Vishnu Sahasranama

ರುದ್ರೋ ಬಹುಶಿರಾ ಬಭ್ರುರ್ವಿಶ್ವಯೋನಿಃ ಶುಚಿಶ್ರವಾಃ |

ಅಮೃತಃ ಶಾಶ್ವತಃ ಸ್ಥಾಣುರ್ವರಾರೋಹೋ ಮಹಾತಪಾಃ || ೧೩ ||

rudro bahuśirā babhrurviśvayoniḥ śuciśravāḥ |

amṛtaḥ śāśvataḥ sthāṇurvarāroho mahātapāḥ || 13 ||

rudraḥ (ರುದ್ರಃ)

From a surface It looks like rudra (ರುದ್ರ) means one who gives us sorrows and who will burn us. When writing the meaning of rudra suktha from the Vedas, Sāyaṇa (ಸಾಯಣ) wrote rudra (ರುದ್ರ) means fire - Sāyaṇa (ಸಾಯಣ) also called Sāyaṇācārya who was a Sanskrit Mimamsa scholar from the Vijayanagara Empire of South India, near modern day Bellary. An influential commentator on the Vedas, he flourished under King Bukka Raya I and his successor Harihara II. More than a hundred works are attributed to him, among which are commentaries on nearly all parts of the Vedas. He also wrote on several subjects like medicine, morality, music, and grammar. He had an elder brother named Madhava (sometimes identified as Vidyaranya), According to tradition, Vidyaranya helped establish the Vijayanagara Empire sometime in 1336, and served as a mentor and guide to three generations of kings who ruled over the Vijayanagara Empire.

Out of five elements, when one touches fire, tears will roll from the eyes. Hence Agni is also Rudra. Why does God give sorrows? God will give sorrows only to sinners. His main intention in giving sorrows is punishment. When we face difficulties, one should realize that there is God’s grace hidden behind these difficulties. If we break the word rudra (ರುದ್ರ) = ruk (ರುಕ್) + draa (ದ್ರಾ); here ruk (ರುಕ್) means diseases, and draa (ದ್ರಾ) means one who destroys or helps us escape. Hence rudra (ರುದ್ರ) means destroyer of diseases. This word can also be broken as rut (ರುತ್) + dra (ದ್ರಾ). Here rut (ರುತ್) means sorrows and draa (ದ್ರಾ) means one who destroys or helps us escape. Hence rudra (ರುದ್ರ) also means destroyer of sorrows.

Bahuśirā (ಬಹುಶಿರಾ)

The purusha suktha extol God as sahasra’śīrṣā puru’ṣaḥ | sahasrākṣaḥ sahasra’pāt | (ಸಹಸ್ರ’ಶೀರ್ಷಾ ಪುರು’ಷಃ | ಸಹಸ್ರಾಕ್ಷಃ ಸಹಸ್ರ’ಪಾತ್ |. Here Bahuśirā (ಬಹುಶಿರಾ) means one with thousands of heads. Even in Bhagwad Gita during Vishwa Darshana, we hear this. As explained before, God is present as energy in all living beings, hence he is Bahuśirā (ಬಹುಶಿರಾ).

Since head (ತಲೆ) shelters five organs or Shree - ಶ್ರೀ (eyes, ears, voice, nose, and taste) it is called sirassu (ಸಿರಸ್ಸು). Since God shelters all organs, he is known as Bahuśirā (ಬಹುಶಿರಾ).

Babhru (ಬಭ್ರು)

The characterstics describes the ultimate bliss form of the God.God like the rising sun is crimson red. He is like dark complexion with a distinct hue of blue. Usually in the temple God’s idol is dark complexion with a distinct hue of blue in color and halo that is represented as a brass frame kept behind the idol is silver or gold in color. Here the dark complexion with a distinct hue of blue represents striking and eternity. Crimson red represent bliss. Babhru (ಬಭ್ರು) means representing strength and valor (ba, ಬ), good desire (bhru, ಭ್ರು – one who fulfils good desire). Hence God who is eternal, bliss, strong, and having good esire is know as Babhru (ಬಭ್ರು).

viśvayoniḥ (ವಿಶ್ವಯೋನಿಃ)

In sanskrit Yōniḥ (ಯೋನಿಃ) means one who is responsible. The one who is reponsible for the entire universe (multi-verse) and the mother/father is known as viśvayoniḥ (ವಿಶ್ವಯೋನಿಃ).

