SRI VISHNU SAHASRANAMAM (SHLOKA 65) – PART 74

In this part we will explore the meaning of the 65th Shloka of Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam.

Shloka 65
Sridah Srishah Srinivasah Srinidhih Srivibhaavanah  |
Sridharah Srikarah Sreyah Srimaan Lokatrayaashrayah ||65|| 

Purport:
He is the bestower of prosperity and the Lord of all forms of wealth and all things auspicious i.e. ‘Sri’. He is the abode of Lakshmi and He has Lakshmi as His treasure. He is the distributor of prosperity in accordance with one’s Karma. He is the bearer of Sri on his chest and He is the one who confers prosperity. He possesses all forms of Sri and is the grantor of Ultimate Bliss (Moksha). He is the protector and refuge for all the three worlds.

The above Shloka has the following Namas:

  1. Sridah
  2. Srishah
  3. Srinivaasah
  4. Srinidhih
  5. Srivibhaavanah
  6. Sridharah
  7. Srikarah
  8. Sreyah Srimaan
  9. Lokatrayaashrayah

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

  1. Sridah – One Who bestows Prosperity

vishnu_1_2Sri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Sriyam dadaati bhaktaanaam iti Sridah – He is the giver of wealth to His devotees hence He is called Sridah’. The wealth referred to here is not just material wealth but also spiritual and intellectual wealth which are even more important. Bhagavan showers all these forms of wealth on His devotees and hence He is Sridah.

Sri Parasara Bhattar too interprets the Namas 608 to 619 in terms of Bhagavan’s inseparable association with Lakshmi Piratti.  His explanation for the current Nama is “Nitya Nutana, nir-vyaja pranaya rasa Sriyam tasyai dadati iti Sri-dah – Bhagavan is the Giver of glory to Lakshmi in the form of Supreme love which is eternal, fresh, and spontaneous. 

Sri Bhattar says, He is the One who gives Her the quality of Sri, just as She is the One who gives Him the Purnatvam (completeness). That is to say, He is Her life itself and the two are Inseperable.  He gives reference from the Vishnu Puranam 1.9.144 – Vishnoresha anapaayinI – She is ever inseparable from Vishnu.

In Srimad Ramayana’s Yuddha Kandam (6.118.19), Lord Rama says “Ananya hi Maya Sita Bhaskarena prabha yatha – Seetha is not different from me, even as sunlight is not different from the Sun”.

In Sundara Kandam (5.21.15) Sita Piratti says – “Ananya Raghavenaham Bhaskarena prabhA yatha – I am not separate from Rama just as the Sunshine is not separate from the Sun”. 

Since Bhagavan is the Giver of wealth, the question arises:  What kind of wealth should we seek?  There are two kinds of wealth – Preyas and Shreyas. Preyas is the search for material wealth, and Shreyas is the search for spiritual wealth. 

In Katha Upanishad Section 2, Yama explains the difference between Preyas and Shreyas.
Anyac chreyo anyad utaiva preyaste ubhe nanarthe puruṣam sinitaḥ
tayoḥ Shreya adadanasya sadhu bhavati, hiyate’rthad ya u preyo vṛṇite. (1)
Meaning: There are two things in this world, and people pursue either this or that. These two may be regarded as the path of the pleasant, and the path of the good. Most people choose the former, and not the good. The pleasant is pleasing, but transient and ends in pain. It is different from the good. But while the good need not be pleasant, the pleasant is not necessarily good.

Shreyas ca Preyas ca manuṣyam etas tau samparitya vivinakti dhiraḥ
Shreyo hi dhiro’bhipreyaso vṛṇite, preyo mando yoga-kṣemad vṛṇite. (2)
Meaning: The dull-witted person chooses the pleasant: he wants to pass the day somehow. He does not know where or how the good is. The dhira or hero who is endowed with Viveka, the power of discrimination, chooses the Shreyas or the ultimate good.

