In this part we will explore the meaning of the 80th Shloka of Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam.
Amaani Maanado Maanyo Lokaswami Trilokadhrit |
Sumedha Medhajo Dhanyah Satyamedha Dharaadharah ||80||
He is unconcerned about being respected by others and is devoid of any ego. He treats His devotees with respect and honour, like Kuchela, Guhan or Shabari, irrespective of their humble position in life. He is worthy of honour and worship by everybody being the Lord of all people. He supports the three worlds and He has superlative intellect. He manifests Himself whenever a Yajna is performed and He has fulfilled all His pursuits. His intellect is unfailing at all times and His wisdom is ever present that never deserts Him. He carries the Earth using his intrinsic components such as the serpent Adi Sesha.
The above Shloka has the following Namas:
Now let’s examine the meaning of the above Namas in detail:
753. Amaani – He Who is not proud
The word ‘Maana’ means pride or attachment to one’s own self and Amani is one who has no such attachment. On this basis, Sri Adi Sankara interprets this Nama as ‘Anaatma vastushuvatma Abhimaano Naasti asya Svaccha samved anaakritih iti Amani – He has no egotism and He is of unegoistic Intelligence who has no mistaken notions of Atman in things that are not Atman, such as the body. He has no attachment to material aspects which are not related to the pure Atma or the intrinsic inner self as He is pure knowledge crystallised, hence He is called Amani’. The body is susceptible to changes and will perish one day. The mind is always subject to mood swings and wrestles with millions of thoughts that can swing the mood to its ups and downs in life. Material possessions are purely external and will cease when one dies. None of these is related to the Soul and Bhagavan pays no respect to such transient aspects, hence He is called Amani.
The Nama is derived from the root ‘Maan – Pujayam’ means to honour or worship. ‘Maana’ means Garva (Pride), Ahamkara (ego or the feeling of “I”), etc. Hence, Amaani means One Who has no Garva or Ahamkara – ‘na maano garvo yasya aiti Amaanah’. He is unconcerned about being respected by others – Atma-sammaana bhava rahitah , even though He is the Prabhu Who is worshipped by the likes of Brahma.
Sri Parasara Bhattar gives the example of Bhagavan undertaking to be a messenger for the Pandavas, even though He had to face indignities in the process. His being the charioteer for Arjuna is another example of the same Guna of Bhagavan. For the good of the world, He does not hesitate to take incarnations even as a Boar, a Fish, a Form with the face of a Lion, etc.
Sri V.V. Ramanujam gives references from the Divya Prabandham to support. Sri Thirumangai Azhwar describes the Lord’s role as an emissary of Pandavas in his Periya Thirumozhi (2.2.3):
முன்னோர் தூது வானரத்தின் வாயில் மொழிந்து,அரக்கன்
மன்னூர் தன்னை வாளியினால் மாள முனிந்து அவனே
பின்னோர் தூத னாதிமன்னர்க் காகிப் பெருநிலத்தார்,
இன்னார் தூத னெனநின்றா னெவ்வுள் கிடந்தானே.
Meaning: Earlier He sent a message through Hanuman, and destroyed Lanka, the fortressed city of Ravana with hot arrows. Later He took a message from the Pandavas as their emissary to the Kauravas and was derided by the Kauravas. That Supreme Lord resides in me.
Sri Andal describes the Lord in Her Nacchiyar Thirumozhi (11.8) as:
பாசிதூர்த் துக்கிடந்த பார்மகட்குபண்டொருநாள்
மாசுடம்பில் நீர்வார மானமிலாப் பன்றியாம்
தேசுடைய தேவர் திருவரங்கச் செல்வனார்
பேசி யிருப்பனகள் பேர்க்கவும் பேராவே
Meaning: The Lord of Arangam is resplendent and brilliant, but long ago He came as a shameless unwashed dirty swine, and lifted dame Earth from the mossy deluge-waters. Who can imagine the things He spoke to her then.