śuciśravāḥ (ಶುಚಿಶ್ರವಾಃ)

Śravas'su (ಶ್ರವಸ್ಸು) means fame, God is famous (Puṇyakirti, ಪುಣ್ಯ ಕೀರ್ತಿ), The one who is famous helps good souls to be famous. Just by singing and remembering glories of his characteristics (like Vishnusahasranama), we become pure and famous. Hence the one who is pure and famous and makes us pure and famous is known as śuciśravāḥ (ಶುಚಿಶ್ರವಾಃ). God has various pure names and characterstics. There is unusal strength in all his characterstics. Hence Purandara Dasaru, sang, ನೀನ್ಯಾಕೋ ನಿನ್ನ ಹಂಗ್ಯಾಕೋ ನಿನ್ನ ನಾಮಾದ ಬಲವೊಂದಿದ್ದರೆ ಸಾಕೊ (Neenyako ninna hungyaako ninna nAmada bala ondiddarey saako_ i.e. There is no need of you or your obligation, The strength of your name alone is sufficient.

amṛtaḥ (ಅಮೃತಃ)

One one hear amṛtaḥ (ಅಮೃತಃ), we think about elixir (a liquid that would supposedly make people able to go on living forever). However, in Sanskrit, birth is called death, means one day everyone is going to die. There are four types of death.

1. Loss of form – e.g., when a clay pot breaks, it loses its form and becomes part of earth

2. Loss of materialistic body – e.g., Once we lose life, our materialistic body is lost

3. Sorrow is also a form on death

4. Imperfection in death

However, God is untouched by these four types of death. Hence, he is elixir (amṛtaḥ, ಅಮೃತಃ). According to Upanishads, God has three positions. elixir (amṛtaḥ, ಅಮೃತಃ), safety, and fearlessness. The lifespan of deities are long. Lord Hanuman (Vayu) and Brahmas lifespan is thirce that of deities. The husband of Goddess Lakshmi, who has granted long lifespan to Lord Hanuman (Vayu), Lord Brahma, and Deities is amṛtaḥ (ಅಮೃತಃ).

śāśvataḥ sthāṇur (ಶಾಶ್ವತಃ ಸ್ಥಾಣು)

śāśvataḥ (ಶಾಶ್ವತಃ) means one who does not undergo change. sthāṇu (ಸ್ಥಾಣು) means position. We undergo childhood, youth, adult, and oldage. However, although God in the form of energy has filled every matter and space, he does not have a form. He does not undergo change in form an position.

Varāroho (ವರಾರೋಹ)

The one uplifts accomplished souls to salvation are known as Varāroho (ವರಾರೋಹ). Varam-Arohati, means the one who uplifts souls to salvation based on the level of accomplishments. Brahma due to his accomplishment is uplifted to Satyaloka by God (satya meaning truth, loka meaning world, hence meaning the world of truth), Indra due to his accomplishment is uplifted to Devaloka by God (The deva lokas are usually described as places of eternal light and goodness, similar to Heaven). The God along with Goddess Lakshmi, reside in Nitya Loka and is Varāroho (ವರಾರೋಹ).

mahātapāḥ (ಮಹಾತಪಾಃ)

Any subject to think and know in-depth is tapassu (ತಪಸ್ಸು). Everyone’s development are fruits of thinking and knowing in-depth. The costume one wears is not important but to know the subject is important. One winning anger and bad desires and knowing a subject in-depth is tapassu (ತಪಸ್ಸು). Usually, winning desire is easy bit not anger. The reason one gets angry is when we are afraid that we will lose what we desire. Great sages could not win anger, for example Vishwamitra. After coming out of desire for Menaka, sage Vishwamitra undergoes penance, and the Rambha tries to divert Vishawamitra from the penance. Again, Vishwamitra gets angry on Rambha and curses her to be turned into stone. Here even after winning desire, we see that sage Vishwamitra loses to anger. We have a great example about how to meditate on God. The sons of Dharma and Moorthy, Nara and Narayana, gives a great example. When Tilotame came to spoil the meditation of Nara and Narayana, they welcome Tilotama with reverence and they created Uvarshi, and gifts Uravashi to Lord Indra. When we give up desires and anger and through meditation when we realize God, such ‘Parama Brahma’ means Sree Tatva, Goddess Lakshmi who is always in the state of Salvation and ‘Parama Maha Brahma’ means Narayana is mahātapāḥ (ಮಹಾತಪಾಃ).

The force and energy behind meditation is Lord Shiva (Hara). The Hari and Hara energies are like cream in milk. Shiva energy originated from God’s heart. Such a energy and one who is meditated by giving away desire and anger is mahātapāḥ (ಮಹಾತಪಾಃ).