We should worship the Lord with the interest in seeking Shreyas, and not Preyas, even though Bhagavan will bestow whatever the seeker seeks. The lesson to take from this Nama is that we should seek Shreyas in this life by worshipping Lord Vishnu, the Sri-dah, as the means for attaining Moksha.

  1. Srishah – He Who is the Lord of Sri (Lakshmi) or Wealth

Lord Vishnu and Goddess LaxmiThis is a combinations of the two words Sri and Ishah and Sri Adi Sankara interprets this Nama as ‘Sriyah Ishah Srishah – He is the Lord of Sri or Lakshmi hence He is called Srishah’. Here, Sri not only means Lakshmi but also all the attributes that Goddess Lakshmi represents – wealth, beauty and spiritual well-being and all things auspicious. And Bhagavan is the Lord of them all. Sri is also a mystic primordial mantra like ‘OM’ and ‘Hreem’ and Bhagavan is the owner of this mantra.

Sri Bhattar interprets that in the Nama Srishah, the inseparable Oneness of Bhagavan and Piratti is reflected.  He gives reference to the description of Lakshmi as:
AdavAtma Gunatvena bhogya rupena vigrahe  |
Adharaka svarupena dAsI bhavena va sada     ||
Meaning: Lakshmi is ever with Bhagavan either as His innate qualities in His Transcendental Form, or in a delightful form in His body, or as His support by Her essential nature as a devout succour. 

The Nama can thus be understood as illustrating that Bhagavan is the Lord of all wealth, and He is also the Lord of Lakshmi, who in turn is His Ruler as She is inseparable from the Lord.

In Sri Venkatesa Suprabhatam, we have ‘Lakshmi-Nivaasa Nir-Avadya-Gunnai aika-Sindho – In this Beautiful Dawn the Devotees are Invoking You; You Who are the Abode of Lakshmi and the One Ocean of Blemishless Divine Qualities.

In Venkateswara Prapatti, the first invocation is to Goddess Lakshmi:
Ishaanaaṃ jagato‌’sya Veṅkaṭapater Viṣhṇoḥ paraaṃ preyasiṃ
tad vakṣaḥsthala nityavasarasikaṃ tat-kṣhanti saṃvardhinim |
Padmalaṅkṛta paṇipallavayugaṃ Padmasanasthaṃ Sriyaṃ
vatsalyadi guṇojjvalaṃ bhagavatiṃ vande jaganmataram ||
Meaning: Salutations to the Mother of the Universe (Goddess Lakshmi), who is the beloved consort of Lord Sri Vishnu. She has her abode on Lord’s chest (Sri-Nivasah) and is eternally present with the Lord. She is full of benevolent qualities with enormous affection towards Her children and promotes the forgiving nature in Lord. Sri Alarmel Mangai, who is seated on a Lotus in Padmasana posture, is carrying two Lotus flowers in her tender Lotus-stalk like hands. I bow to the Mother of the Universe, who is so full of compassion and seek Her blessings.

Swami ChinmayAnanda says that He is the Lord of the Goddess of Wealth MahaLakshmi and Her wealth is the ability to nourish. She gives to the striving devotee, the mighty and noble virtues, the inner wealth.

  1. Srinivasah – The Abode of Lakshmi

balaji2This Nama occurred earlier as Nama 185 and has several meanings:

  • The Abode of Lakshmi
  • The Support of Lakshmi
  • He who dwells in purified hearts
  • He who resides where Lakshmi resides

Sri Adi Sankara gives the interpretation ‘Srimatsu nityam vasati iti Srinivasah – He who dwells in devotees who are endowed with Sri or virtue’. He goes on to explain ‘Sri Shabdena Srimantah Lakshyante – The word ‘Sri’ here refers to those who possess Sri’. He resides in those who have Sri, in particular those seeking spiritual wealth, who follow the path of Dharma and lead a virtuous life.

