In this part we will explore the meaning of the 56th Shloka of Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam.

shloka 56

Ajo Mahaarhas Svaabhaavyo Jitaamitrah Pramodanah       |
Anando Nandano Nandas Satyadharmaa Trivikramah ||56||

Bhagavan represents the first sound and alphabet ‘A’. He is Unborn, changeless and eternal. He is the One who is worthy of Maha-puja and deserving of Prapatti (surrender). He is eternal who has no beginning or end and rooted in His nature. He has conquered all His enemies both internal and external.  Internal enemies such as anger, greed, lust, jealousy etc. and external enemies like Asuras.  He delights His devotees by bestowing bliss by removing their obstacles to realise Him. He is Pure joy and the giver of Bliss to His devotees. He is full of blissful things who performs/perform His Dharma truthfully. He took three giant strides as Trivikrama in Vamana Avataar and covered the three worlds.

The above Shloka has the following Namas:
524.  Ajah
525.  Mahaarhah
526.  SvaabhaavyaH
527.  Jitaamitrah
528.  Pramodanah
529.  Anandah
530.  Nandaanah
531.  Nandah
532.  Satyadharma
533.  Trivikramah

Now let’s examine the meaning of the above Namas in detail:

524.  Ajah – He represents the first alphabet and sound ‘A’

omvibrationWe covered this Nama twice as Nama 96 and Nama 206.  Based on the root ‘Aja – gati kshepanayoh’ which signifies motion or throwing away, Sri Parasara Bhattar interpreted the first of these occurrences as referring to Bhagavan being the remover of obstacles (‘Kshipati iti Ajah’).  He dispels the darkness of ignorance by means of the luminous lamp of knowledge.

The second occurrence was interpreted based on ‘Na jayate iti ajah’ meaning He who is not born.  The current Nama is interpreted as ‘Akaara Vaacyatayaa jaatah’ – He who is signified by the sound ‘A’ or the letter ‘A’.

Here, Sri Adi Sankara gives the meaning of Ajah as ‘Aaat Vishnoh Ajaayata iti Kaamah Ajah’ – He as Manmatha or God of Love was born of Bhagavan Vishnu hence He is called Ajah’. The letter ‘A’ being the first letter of the primordial Pranava Mantra ‘AUM’ stands for Vishnu and Manmatha was created by Vishnu. Effectively the word Ajah refers to Manmatha or Kama, the God of Love. So ultimately the Nama refers to Bhagavan himself in His aspect as Manmatha.

Sri Radhakrishna Sastri explains that when the world comes to an end, what is left behind is the sound of Pranava, and then its root or origin or base, the sound ‘A’ (Akaaram), which symbolises Bhagavan.

Sri Radhakrishna Sastri gives the interpretation that Bhagavan reaches out (Gacchati) to where His devotees are, or He is ever active in ensuring that everyone gets the effects of their karma without discrimination.

Sri Satyadevo Vasishta derives the meaning with ‘A’ referring to MahaVishnu, and ’Ja’ referring to everything that is born from Vishnu when combined with ‘A’.  He gives the reference from MahaBharata Santi Parva 341.74 in support of the interpretation.

Na hi jaato na jaaye’ham na janishye kadaacana    |
Kshetrajnah sarva-bhutanam tasmat aham ajah smritah  ||
Meaning: I was not born, nor am I being born, nor will I be born in future. I am the soul in all beings; hence I am called the Unborn.

Swami ChinmayAnanda explains the same meaning given earlier and says that Bhagavan is changeless and deathless Reality; He has neither birth nor any decay. He gives an alternative meaning to this Nama by referring to the letter ‘A’ and ‘Ja’ taken separately to mean Pradyumna born to Lord Vishnu as the incarnation of the Lord of Love.

525.  Mahaarhah – He who is worthy of worship

sri-padmanabha-swamy-thiruvananthapuramSri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Mahah Pujaa Tadarhatvaat Mahaarhah – He is worthy of Maha Puja hence He is called Mahaarhah’. Clearly there is no one more worthy of worship than Bhagavan who is the Creator and Supporter of our Universe and our very existence.

