Vishnu Sahasranama

ಇಷ್ಟಃ ಅವಿಶಿಷ್ಟಃ (ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟಃ) ಶಿಷ್ಟೇಷ್ಟಃ ಶಿಖಂಡೀ ನಹುಷಃ ವೃಷಃ (308-318)

ಕ್ರೋಧಹಾ ಕ್ರೋಧಕೃತ್ ಕರ್ತಾ ವಿಶ್ವಬಾಹುಃ ಮಹೀಧರಃ || 34 ||

iṣṭaḥ aviśiṣṭaḥ (viśiṣṭaḥ) śiṣṭeṣṭaḥ śikhaṃḍī nahuṣaḥ vṛṣaḥ

krodhahā krodhakṛt kartā viśvabāhuḥ mahīdharaḥ || 34 ||

iṣṭaḥ (ಇಷ್ಟಃ)

To respect and cherish any object, it must be desirable to us. The Lord has many forms, and each person has a favorite form. Here, 'Ishta' means an object of our affection. The Lord is the entity that everyone should love. In another sense, Ishtaḥ means the one who is worshipped through all sacrifices. As mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita:

ಅಹಂ ಹಿ ಸರ್ವ ಯಜ್ಞಾನಾಂ ಭೂಕ್ತಾ ಚ ಪ್ರಭುರೇವ ಚ (9.24)

'I am indeed the enjoyer and the lord of all sacrifices.' No matter which deity we perform a sacrifice for, it ultimately reaches the Antaryami, the indwelling Lord. Thus, being the object of all sacrifices and beloved to all, the Lord is the 'Ishtadeva', Ishtaḥ.

aviśiṣṭaḥ (viśiṣṭaḥ) [ಅವಿಶಿಷ್ಟಃ (ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟಃ)]

The Lord, residing within everyone as the Antaryami, is Aviśiṣṭaḥ; He is extraordinary, possessing qualities superior to all. The supremely exalted Lord with exceptional attributes is Viśiṣṭaḥ. Here, 'Śiṣṭa' also conveys the meaning of 'Śesha' (the remaining or enduring). The Lord is the only power that remains after the great dissolution. Those who impart the knowledge of the Lord to the world are the wise. The one who can be known through the teachings of the wise is Viśiṣṭaḥ.

śiṣṭeṣṭaḥ (ಶಿಷ್ಟೇಷ್ಟಃ)

Śiṣṭaru refers to those who have acquired knowledge of truth through tradition; they are the ones who follow the path of truth as taught by their guru. The Lord, who is beloved and worshipped by the learned, is Śiṣṭeṣṭaḥ.

śikhaṃḍī (ಶಿಖಂಡೀ)

The term 'Śikhaṃḍī' has been misinterpreted in society, but fundamentally it refers to someone with a 'śikha' or a tuft of hair. 'Śikha' means head hair. Those who neatly tie their hair at the back, resembling an egg, are known as Śikhaṃḍīs. When Krishna was a child, his mother Yashoda used to tie his hair in this manner, and therefore he was called Śikhaṃḍī. Those who wear a peacock feather in their hair are also referred to as Śikhaṃḍī. Krishna, during his childhood, used to wear a peacock feather while playing with other cowherds, which is why he was traditionally called Śikhaṃḍī.

Breaking down the name, we get 'Śi + Khaṃḍī'; here, 'Śi' signifies those who are always in the sleep of ignorance. The Lord, who refutes such beings, is Śikhaṃḍī. 'Śam' means happiness. The Lord, being the embodiment of self-joy, refutes the sorrowful nature of worldly life and grants liberation. He refutes the happiness of those unfit for true joy; thus, the Lord is Śikhaṃḍī.

nahuṣaḥ (ನಹುಷಃ)