Sri Sankara had given this interpretation for the earlier occurrence: ‘yasya vakshasi anapaayinI Srih vasati sah Sri-Nivasah – He in whose Vaksha-Sthalam Sri always resides is Sri-nivasah.

Sri Bhattar interprets the Nama in the context of the churning the Milky Ocean. Sri Lakshmi emerged from the Ocean and took Her place on His Vaksha-Sthalam, with splendour as captured by NammAzhwar in his Pasuram in Thiruvai Mozhi (6.10.10) – “Agala gillen iraiyum endru Alarmel Mangai urai Maarban” meaning “O’ Lord you bear the inseparable Alarmel Mangai (Lakshmi seated on a Lotus) on Your chest”.  

Sri V.V. Ramanujan gives several references for the meaning that The Lord is the abode of Lakshmi: 

  • Pashyataam Deva Devanaam yayau Vaksha Sthalam hareh (Sri Vishnu Puranam) – All the Devas watched Goddess Lakshmi take her position on Lord’s Vaksha-Sthalam;
  • En tiru vaazh maarvar (NammAzhwar’s Thiruvai Mozhi 8.3.7) – Lord with Lakshmi on His chest;
  • Malindu tiru irunda maarvan (PeyAzhwar’s Mundram Thiruvandhadhi 57) – Lord with Lakshmi on His chest.

Sri Radhakrishna Shastri describes the Unity and Inseparability of Bhagavan and Piratti in terms of Piratti being the Amrita creeper that surrounds Bhagavan who is like the Kalpa Vriksham – ‘divya vallya iva Kalpa drumah tasyah nitya aupaghnah Sri-nivasah. He also says – ‘Yato Lakshmis-tato harih – Where there is Lakshmi, there is Hari’.  Hence MahaVishnu is called Sri-Nivasa – The Permanent Abode of Lakshmi. 

Sri ChinmayAnanda gives the interpretation that Sri here refers to those who are pure at heart, wherein the passions and lusts have been removed, and peace, joy, devotion, and understanding reside.  Bhagavan lives in the hearts of these, who are here referred to as ‘Sriman’, or those who have Sri in them.

The Nama “Sri-Nivasah” thus signifies that – ‘Sri’ (Piratti) lives in His Vaksha Sthalam inseparably. He lives in those who are blessed with ‘Sri’ (Sri refers to the virtue in the devotees of Bhagavan) – Bhagavan is the permanent Abode of ‘Sri’ (all auspicious qualities reside in Him always).

The Story of Lord Venkateswara and Goddess Lakshmi
Sri Venkateswara is another form of Lord Vishnu who is the most popular deity in India. He is also known as Venkatachalapathi, Venkataramana, Varadaraja, Srinivasa, and Balaji.

The temple town of Tirupati is situated at the foot of Tirumala hills in Chittor district in Andhra Pradesh. The sacred spot on the hill,  about 2,800 feet above sea level, is known as Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateswara. The hill forms part of the Eastern Ghats and is also known as Venkatachala and Seshachala. It is said that the Eastern Ghats along with their curves, heights and falls resemble the serpent Adisesha and that the seven hills of Tirupati representing its seven heads. Ahobilam where Lord Narasimha is worshipped, represents the centre of Adisesha, and Srisailam represents the tail end of Adisesha. That is why Tirumala is called Seshachala. According to the legends, this has been a sacred place in all the four Yugas. It was known as Vrishabhachala in the Krithayuga, Anjanachala in the Tretayuga, Seshachala in the Dwaparayuga and Venkatachala in the present Kaliyuga.