Maham-Pujanam arhati iti Mahaarhah.  Arhah means worship and Mahaarhah means worthy of Maha Puja.

Sri V.V Ramanujan adds that the Puja referred to here is Atma-samarpanam or Prapatti.  This principle of nyasam or bhara samarpanam as revealed to us in the Upanishad.

Sri Parasara Bhattar refers us to Taittiriya Narayaneeyam 21 –

Brahmane tva mahasa Om iti AtmAnam yu’njeeta|
Etad-vai mahopanishadam devanam guhyam  ||
Meaning: The great secret which the Devas are keeping, and which is revealed to us by the great Upanishad, is that the Jiva is to be offered to Bhagavan, the Supreme Brahman, by means of the Pranava, the first letter of which, ‘A’, signifies the ParamAtma, and the last letter, ‘m’ signifies the JivAtma.  “To Thee, the Brahman of great effulgence, I offer myself through the mantra “Aum””.

Sri Radhakrishna Sastri adds that of all the worships offered to Bhagavan, the worship offering our own selves, which is nothing but Prapatti (absolute surrender), is the greatest and supreme.  This Nama indicates that He is the One who is the deserving of Prapatti (surrender).

526.  Svaabhaavyah – He who is to be meditated upon by those who belong to Him

sri (1)Sri Adi Sankara explains this as ‘Svabhaavena eva Abhaavyah Nityanishpanna roopatvaat – By His very nature He is without a beginning and is eternal’. He has ‘nitya nishpanna’ or permanent glory. There is no beginning for Him and He is ever present by definition or by His very nature. Hence He is Svaabhaavyah or One without a beginning by virtue of Himself.

Sri Parasara Bhattar’s interpretation is ‘Svabhutaih (Atmabhih) bhaavaniyatvaat Svaabhaavyah” – He who is fit to be meditated upon by the individual souls who are His possessions.  Alternatively, Svaabhaavikatvena bhaavyatvaat Svaabhaavyah – He who is naturally accepted (as the Master) because everything else is His property, He being the Creator.

Sri Satyadevo Vasishta derives the meaning based on Sva + bhu + vyat, where he uses the meaning ‘bhu – bhav’ as ‘to be’, and the Panini Sutra or Avashyake – the affix ‘vyat’ comes after a root that means ‘as necessity’.  Thus, combining the root words, the meaning he gives is that Bhagavan exists everywhere and in everything as a matter of inevitability. Hence Svaabhaavyah means that Bhagavan is the One who is present everywhere and in everything naturally and without exception.

Swami ChinmayAnanda explains this Nama to mean that He is ever rooted in the nature of His own Self.

527.  Jitaamitrah – One who has conquered His enemies

Sri Krishna 7It is a combination of the word ‘Jita’ (conquered) and ‘Amitrah’  (enemy), meaning one who has conquered His enemies. Sri Adi Sankara explains this as ‘Jitaah Amitraah Antarvartinah Raagadveshaadayah Baahyashcha Raavana, Kumbhakarna, Shishupaalaadayo yena asau Jitaamitrah – One who has conquered internal enemies like passion, anger, greed etc. and external enemies like Raavana, Kumbhakarna and Shishupaala’.

There are two types of enemies viz. internal and external. The internal enemies are own bad qualities like greed, anger, jealousy, lust, hatred etc. The external enemies are other beings that pose a threat. Bhagavan has vanquished both types of foes hence He is called Jitaamitrah.