Sri NammAzhwar refers to Him as ‘Naadudai mannarkkut toodhu sel nambi – The One who went as a messenger to the King, referring to Lord Krishna’s role as Pandavas emissary’. (Thiruvai Mozhi 6.6.4).
Sri Satyadevo Vasishta gives an additional interpretation using the root ‘Ma – maane – to measure, to compare with’, and gives the meaning “One Who cannot be measured (with regard to His strength, power, or any of the other auspicious qualities)”. The sense conveyed here is that Bhagavan is a-prameya – Beyond the scope of definition.
754. Maana-dah – He Who honors others This Nama has several meanings:
- He Who honours others
- He confers rewards on His devotees, or denies rewards for the unrighteous
- He removes the false understanding of Atman in true seekers, or induces a false sense of Atman in non-seekers
- He gives spiritual enlightenment to His devotees
- He gives a measure and dimension to everything in the Universe.
Sri Adi Sankara gives three interpretations for this Nama. The first is ‘Svamayaya Sarveshaam Anaatmasu Atmabhimanam dadati iti Maanadah – With his power of Maya or cosmic illusion He gives people the attachment to the transient features such as the body and mind and treat these as the self, hence He is called Maanadah’. The second interpretation is ‘Bhaktanam Satkaaram Maanam dadati iti Maanadah – He treats His devotees with respect and honour hence He is called Maanadah’. He respected all his devotees like Kuchela or Shabari irrespective of their humble position in life because He is Maanadah.
The third interpretation is ‘Tattvavidaam Anaatmasu Atmabhimaanam Khandayati iti vaa Maanadah – He destroys the attachment to the transient stuff such as the body in the minds of scholars seeking the truth hence He is called Maanadah’.
Sri Parasara Bhattar’s interpretation is that Bhagavan is called Maana-dah because He always honours His devotees. He gives the instances of Lord Krishna honoring Arjuna by making him the master of the chariot, making Ugrasena the Ruler and being his vassal, and making Yudhishtra the King and respecting him – Arjuna Ugrasena Yudhishtira Adibhyo rathitva, Adhi-rajya , bahumanam dattavaan Maana-dah.
Sri Krishna Datta Bharadvaj uses the meaning ‘chitta samunnati’ or ‘elevation of mind’ to the word ‘Maana’, and thus interprets the Nama as ‘He gives spiritual enlightenment to His devotees, and hence He is Maana-dah – Maanam chitta-samunnatim dadati iti Maana-dah.
Sri Satyadevo Vasishta uses the meaning ‘Parimaanam or measure’ to the word ‘maanam’, and gives the interpretation that the Nama means “One Who gives dimension to everything. He uses both the roots ‘dad – dhaane – to give’, and ‘dau – avakhandane – to cut, to divide’, in his interpretation of the Nama. He points out that Bhagavan has this Nama because He establishes a definition of everything in this Universe by both the principles of attraction and repulsion (Akarshanam and Vikarshanam) to achieve this function of giving dimension to everything (Maana-dah) – Maana dadati Akarshanena, Maana dyati khandayati Vikarshanena. He gives the example of the various planets having their shapes, orbits, etc., only because of this function of Bhagavan as Maana-dah. He also points out that the very shape of the body, with its different parts, is because of His giving dimension and definition to all these, and thus His Guna of Maana-dah is reflected in everything we see.
Sri Vasishta further explains that Bhagavan has given the definition and dimension to everything, He has shown us the principle of the airplanes through the birds that fly, the principle of the ship etc., through the creatures that navigate in water, etc. Water quenching fire, and fire evaporating away water, are all instances of His giving dimension and definition to these elements, such that everything works together in unison.