Once some rishis headed by Kashyapa began to perform a sacrifice on the banks of the Ganges. Sage Narada visited them and asked them why they were performing the sacrifice and who would be pleased by it. Not being able to answer the question, the rishis approached Sage Bhrigu. To reach a solution after a direct ascertainment of reality, Sage Bhrigu first went to Satyaloka, the abode of Lord Brahma. At Satyaloka, he found Lord Brahma, reciting the four Vedas in praise of Lord Narayana, with each of his four heads, and attended upon by Saraswati. Lord Brahma did not take notice of Bhrigu offering obeisance. Concluding that Lord Brahma was unfit for worship, Bhrigu left Satyaloka for Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva. At Kailasa, Bhrigu found Lord Siva spending his time pleasantly with Parvati and not noticing his presence. Parvati drew the attention of Siva to the presence of the sage. Lord Siva was furious at Bhrigu’s intrusion and tried to destroy him. The sage cursed Lord Siva and left for Vaikuntam.

brigu4When Bhrigu visited Lord Vishnu who was in a private meeting with His consort Goddess Lakshmi and failed to immediately receive and honour the sage, the sage felt humiliated and angry by this act. Sage Bhrigu kicked Lord Vishnu in the chest, to which Vishnu did not react and instead apologized to the Sage by massaging his feet. During this act, He squashed the extra eye that was present in the sole of Bhrugu’s foot. The extra eye is believed to represent the sage’s false egotism. The sage then realised his grave mistake and begged forgiveness from Lord Vishnu.

Lord Vishnu’s chest is significant as the abode of Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess felt highly insulted at the sage’s misdemeanour and Lord Vishnu’s silence at the act and left Lord Vishnu’s heavenly abode (Vaikuntam) and went to reside in Karavirapur now known as Kolhapur. After the parting of Mahalakshmi, a forlorn Lord Vishnu left Vaikuntam and took abode in an ant-hill under a tamarind tree, beside a pushkarini on the Venkatadri Hill, meditating for the return of Lakshmi, without food or sleep.

This was the place where Lord took the form of Varaha to rescue Mother Earth from the deep ocean. Taking pity on Lord Vishnu, Brahma and Siva decided to assume the forms of a cow and its calf to serve Him. Surya, the Sun God informed Mahalakshmi of Lord’s penance and requested her to assume the form of a cowherdess and sell the cow and calf to the Chola King.

anthillThe King bought the cow and its calf and sent them to graze on the Venkatadri Hill along with his herd of cattle. Discovering Lord Vishnu on the ant-hill, the cow provided its milk, and thus fed the Lord. Meanwhile, at the palace, the cow was not yielding any milk, for which the Chola Queen rebuked the cowherd severely. To find out the cause of lack of milk, the cowherd followed the cow, hid himself behind a bush and discovered the cow emptying her udder over the ant-hill. Incensed over the conduct of the cow, the cowherd aimed a blow with his axe on the head of the cow. However, Lord Vishnu rose from the ant-hill to receive the blow and save the cow. When the cowherd saw the Lord bleed at the blow of his axe, he fell down and died of shock.

The cow returned, bellowing in fright and with blood stains all over her body, to the Chola King. To find out the cause of the cow’s terror, the King followed her to the scene of the incident. The King found the cowherd lying dead on the ground near the ant-hill. While he stood wondering how it had happened, Lord Vishnu rose from the ant-hill and cursed the King saying that he would become an Asura because of the fault of his servant. The King pleaded innocence, and the Lord blessed him by saying that he will be reborn as Akasa Raja and that the curse would end when the Lord will be adorned with a crown presented by Akasa Raja at the time of His marriage with Padmavati.  With these words Lord turned into stone form.

Thereafter, Lord Vishnu in the name of Srinivasa, decided to stay in Varaha Kshetra, and requested Sri Varahaswami to grant Him a place for His stay. His request being readily granted, Srinivasa ordained that a pilgrimage to His shrine would not be complete unless it is preceded by a bath in the Pushkarini and darshan of Sri Varahaswami. Vishnu built a hermitage and lived there, attended to by Vakuladevi who looked after Him like a mother.

