In this part we will explore the meaning of the 64th Shloka of Sri Vishnu SahasraNamam.
Anivartee Nivrittatma Samkshepta Kshemakricchivah |
Srivatsavakshah Srivaasah Sripatih Srimataam varah ||64||
He never turns back from battles and is undefeated. He never lets His devotees down and fulfils their desires. He is turned away from worldly pleasures with complete control over the senses. He condenses the Universe into an atom and is a harbinger of good and the auspicious. He has the symbol of Srivatsa on His chest with Lakshmi residing on His chest. He is the Abode of Lakshmi and is the perennial abode of prosperity. He is the consort of Lakshmi and the possessor of all Sri’s – Wealth, Knowledge, Energy, Sovereignty, Glory and Dispassion. He is the foremost of the Knowledgeable in Sri i.e. the three Vedas.
The above Shloka has the following Namas:
- Srimataam varah
Now let’s examine the meaning of the above Namas in detail:
603. Anivartee – One Who never abandons
The term ‘Nivartana’ means causing to return, returning, turning back, abandon etc. Based on this, Sri Adi Sankara interprets this in two ways. The first is ‘DevasuraSangraamaat na nivartate iti Anivartee – He never turns back from the battle between the Devas and Asuras hence He is called Anivartee’. The second interpretation is ‘Vrishapriyatvaat Dharmaat na nivartate iti vaa Anivartee – Due to His love for Dharma He never retreats from the path of Dharma hence He is called Anivartee’.
Sri Parasara Bhattar interprets this Nama as ‘na nivartayati iti Anivartee’ – For those attached to the Pravritti Dharma (those seeking blessings through positive actions), Bhagavan bestows them with their desires and makes them return to this Samsara after they experience the fruits of their Karma in Swarga Loka. Sri Satyadevo Vasishta gives the interpretation – na nivartitum SIlam asya iti a-nivartI – He who does not have the characteristic of turning back. He elaborates by pointing out that Bhagavan’s creations are such that they do not lose their attributes until the end of creation i.e. until pralaya.
604. NivrittAtma – He whose Nature is superior to other things
Sri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Svabhaavato Vishayebhyo Nivritta Atma Manah asya iti Nivrittatma – Bhagavan by His very nature has a mind which has turned away from objects or worldly pleasures hence He is called Nivrittaatmaa’. Nivritti means withdrawal or turning away and Bhagavan can be seen in His Yoga Nidra on Supreme plane.
This Nama occurs 4 times in the Vishnu Sahasranamam. Nivritti refers to detachment.
Sri Parasara Bhattar uses the word in this sense and also associates this with the meaning ‘superior – Nivrittam – Udgatam’.
Sri Parasara Bhattar has given several interpretations for this Nama.
- He quotes from the Purusha Suktam (4) – “Tripaadoordhva udait-purushah – The Purusha stands eminent in the Parama-pada which has thrice the glory of the material world”;
- The Taittri Naryaneeya (1.5) says Paraat-param yan-mahato mahaantam – He is greater than the greatest, more exalted than the most exalted. Bhagavan’s Nature rises above all other things;
- He whose mind is turned away from worldly desires. To indicate His profound non-attachment to material objects, He has His mind withdrawn from them – Parama vairaagya khyaapanaaya vishayebhyah pratyaahrta-manaah
- His meditation is said to be – antarnivishtha bhaavam cha – He who has His thoughts concentrated on Himself.
- Atma-dhyaana paraayanaaya -To Him who has His thoughts concentrated within Himself”; “Hrid –admaarpita maanasam” – “Him with His mind fixed on the lotus-heart”, etc.
- He is the Atma of those who practice Nivritti Dharma.
- He is beyond the bounds of Samsara
There are two kinds of Dharma – the Pravritti Dharma and the Nivritti Dharma. Pravritti Dharma takes us to the world of the Pitrus where we enjoy the fruits of our Karma, and come back to this world with the balance of Karmas to our credit. Nivritti Dharma refers to actions performed without desires, with a detached mind and an Equanimous disposition which leads one to Moksha – ‘Samsaara bandhaan nivritta Atma svaroopam asya iti Nivrittatma’.
