In this part we will explore the meaning of the 60th Shloka of Sri Vishnu SahasraNamam.

Shloka 60
Bhagavan Bhagahaa Nandee Vanamali Halaayudhah    |
Adityo Jyotiraadityah Sahishnur Gatisattamah          ||60||


He is Bhagavan as He is worthy of worship who has divine and auspicious attributes. He is ever blissful adorned with the beautiful garland Vanamala. He wields the plough as a weapon and He is the son of Aditi in His Vamana Avataar.  He resides in the Sun at the centre of its lustrous sphere. He is enormously patient and easily forgives those who surrender unto Him.  He is the Ultimate resort and the best path to salvation.

This Shloka has the following Namas:

  1. Bhagavan
  2. Bhagahaa
  3. Nandee
  4. Vanamali
  5. Halaayudhah
  6. Aadityah
  7. Jyotiraditytah
  8. Sahishnuh
  9. Gatisattamah

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

  1. Bhagavan – One Who is worthy of worship

tirupathi-balajiThis Nama has the following meanings:

  • One Who is worthy of worship
  • One Who is full of the six attributes or the Shad Gunas, viz. Jnana (Knowledge), Shakti (Energy), Balaa (Strength), Aishwarya (Sovereignty or Wealth), Veerya (Vigour), and Tejas (Radiance or Splendour)
  • He Who knows the origin and the end of all beings

Sri Adi Sankara explains that Bhagavan possesses the following 6 divine qualities in ample measure. He quotes from the Vishnu Purana (6.5.74):
Aishvaryasya Samagrasya Dharmasya Yashasas Shriyah    |
Jnaana Vairaagyayohs chaiva Shannaam Bhaga iteeranaa ||
Meaning: Bhaga refers to Aishvaryam (Wealth), Dharma (Righteousness), Yasha (Fame), Shree (Prosperity), Jnana (Knowledge) and finally Vairagyam  (dispassion). These six qualities define Bhaga and one who has Bhaga is Bhagavan’.

Sri Sankara gives an additional interpretation based on another Shloka from the Vishnu Purana (6.5.78):
Utpattim Pralayam chaiva Bhutanam Aagatim Gatim;
Vetti Vidyaam Avidyaam cha sa Vaachyo Bhagavan iti
Meaning: He is called Bhagavan because it is He who knows the origin and the end, the arrival and the exit of all beings, and also Knowledge and Ignorance’.

Sri Bhattar interprets the Nama as referring to His being worthy of worship because of His essential nature which is endowed with all auspicious qualities.  The word ‘Bhaga’ has a special meaning which refers to the six attributes, but Sri Bhattar does not use this meaning to interpret this Nama. Instead, he gives the interpretation, “He Who is worthy of worship”. In Amarakosha, there is a reference to “bhajyata iti bhagah”, which seems appropriate to Sri Bhattar’s interpretation.

Sri V.V. Ramanujan gives references from NammAzhwar’s Thiruvai Mozhi: 
உயர்வற வுயர்நலம் முடையவன் யவனவன்
மயர்வற மதிநலம் அருளினன் யவனவன்
அயர்வறும் அமரர்கள் அதிபதி யவனவன்
துயரறு சுடரடி தொழுதெழென் மனனே.  [2899]
Meaning: Arise, O heart, worship the feet of the one, who is higher than the highest good, who is the Lord of the ever-free celestials, who dispels all doubt and grants pure knowledge.

பிணக்கற அறுவகைச் சமயமும் நெறியுள்ளி யுரைத்த,
கணக்கறு நலத்தனன் அந்தமி லாதியம் பகவன்,
வணக்குடைத் தவநெறி வழிநின்று புறநெறி களைகட்டு,
உணக்குமின் பசையற அவனுடை, யுணர்வுகொண் டுணர்ந்தே. [2925]
Meaning: Accept the method of the Vedas, and know Him through realisation, He is the Lord (Bhagavan) without a beginning or end, who has infinite attributes. Give up all doubt and surrender unto Him, for He resolves the conflicts in the six schools of thought.