In due time, the Chola king was reborn as Akasa Raja and though he ruled well, he had no children born to him. When he conducted a Yagna and was tilling the ground, he found a baby in a lotus flower and named her Alarmel mangai and Padmavati (Lady born in Lotus petals) and adopted her as his daughter. Lord Vishnu reincarnated as Srinivasa (or presented himself after penance in the ant-hill) as the son of elderly woman-saint Vakula Devi. Vakula Devi was Yashoda in her previous birth, Lord Krishna’s foster-mother and was unhappy in that life for not seeing his marriage. As per the boon received from Krishna, she was reborn as Vakula Devi.

In course of time Princess Padmavati grew up into a beautiful maiden and was visited by Sage Narada. On reading her palm, he foretold that she was destined to be the spouse of Lord Vishnu himself. In due time, Lord Srinivasa on a hunting trip was chasing a wild elephant in the forest. The elephant led him into a garden where Princess Padmavati and her maids were present .The sight of the elephant frightened them and their Princess. When Lord Srinivasa appeared in front of the Elephant, it immediately turned round, saluted the Lord and disappeared into the forest. Lord Srinivasa noticed princess Padmavati and enquired about her from her maids. Enthralled by her, Lord Srinivasa lost interest in other activities and confided in Vakula Devi of His love for Padmavati. He also revealed His identity as Lord Vishnu as well as told her about her past life as his foster-mother Yashodha.

wedding - venkyVakula devi approached Akasa Raja with her proposal of marriage between Lord Srinivasa and Padmavati. In the meantime, the restless Lord came to the city in the disguise of a fortune-teller. Princess Padmavati also fell in love with Lord Srinivasa and fell ill after returning to the Palace. Unable to diagnose her ill-health, the maids invited the fortune-teller into the palace to foretell the future of the princess. When the fortune-teller revealed that Padmavati was born to marry Lord Vishnu in His current Avataar as Lord Srinivasa, she recovered. As the King heard of this news, Vakula announced herself to the King and asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage to her son, Lord Srinivasa. The overjoyed king agreed and his advisor Bhrihaspati wrote the invitation for the wedding between the two avatars.

Lord Srinivasa called for a conference of the Gods to win their consent for His marriage with Princess Padmavati. The Lord also obtained a heavy loan from Kubera, god of wealth towards expenses for the wedding as well as provide proof of His wealth.

  1. Srinidhih – He has Lakshmi as His Wealth

kannadi2000Nidhi means a treasure or a fund or a reservoir. Sri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Sarva Shaktimaye asmin Akhilaah Sriyah Nidheeyante iti Srinidhih – In Him, Who is all-powerful entity, all the wealth of the world abide hence He is called Srinidhih’. If there is one single place where all conceivable wealth, like material wealth, spiritual wealth, beauty and Dharma can be found bundled together, that place is Bhagavan and therefore He is Srinidhih, a place for all forms of wealth.

Sri Bhattar’s interpretation is that ‘Sri’ has been placed in Bhagavan like a gem-studded jewel in a casket.  

Sri Radhakrishna Shastri describes that ‘Sri’ is the personification of all His Shakti, and He treasures Her and protects Her in His Vaksha-Sthalam. 

Swami ChinmayAnanda interprets the Nama as “He who is the Nidhi or treasure house for Sri”. He notes that Vishnu being All-Full and Perfect, all glories draw themselves from Him alone.  Even Sri-Maya can play Her games only when She draws her vitality from Narayana, and thus He is the ‘Nidhi’ of Sri. 

The Dharma Chakram writer explains that this Nama indicates that Lord is protecting Sri – the incarnation of all that is good and virtuous. 

The Nama Sri-Nidhih thus means that He has Sri as His treasure while Sri has Him as Her treasure. He is the resort for all kinds of Sri (good and auspicious).

  1. Srivibhaavanah – He distributes prosperity according to Karma

krishnanarayanaSri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Karmaanu roopena vividhaah Sriyah sarva bhutanam vibhavayati iti Srivibhaavanah – He distributes various kinds of prosperity to all beings in accordance with their actions or Karma, hence He is called Srivibhaavanah, the dispenser of Wealth’.