AmitrAh jitaah anena iti Jitaamitrah – He who has conquered His foes.  Sri Parasara Bhattar indicates that the foes referred to here are Kama, Aham-karam and mama-karam in the devotees.  Kama is the/refers to desire, passion and longing pleasure of the senses (it doesn’t say material objects anywhere) in the devotee for material objects, Aham-karam is egotism, and Mama-Karam is the feeling that all things that one possesses are one’s own (and not Bhagavan’s; also doer-ship).  One translator has translated the latter two as I-ness and mine-ness. These are the enemies that prevent us from having the Svarupa jnanam, and Bhagavan helps His devotees by removing them.  Lord Krishna reveals the powerful negative nature of these enemies (desire, anger, etc.) in the Bhagavad Gita in Chapter 3 Verses 37 to 43:

Kama esah krodha esha rajod-guna samudbhavah |  3.37
Jahi Satrum Mahabaaho kamarupam duraasadam  || 3.43
Meaning: Through these verses Lord Krishna implores the devotees to gain control over the lower self by the higher self and thus-by spiritual strength-conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust, greed, hatred, jealousy, anger, ego etc.

Sri Satyadevo Vasishta gives several references from the Shrutis for Bhagavan’s Nama of Jitaamitrah:

  • dyumagm amitra dambhanah – Resplendent, Tamer of the foe (Rig Veda 4.15.4)
  • amitra senaam maghavan – Destroyer of foes (Atharvana Veda 3.1.3)

He also points out that those who follow Bhagavan and Dharma come out victorious in whatever they undertake, whereas those who forsake Dharma are guaranteed to fail in the end.

This Guna of Bhagavan helps in removing the foes of self-realisation in His devotees and is also described in the Divya Prabandham. Sri V.V. Ramanujan refers from NammAzhwar’s Thiruvai Mozhi (2.9.3):

செய்யேல் தீவினையென் றருள் செய்யும்,என்
கையார்ச்சக்கரக் கண்ணபிரானே,
ஐயார்க்கண்டமடைக்கிலும் நின்கழல்
எய்யாதேத்த, அருள்செய்யெனக்கே         [3101]
Meaning: O’ Krishna, the Lord wielding the discus, guarding me against evil deeds!  Grant that I may praise your Lotus feet forever, even when phlegm chokes my throat and lungs.

Swami ChinmayAnanda explains this as the One who has conquered all His enemies both within and without.

528.  Pramodanah – He who delights His devotees.

Krishna GopiSri Adi Sankara gives two interpretations for this Nama. The first one is ‘Svaatmaamrita Rasaasvaadaat nityam pramodate iti Pramodanah – He rejoices at the experience of the nectar of His own personality hence He is called Pramodanah, the Rejoicer’.  Earlier we saw the Nama Amritapah with a similar meaning.

Sri Sankara’s second interpretation is ‘Dhyaayinaam dhyaaNamaatrena pramodam karoti iti – He gives pleasure to those who meditate on Him through the very act of meditation’. He resides in the heart of the Yogis who meditate on Him and this process brings about ecstasy to the Yogis, hence He is Pramodanah.

Sri Parasara Bhattar links the interpretation of this Nama to the previous one by indicating that when the devotees realise that Bhagavan has removed the foes such as anger, desire, etc., they feel delighted and blissful and hence He is called Pramodanah.

Sri Radhakrishna Sastri points out that while modah refers to the pleasures associated with day-to-day life, Pramodanam is the delight that is associated with the realisation of the true nature of the Self.

Sri Satyadevo Vasishta remarks that the extent to which Bhagavan keeps His Creations happy can be seen by the fact that everyone wants to cling to this material body and no one really wants to leave this body that they get because of their prior Karma!

Swami ChinmayAnanda interprets this as He is One who is constantly enjoying His own Eternal, Blissful nature.  The Nama indicates Vishnu Himself as Sriman Narayana is the one who causes bliss in the heart of those who meditate upon Him.

529.  Anandah – He is Bliss

vaduvur ramarSri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Anandah svaroopam asya iti Anandah – By His very nature He is pure Joy and so He is called Aanandah ‘. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (4.3.32) says ‘Etasya eva Aanandasya anyaani bhootaani maatraam Upajeevanti – Of this happiness, other beings enjoy only a part’. He is ‘Sat Chit Aananda Svaroopi – He is Pure Existence, Pure Consciousness and Pure Joy’.