755. Maanyah – The Object of honour
Maanyah stands for ‘Maanayitum Yogyah’ meaning ‘Worthy of respect’. Based on this Sri Adi Sankara explains it as ‘Sarvaih Maananeeyah Poojaneeyah Sarveshvaratvaat iti Maanyah – He is worthy of honour and worship by everybody being the Lord of all people hence He is called Maanyah’.
Sri Parasara Bhattar comments that Bhagavan is worthy of respect because of His special relationship towards His devotees as He is full of affection towards them – Tadeyatvena sanmantavyo Maanyah. Sri Bhattar gives the example of Lord Krishna’s concern for Arjuna through the following verse in MahaBharata: ‘na saaratheh Sattvata Kauravanam kruddhasya mucyeta rane’dya kashcit – In the battle of Kurukshetra today, no Sattvata or Kaurava is going to escape death because the Charioteer of Arjuna is angry’.
Sri V.V. Ramanujam refers from Sri NammAzhwar’s Periya Thiruvandhadhi (53), where Azhwar points to this Guna of Bhagavan: ‘Un adiyaarkku en Seivan endre irutti nee’ – You are always keen and constantly thinking of bestowing good on Your devotees.
Sri Satyadevo Vasishta points out that He is rightly worthy of being worshipped as it’s because of Him that everything exists and functions – Isavasyam idam sarvam yat kim ca jagatyam jagat (Isavasya Upanishad Mantra 1) – He is the Lord, Creator and Protector of everything.
Swami ChinmayAnanda refers to Sri Adi Sankara’s Viveka Chudamani, where Sankara uses the term Maanyah to refer to those blessed souls who have been able to realise the Supreme Being – ‘dhanyah sa maanyo bhuvi’. If the people who have realised the Supreme Being are Maanyah or worthy of worship, what words can be used to describe the Supreme Being Himself!
Sri Radhakrishna Shastri explains the meaning conveyed by the three Namas, Amaani, Maana-dah and Maanyah as Bhagavan does not show Himself as One Who deserves to be supremely respected and honoured (Amaani), He ensures that His devotees are respected (Maana-dah), and because of this all feelings of respectability towards Him emanates (Maanyah).
The Dharma Chakram writer observes that even though Bhagavan is Maanyah (to be worshipped), it is only His true devotees who realise this, and it is to those that He gives the ability to overcome the lower form of material desires, and elevate them to realise Him.
756. Loka-Swami – The Master of the Universe
Sri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Chaturdashanam lokanam Eshvaratvaat Lokaswami – He is the Lord of all the fourteen worlds hence He is called Lokaswami’. Traditionally there are 7 worlds above called Bhoo, Bhuvah, Svah, Mahah, Janah, Tapah and Satyam and 7 worlds below which are called Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Mahatala, Rasatala, Talatala and Patala making a total of 14 worlds. Bhagavan is the Supreme Lord of all these worlds and hence He is called Lokaswami.
The word ‘svam’ also means ‘Aishvaryam’ and the Amara kosha interpretation for Swami is ‘Svam aishvaryam asya asti iti Swami – Aishvaryam means Sovereignty, Lordship, power, wealth, etc. Hence, He is called Loka-swami because He is the Lord of the Universe.
Sri Parasara Bhattar explains the meaning of this Nama in the context of the three preceding Namas. Bhagavan is called Amaani because He is not proud of any of His possessions or Gunas. He is Maana-dah because He honours His devotees, and He is Maanyah because He is worthy of respect because of His special affection towards His devotees. He is Loka-swami – The Master of the Universe not because of His superior power or wealth or parattvam, but because of His simplicity.
Sri NammAzhwar describes the Lord in Thiruvai Mozhi Pasuram (4.5.7) as below:
என்றும் ஒன்றாகி யொத்தாரும்மிக் கார்களும், தன்றனக்
கின்றி நின்றானை யெல்லாவுலகும் உடையான் தன்னை,
குன்ற மொன்றால் மழைகாத்தபிரானைச்சொன் மாலைகள்,
நன்று சூட்டும் விதியெய் தினம் என்ன குறைநமக்கே?