Sri Parasara Bhattar’s further illustrates that Bhagavan appeared as Nara and Narayana to teach the Nivritti Dharma to the world, and to demonstrate the practice of Vairagya i.e. extreme detachment (in the form of Nara). To indicate His profound detachment (Param Vairagya) to material objects of pleasure, He had His mind withdrawn from them. In this Avataar Bhagavan emphasised Nivritti-Dharma and propagated the sacred AshtAkshara. The essence of Nivritti Dharma is the realisation that nothing should be done for selfish gain or with a feeling of Doer-ship. The disposition that everything is for the benefit of Narayana and happens because of Him is quintessential – ‘Ellame Avan Seyal! Avan Indri Oru Anuvum Asaiyadhu!’ We are not for us or for someone else, but only for Sriman Narayana.
Sri V.V. Ramanujan elaborates on how Bhagavan is the Atma of those who practice the Nivritti Dharma. They are not interested in any fruit out of their action except the bhagyam (fortune) of doing kainkaryam (service) to Him.
Bhagavan blesses them with Liberation or Moksham from where there is no return to this Samsara. He refers to NammAzhwar’s Thiruvai Mozhi (10.6.3):
நண்ணினம் நாரணனை நாமங்கள் பலசொல்லி
மண்ணுலகில் வளம்மிக் க வாட்டாற்றான் வந்தின்று
விண்ணுலகம் தருவானாய் விரைகின்றான் விதிவகையே
எண்ணினவா றாகாவிக் கருமங்க ளென்னெஞ்சே
Meaning: We have attained Sriman Narayana by reciting His many Namas. He has consented to our request and appeared on this Earth today inn Thiruvattaru and has bestowed on us His divine grace and granted us the great and eternal bliss of Vaikuntam or Paramapadam. These are not happening by our leave, O Heart of mine!
In fact, Bhagavan, just like He is the Atma in all His Creations, is also the Atma within the practitioners of Nivritti Dharma. However, He considers the followers of Nivritti Dharma as His Soul dear to Him that He is restless without them.
He is the Swami of all the Seven Worlds – ‘Vitrirundu Ezhulagum tanik kol Sella; varambilaada mayai Maya! varambilAaaa keertiyaai! (Thiruchanda Viruttam 96). With all this greatness, one would expect that He should have some attachment or ownership to His wonderful creation, and pride of this great creation of His. Yet, He does not have any of this sense of pride, and is only interested in our welfare in whatever He does. Such is His greatness.
Swami ChinmayAnanda explains this Nama as One who is restrained from sense indulgences. In order to realize Him one needs to gain control over body, mind and intellect and make them function in unison.
Sri Radhakrishna Shastri notes that Bhagavan is the only one who can retrieve those who are attached to all kinds of material and sense objects, because He is the only one who is not attached to anything. Only the one who is not stuck in the mud can retrieve one who is stuck in it.
605. Samksheptaa – He who constrains or limits
The word ‘Sankshepa’ means to abridge, condense or summarise and based on this Sri Adi Sankara interprets this Nama as ‘Vistrutam Jagat Samhaarasamaye Sookshmaroopena Sankshipan Sanksheptaa – He condenses the entire world into a small object absorbed into his subtle form hence He is called Samksheptaa’.
Sri Parasara Bhattar interprets this Nama in relation to the previous Namas, in the context of Pravritti and Nivritti Dharmas. Thus, his interpretation is that Bhagavan constrains the knowledge field of those who observe the Pravritti Dharma such that they are not enlightened and are born again in this Samsara instead of attaining Him. As they continue to be associated with this world, there is a diminution in their knowledge consistent with the Purva Karmas.
Sri Krishna Datta Bharadvaj gives the interpretation that He is called Samksheptaa because He reduces or limits the misfortunes of His devotees – Samkshipati nyunayati bhaktanam vipattih iti Samksheptaa.
Sri Satyadevo Vasishta’s says that Bhagavan shrinks a huge tree into a small seed, and the same principle applies to all of His creations in the whole Universe. Swami ChinmayAnanda and Sri Anantakrishna Shastri have given an alternate interpretation for the Nama ‘Samksheptaa’ to mean ‘He who never abandons His devotees’.