The oldest of the Sri Vaishnava schools are the Bhagavata and Pancharatra schools. The revered Bhagavan of the Pancharatra School is the Para form ‘Vasudeva’ – this Nama is interpreted to mean Sarva vyapaka or all-pervading. On account of Shad-Gunas of Vasudeva, He is called as Bhagavan:
Jnana-Shakti-Bala Aishvarya-Veerya-Tejas asyashe Shatah |
Bhagavan Chabdavaachyaani vina heyairGunadibhiH ||

The Lord is complete with these six qualities (i.e. jJnana, Shakti, Bala, Aishvarya, Veerya and Tejas) and He is devoid of all Heya Gunas and hence He is referred to as Bhagavan.

The Story of PeriyAzhwar

PeriazhwarPeriya Azhwar is one amongst the 12 Azhwars (and father of Sri Andal). Periya Azhwar was born to Mukunda Bhattar and his wife Padmavalli as Vishnu Chitta in Sri Villiputtur, a small town near Madurai in the 9th century CE. Periya Azhwar was an incarnation or Amsam of Garuda.

He wanted to perform service to the Lord and with this objective, he set up a beautiful garden with a great variety of flowers and Tulasi leaves. He used to make specially decorated garlands and offered them to the Lord at the “Vatapatra Saayee” Temple. It was in this garden that he later found Sri Andal as a baby [This Garden exists to this day in Sri Villiputtur Andal temple].

Periyazhwar occupies a special place among Azhwars as he became the father-in-law of Sri Ranganatha when his daughter Andal married Him.  He belonged to a family of devout Vaishnava Brahmins and was named “Vishnu Chitta”. True to his name, his mind dwelt constantly on the form and leelas of the Lord. He did not show much interest in learning scriptures and constantly enjoyed the Lord as little Krishna.

Once, the King of Madurai named Vallabha Deva came to Sri Villiputhur in disguise and was going around the villages to know the welfare of his citizens. He saw a Brahmana sleeping on the front porch of a house and stopped to enquire about him.

The Brahmana told the king that he was a pilgrim returning south after a tour of many temples in the gangetic plains. The King asked him to teach him some shlokas that would lead him to his Enlightenment.

The pilgrim recited a shloka, the substance of which was as follows:
“One has to gather everything necessary for the rainy season when the Sun shines. One has to save for old age by working hard during the younger days. Similarly, one has to search for the ultimate reality in this birth to benefit in the next birth.” The King was greatly impressed by the shloka and honoured the Brahmin.

His mind dwelt on the futility of his past life and he constantly worried over what is the ultimate reality. He could not choose his faith from the various paths offered by different religions. Once, he asked his family preceptor ‘Selvanambhi’ as to who was the Supeme deity. Selvanambhi suggested that he call the scholars and philosophers of various faiths to a contest which will determine the reality. The learned pundits of the times gathered in the assembly to debate the issue and arrive at a conclusion. The King announced a wager in which a wallet containing gold coins was to be tied to the top of a vertical pole and announced in the contest that the booty will go to the scholar who can bring it down with his faith.

For many days, a number of scholars tried in vain to do this with their scholarly knowledge, eloquent speeches and heated debates. One night the Lord appeared in Vishnu Chitta’s dream and asked him to go to the king’s court and win the contest.

Vishnu Chitta woke up in the morning and proceeded to the King’s palace according to the Lord’s directive. However he was well aware of his limitations, as he had never shown any interest in scriptural learning, however, he was confident of the Lord’s will.

In the King’s court, he proceeded to talk on ‘Sriman Narayana’ as the ultimate reality. The words started flowing in torrents as he went on quoting the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Puranas. Selva Nambi, the King and the entire gathering were enthralled by his conviction in his faith and were astounded to see the bag of coins fall on its own accord into Vishnu Chitta’s palms. The whole court acknowledged that Vishnu Chitta had the special grace of the Lord. The King honoured him with the title “Bhattar Piran”.

pallanduThat evening, the King took Vishnu Chitta on a ceremonial parade around the city on his elephant to honour him. Sriman Narayana was delighted to see all these honours being showered on the Azhwar, so He appeared in the sky on His Garuda Vahanam with His consort Sri Mahalakshmi to witness this incident.