Meaning: He who has no peer or a superior, bears all the worlds; He held a mountain with a finger to provide shelter against the torrential rains, I have the fortune of singing His praise with a garland of songs which he fondly wears on His crown, what more do I want?
Sri Bhattar emphasises the meaning of this Nama on Bhagavan’s humility and affection towards His devotees rather than His Supremacy or Lordship.
Swami ChinmayAnanda comments that He is Loka-swamI in the sense that He is the Creator, Controller, Director, the Lord and the Governor of all fields-of-experience of all creatures, at all times and everywhere; He is the Consciousness that illumines matter.
Sri Satyadevo Vasishta gives his interpretation, based on ‘One Who has Lokam or the Universe as His svam or Aishvaryam – The Lord Who has the Universe as His wealth’.
The Story of Trinavarta
When Krishna’s maternal uncle Kamsa came to know that Baby Krishna also killed Shatkasur. He got very angry and called Trinavarta to execute the task of killing Baby Krishna. Trinavarta assured Kamsa that he has the magnificent power of blowing away everything and he will surely blow away Krishna and will throw him from a high altitude that will finally kill him.
Trinavarta set off to finish Lord Krishna while at the same time, Yashoda and Nanda Maharaja (King Nanda) had organised Krishna’s first birthday function. Lord Krishna, who was on mother Yashoda’s lap, had come to know of Trinavarta’s plan through his divine powers and made himself heavy on her lap. He wanted to support the intent of Trinavarta just so that he could slay the wicked demon.
Yashoda had to finally put Baby Krishna down on the floor, finding him very heavy. She left him and went away to do some housework. Taking advantage of the situation when the baby was unattended, Trinavarta took the form of a powerful tornado and took away the Baby with him. This covered everyone’s eyes within moments, and the whole area of Vrindavan became densely dark so that no one could see anyone. Yashoda could not see her baby, who was taken away by the whirlwind, and she became frantic and fell down on the ground sobbing. When mother Yashoda was so piteously crying, all the cowherd women immediately came and began to look for the baby, but they were disappointed and could not find Him.
Trinavarta kidnapped baby Krishna, and spun him high into the sky. Trinavarta flew higher and higher up into the sky so that he could drop down the Baby Krishna and kill him. Krishna made himself unbearably heavy for Trinavarta suddenly that Trinavarta could not go any further, as Krishna weighed down on him. The Lord caught hold of Trinavarta’s neck and became as heavy as a big mountain. Trinavarta tried to get out of His clutches, but was unable to do so, and soon his eyes popped out from their sockets. Crying very fiercely, he fell down to the ground and his limbs were smashed into pieces by the transcendent baby Krishna, who emerged without a scratch. Krishna became visible to all the inhabitants of Vrindavan.
When the Gopis saw the demon killed and child Krishna very happily playing on his body, they immediately picked Krishna up with great affection. The cowherd men and women became very happy to get back their beloved child Krishna. The Gopis assembled there spoke among themselves: “What sort of austerities and penances we must have undergone in our previous lives! As a result of these pious activities, we have got back our child, even though He was supposed to be dead. Now He has come back to enliven us’.
757. Tri-loka-dhrit – He Who supports the three worlds
Sri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Treen lokaan dhaarayati iti Trilokadhrit – He supports the three worlds hence He is called Trilokadhrit’ and the three world are this world, the worlds above ours and the worlds below ours. Tri-Lok also refers to the three states of consciousness viz. Jagrut, the wakeful state, Svapna, the state of dream and Sushupti, the state of sleep. Bhagavan supports us in each of these states hence He is called Trilokadhrit.
Sri Parasara Bhattar’s interpretation is that He is the One Who has the burden of responsibility for the support and nourishment of the entire Universe, so He is called Tri-loka-dhrit – Asheshaannamapi dhaarana poshakayoh bhaarakatvaat Loka-swami. The root word is ‘dhr – dhaarane’ means ‘to hold, to bear, to support’. Because He created us, therefore He necessarily has the burden or responsibility for supporting us, just like the responsibility of parents towards their children.