Sri Parasara Bhattar interprets the next few Namas in terms of Bhagavan’s Kapila Avataar. He is called Anandah because He is endowed with a Bliss that is beyond description or imagination – ‘Vaa’ng manasa dur-graho maha Anandah asya asti iti Anandah’.

In the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 10 Verse 26, Lord Krishna says ‘Siddhanam Kapilo Munih – Among perfected beings I am the Sage Kapila’.

Sri V.V. Ramanujan explains that the choice of the attribute of Anandah to describe Sage Kapila is because Sage Kapila was devoid of all attachments.  The Shruti is “Srotriyasya ca A-Kamahatasya” – where the reference is to one who has overcome Kama or desire (Kamahata refers to one who is afflicted with Kama, and A-Kamahata is one who has overcome Kama.  BrahmAnandam is Bliss or Joy that is beyond description and imagination.  Sage Kapila was a Brahmin who had overcome all desires, and the Bliss of such a person is the state of BrahmAnandam.

Sri Radhakrishna Sastri gives references to the Sruti referring to Bhagavan being Ananda-Svarupan:

  • Anandarupam amritam yad vibhaati – By His knowledge the wise realise what shines as the blissful immortality (Mundaka Upanishad 2.2.7);
  • Ananda Atma (Taittriya 2.2.5);
  • Anando Brahma (Taittriya 6).

Swami ChinmayAnanda’s interpretation of this Nama is similar to that of Sri Sankara and he says ‘Of this happiness, other beings enjoy only a part’.

530.  Nandanah – The Bliss-Giver

Sri_Krishna_largeSri Adi Sankara explains this as ‘Nandayati iti Nandanah – He enriches others with happiness and bliss’.  Bhagavan and the devotee give pleasure to each other. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 7 Verse 17:
Tesaam jnani nitya-yukta eka-bhaktir visisyate    |
Priyo hi jnanino ‘tyartham aham sa ca mama priyah ||
Meaning: Among them the man of wisdom always engaged exclusively in devotional service is superior; For I am very dear to Him, and He is dear to Me.

Pramodam karoti iti pramodanah – He who fills with joy the minds of those who meditate on Him.  The Nama is derived from the root mud – harshe –  to rejoice, to be glad.

Bhagavan gives BrahmAnandam (described in the previous Nama) to the liberated souls (Muktas) when He confers Moksham, and as a result He Himself rejoices.  The previous Nama signified that He is the embodiment of Bliss, and the current Nama indicates that He gives this happiness to the Muktas (liberated ones).  This happiness is in no way different from the happiness that He Himself enjoys.

Sri Radhakrishna Sastri points out that the Muktas (liberated ones) derive this Bliss by His mere nearness to them, just as the mere presence of a child near them makes the parents happy.

531.  Nandah – He who is full of Blissful things

vishnuhSri Adi Sankara interprets this Nama in two ways. The first interpretation is as ‘Nandah’ and the second as ‘Anandah’. The first explanation is ‘Sarvaabhih Upattibhih Samriddhah – He is endowed with all instruments and objects of pleasure’. He has in full all the enjoyable materials, the instruments for enjoyment, the modes of enjoyment, the people who enjoy, etc., at all times. He has everything that is needed for Absolute Bliss.

Taking this as ‘Anandah’ Sri Sankara interprets this as ‘Sukham Vaishayikam naasya vidyate iti Anandah – He is devoid of all worldly pleasures which arise from sense-contacts’.

Chandogya Upanishad (7.23.1) says ‘Yo vai bhooma tat sukham naalpe sukham asti – The perfect joy of Bramhan is not the inferior pleasure of the senses’.

Sri V.V. Ramanujan elaborates on this further by pointing out that since Bhagavan is unattached to anything, and does not have any need or desire, He has everything that is needed for Absolute Bliss.