Sri Bhattar interprets Srivibhaavanah to mean that Bhagavan obtains His greatness because of His association with Piratti. He gives the reference from Srimad Ramayanam where Mareecha advises Ravana in Aranya Kandam (37.18):

अप्रमेयम् हि तत् तेजो यस्य सा जनकात्मजा |
न त्वम् समर्थः ताम् हर्तुम् राम चाप आश्रयाम् वने || ३-३७-१८
Meaning: The Tejas or splendour of Sri Rama, who has King Janaka’s daughter as His consort, is beyond all measure and is inestimable.  It will be incapable of you to kidnap Her while such a Rama’s bow safeguards Her in the forest, besides the firewall called His resplendence. It is not that some part of Rama’s resplendence is taken out and has been vested in Sita but it is an indivisible radiance of that divine couple like that of Sun and Sunshine.

Sri Radhakrishna Shastri gives the interpretation that He is Sri-Vibhaavanah because He spreads the fame of Lakshmi by proudly displaying His association with Lakshmi on His chest, and by bestowing blessings on all devotees in association with Lakshmi.

The Dharma Chakram writer explains in simple terms the complimentary nature of Perumal and Piratti.  The analogy he gives is that when wealth is in someone’s possession who does not use it for anything good, it is wasted.  Neither the person acquires fame, nor does the wealth.  The writer gives the example of a poor man who got seven jars of gold, six of them full, and the seventh half full.  He was taken by greed that the seventh jar was only half full, and so started living a life with the aim of trying to get the seventh jar filled up, and in the process suffered even more than before he got the gold jars.  This is not the purpose of acquiring wealth.  Instead, there are those who get wealth and then use it to help those in need.  They attain fame because of their wealth, and their wealth also becomes famous because it is used for the right purposes. 

Bhagavan has the wealth in the form of Sri (MahaLakshmi), and He bestows all His devotees with blessings according to their Karma, and so He gets His fame.  Sri gets the fame since the wealth that He has because of His association with Her is being used for protecting Dharma.  Thus, the mutually complimentary nature of Bhagavan and Piratti is conveyed in this Nama, as in other Namas of this Shloka.

  1. Sridharah – The Bearer of Sri

perumalDharah means one who bears or carries. Sri Adi Sankara interprets this Nama as ‘Sarvabhutanam jananeem Sriyam vakshasi vahan Sridharah – He carries Lakshmi, the mother of all beings on His chest and hence He is called Sridharah’. His love and affection for Lakshmi is so great that He cannot be away from Her even for a moment and hence He carries Her all the time on His chest.  The inseparable nature of the relationship between Sri and Bhagavan is once again revealed in this Nama. 

Sri Parasara Bhattar interprets that Sridharah denotes that Bhagavan and Piratti are in an eternal and permanent state of Onenness. He gives the following reference:
Ratnamiva arcisham, pushpamiva surabhim, induriva candirkam, amritamiva
svaadutaam, autpattikena sambandhena Sriyam dharati iti Sri-dharah –
Meaning: Just as the gem bears its lustre, the flower its fragrance, the moon her moonlight, and nectar its sweetness, so also Vishnu bears Lakshmi in Him by an innate relationship. 

He also quotes the following support from Srimad Ramayana – na vihatum iyam Saktya kIrtir Atmavata yatha (Ayodhya Kandam 30.29) – You (Sita) cannot be left behind by Me (Rama), like the honour by a man of self-regard”.  

It is not possible to separate the quality of an object from the object itself.  Similarly, it is not possible to separate Bhagavan from Lakshmi, just as it is not possible separate the heat from the fire, the whiteness from the milk, the light from the Sun, etc.