Swami ChinmayAnanda gives an alternate interpretation where he interprets ‘tri-loka’ to mean the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep. He gives the interpretation that Bhagavan has this Nama because He is the Supporter, in the form of Consciousness, of the three states of experience, since without the kindling support of life in the bosom, it would be impossible for us to have any experience.
Sri Baladeva Vidya Bhushan gives the interpretation – Tri-loka-dhrig-iti dhaarakatayaa paalakatayaashca tri-lokim dharjati gacchati iti tasya svaabhaviko’yam dharmah – It is His dharma to sustain this Universe and keep it going by supporting and protecting all the creatures of the three worlds. Another variant of the Nama is Tri-loka-dhrik which is essentially the same as for Tri-loka-dhrit.
- Sumedhah – The Well-Intentioned
‘Medha’ means memory or intellect and ‘Su’ as a prefix means superior or excellent, so Sumedhah refers to one with the superior intellect. Based on this, Sri Adi Sankara defines this as ‘Shobhana Medhaa Prajnaa asya iti Sumedhah – He has superlative intellect, hence He is called Sumedhah’.
Sri Parasara Bhattar’s interpretation is that His ‘buddhi or intellect’ is ‘Su-medha’ or superior, because He constantly thinks of doing well for His devotees – Araadhaka su-sadhu buddhih Su-medhah. Sri Krishna Datta Bharadvaj gives the derivation – Sobhana medha dharanavati dhih asya iti Su-medhah, which also conveys the same meaning.
Sri Radhakrishna Shastri elaborates that His ‘superior intellect’ consists of anticipating future events or outcomes, without being disturbed or impacted by the current events or distractions etc.
Swami ChinmAyananda points out that the term Su-medha can refer to the ability of the self to realise its true nature, something that has been temporarily forgotten by us. So he interprets the Nama to mean ‘Divine memory Power’.
Sri Satyadevo Vasishta gives the meaning to Medha as ‘the intellect that gives protection or support’, and explains the Nama as referring to the memory of Bhagavan that is always aware of everything that is going on everywhere, as well as events associated with all beings – past, present, and future. He comments that the intellect of each of us is directly proportional to the extent to which we are able to perceive the Medha of Bhagavan.
The Dharma Chakram writer explains Medha as that power which enables us to understand and realize ‘That which is the biggest of the big and the smallest of the small’. All of us have this power potentially, and can realise it once we know how to control our thoughts, words and deeds and realise the potential power that we have within us.
- Medha-jah – He Who was born as a result of a sacrifice
Medha also means Yajna or Sacrifice. Based on this Sri Adi Sankara interprets this as ‘Medhe Adhvare jaayate iti Medhajah – He manifests Himself whenever a Yajna is performed, hence He is called Medhajah’. ‘Yajno vai Vishnuh – Bhagavan is identical to Yajna’.
In the Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 3 Verse 9) Bhagavan says:
Yajnarthat karmano ‘nyatra loko ‘yam karma-bandhanah |
tad-artham karma kaunteya mukta-sangah samacara ||
Meaning: Work should be performed as a sacrifice for Vishṇu, otherwise the work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O’ son of Kunti, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction and in His submission, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.
Sri Parasara Bhattar’s interprets this as ‘ato medhe – Devaki putriya vrata rupe yajne jaatah iti Medha-jah – He has this Nama indicating that He was born to Devaki as a result of the Yagna (Medha) or sacrifice in the form of austerities performed by her to beget Him as her son’. This was revealed by Lord Krishna Himself as soon as He was born to Devaki (Vishnu Puranam 5.3.14):
Stuto’ham yat tvaya purvam putraarthinya tadadya te |
saphalam devi! Sa’njaatam jaato’ham yat tavo’daraat ||
Meaning: O Revered Lady! You praised Me before, desirous of having Me as Your son. Your prayers have been fruitful today since I have taken birth out of your womb.