The Dharma Chakram writer remarks that when we get involved deeper into the worldly affairs, we contract or constrain our knowledge of Him. The purpose of life is to expand our knowledge of Him. Those who live a life of involvement in the material and sensual aspects of life, are living without a purpose and not really living (that is, they have not achieved the main purpose of this precious life).
606. Kshema-krit – He protects the wealth of His devotees
Kshema is the protection of what one owns. Sri Adi Sankara interprets this name as ‘Upaattasya Parirakshanam karoti iti Kshemakrit – He provides safe keeping or protection to what one has earned hence He is called Kshemakrit or Guardian’.
In the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 9 Verse 22, Bhagavan says:
Ananyaas Chintayanto mam ye janah paryupasate |
Teshaam nityabhiyuktaanaam Yoga-khsemam vahamy aham ||
Meaning: For those who desire my eternal association precluding all else meditate on Me with exclusive devotion, I take full responsibility for uniting their individual consciousness with the Ultimate Consciousness perpetually. I provide them with what they lack and preserve what they have.
Sri Parasara Bhattar says that Bhagavan does what is good for the practitioners of Nivritti Dharma by removing the obstructions from the path and facilitates their journey to knowledge or jnana.
Sri T. S. Krishnamurti gives the meaning that He gives Kshema or protection to those who go to Him, hence He is Kshema-krit. Sri R. Anantakrishna Shastri gives the meaning that He protects the acquisition and possessions of His devotees.
Swami ChinmayAnanda notes that Bhagavan not only preserves that which has been attained by His devotees, He also helps them attain what has not been attained so far by referring to the Bhagavad Gita (9.22). In this verse Yoga refers to what has not been attained yet, and Kshema refers to what has been already acquired.
Sri Narasimha Raghavacharya Swami explains Yoga and Kshema as follows: Alabdhasya laabho Yogah, labha rakshanam Kshemah – attaining something that we don’t have is Yoga, and preserving what we have is Kshema.
Sri Krishna Datta Bharadvaj gives a similar explanation – Apraaptasya praapanam Yogah, Yogasya Rakshanam Kshemah – Bhagavan gives Yogam in the form of Moksham to the devotee who longs for it, and gives Kshemam by making sure he does not lose it.
Sri V.V. Ramanujan gives reference from NammAzhwar’s Thiruvai Mozhi (7.5.10) – Perum tunbam Veraara neekki tan taalin kIzh serttu avan seyyum Shemattai Ennit telivutre? – He removes the miseries from the roots and destroys the Maya of birth, sickness, old age and death and takes us all unto his Lotus feet. Note that the Kshemam referred to in this Pasuram is Moksham or Liberation.
Sri Satyadevo Vasishta gives the following meanings for Kshema starting from the roots kshi kshaye, kshi nivasa gatayoh, and kshi himsayam, in addition to the traditional meaning, to bestow welfare.
· Nivaasa – dwelling or residing;
· Gati – going or in movement;
· Kshaya – to diminish or extinguish hurt or pain.
He thus gives the interpretation to this Nama as ‘Bhagavan resides in everyone and everything (Nivasa), He gives it movement (Gati), and in the end He takes away the soul from the body (Kshaya). He knows the beginning, the end, and the in-between of all the Jivas. Hence He is Kshema-krit in all respects.
The Dharma Chakram writer gives the analogy of a mother who protects the child when the child is in her womb, and then for as long as the child seeks the mother’s support, she provides this support by loving the child even more than her own self. Bhagavan looks after His devotees in a similar manner (Bhagavan bhaktan meedhu pittuk kondullaar). This Nama should remind us that it is He protects us, and does whatever is good for us no matter what He does.
The Story of Meera Bai
During the reign of the Pandavas, Udaipur was a great holy town. It was a flourishing town and the people were very pious. The King was a reverent Bhakt of Sri Vishnu and soon was blessed with daughter who was given the name Meera Bai. This Meera Bai grew up to be very devoted to Lord Krishna. She would always have an idol of Krishna with her named ‘Giridhara Gopala’. She would decorate the idol with beautiful silk attires, pearl garlands and other jewels which made the idol enchanting. In the palace she used to listen to Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-Gita discourses. With passage of time she developed intense Bhakthi for Lord Krishna and even firmly decided to marry only Krishna when she grew up.