  1.          Srikarah – He who confers ‘Sri’

Venkateswara weddingThis Nama has several meanings:

  • He brings Sri with Him in His incarnations
  • He who confers Sri (spiritual wealth) on the devotees, including Moksha (Nitya-Sri)
  • He who makes His devotees shine with Sri (Glory)
  • He who has taken the hand of Sri (MahaLakshmi)

The word Karah come from the root ‘kar’ meaning ‘to do’. Sri Adi Sankara interprets this Nama as ‘Smarataam Stuvataam Archayataam cha Bhaktaanaam Sriyam karoti iti Srikarah – He confers material and spiritual wealth on His devotees who meditate on Him, sing His glories, and worship Him, hence He is called Srikarah’.

Sri Parasara Bhattar’s interpretation is that Bhagavan makes Lakshmi incarnate Herself in an apt form when He comes down into this world in His Avataars, and thus He is called Srikarah.  He refers from Vishnu Puranam (1.9.145) – ‘Devatve deva-deha sa maushatve ca manushI – She assumes the Divine form when He is in Deva Loka, and She assumes a human form when He takes a human form.  

Sri V.V. Ramanujan quotes the following support from NammAzhwar’s Thiruvai Mozhi (7.10.1) – ‘Ezhil malar maadharum taanum ivvezh-ulagai inbam payakka Alginra e’ngaL piraan – The Lord who resides with His consort who is seated on Lotus, who rules the seven worlds spreading happiness and bliss’.

Sri Radhakrishna Shastri elaborates that after making Lakshmi incarnate in an apt form with Him, (such as Sita when He came as Rama, Rukmini when He came as Krishna etc.), He spreads Her fame, and ensures that He blesses those who worship Her, including Nitya-Sri (Moksha) to those devotees who have attained that level of devotion.

Sri Krishna Datta Bharadvaj gives the interpretation – ‘Sriyaam-svajana kirtinaam karah iti Srikarah – Bhagavan is Srikarah because He gives expression to the kirti or fame of His devotees. 

Sri Baladeva Vidyabhushan, suggests that He is Srikarah because He has taken Sri’s (MahaLakshmi’s) hand in marriage.  

  1. Sreyas-Srimaan – He has ‘Sri’ and He is the Ultimate Bliss

ananthasayanamSri Adi Sankara treats this as two separate Namas – Sreyas and Srimaan. Sri Sankara explains Sreyah as ‘Anapaayi Sukhaavaapti Lakshanam Shreyah Tat cha Parasyaiva roopam iti Sreyah – Sreya is the state of eternal bliss and Bhagavan represents the ultimate stage of this hence He is called Sreyah’.

Sri Sankara explains Srimaan as ‘Sriyah asya santi iti Srimaan – All the different forms of Sri or wealth are in His possession hence He is called Srimaan’. Normally we take Shree or Lakshmi as wealth or DhanaLakshmi only. Actually there are several Lakshmis like AdiLakshmi, DhanyaLakshmi, GajaLakshmi, SantanaLakshmi, VeeraLakshmi, VijayaLakshmi, VidyaLakshmi etc. Bhagavan has all of them, hence He is appropriately called Srimaan.

Here Sreyas or Sreyah refers to the Spiritual Good and the description from the Katha Upanishad by Yama to Nichiketas was covered earlier in Nama 612 in this part.

Sri Bhattar gives the following words from Trijata in Srimad Ramayanam in support of his interpretation:
pranipaata prasanna hi mythili janakAtmaja    |
alameshaa paritraatum rakshasyo mahato bhayaat || Sundara Kandam (27.44)
Meaning: O’ Rakshashis, this Mythili (Sita), the daughter of Janaka, is competent to protect us from great danger and will bestow grace on those who pay obeisance to Her.

He quotes from Vishnu Puranam (1.9.125) – ‘SarIra Arogyam Aisvaryam ari paksha kshayah sukham – She bestows bodily health, wealth, destruction of enemies, and happiness.  – She is the grantor of the fruit of release from bondage – vimukti phala daayinI – (Vishnu Puranam 1.9.120).