Sri Parasara Bhattar also gives support from Vishnu Dharma:
sabyagh-Araadhitenoktam yat prasannena te Subhe |
tat kritam saphalam devi! … || (Vishnu Dharma 33.39)
Meaning: O’ Auspicious Lady! When you worshipped Me with sincerity, I became pleased and made a promise to you (that I would be born as your son). That has been carried out now.
Sri V.V. Ramanujam gives reference to other instances where Bhagavan took birth as the child of devotees, as a result of their Yagna, Vrata, etc. He was born as Vamana to Aditi as a result of her payo-vratam; He was born as Rama to Dasharatha as a result of the latter’s Putra Kaameshti yaagam; As Krishna, He became the son of Yashoda and Nandagopa because of their tapas.
Sri Radhakrishna Shastri gives the additional instances of Lord Varadaraja, Who manifested Himself from the sacrificial fire of Brahma in Kanchi.
Swami ChinmayAnanda comments that Bhagavan makes His appearance in every Yajna in His pure Form, we can say that He is born in Yajna. Based on the Bhagavad Gita, he gives the definition for Yajna as a co-operative endeavour wherein we offer our capacity into a field of chosen work invoking in it the unmanifested Lord, who pours His blessings in terms of profit. In this sense, when all the personality layers are offered in an act of total surrender, the spiritual experience of the Self is born. Thus Bhagavan is the result of the Medha or sacrifice (Medha-jah).
The Dharma Chakram writer describes the five types of Yajnas that each of us should be observing, and indicates that the realisation of the Self is a result of observing these Pancha Maha Yajnas, namely bhuta yajna, pitru yajna, nara yajna, Rishi yajna, and deva yajna. These have been described earlier in Nama 682.
Sri Baladeva Vidya Bhushan uses the root word ‘med, medh – sa’ngame’ means ‘to meet’, as the basis of his interpretation: medha – bhakta sa’ngame jayate pradur-bhavati iti Medha-jah – He is present in the gatherings of bhaktas.
- Dhanyah – The Blessed
The word dhanam refers to wealth and therefore Dhanyah refers to someone who amasses wealth. Sri Adi Sankara takes this in the wider sense of Kritaarthah, one whose every wish is fulfilled or one who is blessed and self-satisfied. He interprets this as ‘Kritaarthah Dhanyah – He has fulfilled all his pursuits and there is nothing left for Him to fulfill or achieve, hence He is Dhanyah.
The word ‘Dhanam’ refers to wealth and hence Dhanyah means ‘One who obtains dhana or wealth’. What wealth does Bhagavan have to attain that He does not have? Sri Parasara Bhattar comments that He considered being born to Devaki as the wealth that He coveted. Since He got His desired wealth by being born to Devaki, He is Dhanyah – tad-janma dhana laabhaat Dhanyah.
Sri V.V. Ramanujan explains that since Bhagavan is One Who does not have normal birth (as He is Ayonijah), this is a great blessing for Him!
The Amara Kosha explanation is ‘dhana dharma sadhuh Dhanyah’ – One Who excels in wealth and dharma is Dhanyah. Sri Krishna Datta Bharadvaj describes as ‘sukriti punyavaan Dhanyah’, and gives the interpretation that Bhagavan accepts the sincere offerings in the form of flowers, leaves etc., and constantly keeps thinking of the devotees welfare; This is sukritam and punya kaaryam, and so He is Dhanyah – Sukriti or punyavaan.
The Dharma Chakram writer explains Dhanya as one who is benefiting from the good karmas from previous births’ (dhanyo’smi – I am blessed). Antima smriti (or final thoughts) is a determinant of this next birth. In order to have good antima smriti, one should train oneself throughout life to be involved in good deeds, thoughts and words. This will make one Dhanyah in future births and/or even bestow Moksha or liberation.