The Lord as Nahuṣaḥ is the one who ensnares us in the bonds of worldly existence, and ultimately liberates us from these bonds, granting salvation. We are often bound by the chains of various attachments. The force that causes one person to love another is due to some power within them. Unconditionally loving a stranger, forming the bond of love as husband and wife, all happen according to the divine law. The Lord is the one who makes our hearts open in someone's company, fostering friendship. He is the one who nurtures and solidifies the bonds of affection and love, and also the one who separates them. It is difficult to know when the Lord, who binds us, will set us free. We commonly see people parting ways due to love or hatred. Thus, the Lord as Nahuṣaḥ is the one who ensnares us in bonds and also releases us from them. He binds the planets and stars with the force of attraction, and during the time of dissolution, He separates everything. This is His law.

vṛṣaḥ (ವೃಷಃ)

In common usage, 'Vṛṣaḥ' means bull. However, in Vedic terms, 'Vṛṣaḥ' signifies 'to shower or rain.' The Lord as Vṛṣaḥ showers the rain of desired blessings upon devotees and wise men. Another meaning of this name is 'Dharma'; sustaining society is Dharma, and it is a symbol of the Lord. 'Vṛ+ṣaḥ', where 'ṣa' stands for the six attributes; the six fundamental qualities cultivated through the worship of the Lord: wealth, valor, fame, prosperity, knowledge, and detachment. The one in whom these six qualities are fully embodied is Vṛṣaḥ.

krodhahā (ಕ್ರೋಧಹಾ)

While humans may conquer desire, overcoming anger is extremely difficult. Even when we dislike it, anger tends to cling to us. This issue did not spare even the sages and saints. Vishwamitra, who had conquered desire, fell prey to anger and cursed Menaka to turn into a stone. Only the Lord can truly eradicate our anger. If we seek liberation from anger, the only way is to surrender to the Lord. The one who removes our anger and destroys the demons of rage is the Lord, Krodhahā.

krodhakṛt (ಕ್ರೋಧಕೃತ್)

In the destruction of the wicked, the Lord Himself becomes the embodiment of anger. The Narasimha avatar of the Lord is an example of His form of anger. It is the Lord who induces anger in us! The anger of great souls transforms into significant actions. The curse of the sages Sanaka and others on Jaya and Vijaya resulted in the Lord taking various avatars on earth to save the righteous. Thus, the Lord, who becomes angry at the wicked, is Krodhakṛt.

kartā (ಕರ್ತಾ)

Kartā means 'the doer' or 'the cutter.' In the time of creation, the Lord creates everything, and during the time of dissolution, He 'cuts' or destroys everything. Thus, in each era, whatever needs to be done, the Lord does it, and whatever needs to be removed or ended, He cuts it away. The Lord as Kartā is the one who acts and eliminates as per the requirements of the time.

viśvabāhuḥ (ವಿಶ್ವಬಾಹುಃ)

At first glance, 'Viśvabāhu' suggests someone with complete arms. The Lord has infinite and perfect arms. Here, 'infinite' implies arms that are complete and integral to His form. The Lord and His arms are not separate; He does not have physical limbs like us. We have two physical hands, two arms for our subtle body, two arms for our linga (astral) body, and two arms for our soul's form. Our physical senses are not eternal, but the intrinsic sense remains with us even in liberation. The Lord's infinite limbs are intrinsic and complete. 'Viśvabāhu' here means the arms that protect the entire universe. The Lord, who sustains the universe through His cosmic form, is Viśvabāhuḥ.

mahīdharaḥ (ಮಹೀಧರಃ)

'Mahī' means Earth. The Lord not only supports the entire world but also resides within every object, individually sustaining it. The Lord, dwelling within the Earth and bearing it, is Mahīdharaḥ. In the Gayatri mantra, we worship one form of the Lord as 'Mahīrūpa'. The form of the Lord in Gayatri is the source of all speech, known as 'Vāk', representing the Earth as 'Prithvi' and the immanent form within us, and also the form present in the solar realm. This form of the Lord is worshipped in both feminine and masculine aspects. Thus, the Lord, who is the subject of the Gayatri, bearing Lakshmi on His chest and thighs, is Mahīdharaḥ.