Vishnu Chitta was dazed to see the splendour of the Lord and since he always enjoyed Krishna as a child, blessed the Lord with a long life visualising himself as the Lord’s mother he sang his “Thiru Pallandu” Pasuram. Normally human beings want to be blessed by the Lord and only elders would bless youngsters. But Vishnu Chittar’s blessing the Lord by singing what is now known as Thiruppallandu is unique. He thought of himself as elder to the Lord Himself and envisaged to bless Him. He was thus recognized for such a large-hearted gesture by being placed first among all Azhwars and given the title “PeriyAzhwAr”.

This benediction constitutes the first part of PeriyAzhwar’s Pasurams (verses). There are 12 verses of Thiru Pallandu. The very first verse goes as:
பல்லாண்டு பல்லாண்டு பல்லாயி ரத்தாண்டு
பலகோடி நூறாயிரம்
மல்லாண்ட திண்தோள் மணிவண்ணா! உன்
செவ்வடி செவ்விதிருக் காப்பு
Meaning: Oh, Lord possessing strong shoulders and sporting the hue of blue gem! One who conquered the wrestlers (of Kamsa), may your glorious feet prevail and preserve for many thousands and thousands of years and forever.

The second verse follows as:
அடியோ மோடும்நின் னோடும் பிரிவின்றி ஆயிரம் பல்லாண்டு
வடிவாய் நின்வல மார்பினில் வாழ்கின்ற மங்கையும் பல்லாண்டு
வடிவார் சோதி வலத்துறை யும்சுட ராழியும் பல்லாண்டு
படைபோர் புக்கு முழங்கும்அப் பாஞ்ச சன்னியமும் பல்லாண்டே
Meaning: The relationship between you and me should last for thousands of years. The beautiful dainty Lady (Lakshmi) who resides in your right chest shall also live for thousands of years. The bright and shapely Chakra (Sudharsanam) shall also last for thousands of years. Likewise the conch (Panchajanyam) which sounds at the start of all your battles shall also last for thousands of years.

PeriyAzhwAr does not stop with blessing the Lord and His consort alone. He goes on to bless the Lord’s Divya Ayudhams (the conch and the discus) and wants His devotees too to wish long life for the Lord.

In the next 10 verses he exhorts the devotees to shun wealth and embrace His lotus feet. Those who recite the Thiru Pallaandu will attain the state of being close to the Lord and reside with Him forever. To this day Thiruppallaandu is recited in all the Vaishnavaite shrines as an integral element of ceremonial worship.

Periya Alwar was also called Bhattarpiran, Srivilliputtur Kone, Puduvai Kone, and Kizhi Arutthan.

PeriyAzhwar Thiruvadigale Saranam _/\_

  1. Bhagahaa – He Has auspicious attributes

Perumal with Pearl MalaSri Adi Sankara inteprets this Nama as the destroyer or remover because of the suffix ‘Haa’. We have seen Namas like ‘Krodhahaa – Destroyer of Anger’ and ‘Kaamahaa – Destroyer of desires’ and ‘Dushkritihaa – Destroyer of evil doers’ earlier. By the same analogy Sankara says ‘Aishvaryaadikam Samhaara samaye hanti iti Bhagahaa – He destroys the 6 attributes coming under Bhaga at the time of dissolution or pralaya of the Universe’.  Everything has to go at the final deluge including supreme qualities and except Bhagavan nothing survives this final act.

Sri Bhattar’s interpretation for Bhagahaa uses the meaning of Bhaga referring to the six attributes, and here he quotes the same VishNu Puranam reference that Sri Sankara uses for the last Nama (VP 6.5.74).  Sri Bhattar uses the meaning of “hanti as goes” in his interpretation and explains these six divine qualities find their way to Bhagavan. 

Sri Krishna Datta Bharadvaj also adopts the same interpretation – Bhagam Mahatmyam jihIte gacchati prapnoti iti Bhagahaa.

Sri Satyadevo Vasishtha gives a different elaboration of this idea – ‘Bhaga’ represents the vastness of things, and ‘haa’ represents the contraction of this vastness.  Thus He is called Bhaga-haa because He reduces the vastness of His creation by contracting it all into Himself at the time of pralaya. 

Swami ChinmayAnanda points out that in this sense, it is not “destruction” of things, but an absorption of things back unto Himself that initially came from Him.