Soon Meera Bai came up to a marriageable age and her father decided to look for a worthy bridegroom. On hearing this Meera Bai said to her father, ‘I have already chosen a husband for myself and it is none other than Lord Krishna, whom you worship’. The king was taken by surprise and he tried to convince her, telling her that the Krishna she was so fond of was only an idol and it would be befitting for a princess like her to marry a prince from a great dynasty.
Meera Bai was adamant and argued that Krishna was more than an image and was the most superior being ever. She was very strong willed and on seeing her staunch Bhakthi the King gave her an exclusive room in the palace for her Krishna. Meera Bai installed her Giridhara Gopal in that room and did daily prayers. She adorned him with beautiful ornaments and garments. Giridhari looked charming with Vaijayanthi mala, a beautiful tulsi mala and He also adorned a crown and often in true visible form showed His beauty to her. Meera Bai would often invite holy people and listen to their discourses on Krishna and also performed Nama Sankeertanams with them.
However there were some evil minded men who began remarking that Meera Bai was ruining the reputation of the King and it was improper for the Royal Princess to engage with Sadhus and poor Bhaktas by singing and dancing in their presence. They began to spread rumours about Meera’s chararacter and behaviour by talking ill of her and soon the entire town was afloat with the rumours which finally reached the King too. The King was incensed with anger and decided to punish Meera Bai. He asked the Queen to put an end to Meera’s Bhakti related activities and expressed his desire to get her married right away.
The queen told Meera Bai about her father’s wish, to which Meera Bai replied, ”Tell my father I will marry only Krishna and none other. My heart has no fear. Some say, I have become crazy, but those ignorant people do not understand my heart. I am determined to walk the path of Bhakthi.”
Unable to convince Meera, her mother came back and told the King about Meera Bai’s strong determination. Hearing this, the King was enraged and replied, ‘I have no choice other than to poison her’.
He gave the queen a cup of deadly poison and asked her to give it to Meera with her own hands. The queen was shocked. But due to the King’s order, crying bitterly she took the cup of poison and went to see Meera Bai.
The Queen, in a sad tone, said to Meera, ‘O Dear Child, your father has sent this cup of poison for you’. Meera Bai pacified her mother with her sweet voice, ‘Ma, Don’t worry, nothing will happen to me as Lord Krishna’s blessing and grace is with me. With His grace this poison which you have brought will turn into a nectar.” Meera took Krishna in one hand and the poison on other hand and said, ‘O Lord, my father has sent poison for me. Now I will reach your Lotus feet. But my only worry is who will look after you when I am no more’. She offered the poison to Giridhara Gopal as she always offered everything to Him before par taking it and drank it as Prashad at once.
A wonderful miracle happened. The poison Meera Bai drank really became harmless nectar. But the idol of Lord Krishna began to change its colour due to the poison’s effect. On hearing this the King rushed there immediately and his throat choked with emotion. He then pleaded, ‘I am a sinner and a wicked person, I have made God drink this poison’. He grasped the feet of Meera Bai and begged her to forgive him for his gruesome deed.
She lifted the head of her father and prostrated in front of him and said, ‘O father, it is because of you that the Lord has shown and demonstrated that He is an integral part of me’.
Everyone who spoke ill of Meera felt ashamed of themselves as they realised Meera’s Supreme stature. All the Bhakthas witnessing the miracle became ecstatic and burst out singing and dancing with joy. The entire place reverberated to the Namavali ,’Giridhari Giridhari Govardhana Giridhari.’
The Lord bestows on His Bhaktas whatever they desire with utmost devotion.
607. Sivah – He who gives auspicious things to His devotees.
Siva means the auspicious one or a purifier. Sri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Svanaamasmriti maatrena Paavayan Sivah – He purifies anybody who merely remembers His name or meditates in his mind’. It is interesting to note that the full effect of purification comes by just remembering the name of Siva once. There is no need to sing elaborate bhajans or indulge in long rituals. When you encounter anything impure, just say ‘Siva’ once in your mind you become pure.