761. Satya-medhah – He is of true thoughts – honest, straightforward
Sri Adi Sankara interprets this Nama as ‘Satya Avitathaa Medha asya asti iti Satyamedhah – His intellect is unfailing at all times and His wisdom is ever present that never deserts Him, hence He is called Satyamedhah.
Sri Parasara Bhattar’s interpretation is that Bhagavan is Satya-medhah because He is sincere in whatever He says and does, and it is not just for pretence – Medha Satya asya, na natana maatram iti Satya-medhah. Sri Bhattar quotes the instance where Bhagavan addresses His Gopa friends and wonder aloud whether He is really one of them after they see Him perform the Govardhana episode:
Yadi vo’sti mayi pritih Slaaghyo’ham bhavataam yadi |
tad-Atam-buddhi sadrishi buddhir-vah kriyatama mayi || (Vishnu Puranam 5.13.11)
naaham devo na gandharvo na yaksho na ca daanavah |
aham vo baandhavo jaatah na vash-cintyam ato’nyata || (Vishnu Puranam 5.13.12)
Meaning: If you have real love for me and think that I am worthy of praise from you, then you must think of me as you think of yourselves (i.e., you must think of me as a Gopa, as you all are). I am neither a god, nor a Gandharva, neither a Yaksha (a demi-god), nor a daanava (demon). I am a born relative to you all. You must not think of me any other way.
Similarly, Rama declares: “Atmanam manusham manye Ramam Dasharath Atmajam” – I consider myself as a human being, and the son of Dasharatha.
Sri Radhakrishna Shastri comments that true knowledge (SatyaMedha) consists of the ability to foresee things and to see the inner aspects of things, so that there are no obstructions caused because of unanticipated or overlooked aspects during execution of any action. If one’s knowledge is useful in times of need with these attributes, then any action undertaken by this person is bound to succeed. Since Bhagavan is One Who is equipped with such knowledge, He is called Satya-Medhah.
Sri V.V Ramanujan describes this Guna of Bhagavan as Arjavam – straightforwardness. Sri Ananta Krishna Shastry gives the interpretation that because Bhagavan has the true knowledge of the Vedas and their numerous branches, He is Satya-Medhah.
Sri Satyadevo Vasishta gives yet another interpretation for this Nama as ‘Bhagavan has the unfailing knowledge that keeps all the multifarious creations right from the beginning of the kalpa to the end with their proper conditions, hence He is called Satya-medhah.
The Dharma Chakram writer observes that because Bhagavan unfailingly bestows true knowledge on those who follow the path of Dharma, and thereby gives them a mind that is directed towards realisation of Him, therefore He is called Satya-medhah. So the lesson for us from this Nama is that we should follow the unfailing path of Dharma so that we will bestowed with true knowledge.
762. Dharaadharah – He Who supports the Earth
Dharaa refers to the earth and one who carries the Earth is Dharaadharah. We have already seen two other Namas viz. Dharaneedharah (237) and Maheedharah (319 and 371) with the same meaning. Sri Adi Sankara interprets this Nama as ‘Amshaih Asheshaih Sheshaadyaih eshaam dharaam dhaarayan Dharaadharah – He carries this Earth using his intrinsic components such as the serpent Adi Sesha hence He is called Dharaadharah, the carrier of the Earth’. Traditionally the serpent Adi Sesha as well as the eight directional elephants are the carriers of the weight of the Earth. Since these are only parts of Bhagavan, it is Bhagavan who is actually the carrier of the Earth and hence He is called Dharaadharah.