Sri Satyadevo Vasishta interprets the Nama as – Nandanti samardhante asmin Vishvarupe purusha iti Nando Vishnuh – Bhagavan Vishnu is called Nandah because all Jivas derive their final happiness in Him Who is the Purna Purusha.

532.  Satya-dharma – He who performs His Dharma truthfully

Rama 5Sri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Satyaa Dharmaa Jnaadayah asya asti iti Satyadharma – He is the abode of Supreme qualities such as Wisdom’. There are six divine qualities namely Jnana (Wisdom), Bala (Strength), Aishwarya (Wealth), Veerya (Might), Shakti (Power) and Tejas (Radiance or Splendour). All of these Dharmas or attributes truly exist in Bhagavan in ample measure, hence He is called Satyadharma.

Sri Parasara Bhattar gives the interpretation that Bhagavan is called Satya-Dharma because He is noted for His uprightness towards His devotees right from the time they begin to approach Him to the time of their attainment of Him.

His Dharma is well-known to be Saadhu-paritranam and Saranagata-paritranam. Sri P. B. AnnangarAcharya Swami and Sri M. V. RamanujAcharya Swami interpret the Nama as expressing the Guna of Bhagavan that He protects those who have surrendered to Him without exception.

Sri Ramanuja conveyed in Saranagati Gadyam – Ramo dvir-naabhibhaashate meaning Lord Rama never speaks a second time i.e. He will not say something first and go back on it as He always keeps his word.

In Srimad Ramayana Lord Rama says to Sage Vishwamitra – “Anritam nokta purvam me na ca vakshye kadacana – I have never spoken a lie ever before, and even if I were to land into any predicament I will never lie anytime in the future”.

In the Ramayana during Vibheeshana’s Saranagati, Lord Rama says:
Sakrdeva Prapannaaya tavaasmeeti ca yaacate   |
Abhayam Sarva-Bhutebhyo dadamy etad vratam mama || [Ramayana 6.18.33]
Meaning:  I remove all fears of all beings even if they come to Me only once and seek My refuge; calling themselves as Mine. This is My Vow.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna in Chapter 18 Verse 66 says:
Sarvadharman parityajya mam ekam Saranam vraja   |
Aham tva sarva-papebhyo moksha isyami ma sucah  ||
Meaning: Relinquishing all ideas of righteousness, surrender unto Me. I will deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.

He is true to what He has declared as His dharma, and so He is called Satya-Dharma.

Sri Radhakrishna Sastri elaborates further and explains that the Nama indicates that Bhagavan is the Abode of Perfection for the Six Gunas – Jnana, Bala, Aishwarya, Veerya, Shakti and Tejas.

Swami ChinmayAnanda gives the interpretation that Bhagavan has all the true Dharmas such as kindness, charity, etc., to perfection, and so He is Satya-Dharma.  He also gives the alternate interpretation that Bhagavan is the embodiment of Yoga, and supports it with the Upanishad declaration “Aym hi paramo dharmah yad-yogena Atma-darshanam” –  “That alone is Supreme Dharma which is to experience the Self through Yoga”.


Jatayu, the vulture warrior, was the son of Aruna (the charioteer of the Sun), brother of Sampati, and nephew of Garuda. jatayu and sampatiSampati and Jatayu, when young, used to compete as to who could fly higher. On one such instance Jatayu flew so high that he was about to get seared by the sun’s flames. Sampati saved his brother by spreading his own wings and thus shielding Jatayu from the hot flames. While doing so, Sampati’s wings got burnt..  Jatayu lost contact with Sampati as he went into a free fall after that flight. They could not meet up for the rest of their lives. Sampati was a wingless bird for the rest of his life.

Lord Rama meets Jatayu in Aranya Kanda in the Srimad Ramayana. The two Princes of Ayodhya along with Sita were enroute to Panchavati when they come upon Jatayu, the mighty vulture-warrior. Rama, presuming the mighty vulture to be a Asura/demon, questioned him about his identity and gave an introduction of Himself. Upon knowing that they were from the Royal House of Ayodhya, Jatayu explains that he was a close friend of King Dasaratha, and thereafter informs about the unique aspect of the parallel creation of animal species along with humans.