The Dharma Chakram writer observes that the impermanence of things like wealth, fame, etc. is what is being imparted to us here, and the more we understand this and remove our attachment to these, the closer we get to appreciate the significance of this Nama.

  1. Nandee or Anandee – One whose father is Nanda or One Who is always blissful

Perumal 15This Nama has the following meanings:

  • Refers to His father Nanda
  • He is ever blissful by Nature
  • He Who is ever happy to be associated with His devotees
  • He bestows bliss on His devotees

Sri Adi Sankara gives two interpretations for this Nama. The first is ‘Sukhasvaroopatvaat Anandee – Because of His true nature of Pure Joy He is called Anandee’. Bhagavan is pure Existence, pure Consciousness and pure Joy. So He is Anandee or Joy personified.

The other explanation offered by Sri Sankara is ‘Sarva Sampat samriddhatvaat Aanandee vaa – He is fully endowed with every form of wealth and prosperity and hence He is Anandee, a blissful person in all respects.

Sri Bhattar interprets the Nama as Nandi as referring to Balarama, as son of Nanda Gopa, and associates this with the Samkarshana form of Bhagavan while Sri Sankara interprets the Nama as Anandee with reference to Bhagavan’s Krishna Avataar.  Sri Bhattar also explains the Nama as Anandee by referring to Balarama’s tendency to revel in pleasure and make Himself and other around him happy in Ayarpadi.

Swami ChinmayAnanda chooses to interpret the same as referring to Lord Krishna, who was brought up by Nandagopa (Nandagopan kumaran Narayanan). He also interprets this Nama as One Who gives delight to His devotees.

The Dharma Chakram writer uses the same sense and interprets the Nama to refer to Krishna who made Himself and all around Him happy in Ayarpadi.

Sri Krishna Datta Bharadvaj gives the interpretation ‘Nandati samrdhyati iti Nandee – He Who gives delight to His devotees’. 

The Dharma Chakram writer points out the significance of the Nama Anandee – that we are inherently blissful, but just as those who have eyes can choose to close their eyes and suffer in darkness; we close our eyes to Jnana and suffer in misery and distress.  The means to get out of this state of suffering is to realise Bhagavan and our true Svarupam.  This realisation can be attained only through His grace, and so worshipping Him with devotion is the only means for everlasting happiness.  The Gopis of Ayarpadi were always happy because they did not have any other thought except the thought of Him, and so they were devoid of any worldly thought.  The significance of this Nama is to teach us that the means to true happiness is to immerse ourselves in His thought.

  1. Vanamali – He Who is adorned with the Vanamala garland

Sri_Krishna_largeThe literal meaning of Vanamala is a garland made of forest flowers and Vanamali is One Who wears such a garland. Vanamala is one of the hallmarks of Bhagavan Vishnu as described in the Shloka ‘Vanamali Gadhi Saarngi Shankhi Chakri cha Nandaki’ indicating that the Lord is adorned with His Vanamala wielding his five divine weapons.  The Vanamala is known as ‘Vaijayanti’ meaning ‘the garland of Victory’. The Vaijayanti is the presiding deity of the fragrance of the best type from the five elements and their respective ‘tanmatras’. Vanamali is made of flowers comprising five different colours that are used to string the garland, representing the five tanmatras (the five senses).   The symbolic meaning is that He wears this Universe with its diverse variety like a garland around His neck. 

Sri Adi Sankara interprets this Nama as ‘Bhoota tanmatra roopaam Vaijayantyaakhyaam Vanamalam Vahan Vanamali – He wears a garland of wild flowers called Vaijayanti, which symbolises the five senses of the living beings’. The 5 senses are sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. In the Vanamala there is fulfilment for all the five senses. It is beautiful to look at, having a lovely scent, sweet to taste and soft to touch, and there is beautiful music emanating from it when it sways in the wind. So the garland represents a focal point for all the five senses.

The Dharma Chakram writer observes that we experience the five tanmatras through the five jnanendriyas or sense organs.  This Nama teaches us that we should surrender or dedicate the five senses to Him and worship Him with devotion. 

