is when a man worships
Pundarikaksha by describing his divine qualities.

Why is this superior?  Because it can be done at any place, and any time
without any other pesonor thing needed and without injury to anything

> 2.  What is the ultimate goal?

He who shines the brightest, he who is the highest Lord, He who is the
highest Truth, He is the highest goal.

Brahman is the cause of illumination so it shines the brightest.  It is
the causeof everything so it is the highest Lord.  It is the one truly
existent thing so it is the highest truth.  So Brahman is the highest

 > 1.  In all the worlds, who is described as the one God?

The purest of the pure, the most blessed of the blessed, the God of the
Gods, and the imperishable father of all beings.

Devoid of parts and qualities, the supreme Purusha is the purest of the
pure.  As the source of all auspiciousness, He is the most blessed of the
blessed.  Even the Gods like Brahma, Indra etc. consider him as their God.
He is immmortal and imperishable and the source of all beings.

The one from who all beings arise at the start of the first yuga and into
whom all will inevitably dissolve at the pralaya.

All beings are nothing other than parts of Him.  At the Srishti or
creation at the beginning of the Satyayuga, the various types of beings
appear to take seperate names and shapes.  The word eva is used in this
shloka to signify inevitability. Inevitably at the pralaya or
destruction at the end of the Kaliyuga, they will all be drawn back into
Him.  They cannot continue independently beacause they have no
existence apart from Him.  Although this process describes the life-cycle
of the universe, it applies just as much to the story of the individual
Atma which is "created" from Maya and "destroyed" by Moksha.

He is the lord of the world who is described by the inner sight developed
by the shastras.  Listen O King! (Yuddhishtira) hear from me the thousand
names which protect against sin and fear.

The shastras are the instrument of the knowledge of Brahman.  They cause
one to develop the inner sight which enables the understanding of that
knowledge.  Sin is caused by fear.  Fear is caused by ignorance.  That
ignorance can be dispelled through the true knowledge that can be gined by
the chanting of the thousand names of Shri Hari.

The next post will begin the actual list of names.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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