When Jatayu hears from Rama that Dasaratha is dead, he laments at the loss of his friend. He recounts the tale as to how he came to meet King Dasaratha.

Dasaratha was born to King Aja and Indumati. Aja’s queen, Indumati, an Apsara was born in this world due to a curse. Once, the celestial Sage Narada was journeying across the sky, when the flower garland on his Veena, dropped and fell on Indumati. She was redeemed of her curse instantly and regained her celestial aspect as an Apsara in the Heavens.

King Aja was unable to bear separation from his queen, grief-stricken he ran into the palace and committed suicide.  Aja’s son, Nemi, was an infant, eight months old, when the King killed himself. The senior-most minister, Sumantra, sought to place the infant in the care of the Raj Guru, the great Rishi Vasishtha. In place of the infant son, it was Sumantra who ruled the southern Kingdom of Kosala, under the guidance of Sage Vasishtha. The infant was placed in the custody of Marudanva, a Sage in the Ashrama of Vasishtha, and was also provided with the milk of Nandini, the divine cow. He was taught all the Shastras and the use of weapons. 

On attaining the age of eighteen, Nemi was crowned as the ruler of Southern Kosala. During his battle with Sambasura, he was attacked by Sambasura who took ten different forms all sitting on chariots and attacked him from ten different directions. With a single chariot, Nemi efficiently rode his chariot in all the eight directions, upwards and downwards and killed him. Afterward this incident Nemi was known as Dasaratha-The ten-chariot man, who can ride a chariot in ten directions.

There are three stories on how Jatayu became a friend of King Dasaratha

  1. Dasaratha and Ravana were contemporaries. Hearing Dasaratha’s fame Ravana felt jealous and sent messengers to his court asking for him to pay homage and regard otherwise threatened to wage a war. In reply Dasaratha shot off arrows with his special Mantras and told the messengers that when they return to Lanka they would find the main gates of Lanka shut by the arrow. As Ravana returned to the palace he saw the main entrance blocked and felt humiliated by this. He undertook severe penance to pacify Lord Brahma and sought immortality. Brahma refused, saying that he is destined to be killed by the son of Kausalya. To prevent Kausalya from having a son, Ravana kidnapped her and put her in a wooden box, which he set afloat in the Sarayu River. Dasaratha saw the box and jumped into the river to retrieve it. However, he got swept away by the strong currents when Jatayu spotted him and rescued him. Dasaratha and Jatayu then teamed up to retrieve the wooden box. They found Kausalya inside the box and saved her. Later Dasaratha and Kausalya got married. Jatayu and Dasaratha became close friends and Jatayu accompanied the King in many of his battles.
  1. The second account explains that Ravana, a prominent devotee of Shiva, obtained special powers through penance. The Kingdom of Lanka had risen to its splendour and power due to the powers Ravana gained through his devotion to Lord Shiva. He had expanded his territories and taken over many of the Kingdoms south of the Godavari River. At Ayodhya, the Kosala Kingdom had established its supremacy in the northern regions. The impenetrable Dandaka forests, or the Dandakaranya, wedged between the Kingdoms of northern and southern regions.

As Ravana’s power increased, he got more adventurous and decided to challenge Dasaratha. Ravana travelled through the skies, with his most able Asuras, in his Pushpaka Vimaana, and challenged Dasaratha to battle. They fought a tremendous war, and routed Dasaratha’s army. 

It was here that Jatayu spotted Dasaratha for the first time. The Asuras went about searching for him, while the King of Lanka had gone chasing the army towards Ayodhya.  Dasaratha retreated into the thick forests, but Jatayu could easily spot him from above and knew his exact location. After a while, the Asuras retreated from Dandakaranya. Dasaratha could sense that someone was watching him keenly. From his hiding place, he placed an arrow to his bow and using his sense of direction, shot it towards the unseen observer. Jatayu heard the twang of the bow, even as the arrow sped away towards him, he could easily evade it. Dasaratha came out of his hiding place, his eyes following the direction of the arrow. He saw the gigantic vulture-warrior sitting on a mountain peak.