  1. Halaayudhah – One Who wields the plough

balarama-dasavataraSri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Halam aayudham asya asti iti Halaayudhah – He has a plough as His weapon hence He is Halaayudhah’. This Nama refers to Bhagavan’s Balaraama Avataar. Balaraama or Balabhadra was Krishna’s brother and He always carried a plough as his weapon. It is said that one should repeat the Balarama Nama when ploughing to obtain good harvest.

Sri Bhattar points out that Bhagavan works like an agriculturist with a plough in His hand for the prosperous growth of the panca Maha Bhutas (earth, water, air, fire and ether).

  1. Adityah – The son of Aditi

Lord-Vamana smallThis Nama has the following meanings:

  • Son of Devaki, who was Aditi in her previous birth
  • Son of Aditi (and Kashyapa) in His Vamana Avataar
  • Bhagavan Samkarshana, who is attained through the bija mantra “A”
  • He who grants Moksha

Sri Adi Sankara explains this as ‘Adityaam Kashyapaad Vamanarupena Jaatah Aadityah – He was the son of Aditi and Kashyapa in His Vaamana Avataar, hence He is called Adityah’.
Bhaadramaase site pakshe dvaadashyaam shubhavaasare |
Kashyapaat aditer-maatuh Bhagavan Vamanah abhavat    ||  
Meaning: Lord Vaamana was born in the month of Bhaadrapada in the bright fortnight on the 12th night of the moon to Sage Kashyapa and Aditi’.

Sri Bhattar gives reference to Sri Vaishnava dharma (93.44) in support of the first interpretation:
Dakshayani tvam aditih sambhuta vasudhatale    |
nityaiva tvam jagad-dhatrI prasadam te karomyaham   || 
Meaning: You are Dakshayani (the daughter of Daksha) born as Aditi in this world.  You are the mother eternal of the world.  I confer divine grace on you”.

Sri Bhattar gives an alternate interpretation:  “A” Varnaat Atah ityah – praapyah iti Adityah – He Who is realised by the mystic letter “A” which is the bija mantra for Samkarshana.

Swami ChinmayAnanda interprets Adityah to mean Bhagavan as Vamana, who begged Emperor Bali for three steps of ground, took three gigantic steps and got all the three worlds. 

  1. Jyotir-Adityah – The Resplendent Sun

visnu2This Nama has the following meanings:

  • The Sun in full splendour
  • He Who resides in the orb of the Sun
  • He Who glows like the Sun

Sri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Jyotishi Savitrumandale Sthito Jyotir-Adityah – He resides in the Sun stationed in the middle of the lustrous Solar sphere’. Effectively this means that Bhagavan is the real Sun who gives the brilliance to the Sun.

In the Katha Upanishad (II-v-15), we have:
Na tatra Surryo bhaati na Chandra taarakam nemaa vidyuto bhaanti kutoyam agnih |
Tameva bhaantam anubhaati sarvam Tasya bhaasaa Sarvamidam Vibhaati  ||
Meaning: The Sun does not shine there, nor does the moon, nor do the Stars, nor do the lightning and much less this fire. When He shines, everything shines after Him, by His light, all these shine.

His Tejas or effulgence is such that it makes the Sun look like a dark spot in comparison.  Sri Parasara Bhattar’s interpretation is “Divyas Ashcharya Jyotir-mayatvaat apurvah Jyotir-Adityah.  He gives reference from the MahaBharata:
“Nishprabhani ca tejamsi brahma caiva Asanaat cyutah”  (Santi Parva 344.90)
Meaning: When Nara and Narayana began to subdue with force the aftermath of Rudra’s anger as a consequence of Daksha’s insult of Rudra, all the luminaries became void of their luminosity, and Brahma too slipped from his seat.

He is the cause of the brilliance of the Sun – dhyeyah sada Savitri mandala madhyavartI Narayanah sarasijasana sannivishtah).  He is the jyoti of the Aditya or the sun – the Antaryami of the Sun.  

Sri Krishna Bharadvaj gives the interpretation –
Dyotate dIpyati iti jyotih  | 
Jyotih Aditya iva iti JyotirAdityah ||
Meaning: He Who shines like the Sun.  He gives the following support from the Svetasvatara Upanishad 3.8 – ‘Vedahametam purusham mahaantam Aditya varnam tamasah Sarastaat’ meaning ‘I have realised this Great Being who shines effulgent like the Sun beyond all darkness’.