The word ‘dhara’ means Mountain, and the word ‘dharaa’ refers to Earth, so the Nama can be viewed as ‘dhara + Adharah’ – holder of the mountain (Govardhana) or as ‘dharaa + dharah’ – supporter of Earth. Sri Parasara Bhattar gives the interpretation using the word dharam – mountain. The nirukti description for the Nama is dharam dhritavaan Dharaadharah – He Who bore the mountain. The reference here is that of Lord Krishna bearing the Govardhana mountain to protect the cows and cowherds when Indra caused a storm and deluge of rain – ‘dharasya govardhanasya girer-dharanaat Dharaadharah’. Sri Bhattar gives the following reference to Bhagavan’s thoughts described in Vishnu Puranam prior to His lifting the Mountain:
tad-etad-akhilam goshtham traatavyam adhuna maya |
imam adrim aham dhairyAt utpaatyaashu Silaadhanam |
dhaarayishyaami goshthasya prithucchatramivaaparam ||
Meaning: The cowpen with all the cows and cowherds should be protected by me now. I shall by force uproot this mountain with big boulders at once and hold it over their heads as a big umbrella and save them all (from this distress).
Sri Radhakrishna Shastri points out the other forms, such as Varaha, the eight elephants of the eight directions, etc. He quotes from Taittriya Aranyaka (1.8.2) in support: Yeneme vidhrte ubhe; Vishnuna Vidhrte bhumi; iti vatsasya vetana – Vishnu is the One who is supporting them with His Sakit; this is the finding of Sage Vatsa.
Swami ChinmayAnanda gives the interpretation of Bhagavan being the sole support of the Earth. He interprets Earth here to refer to matter in general, and observes that Bhagavan is the very essence from which matter has come to express itself, both its gross and subtle forms. He continues: ‘Geographically, the Earth is supported by water, water by atmospheric air, and air by space. If one enquires further and questions what supports space, we know that space is a concept which we experience by our intellect. All experiences of the intellect are established in Consciousness, and therefore, the ultimate support for the entire world is the Supreme Narayana, and so He is Dharaadharah.
The Dharma Chakram writer explains Bhagavan’s support of the Earth, starting from the Pancha Bhutas in their Sukshma form, and how they combine together to evolve into their Sthula forms. Bhagavan’s support of the Earth is really a part of His support of the Pancha Bhutas. He is the Creator of everything, and He is the ultimate Abode of everything, and so He is Dharaadharah. Several are the concepts that are hidden in this mantra ‘Om Dharaadharaya Namah’. Just like all the other mantras (and remember that each Nama is a Mantra), this is another very potent mantra.
Amaani Maanado Maanyo Lokaswami Trilokadhrit |
Sumedha Medhajo Dhanyah Satyamedha Dharaadharah ||80||
He is unconcerned about being respected by others and is devoid of any ego and hence He is Amaani. He treats His devotees with respect and honour, like Kuchela, Guhan or Shabari, irrespective of their humble position in life, hence He is called Maanadah. He is worthy of honour and worship by everybody being the Lord of all people, so He is Maanyah. He is the Lord of all the fourteen worlds hence He is called Lokaswami. He supports the three worlds hence He is called Trilokadhrit. The three worlds are this world, the worlds above ours and the worlds below ours. Tri-Lok also refers to the three states of consciousness viz. Jagrut, the wakeful state, Svapna, the state of dream and Sushupti, the state of sleep and Bhagavan supports us in each of these states.
He has superlative intellect, hence He is called Sumedhah. He manifests Himself whenever a Yajna is performed, hence He is called Medhajah. He has fulfilled all his pursuits and there is nothing left for Him to fulfill or achieve, hence He is Dhanyah. His intellect is unfailing at all times and His wisdom is ever present that never deserts Him, hence He is called Satyamedhah. He carries the Earth using his intrinsic components such as the serpent Adi Sesha, hence He is called Dharaadharah, the carrier of the Earth.
HARI OM TAT SAT
OM NAMO NARAYANAAYA
This Vishnu Sahasranamam series is authored with the help of my friend Shri Balaji.