There is a famous shloka which says ‘Maanasam Vaachikam Paapam Karmanaa Samupaarjitam; Sri Raama Smaranenaiva Vyapohati Na Samshayah – Whether you have incurred a sin by thought, word or action, it is expelled by remembering the name of Rama’. Siva has the same meaning.
Sri Parasara Bhattar interprest this as ‘Sivam karatvaat Sivah’ – He does what is auspicious for all whether they desire the enjoyment of worldly pleasures or whether they seek Moksha i.e. whether the aspirant is a Bubhukshu or a Mumukshu. Sri Bhattar also refers to – Sri MahaBharata – Sivo Sivanam Asivo Asivanam – He does Good for the Good, and Bad for the Bad. He refers to Vishnu Puranam (6.7.62) – Samsara Moksha sthiti bandha hetuh – He is the Cause of the bondage of worldly existence and also the Cause for the release from it.
Sri V.V. Ramanujan gives reference from Thirumangai Azhwar’s Thirumozhi (1.1.9):
குலம்தரும் செல்வம் தந்திடும் அடியார் படுதுயராயினவெல்லம்,
நிலந்தரஞ்செய்யும் நீள்விசும்பருளும் அருளொடுபெருநிலமளிக்கும்,
வலந்தரும்மற்றுந்தந்திடும் பெற்ற தாயினு மாயினசெய்யும்,
நலந்தருஞ்சொல்லை நான் கண்டுகொண்டேன் நாராயணாவென்னும்நாமம்.
Meaning: It gives a good life of wealth and family, and rages to ground all travails, facing devotees, then grants the rule of the Sky and Earth with benign grace. It gives a man strength, and all that there is, with love that exceeds a mother’s. It gives the pure good, I know the Mantra that bestows all that is good – Narayana, the divine Nama (Narayana ennum Thirunaamam).
Sri Krishna Datta Bharadvaj gives an alternate interpretation based on the root ‘Si – svapne’ to sleep. Sete sarvam jagat pralaya velayam yasmin iti Sivah – He in whom the whole Universe rests at the time of Pralaya is Sivah.
Sri Satyadevo Vasishta also gives an alternate interpretation based on the root Syai – to go, the meaning given is that He is present everywhere, He is in everything – Syayate sarvam iti prapnoti iti arthah. Thus, the Nama Sivah indicates that whatever Bhagavan gives us is what is good for us, is meant for our purification and is for enabling us to reach Him.
608. Srivatsa-vakshah – He who has the Srivatsa mole on His chest
This is the first of a series of 13 beautiful Namas all beginning with ‘Sri’ which can be construed as the core of Sri Vishnu SahasraNamam.
There is a distinguished mark on Bhagavan’s chest called Srivatsa and based on this Sri Adi Sankara interprets this name as ‘Srivatsa samjnam chinham asya vakshasi sthitam iti Srivatsavakshaah – He has got a prominent mark called Srivatsa on His chest hence He is called Srivatsavakshah’.
There are many stories about the origin of this mark on Bhagavan’s chest. The most popular one is the story of Bhrigu Maharishi’s test to establish who among the Trinity was the Superior One, and his test resulted in him kicking Lord Vishnu on His chest. The full story was covered in the Dhyana Shloka 4 ‘Meghashyaamam Peetakausheya vaasasm Srivatsaankam Kaustubhod bhaasitaangam’ in Part 7 of this series.
Sri Parasara Bhattar interprets the Namas starting from the current one and up to Nama 619 as praising His relationship with His consort (Lakshmi Piratti). The Nirukti description for this Nama is:
LakshmI-vallabhya saubhagya cihnam Srivatsa Namakam |
Srivatsa-vaksha asya asti vakshasi iti sa tu smritah ||
Meaning: The Srivatsa mark is the unique sign of He who is the Lakshmi vallabhan.