In the Bhagavad Gita, we have in Chapter 8 Verse 9 – Dhataram acintya rupam Aditya varnam tamasah parastaat meaning He is luminous like the sun and, being transcendental, is beyond this material nature. 

In Chapter 15 Verse 6 of the Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavan says:
na tad bhasayate Suryo na Shashanko na pavakaḥ
yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama
Meaning: That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the Sun or Moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world.

  1. Sahishnuh – He is endowed with enormous patience

vaduvur ramarWe covered this Nama earlier (Nama 146) and this Nama has the following meanings:

  • He Who is endowed with enormous patience
  • He Who forgives
  • He Who suffers patiently for us with perfect detachment
  • He Who conquers His foes
  • He Who willingly accepts the offerings of His devotees
  • He Who can endure the extremes like heat and cold

Sri Sankara gave the explanation to this Nama earlier as ‘Hiranyaakshaadeen sahate abhibhavati iti Sahishnuh – He is able to take on mighty foes like Hiranyaaksha and overpower them hence He is Sahishnih’.

For the current occurrence Sri Sankara gives the interpretation ‘Dvandvaani Sheetoshnaadeeni Sahate iti Sahishnuh – He withstands contrasting dualities like hot and cold hence He is called Sahishnuh’.

In Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 14, Bhagavan says ‘Maatraasparshaastu Kaunteya Sheetoshna sukhaduhkhadaah, Aagamaapaayino anityaah taam titikshasva Bharata – O’ Son of Kunti, the appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, being non-permanent in nature like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed’.

Bhagavan being a Sthitaprajnaa (Equanimous), He tolerates extreme variations and hence He is called Sahishnuh. As the Creator of such dualities, He is above their influence.

Sri V.V. Ramanujan gives other instances where Bhagavan has displayed His enormous patience.  He put up with the hundred instances of abuse from Shishupala fulfilling the promise He gave to Shishupala’s mother.

In PeriAzhwar’s Thirumozhi (4.3.5), he says: ‘Pala pala naazha’ngal Sollip pazhitta Shishupalan tannai alaivalaimai tavirtta azhagan meaning The beautiful Lord showed his serene form and silenced the haughty Shishupala who went about heaping abuse and blame on the Lord.

Sri Radhakrishna Sastri gives reference to Srimad Ramayana – kshmaya prithivi samah – Lord Rama’s patience is like that of Mother Earth herself, who puts up with all our abuses.

Sri Satyadevo Vasishtha notes that patience is Bhagavan’s Nature, His dharma, His conduct – Sahate tat Silah, tad-dharmah, tad-sadhuh.  His dharma of patience is inculcated in every aspect of His Creation, including the structure of the body which is provided with a skeleton that bears the weight and structure of the rest of the body without collapsing etc.   

Sri Bhattar explains that He is “Aparadha sahanaat Sahishnuh” – Because He puts up with all kinds of aparadhas (indiscretions), He is Sahishnuh.  Sri Bhattar refers to the fight that Lord Krishna had Banasura where Shiva was supporting the Asura. Bhagavan overpowers everyone and defeats Banasura but pardons Banasura’s life at the request of Lord Shiva.

Sri Bhattar eloquently describes Bhagavan’s Guna of forgiving the apachara of His devotees when they surrender to Him unconditionally:
“Praak, Urdhvam ca, sa’ncitaanaam, buddhya, abuddhya, sakalakaranaih, sarvada, sarvatha ca, prachiyamananam, vidhi-nisheda Sasana atila’nghan AtmanAm, saadharananam, asadharananam ca, svavajna-nindaaninam, sarvamsahena svenapi dus-sahanam, sva-bhakta vishayanam ca, anavadhikanam aparadhanam, Sahishnuh”

Meaning: He forgives the accumulated sins that were committed in the past or to be committed in the future, sins committed consciously or unconsciously by all the organs of sense at all times and in all ways, sins committed by not observing the Sastric injunctions or by doing acts forbidden by the Sastras, sins that are common and uncommon, sins committed by insulting Him and abusing Him, as well as the sins against His own devotees”.

