Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Vishnu Sahasranamam - Part 3

In the previous post, I had asked 3 questions, but answered only the first two.

1. Do we need to chant the names with total devotion and concentration for this to work? What if I am not able to focus or get even a semblance of devotion or concentration?

2. What if mind keeps wandering off?

3. What if I make mistakes in pronunciation? Will it help even if I have all of the above deficiencies?

We discussed that the Name is inherently powerful and it would help us overcome the limitations of mind. It is our duty just to keep chanting without bothering about the mind. We need to keep a schedule and stick to it, irrespective of what the mind says.

Some people are worried that some catastrophe will descend if the pronunciation is wrong. This is both right and wrong :-) - To clarify, pronunciation is extremely important for mantras, but not for stotras. Sri Narada told Sri Bhagawan Vyasa to write Bhagavatam (Glory of Bhagawan Sri Vishnu) and told him that even if someone quotes it full of blunder in each word (Abaddam) the person would be redeemed, because it speaks ONLY of the Glory of God. (No Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha as in Mahabharata)

There is a nice incident that illustrates this. There was one poor person who chanced upon recital of Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam when he was crossing a house. He heard the name 'Padmanabho'maraprabhu:' This is split as 'Padmanabho - Amaraprabhu:' i.e., Sri Vishnu is Padmanabha (has a Lotus coming out of His Navel that has Sri Brahma) and is the Head of all Immortals (Amara +Prabhu:)

He heard the name 'maraprabhu and understood it as the Head of all Trees (mara -> Tree in Tamil) - He found a tree close to his home and he started circumambulating the tree 108 times daily chanting 'maraprabhu:' many times. He continued this practive for many years! He did that out of total devotion.

One day, a Sanskrit Scholar happened to pass by and heard this guy chanting 'maraparabhu:' - He was livid and told that guy that he did a great mistake by calling Sri Vishnu as 'maraprabhu' - He explained the meaning and told him it was 'amaraprabhu:' and asked him to chant that daily.

So, this simpleton, sat in his home the next day and chanted 'amaraprabhu:' feeling bad that he upset Lord Vishnu! He did not go around the tree since it no longer made sense (in light of the name)

That night Bhagawan Sri Maha Vishnu appeared in the dream of the Sanskrit Scholor in an angry form! He asked the Scholor if he had read Vishnu Puranam. It reads:
Jyoteemshi Vishnu: (Vishnu is in the Form of all Light)
Vanani Vishnu: (Forests are Form of Vishnu)
Bhuvanani Vishnu: (Whole Earth is Form of Vishnu)

He then asked the Scholor, if He is in the form of entire forest, is He not the prabhu of trees? He then asked - "Who asked you to correct my devotee? Am I not maraprabhu:? Please seek apology and ask Him to continue his earlier practice!"

The next morning the Scholor ran to this simpleton's place and fell at his feet! He narrated the dream and told this person to continue going around the tree 108 times chanting 'maraprabhu:'!

Lord is the Kindest of all! Thirumantiram (Invocation, Verse 8)

Hotter is He than fire, cooler than water;
And yet none knows of His Grace abounding;
Purer than the child, kinder by far than the mother,
Nearest to Love is He, of the flowing matted locks.

Pronunciation, Anushtanam are next only to Love of God. Let us try to our best to Learn Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam as correctly as possible, but not worry about repercussions.

There is no Anushtanam (practices) that needs to be observed for chanting VSN. Can be chanted in day, night, walking, lying down even in places of 'Theetu' (or impurity) - Let our whole body resonate and merge into the Loving Heart of Sri Maha Vishnu!

Sankeertya Narayana Shabda Matram
Vimukta Du:kha Sukhino Bhavanthu

Sarvam Sri Krishnarpanamastu!

I would like to end this with a question (Answers in comments please!) :-) - What are the eight favorite flowers of Sri Vishnu?


dhvanii said...

Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Vamana,
Parsurama, Rama, Balarama & Krishna.

Nrusimha is His Self, and so not his favorite ..


dhvanii said...

Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Vamana,
Parsurama, Rama, Balarama & Krishna.

Nrusimha is His Self and so not his favorite.


Sriram V Iyer said...

He he..

Boss: I thought you were answering for the eight favorite avatars of Lord Vishnu :-) - I was asking for eight favorite flowers!

But I should say that you are in the right direction (flowers are not actually flowers here :-) )

dhvanii said...

:) I knew there was a hidden agenda to your question .. When god wrote code, he used Flowers as the parent class.
Flowers Avatar = new Flowers();
Anyways, I did google this today morning to find the right answer:
Ahimsa Prathamam Pushpam (Non-violence)
Pushpam Indriya Nigraha (Sense-control)
Sarvabhuta Daya Pushpam (Compassion to fellow beings)
Kshama Pushpam Visheshathaha (Patience)
Jnanam Pushpam (Right knowledge)
Tapaf Pushpam (Penance)
Shanthi Pushpam Thathaiva cha (Inner peace)
Satyam Ashtavidham Pushpoho (Truth)
Vishnoho Preetikaram Bhavet


தக்குடுபாண்டி said...

good job Mr. Sriram!!!!

Madhu said...

Hi mama,
I read your three Vishnu Sahasranamam posts today. They were profoundly enlightening, though at certain parts I was lost due to a lack of proper knowledge about our mythology and scriptures. Thanks for the insightful explanations! I have resolved to start chanting Vishu Sahasranamam from tomorrow (it would probably take me an hour to get through the pronounciation of the first sanskrit line :P )

Sriram V Iyer said...

@Boss: You got the eight flowers right! I am going to write about them in the next post!

@Thakkudupandi: Thanks!

@Madhu: Thanks kutti! Please let me know which parts you were not comfy with and I'll write more about them. Your mom should be your first guru to chant Vishnu Sahasranamam. I am sure she knows it well!

Anonymous said...

i would be grateful if you could help me with my doubts. if someone wants to recite vishnusahasarnamam and vishnusahasarnamam, should they get it initiated through a guru or start on thier own.

Sriram V Iyer said...

Dear Friend:
As I had mentioned in the blog, there is absolutely no need for initiation to chant Vishnu Sahasranamam. You need initiation only for Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam (and a few others).

Please start chanting!

தக்குடுபாண்டி said...

yes, for vishnu sahasranamam even we can start chanting along with MS amma version. That will be best based on her correct pronunciation.

R.Sajan said...

The story is of Poonthanam mispronouncing it as mara-prabhu; and Melpathoor ridiculing him for it, at Guruvayoor.
Amara-prabhu is Lord of the immortals, and mara-prabhu is Lord of the mortals.
It all has nothing to do with trees.

jyothi l said...

Each name referred in the vishnu Sahasranamam signifies the quality and characteristic of the Lord. The Lord cannot be entirely defined because he is beyond human comprehension. The Vishnu Sahasranama is an attempt to help the common man to understand the greatness of the Lord. Sri VedaVyasa , the great poet strung the names of the Lord into poetic verse.

Bhishma advised Yudhishtira that reciting mantras of God is the easiest way of propitiating Him. Of all the ways of worshipping the Lord, selfless service and hymnal praise are the best. Praising the Lord does not cost money. A person does not have to seek help from others to repeat the name of the Lord. It does need sacrifice or effort. Any body can recite the mantra. The names of Lord MahaVishnu if chanted with devotion and self surrender will protect and guard a person.