Sri Radhakrishna Shastri refers us to Sri Vishnu Puranam in which Sri Parasara narrates to Maitreyi what was communicated to him by Vyasa. Sri MahaVishnu bears the whole world, abiding in His nature, characterised by ornaments and weapons. In this description, the Srivatsa mark is described as the pradhana, seated in the Eternal – ‘Srivatsa samsthana dharam anante ca samashritam’ (1.22.67) meaning The glorious Hari wears the pure soul of the world, undefiled, and void of qualities, as the Kaustubha gem. The chief principle of things, (Pradhana) is seated on the Eternal, as the Srivatsa mark. Intellect abides in Madhava, in the form of His mace. The Srivatsam mark on Bhagavan’s chest is also said to be a reflection of the Kaustubha gem that adorns Bhagavan as the symbol of how He values His devotee as reflected by the Bhrigu Maharishi incident.
Sri Radhakrishna Shastri refers to another passage in Srimad Bhagavatam (12.11.10) where the Srivatsa mark is described as the reflection of the Kaustubha gem that Bhagavan wears, representing His Atma-jyoti (translated as Suddha Jiva Chaitanya):
Kaustubha vyapadeshena svatma jyotih bibharti ajah |
tat-prabha vyaapinI saakshaat Srivatsam urasaa prabhuh ||
Meaning: Similar to the description in Vishnu Puranam, this Shloka also details how Bhagavan bears on Himself everything that exists.
Swami ChinmayAnanda refers to the story of Bhrigu Maharishi’s test on the trinity resulting in the Rishi kicking Lord Vishnu on His chest. He indicates that the mark of Sage Bhrigu’s foot is the Srivatsa mark on the Lord’s chest, since the Lord offered to bear the mark as an indication of how He values the touch of His devotee. He gives the reference from Srimad Bhagavatam (10-89), wherein Bhagavan says that MahaLakshmi will henceforth reside in His Vaksha Sthalam because it has now been purified by the touch of the sage’s foot:
Adyaaham Bhagavan Lakshmya Asam ekaanta bhaajanam |
vatsyati urasi me bhutih bhavat paada hataamhasah || (10.89.12)
Meaning: O’ wonderful sage, all My sins have been washed off by the very touch of your feet. From this day I have become the sole abode of Sri Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. She will hereafter (constantly) dwell on My bosom (bearing the mark of your foot).
609. Sri-Vaasah – The Abode of Lakshmi
Vas means to live and Vaasah means abode or residence. Sri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Asya vakshasi Sriranapaayini Vasati iti Srivaasah – Lakshmi lives constantly on His chest so He is called Srivaasah’. Lakshmi Devi wants to be with him all the time without a break and hence He has given an abode for her in His own chest and ensures that they are always together. Consequently he is called Srivaasah, the permanent abode of Lakshmi.
Sri Parasara Bhattar gives reference to Srimad Ramayanam – referring to the Lord as Nitya Srih. He is like the garden consisting of Kalpaka trees, and She is Kalpaka Valli, who freely ambles around as She pleases in the Kalpaka tree garden.
Sri V.V. Ramanujan refers from NammAzhwar’s Thiruvai Mozhi (6.10.10) – ‘Agalagillen iraiyum endru alarmel mangai urai marban – O Lord, you bear the inseparable Lotus-dame (Lakshmi) eternally on your chest!’
Sri Krishna Datta Bharadvaj adds – “Shobha Soundarya Sampannah” as his explanation for this Nama – He who is always full of eternal lustre and beauty.
Swami ChinmayAnanda gives a similar interpretation – The abode of Sri; the dwelling place of Mother Lakshmi. He quotes ‘Sri Vaasati asmin iti Sri-Vaasah’ meaning Sri, all glory and riches, ever dwell in His bosom of love and beauty’.
The Dharma Chakram writer refers to different kinds of wealth, which can all be grouped under the six categories – Sri (Abundance / Auspiciousness), Keerti (Glory), Aishvarya (Sovereignty), Jnana (Knowledge), Veerya (Energy), and Vairagya (Detachment / Dispassion). The term “Bhagavan” refers to One who has all these six kinds of wealth. In the case of others, if we see someone having any of these in some measure, we call them as blessed with ‘LakshmI Kataksham’.