In the Saranagati Gadyam, Sri RamanujAcharya lists some of the enormous apacharas that we all commit, and asks His forgiveness on our behalf for: 
“mano vaak kaayaih anaadikaala pravritta ananta akrityakarana akarana
bhagavad-apachara bhagavata-apachara asahya-apachara-rupa
nana-vidha-asahya apacharan Arabdha kaaryaan anaarabdha kaaryaan krittaan
kriyamaamaan karishyamananshca sarvaan asheshatah kshamasva”
Meaning: Apacharas (indiscretions or sins) performed through thought, word and deed, sins committed through the infinite number of births, the infinite sins  accrued from performing acts that are forbidden and from not performing karmas that are prescribed, the apacharas committed towards Him and towards His devotees, all the varieties and shades of sins that we commit that can’t possibly be tolerated and forgiven, those that have already begun to fructify and those that are still to take their effect, the sins that we have committed in the past, those that we are actively committing now, and those that we will commit in the future.”

Bhagavan forgives all these without any left-over if we unconditionally SURRENDER unto HIMThis is the basic concept of Prapatti or Saranagati. 

  1. Gati-Sattamah – The Ultimate resort for all Beings

RangaThis Nama has the following meanings:

  • The best instructor in the path of Dharma
  • The Best among the refuge to be sought
  • The Ultimate Support and the Greatest of all beings

Gati refers to the final destination. Sattama refers to the absolute best. Combining these two, Sri Sankara interprets this Nama as ‘Gatis cha Asau Sattamashcha Gatisattamah – He is the final resort and He is the very best, hence He is called Gatisattamah’.

This can be experienced from the Dhyana shloka ‘Paramam yo Mahattejah Paramam yo Mahattapah, Paramam yo MahadBramha, Paramam yah Parayanam – He is the greatest Light, He is the greatest Penance, He is the greatest God and He is the Ultimate Resort’. This brings out the full import of GatiSattamah.

Sri Bhattar says ‘sa eva parama dharmadhva adesikatvena gati-sattamah – gatau pratyayita tamah – He is the Best Instructor there is for dharma (He gave us the Vedas, Gita etc.). 

Sri V.V. Ramanujan gives reference from the Divya Prabhandam:

  • NammAzhwar’s Thiruvai Mozhi (4.5.5) – Aatra nalla vagai kaattum Ammaan – The Lord unfolds all meaning
  • Mudal Thiruvandadi (4) – Neri Vasal taneyai nindran – He became the path of Dharma.

Sri Radhakrishna Sastri gives the interpretation that He is the best among the objects/places that are to be sought.  This is because He is forgiving and patient (refer to previous two Namas), and so He will not ignore even those who have sinned, and so He is the easiest path and therefore the best path to attain liberation. 

Sri Krishnadatta Bharadvaj gives the interpretation: “gantavya sthane gatiprayogah – The term gatih is used in the sense of the place worthy of reaching”.  He further adds: “Sriman Narayana Charanavinda Sannidhyameva savottamam gantavyam” – Sriman Narayana’s Lotus feet is the ultimate resort. 

Sri Satyadevo Vasishtha also gives similar interpretation by saying He is the Ultimate Goal or path to salvation – ‘Gati Sabdena iha Gatira aShrayah Grhyate, tena gatira ashritaanaam Sreshthatamo Gatisattamah’.

Swami ChinmayAnanda says that He is the Ultimate refuge and the best destination and the noblest path.


Bhagavan Bhagahaa Nandee Vanamali Halaayudhah    |
Adityo Jyotiraadityah Sahishnur Gatisattamah          ||60||

sri-padmanabha-swamy-thiruvananthapuramHe is Bhagavan as He is the One Who is worthy of worship.  He who has divine and auspicious attributes, hence He is Bhagahaa. He is the son of Nanda and ever blissful, so He is called Nandee or Anandee. He is adorned with the beautiful garland Vanamala, so He is Vanamali. He wields the plough as a weapon, hence He is HalaAyudhah.

He was the son of Aditi in His Vamana Avataar, hence He is Adityah.  He resides in the Sun at centre of its lustrous sphere and is the Resplendent Sun, so He is JyotiraAdityah. He is enormously patient and easily forgives those who surrender unto Him, so He is Sahishnuh.  He is the Ultimate resort and the best path to salvation, hence He is Gati-Sattamah.



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

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