Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Generosity in Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashyas - Part 2

This post is a continuation of the previous post. It analyzes further instances of the Lord's generosity or audAryam explained in the commentaries to Vishnu Sahasranama by Sri Adi Sankaracharya and Sri Parasara Bhatta.

[AS# 557, PB# 562] mahAmanaH:  Sri Parasara Bhattar explains this name as follows: "teSu agAdhodAravismRta manAH" which means "one who has a deep, generous, and broad mind (towards His devotees)."

[AS# 570, PB# 575] draviNapradaH:  Sri Sankara explains this as "draviNaM vA~nchitaM bhaktebhyaH pradAtIti" (One who bestows the objects desired by His devotees to them). Sri Bhattar's explanation goes as "samagraM shAstra-tad-artha-rUpa draviNaM pradAtIti", meaning "One who bestows the wealth in the form of shAstras (scriptures, lit. instructive books)." Here, we should recall similar statements by Sri Sankara in the introduction to his commentary on the Gita where the Acharya explains similarly that Lord Vishnu (Hari), the Supreme Lord of the Universe, came down to the earth in the form of Krishna, the son of Devaki and Vasudeva, to expound on the Vedic religion for the benefit of all Humans, out of His concern for our well-being. Continuing with his explanation of the Divine Name in the current discussion, Sri Bhattar asks us to recall the dhyAna shloka (invocatory verse) on sage Vyasa (who is none other than our Lord Sriman Narayana's avatar): 

vahnvai vAmahastena sarvashAstrArthasaMcayam           |
dakSiNena ca shAstrArthAnAdishaMshca yathAsthitAn     ||
Translation: Vyasa holds in his left hand the collection of all the shAstra-s and their
purport, and propounds by his right hand (the upadesha mudrA, i.e., hand-gesture indicating scriptural advice) the true import of all the shAstra-s.

[AS# 605, PB# 612] shrIdaH:  Sri Sankara says, "shrIyaM dadAti bhaktAnAmiti shrIdaH" - One who grants (dadAti) wealth (shrIH) to His devotees is known as shrIdaH.

[AS# 609, PB# 616] shrIvibhAvanaH:  Sri Sankara says that this name indicates the Lord's fairness in His act of distributing different kinds of wealth to all beings in accordance with their past karma-s (karmAnurUpeNa vividhAH shrIyaH sarvabhUtAnAM vibhAvayatIti shrIvibhAvanaH).

[AS# 611, PB# 618] shrIkaraH: Sri Sankara's commentary here is "smaratAM stuvatAM arcayatAM ca bhaktAnAM shriyaM karotIti shrIkaraH" (One who makes those who meditate on, praise, and worship Him with flowers - His devotees - prosperous).

[AS# 693/694, PB# 698/699] vasupradaH:  This name occurs twice consecutively in the Vishnu Sahasranama hymn. Hence, two explanations are given by both the Acharyas.

Sri Sankara:

"vasu dhanaM prakarSeNa dadAti sAkSAt-dhanAdhyakSo(a)yaM, itarastu tatprasAdAt dhanAdhyakSa iti". To put this in English - It is noted that as per the Vedas, it is possible for one to please the celestial being (devata) Kubera and obtain wealth from him as a result. Sri Sankara says that even Kubera is able to bestow wealth only on account of Lord Vasudeva's grace.

"vasu prakRSTaM mokSAkhyaM phalaM bhaktebhyaH pradAtIti dvitIyo vasupradaH". Sri Sankara explains the second instance of the same name as "One who bestows the greatest wealth - that of salvation or liberation from rebirth - to His devotees". He then quotes a verse from the Veda (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 3.9.28) which says - 'It is Brahman, who is wisdom and bliss, the final goal of the giver of wealth.'

Sri Bhattar gives the following vivid explanations for the same name:

"paramanidhiM AtmAnaM devakI-vasudevAbhyAM putratvena pradAtIti", meaning "He who bestowed the greatest wealth - in the form of Himself - on Vasudeva and Devaki, by being born as their son. (The name of the person who fathered Lord Krishna during His pastime on the earth was 'Vasudeva', pronounced vasudeva, as opposed to vAdueva, the name of the Lord Himself. See transliteration scheme here for a pronunciation guide.) For the second instance, Sri Bhattar explains as: "He who brought glory and fame (vasu - kIrti) to Devaki and Vasudeva. He brought them fame by choosing them as His parents during His pastime as Krishna".

[AS# 744, PB# 750] ghRtAshIH:  Sri Bhattar comments on this name thus: "ghRtaM sacenaM svaguNaiH jagadApyAyanaM". This is one of the two explanations given by this Acharya at this place. He says that the Lord sprinkles prosperity on the world and makes it prosperous by means of His benevolent qualities.

[AS# 808, PB# 814] kundaraH:  Sri Sankara explains - "kunda-puSpa-tulyAni shuddhAni phalAni rAti dadAti" which means "He who gives (ra) rewards as agreeable and pure as white jasmine (kunda) flowers."

[AS# 936, PB# 936] caturashraH: Sri Sankara says that the Lord is known as "caturashraH" since He is fair to everyone (nyAyasamavetaH). Sri Sankara then says that this is justified since the Lord distributes rewards in accordance with the merits men have accumulated through their own past actions (pumsAM karmAnurUpaM phalaM prayacchatIti).

In the last several posts, we got to experience the joy of contemplating on the Lord's Divine nature of being benevolent, graceful, and generous to His creatures. This post winds up the discussion that we started here. In the next post, we will start a new chapter in our journey filled with glimpses of various facets of the Divine Lord of the Vedas, Sriman Narayana.

REFERENCES - Kindly consult previous post.

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