The purpose of life is to Meditate on Him and seek association with Him which will lead us to acquire these attributes. SriVaasah, thus refers to Him who has Sri in the form of Lakshmi always with Him on His Vaksha Sthalam (chest), as well as One who has all the Sri’s (Keertis) in full splendour with Him , undiminished, undiluted, and uninterrupted.
610. Sri-patih – The Consort of Lakshmi
Sri Adi Sankara gives two interpretations for this Nama. The first is ‘Amritamathane sarvaan Suran asuradeen vihaaya Srih enam patitvena varayaamaasa iti Sripatih – Lakshmi emerged from the Sea at the time of the churning of the Milky Ocean and as soon as she came out she ignored all the Devas and Asuras and chose MahaVishnu as her consort straightaway. Hence He is called Sripatih, the consort chosen by Lakshmi’.
The second interpretation is ‘Srih Paraa Shaktih Tasyaah patiriti vaa – ‘Sri’ means Supreme Cosmic power and He is the Master of that power and hence He is called Sripatih, the Master of Cosmic power’. In support of this meaning Sri Adi Sankara quotes from Svetasvatara Upanishad (6.8) which says ‘Paraa asya shaktih vividhaiva shrooyate – His Supreme Cosmic power alone is described in the Vedas to be various kinds’.
Bhagavan is the Eternal and suitable Consort of Lakshmi, and She accompanies Him in whatever form He takes. Sri Parasara Bhattar gives reference from Sri Suktam – Asyeshaanaa jagato VishnupatnI – She is the Ruler of this Universe and the Consort of Sri MahaVishnu. He also refers from the Sundara Kandam 5.16.5:
तुल्य शील वयो वृत्ताम् तुल्य अभिजन लक्षणाम् |
राघवो अर्हति वैदेहीम् तम् च इयम् असित ईक्षणा || ५-१६-५
Meaning: Sri Rama is suited to Sita, with well-matched character, age and conduct; And this black-eyed Sita is also suited to Him with well-matched pedigree and characteristics i.e. Made for each other!
Sri V.V. Ramanujan gives references from the Divyaprabandham:
· Thiruvin manaalan (Thiruvuvai Mozhi 1.9.1) – The consort of Lakshmi;
· Thiruvukkum thiruvaagiya Selvane! (Peria Thirumozhi 7.7.1) – He who is the Wealth (also Consort) of One who bestows Wealth on all;
· Kola malarp paavaiku anbaagiya en anbeyo! (Thiruvai Mozhi 10.10.7) – You who are the Love of MahaLakshmi, and who is Love itself for me.
Thus, Sripatih refers to Him, who is the Consort of MahaLakshmi, the Master of the Supreme Cosmic Power, and the Master and Bestower of all that is auspicious.
611. Srimataam-varah – The Best Among those who possess affluence
The word ‘Sri’ has many meanings and in this Nama Sri Adi Sankara takes it to mean Vedas. He is Srimaan who has mastered the Vedas. Sri Sankara interprets this as ‘Rig Yajus Saamalakshana Srih yeshaam teshaam sarveshaam Srimataam Virinchyaadeenaam Pradhaanabhootah Srimataam-varah – Sri denotes the Vedas Rig, Yajus and Saama and Srimataam Varah is one who stands at the forefront of all the knowers of Vedas including Bramha’. In other words Srimataam Varah means the Supreme Vedic scholar. In support of this Sri Adi Sankara quotes gives the quotation from Taitrya Bramhanam (1.2.1) ‘Richas Saamani Yajoomshi, Saa hi Srih Amritaa Sataam – The three Vedas Rig, Yajur and Sama are the imperishable wealth of the wise’.
Sri Parasara Bhattar refers to the Samudra Manthan, the churning of the Milky Ocean, for this Nama. Goddess Lakshmi chose Him among all the Devas and Asuras that were assembled, and He is the Object of her full and loving glances always; after being seated in His Vaksha-sthalam (chest), she blesses the Devas such as Brahma with her ‘kadaikan paarvai’ i.e. divine glances. Thus, He is the best among those who receive Lakshmi’s Kataksham. Sri Bhattar gives reference from Sri Vishnu Puranam (1.9.106-107) for the above.
