SRI VISHNU SAHASRANAMAM (DHYANA SHLOKAS 1 & 2) – PART 5

In this part we will explore the meaning of the Dhyana Shlokas 1 and 2 that we recite before chanting the Sahasranamam.  

Dhyana Shloka 1

Ksheero danvat pradeshe shuchimani vilasat saikate rmouktikaanaam
Maalaa Kluptaasanasthah sphatikamaninibhair mouktikair manditaangah

ShubhraiRabhraiRadabhrai RupariVirachitair Mukta Peeyoosha Varshaihi
Aanandee Nah Puneeyaat Dari Nalina Gadaa ShankhaPaanir Mukundah

At first sight, this appears to be a complex tongue twister.  But once we analyse and understand this simple and beautiful verse, we will begin to appreciate the splendour of the Lord from this Shloka.  This describes the majestic view of Sri MahaVishnu in a manner that creates a vivid image that can be etched in our inner vision with ease and serves as a prelude to the Parayanam.

In any Sanskrit poem, the clue to understand the meaning lies in identifying the basic subject, predicate and the object. Rest of it is generally embellishment and descriptive clauses that adds colour to the subject, object and the predicate.

Let’s look at the meaning of the key words:

Ksheero danvat pradeshe – Sitting on the bank of the Milky Ocean

Shuchimani vilasat saikate – Shining sandy surface like diamonds

Vishnu with Pearl Malarmouktikaanaam Maalaa Kluptaasanasthah – Adorned with pearls

sphatikamaninibhair mouktikair manditaangah – luminous white crystals

ShubhraiRabhraiRadabhrai – from the multitudinous white clouds

RupariVirachitair – hovering above in an arch

Mukta Peeyoosha Varshaihi – pouring torrents of nectar

Aanandee Nah Puneeyaat – Blissfully purifying

Dari Nalina Gadaa – with his hands holding Discus, Lotus and Mace

ShankhaPaanir Mukundah – Conch holding Lord Mukunda, the giver of Mukti

In this Shloka the basic nucleus is ‘Mukundah nah Puneeyaat’ meaning ‘Let Lord Mukunda purify us’. Mukunda is the name for MahaVishnu meaning ‘the giver of Mukti or Liberation’. Having identified Mukunda as the subject, we can see that all other phrases are merely adjectives describing different aspects of Mukunda.

The first description is he is ‘Aasanasthah’ or sitting on a pedestal.

Where is he seated? On which pedestal?

‘Ksheero danvat pradeshe’ – on the bank of the Milky Ocean;

‘Mouktikaanaam Maalaa Klupta’ – it is adorned with garlands of pearls;

‘Shuchimani vilasat saikate’ – on a shining sandy surface studded with pure diamonds;  in other oceans the sand only contains silica crystals but on the banks of the Milky Ocean the sand is interspersed with dazzling diamonds.

Sri MahaVishnu, is seated on the diamond studded sandy banks of the milky Ocean on a seat adorning a garland of pearls.

What more can you say of Him?

 He is ‘Mouktikair Mandita Angah’. His body is decorated by pearls.

‘Sphatika Mani nibhaihi’ which are luminous like white crystals.

He is Aanandee, blissful and joyous.

With what else?

Mukta Peeyoosha varshaihi – pouring torrents of nectar.

ShubhraiRabhraiRadabhaihi – From the multitudinous pure white clouds.

Upari Virachitaihi – Hovering above the shores like a decorated arch, He is enjoying the showers of nectar pouring out from the pure white clouds hovering over the shore like a specially designed canopy.

Maha Vishnu 6 - CopyWhat is he holding?

Dari Nalina Gadaa Shankha Panihi – He is holding in his hand his Chakra or the Discus, Nalina or the Lotus, Gadaa or the Mace and Shankha or the Conch. These are his distinctive features!

Now combining all of the above attributes, we can form an image of HIM in our mind that is vivid and graphic.