Realising that this was no ordinary vulture, he came up to meet up. Jatayu spoke to Dasaratha, “O’ King of Ayodhya, it does not behove well for a King like you to hide in this manner. It is my impression that you are coming from a very tiring war, and your weapons are exhausted. Even the arrow that you shot at me missed its target.”

Dasaratha was upset and found the gigantic vulture even more annoying.  He replied, “Yes. I am tired and do not have my weapons. I can fight them another time if I survive today and return to Ayodhya. But, who are you? It is inconceivable that I would have missed you. I am able to hit a target without sighting it.”

Jatayu laughed and said, “Yes, O King! I am Jatayu, son of Aruna. I am the custodian of the Dandakaranya, and have been here, on this mountain peak, for more than thousands of years. I await the coming of Narayana himself, as it is promised to be. It was not your fault. You did not know that you were shooting at Jatayu.”  Jatayu and Dasaratha became friends. Jatayu helped Dasaratha and took him back to Ayodhya.

  1. The third account explains that once, during Dasaratha’s early days as King of Ayodhya, the Kingdom suffered a terrible drought. Dasaratha consulted his priests, who informed him that the Kingdom was suffering the ill-effects of Shani (God of the planet Saturn). So Dasaratha took off in his flying chariot to find Shani and persuade him to have mercy on Ayodhya. When Shani saw Dasaratha approaching, he feared that his gaze might kill Dasaratha, so he instead directed his gaze at Dasaratha’s chariot, which was burnt to ashes. Dasaratha started falling to the Earth, but he was caught by Jatayu, who had been watching the whole thing. Shani was pleased by the efforts Dasaratha and agreed to relieve Ayodhya’s drought. Jatayu flew Dasaratha back to Ayodhya, and they were friends ever since.

Rama bowed in respect on knowing about Jatayu’s friendship with his father, Dasaratha. Jatayu recounted the genesis of the birds and other animals along with humans. He began with the times when there were the lords of people, brought upon this world by the gods, to ensure that diverse animals, birds and humans would be created with prudence and caution.

jatayu3Jatayu assured them of their stay along the Godavari River would be under his care. Later, when Ravana takes Sita by force and guile, on board his Pushpaka Vimaana, Jatayu came to the rescue. He engaged in a great battle with Ravana in which he was fatally wounded.

Jatayu-and-Sampati-From-Ramayana-2When Lord Rama arrived, he saw Jatayu lay bleeding on the ground. Jatayu narrated his valiant battle with Ravana but lamented that he could not protect Sita. Rama was moved by the selfless action of Jatayu and sensed his end was near.

Rama decided that moment, to give Moksha to Jatayu. Lord Rama then slammed an arrow into the ground so as to call all seven sacred rivers, called theertha. Six rivers arrived while one river failing to obey Lord Rama’s call. As Lord Rama was himself an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, He forced the Gaya theertha to arrive at the spot. Humbled, the Gaya theertha also begins to flow with the other six sacred springs.

jatayu Rama and JatayuJatayu said: “O Lord, the demon king Ravana has forcibly taken Sita towards the south. I have been holding my breath to have a sight of you. Now, I desire to breathe my last, so kindly allow me to leave now”. Thus saying, Jatayu breathed his last.

Lord Rama performed Jatayu’s last rites and respectfully cremated his body and then offered libations for him. It was indeed a high fortune for Jatayu, that Lord Rama who could not perform his father’s last rites came to perform the last rites of Jatayu. Jatayu is forever known, wherever the Ramayana is recited.

This story of Jatayu demonstrates Lord’s attributes described in the Namas of Ananda, Nandanah and Satya-Dharma!