Sri V.V. Ramanujan elaborates further by pointing that Bhagavan is the Only One who is Srimaan of the Possessor of all Wealth. He gives references from the Divya Prabhandam – ‘Naaganai mishai nam parar Selvar periyar’ from Sri Andal’s Nacchiyar Thirumozhi (10.10) – Our Lord, who reclines on the serpent couch is rich and powerful;
He also refers to NammAzhwar’s Thiruvasiriyam (1):
செக்கர்மா முகிலுடுத்து மிக்க செஞ்சுடர்ப் பரிதிசூடி,
அஞ்சுடர் மதியம்பூண்டு,பலசுடர் புனைந்த பவளச் செவ்வாய்,
திகழ்பசுஞ்சோதி மரகதக் குன்றம்,கடலோன் கைமிசைக் கண்வளர்வதுபோல்,
பீதகஆடை முடிபூண் முதலாமேதகு பல்கலன் அணிந்து, சோதி
வாயவும் கண்ணவும் சிவப்ப, மீதிட்டுப்பச்சைமேனி மிகப்பகைப்ப,
நச்சுவினைக் கவர்தலை அரவி னமளியேறி,எறிகடல்நடுவுள் அறிதுயில் அமர்ந்து
சிவனிய னிந்திரன் இவர்முதலனைத்தோர்தெய்வக் குழாங்கள் கைதொழக் கிடந்த
தாமரை யுந்தித் தனிப்பெரு நாயகமூவுலகளந்த சேவடி யோயே.
Meaning: O Lord with the Lotus-red feet that strode the Earth! Wearing the red clouds as vestments, the radiant Sun as a crown, the pleasing Moon on your person, and stars spangled all over, with red coral lips, and green radiance-spreading the emerald mountains, you lie in the arms of the Sealord, in a recline -seemingly asleep; wearing a yellow vestment, a crown, and many golden jewels, with the red eyes and lips glowing, the green of your body overpowering the red, in the middle of the Ocean of Milk, on a serpent with many hoods, you recline in Yoga Nidra (deep trance) where all the Gods led by Siva, Brahma, and Indra offer worship. O Lord, who is without a peer or Superior, with a Lotus on His navel, He who measured the three Worlds with His giant strides!
Swami ChinmayAnanda builds on the above, and gives another interpretation – ‘varah’ means blessing; so the Nama can also mean that He is the Blessing that the scholars and pupils of the Vedas seek. The Nama can also be interpreted to mean that He is the Chief Deity who is worshipped by those who have Vedas as their wealth.
To sum up, Srimataam-varah means that Bhagavan is the wealthiest of all those who possess wealth, He is the One who possesses it all the time, His wealth is permanent and ever-existent unlike all the others whose wealth is only transient and temporary. He is the One sought by those who are proficient in the Vedas, and He is the Chief Deity that is praised by the Vedas.
Anivartee Nivrittatma Samkshepta Kshemakricchivah |
Srivatsavakshah Srivaasah Sripatih Srimataam-varah ||64||
He never turns back from battles and is undefeated. He bestows the grace from Pravritti Dharma on His devotees and hence He is called Anivartee. He is turned away from worldly pleasures with complete control over the senses, hence He is called Nivrittatma. He condenses the Universe into an atom, hence He is Samkshepta. He is a harbinger of good and the auspicious. He provides safe keeping or protection to what one has earned hence He is called Kshemakrit. He purifies anybody who merely remembers His name or meditates in his mind, hence He is called Sivah.
He has the symbol of Srivatsa on His chest with Goddess Lakshmi residing on His chest, hence He is called Srivatsavakshah. He is the Abode of Lakshmi and is the perennial abode of prosperity, so He is Srivaasah. He is Sripatih as He is the consort of Lakshmi and the possessor of all Sri’s – Wealth, Knowledge, Energy, Sovereignty, Glory and Dispassion. He is Srimataam-varah as the foremost of the Knowledgeable in ‘Sri’ i.e. the three Vedas.
HARI OM TAT SAT
OM NAMO NARAYANAAYA
This Vishnu Sahasranamam series is authored with the help of my friend Shri Balaji.