IN SUMMARY

IMG_9177“Mukunda, who is majestically seated on the banks of Milky Ocean, with the surface sand sparkling like diamonds, adorning the garland of lustrous pearls; He, who is in a joyous and ecstatic bliss with pure white clouds hovering above, raining showers of nectar. May Mukunda, who is holding the Discus (Sudharsana Chakra), Mace (Gowmodhaki Gadha), Conch (Panchajanya Sankha) and Lotus in His hands, purify and liberate us”.

This is the complete image we need to build in our mind as we recite this Dhyana Shloka.

The immediate image that flashes in our mind when we hear the term ‘Milky Ocean’ is that of the nectar churning image or that of the Lord MahaVishnu in his reclining pose as portrayed in the famous Thyagaraja composition “Ksheera Sagara Shayanaa” in Devagandhaari Ragam and Adi Taalam.

But in this Dhyana Shloka we have the image of Vishnu seated majestically on the banks of the Milky Ocean.

What is the significance of this?

When a man is actively engaged in the worldly affairs he does not devote sufficient time to think of Bhagavan and at that time Bhagavan is effectively sleeping.  But when a man disengages himself from the world and embarks on worship, Bhagavan wakes up and the world (distraction) in him is put to sleep.

When we are about to focus our mind on the Absolute and away from the worldly affairs, God is activated and the world (distraction) is deactivated. That is why we find him “Aasanastha” seated and awake and ready to grant our wish for purification.

In essence with the Dhyana Shlokas we are preparing ourselves to focus our mind on the Lord and ready to awaken our ‘Chit’ or Consciousness through worship and in the process put the world (or the distraction) in us to sleep.  The recitation helps to awaken ourselves and be ready to accept his grace by purifying our mind as we engage our thoughts on HIM, who will finally liberate us (moksa isyami ma sucah – BG 18.66).

Dhyana Shloka 2

Bhooh paadau yasya naabhir-viyada-suranilas-chandra-sooryau cha netre
Karnaa-vaashaas shiro-dyaur mukhamapi dahano yasya vaasteyam abdhih

Antas-stham yasya vishvam sura-nara-khaga-go-bhogi-gandharva-daityaihi
Chitram ramramyate tam tribhuvana-vapusham Vishnum Isham namaami.

1511502_716731801705171_1904257645_n
In this Shloka we picturise Him in His cosmic form or Vishwaroopam. The entire Universe is contained in Him. The basic nucleus of this Shloka is ‘Vishnum Isham Namaami’ meaning ‘I worship Lord Vishnu’. The rest of the words describe how the various parts of the Universe relate to the various parts of Vishnu.

‘Bhooh Padau Yasya’ – His feet are the planet Earth

‘Naabhir Viyat’ – His navel is the Sky

‘Asuh Anilah’ – His breathing apparatus is Vayu (the Wind)

‘Chandra Suryau cha Netre’ – His eyes are the Sun and the Moon

‘Karnau Aavaashah’ – His ears are the directions

‘Shiro Dyauh’ – His head is Devalokam

‘Mukham Dahanah’ – His mouth is Fire (Agni)

‘Vaasteyam Abdhih’ – His abdomen is the Ocean

‘Antastham yasya Vishvam’ – The whole Universe resides in him.

Sura-nara-khaga-gandharva-daityaihi Chitram ramramyate – The Universe, which is the delightful playing ground of myriads of diverse life forms such as Devas, Humans, Birds, Animals, Snakes, Gandharvas and Demons.

Chitram ramramyate’ is a particularly beautiful construction with the threefold repetition of ‘Ram’.

And finally ‘Tribhuvana Vapusham’ meaning ‘He is the embodiment of the three worlds’.

Bringing all of these together we have the complete frame:

 I bow to Lord Vishnu who has the three worlds as His body. The Earth is His feet,  the sky His navel. Wind is His breath, the Sun and the Moon are His eyes. Directions are His ears and the Heaven is His head. Fire is His face and the Ocean His abdomen. In Him is situated the Universe with diverse kinds of Devas, men, birds, cattle, serpents, gandharvas and daityas (demons)- all enjoying a pleasurable life’

Vishwaroopam or the Cosmic form is very difficult for ordinary mortals to visualise and contemplate upon. Arjuna was granted a divine vision (divya caksu) to be able to experience the cosmic form of Krishna. And Arjuna saw:

‘Tatraikastham jagatkrtsnam Pravibhaktam Anekadhaa
Apashyat devadevasya Shareere Pandavas tadaa’

Arjuna witnessed, in the Supreme Deity, the whole Universe with its manifold divisions, condensed into one place.