533.  Trivikramah – He Who pervades the three Vedas

TrivikramaSri Adi Sankara gives 2 interpretations for this Nama. The first is ‘Trayo Vikramaah trishu lokeshu Kraantaa yasya sah Trivikramah – He took three giant strides as Trivikrama in Vaamana Avataar and covered the three worlds, hence He is Trivikramah’. He also refers to the Taitreya Bramhana (2.4.6) ‘Treeni Padaah Vichakrame – He took three steps’.

The second interpretation is ‘Trayo Lokaah Kraantaa yena iti vaa Trivikramah – He has penetrated the three worlds hence He is called Trivikramah’.

Harivamsa (3.88.51) says ‘Trirityeva trayo lokaah Keertitaah Munisattamaih, Kramate taamstridhaa Sarvaan Trivikrama iti Shrutah – “By the sound ‘tri’ the sages mean the three worlds. The Lord crossed them three times. So He is famous as Trivikrama.

Vishnu SahasraNamam Phalashruti (20) says ‘Treen lokaan vyaapya bhutatma bhunkte vishvabhug avyayah – He occupies all 3 worlds and enjoys them fully’.

Sri Parasara Bhattar interprets “Tri” here as referring to the three Vedas (Rig, Sama and Yajur Vedas).  The terms ‘Trayee’ and ‘Tri’ are used to denote the three Vedas and Tri-Vikramah has been interpreted as referring to His pervading the three Vedas viz. He is the object of the three Vedas.

The first three were the original division, called Trayi Vidya – “the triple sacred science” of reciting hymns (Rig Veda), performing sacrifices (Yajur Veda), and chanting (Sama Veda). The Atharva Veda is the fourth Veda and its status is ambiguous due to its use in sorcery and healing.

Sri Parasara Bhattar gives reference to the following:
Trirityevam trayo Vedah kirtitah muni-sattamaih   |
Kramate tan tatha sarvan Tri-Vikrama iti smritah    ||
Meaning: By the sound ‘Tri’ the sages mean the three Vedas. The Lord covered them three times. So He is famous as Trivikrama. Sri Bhattar uses the meaning “Veda” for the word “Loka” in this reference.

Sri Radhakrishna Sastri gives the third interpretation in addition to the first two viz. that Bhagavan is Tri-Vikramah in the sense of pervading everything in all the three worlds.

Swami ChinmayAnanda explains this Nama as He is the One who has taken the three steps and conquered the three worlds. He uses the same Harivamsa (3.88.51) reference and interprets the word Loka to mean the three “fields of experience – the waking state, the dream state, and deep-sleep state”, and gives the meaning that Bhagavan is One Who has transcended these three states and reached the Infinite Consciousness, ie., He is the ParamAtman.  Thus, this Nama illustrates that the spiritual seeker has to take just three steps viz. cross the waking, dream, and deep-sleep states, to realize the centre of self within.


Ajo Mahaarhas Svaabhaavyo Jitaamitrah Pramodanah       |
Anando Nandano Nandas Satyadharmaa Trivikramah ||56||

trivikrama-perumal-moolavarBhagavan represents the first sound and alphabet ‘A’. He is Unborn, changeless and eternal, hence He is Ajah. He is the One who is worthy of Maha-puja and deserving of Prapatti (surrender), so He is Mahaarhah. He is eternal who has no beginning or end and rooted in His nature, so He is Svaabhaavyah. He has conquered all his enemies both internal and external.  Internal enemies such as anger, greed, lust, jealousy etc. and external enemies like Asuras.  Hence Bhagavan is Jitamitrah. He delights His devotees by bestowing bliss by removing their obstacles to realise Him, so He is Pramodanah.

He is Pure joy, hence Anandah. As the betower of Bliss to His devotees, He is Nandanah. He is full of blissful things, hence He is called Nandah. He is Satya-Dharma as He performs His Dharma truthfully. He took three giant strides as Trivikrama in Vamana Avataar and covered the three worlds.



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



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