Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vishnu Sahasranamam - Part 5

In Part 3 of the series, I had posed a question - "What are the eight favorite flowers of Sri Vishnu?"

Raghu (The Boss) answered it correctly. However, before delving into the answer, we need to contemplate who Vishnu is and what would 'He' like. All that we see is indeed Vishnu. Sarvam Vishnumayam Jagath - asserts the Vedas. i.e., The Entire Cosmos is Manifestation of Vishnu) - The first Shloka of Isavasaya Upanishad says - 'Isavasyam idam sarvam' All that is here is Divine! What a wonderful statement!

This means everything that is around you is filled with Divinity and are essentially Divine! Concepts of eternal damnation and permanent sinner does not arise in Hinduism.

When everything is filled with Vishnu, what can we offer Him? The only thing He seeks is our Heart! Our Heart should yearn for Him, turn towards Him and Finally be ONE with Him.

If we look at the question again, and the answer below, things would be clear. The eight flowers are:

Ahimsa Prathamam Pushpam
Pushpam Indriya Nigraha:
Sarvabhuta Daya Pushpam
Kshama Pushpam Visheshathaha
Jnana Pushpam
Tapa Pushpam
Shanthi Pushpam Thathaiva cha
Satyam Ashtavidham Pushpoho
Vishnoho Preetikaram Bhaveth

1. Ahimsa - Non-Violence. This is the first(prathamam) flower(pushpam). As long as violence exists, there is separation. So, not to hurt others is the first offering to Vishnu. This should not be meant as not hurting other humans only - This includes all other leaving beings since none of them are less divine than the other. When a mosquito was biting Sri Yogananda, he wanted to swat it. Then he stopped himself from doing it. His Guru saw him angrily and said - 'Please go ahead and kill that mosquito! You've already done that with your thought!' - Sri Yogananda sought forgiveness from his Guru. Non-violence should be practiced even at the thought level. Whenever you inculcate and practice non-violence, be sure that Sri Vishnu is happy with your offering.

2. Indriya Nigraha: - Sense Control. This is the second flower offering to Vishnu. If we let our senses drag our mind and intellect, we cannot focus on Sri Vishnu or ANY other purpose. In Yoga Vashishtam, Sri Rama says that trying to satisfy mind of its desires is like trying to fill a sieve with water - it can never be done. Next time when you overcome a craving and establish yourself to Higher purpose, always know that your offering to Vishnu was gladly been taken by Him.

3. Sarva Bhuta Daya - Love to all Living Beings. This is one of the most important offerings to Vishnu. We should learn to Love all living beings. The same Vishnu who shines in your mother is the same Vishnu present in a flower and same One present in a mosquito! We should learn to Love the Vishnu who shines in the Heart of all things living and non-living. I know of a friend who is so hurt to see industrial waste mixing with river that she cries! Love and develop compassion towards all beings.

4. Kshama - Forgiveness. The shloka says that this flower is special (visheshatah)! When you forgive someone, you are only doing yourself a favor by letting go of a HUGE karmic baggage. The sense of relief that truly overcomes you when you forgive someone from your heart is the proof that this flower is special. Next time you forgive someone, from your Heart, the peace that descends is the proof that Sri Vishnu is specially pleased!

5. Jnanam - Knowledge. This is the Knowledge of the Self and not worldly knowledge. We need to realize that the entire creation is of Sri Vishnu and He shines in the Heart of all beings. To 'Know' this is a flower offering to Vishnu

6. Tapas - Austerities / Meditation. We should strive to overcome mundane life and strive to reach the state of Divinity. All the meditation and austerities that are performed is Tapas. Needless to say, when we take a step in His direction, Sri Vishnu takes a million steps towards us. Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi, an avatar of Sri Dakshinamurthy Himself, said: "If one watches whence the notion ‘I’ arises, the mind gets absorbed there; that is tapas. When a mantra is repeated, if one watches whence that mantra sound arises, the mind gets absorbed there; that is tapas."

7. Shanti - Peace. Peace arises when we realize that all things happen by God's will. Sri Ramana told a story where one guy was sitting in the train with all his heavy baggages on his head. The guy next to him said - "Please keep your baggage down. At least, you'll be free of the pain. The train is carrying it anyway!" - We give too much credit to ourselves and unnecessarily take a lot of load on our head. Only if we offload it to God, we'll be at peace.

8. Satyam - Truth. Truth is Sri Vishnu Himself. Sri Bhagwatam starts 'Sathyam Param Dheemahi'. Lord Vishnu is Truth Himself. Only with Truth you can Get Auspiciousness which leads us to Bliss that is Beautiful (Sathyam Shivam Sundaram). To abide by truth and never swerving from it is the final (8th) flower offering to Vishnu.

By offering these eight flowers, Vishnu is indeed made happy (Vishno: preetikaram bhaveth!)

Let us strive to offer at least one to Sri Vishnu daily. By inculcating these Sattwa Gunas in us, we'll know that we are on the path to reach Sri Vishnu, the One All-Pervading Truth. Sarvam Kalvitham Brahma! Ekam-eva-adwitiyam!

In future posts, I'll start going over Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram from beginning. So that it is easy for someone who's starting to follow the text. (So far I've been talking randomly about the Glory of Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam) - My past entries got zero comments :) - Just let me know if you guys like / don't like what you see here :)


Anand said...

What a great way to start Sriram !! Excellent post. Hope by the grace of GOD each one of us gets something to offer each day.

Sriram V Iyer said...

Anand - Thanks! What you say is indeed correct. We need His Grace to let us offer to Him :) - (Avan arulal avan thaal vanangi...)

Madhu said...

Mama, amazing post! Educative and inspiring! Thanks for the gyan :)

Sriram V Iyer said...

Thanks Madhu :) - Glad you liked it...

Meena Sankaran said...


What did we ever do to earn the privilege of having you in our family? Your knowledge about the Vedas and the Upanishads continue to stagger me but not as much as your ability to break down the BIG messages into bite size pieces for us to sample and swallow. Brilliant post Sriram!

I will earnestly try to offer at least some of these flowers to Him in the course of my life.

Sriram V Iyer said...

Meena, Just saw your message :) Glad could do something that you liked! Needless to say, most of the things that I know, I honestly came to know of the stuff / learnt from you guys only! More of a follower :) I know you are offering most of the flowers to Vishnu (Wouldn't describe here though - needs a dedicated post!)

Sahadev Komaragiri said...

Hi Sriram,
It was through a random google search on the topic of "viShNu sahasra naamaM" that I found your blog. I read all the five parts that you have written so far with great interest. This is by far the most inspirational one. I am traveling along the same path as you are and have been writing about VSN myself. I would appreciate if you take a look at my writings and provide some feedback when you get a chance! Here is the link :

Sriram V Iyer said...

Dear Sahadev:
Thanks for stopping by and providing your feedback. I am glad to know you are writing about SVN too. I'll sure visit your blog and pass on my feedback.


Anonymous said...


Sunthari Krisnaraj said...

Great explanation of 8 flowers. Can u advise me as how to chant for Vishnu bhaghavan? Tomorrow is purataasi. Santhira darisanam. Am not sure how to chant the words?

jyothi l said...

Thank you Sir For the wonderful post onvishnu sahasranamam.

Sriram V Iyer said...

Dear Jyothi: Thanks for your kind feedback!

Most of my blogging this year has been at - It is a mystic composition by Sri Arunagiri Nathar.

Please check that out too. Thanks again!