Contemplation of the Dhyana Shloka 2 with full understanding gives us the same experience as Arjuna had that day.

Some of the cosmic representations in this Shloka are also described in the same way in Purusha Suktam, expounding the connection of Purusha or the Viraat Purusha with the Universe.

spiral-galaxyPurusha Suktam says:

  • ‘Praanaad Vaayur Ajaayata’ meaning Vayu or Wind came out of His breathing;
  • ‘Naabhyaa raaseed Antariksham’ meaning the sky was born out of His navel;
  • ‘Sheershnor Dyaus Samavartata’ meaning the Devalokam was born out of His head;
  • ‘Padbhyaam Bhoomih’ meaning the Earth was born out of His feet; and
  • ‘Dishas Shrotraat’ meaning the directions were born out of His ears.

Having evoked His Regal Splendour in Shloka 1 and His Cosmic Splendour in Shloka 2 in this Part,  we will move on to the other Dhyana Shlokas in our subsequent Parts.

HARI OM TAT SAT

OM NAMO NARAYANAAYA

The Vishnu Sahasranamam series is authored with the help of my friend Shri Balaji.

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27 Comments

  1. DEAR SIR, I HAVE VIEWED FULL DHYANAM SHLOKAM IT IS SO NICE TO UNDESTAND IT EASILY AND QUICKLY FOR A COMMON MAN AND VERY WELL EXPLAINED I HOPE THIS WILL ENDEAVOUR WITH FULL DEVOTION AND BHAKTHI CULT IF YOU CONTINUE FOR THE FULL PARTS IN AN IN CHRONOLOGICALLY INDEXED FORM OF BOOK SIR IT IS MORE HELPFUL AND EASY TO CARRY THE BOOK TO THE SPIRITUAL DISCOURSES. THANKING YOU IN ANTICIPATION,YOURS SINCERELY.(B.K.RAMADAS.) BINDIGANAVILE KRISHNA IYENGAR RAMADAS. ADIEN….

  2. I am doing sri vishnusahasranama from last 5 years without missing a day. Sir though I am not knowing more about lord as you have explained the stanzas with good simple english meaning along with picture !,,, You are realy greate and must give knowledge to like us people .Like they are many in lakhs we may find which they chant sri vishnusahasranama .It is very useful materials to understand lord closely .sir can you give me sri parashara bhattar has divided sri vishnusahasranama according to lord incornation? Can you pls provide more about lord to me.You have given only part up to 19 .What about other stanzas pls help me to add more to me. Pls sir You are very excutive person even though you worship lord you are realy grate now a days people only want money sir they dont want knowledge of lord??? How redicuolously they are leaving in this world .thank you sir

    • Thank you for your very kind and generous comments.

      At present, we are doing one Shloka a week and hence it will take some time before we complete the whole Sahasranamam. So far we have completed 104 names, which is just about 10%!

      I intend to publish it in both book and audio book CD form once we have done enough number of shlokas and release it in volumes. I will send you a copy when we reach that stage. Hari Om.
      Kind regards
      Sridhar

  3. Dear SSRK,

    Thanks a lot for your kind comments. Though I know a bit of Sanskrit the real action force behind the Blog is that of Sridhar. He has the explosive energy of a supernova and the technical wizardry of a whizz-kid!
    Regards
    Balaji

  4. We learn Vedas by rote and recite/chant by knowing or not the meaning of them. Whatever may be the case, one who chants with devotion undoubtedly reaps the benefit. I am very happy that my dear friend Shri. E.R. Balaji, a scholar in Sanskrit, a scientist turned in to insurance profession is doing a wonderful job by co-authoring this divine work. Let The Lord Narayana bless us all.
    Respectfully
    Dr. S.Sivaramakrishnan

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