In Sri Suktam (2) it says ‘yasyaam hiranyam vindeyam gaamashvam purushaanaham – Being blessed by Her I shall win wealth, cattle, horses and sons.

The Lord is the consort of such a benevolent and all giving Sri, hence He is Sreyas-Srimaan.

Sri Krishna Datta Bharadvaj gives the explanation that Bhagavan has the Nama Sreyaa-SrimAn because He possesses the most exquisite Sri-s in the form of His ornaments etc. – SreyasI atishaya Sobhamana Srir-vesha racanA nupura yugala kaa’nci kataka keyura kundala kiritAdimati yasya iti Sreyah Srimaan. 

Swami ChinmayAnanda explains this as two Namas and for Sreyas, his interpretation is that Lord Narayana is Sreyas as He is the giver of Moksha, the Ultimate bliss. He is Srimaan as He is the owner of all ‘Sri’ – glories, riches and splendour.

Sri Satyadevo Vasishtha equates Preyas and Sreyas to Pravritti and nivritti margas respectively, and gives the quote from the Rig Veda to indicate how Preyas and Sreyas can go together to achieve the final  liberation – by acquiring material wealth and using it properly to attain the Higher Spirit –
paricinmartto dravinam mamanyAdrtasya patha Namasa vivaaset      |
uta svena kratuna sam vadeta Sreyamsam daksham manasa jagrbhyaat  ||  (RV 10.31.2)

  1. Loka-trayaashrayah – He is the Resort for all the three worlds

mahavishnuSri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Trayaanaam lokanaam Aashrayatvaat Lokatrayaashrayah – He is the refuge for all the three worlds, hence He is Lokatrayaashrayah’. The three worlds could be the physical worlds Bhur, Bhuvah and Suvah. When any one is in trouble they can always take refuge in Bhagavan to save them.

The three Lokas could also mean our three states of consciousness namely wakefulness, dream and sleep. Bhagavan is the substratum for these three worlds-of-experiences in every being. In this respect also the He is Lokatrayaashrayah.

Sri Parasara Bhattar says that Bhagavan and Lakshmi are like father and mother and are the only resort for all beings in all three worlds. Sri Bhattar gives the reference to Indra’s words in Sri Vishnu Puranam – ‘tvam mata sarva  lokanaam devadevo harih pita (1.9.126) – “You are the Mother, and Hari, the God of all gods, is the father of all the worlds’. 

Swami ChinmayAnanda interprets the “three worlds” as referring to the three “worlds of experiences”, namely, waking, dream, and deep-sleep.  Thus, he explains the Nama as referring to Bhagavan being the substratum (Ashraya) for these three worlds-of-experiences in every being; without the presence of Narayana in every one of us, we will not be able to experience anything in any of these states.

IN SUMMARY
Sridah Srishah Srinivasah Srinidhih Srivibhaavanah  |
Sridharah Srikarah Sreyah Srimaan Lokatrayaashrayah ||65||

balaji-13He is the bestower of prosperity and hence He is Sridah.  He is the Lord of all forms of wealth and all things auspicious i.e. ‘Sri’, so He is Srishah. He is Srinivasah as He is the abode of Lakshmi. He has Lakshmi as His treasure and all the wealth of the world abide in Him, so He is called Srinidhih. He is the distributor of prosperity in accordance with one’s Karma, hence He is Srivibhaavanah.

He is the bearer of Sri on His chest and hence He is Sridharah. He is the one who confers prosperity, so He is Srikarah. He possesses all forms of Sri and is the grantor of Ultimate Bliss (Moksha), hence He is Sreyas-Srimaan. He is the protector and refuge for all the three worlds. He is also the in-dweller in all three experiences of waking, dream and sleep and hence He is Lokatrayaashraya.

HARI OM TAT SAT

OM NAMO NARAYANAAYA

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

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