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 :)

Friday, September 10, 2010


First, I'd like to wish you all a very very happy Ganesh Chaturthi / Pillaiyar Chaturthi!

Ganananam Isha: -> Ganesha:
Ganapati is Lord of all Ganas!

Pillaiyar -> Revered Son
Pillai means son, and Pillaiyar is calling Him with respect.

Chaturthi: Fourth day of Waxing Moon (Shukla Paksham)

Ganapathi is one of the Primal Deities of the Hindu pantheon. He has been revered and celebrated by one and all (not just Hindus!)

He is one of the simplest deities who can be approached without any fear, and one of the Six main deities who can liberate His devotee and make him one with Himself.

Ganesha is found everywhere, esp in Tamil Nadu. Find a Arasa Maram (Peepal Tree) and you can find one nice fat Ganesha sitting below! He is absolutely easy to please - Just offer Him some arugam pul (a type of grass) - He gets ecstatic when he gets Kozhukkatai (Modhakam). We just have to remember is that He is just a kid with elephant's face. Just a mere sight or thought of Ganapathi should help us lose our sorrow and make us feel light and happy.

But, behind His child-like demeanor lies one of the Supreme Personalities of Divinity. He is One with the Parabrahman Himself. He is called 'Vinayaka' - Vi-Nayaka - One without Leader / Hero, because there is none superior to Him.

His Body is a reflection of Om / Pranavam - He is One with OM.

He is always invoked first before any effort to remove all the obstacles! When Bhandasuran, a nasty Asura created massive obstacles, Sri Lalitha (consort of Shiva) looked at Shiva, and Lord Ganesha jumped out from the Union of their sights. He removed all obstacles, and finally lead to triumph of Devi over Bhandasuran.

When Lord Shiva wanted to burn the Tripura (owned by Three Asuras), He forgot to invoke Ganesha. As a result, the axle of His chariot broke. Shiva then realized His folly and created a clay idol of Ganesha and worshipped. He then successfully proceeded to destroy Tripura. When Lord of the Lords Himself invoked Ganesha, we should always invoke Him. We should start our days with remembering Ganesha.

The following is a widely used prayer for Ganapathi (it is sometimes, interpreted as invocation to Sri Maha Vishnu, which IMO it is NOT) - It is always used before any activity is started, which is indirectly an indication that it is for invoking Ganapathi

Shukla-ambharadaram Vishnum
Shashi Varnam Chatur Bhujam
Prasanna Vadanam Dhyayeth
Sarva Vignopa Shanthaye!

Shukla -> White
Ambaram -> dress
Dharam - Wearing

Lord Ganesha is meditated as wearing pure white dress

Vishnum -> One who is all pervading

This is one of the main reasons why this is understood as invocation to Vishnu. The term Vishnu refers to all-pervasiveness. Even Sri Rudram ends as 'Om Namo Bhagawate, Rudraya Vishnave...' I bow down to Sri Rudra, who is *all pervading* - We need to understand that this indicates the OmniPresence of Ganesha

Shashi Varnam
Shashi -> Moon
Varnam -> Color

He is colored like the color of the Moon - This is an important reason to decide this shloka is for Ganesha and not Vishnu. Sri Vishnu is considered dark complexioned! Tirumantiram has the invocation which indicates the same thing too - Inthin ilam-pirai polum ayittrinai == Shashi varnam

Chatur Bhujam
Chatur -> Four
Bhujam -> Hands

Ganesha has four hands - In some verses, He is considered to have 5 hands (including his trunk with is called thuthikkai / thumbikkai in Tamil) - Thirumantiram starts as 'Ainthu karatthanai' (One with five hands) and Kandar Anubhuti's first stanza says 'pancha-kara aanai padam panivam' (bow to the elephant with five hands)- His four hands + His trunk are symbolism for the Five Main activities of God (Pancha Kruthyam) - Usually, the first three alone are known - Creation (Shrishti), Maintenance (Sthithi), Dissolution (Laya), Obfuscation (Dhirobhava) and Grace (Anugraha) - These are major topics themselves, so let's not delve deeper into them :-)

Prasanna Vadanam -> Pleasant countenance

As I said earlier, Ganapati's face is so pleasant to look at

Dhyayeth, sarva Vignopa shanthaye
Dhyayeth -> On Meditating
sarva -> all
Vigna -> Obstacles
Upa Shanthaye -> Will be resolved

Let us medidate on the pleasing face of Sri Ganesha, who wears white dress, all pervading, colored like the moon and Has four-hands, upon which all the obstacles are removed!

Let's start all our activities with this Shloka!

May Lord Ganesha shower us with His Grace!

PS:- In the image above, He is neither shuklambharadharam or shashi varnam :-) - Just liked this image!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Vishnu Sahasranamam - Part 4

After being delinquent from blogging duties :) due to unending work pressure, I thought I should make some time to continue the Vishnu Sahasranamam Series – Afterall, today we celebrate the birthday of one of the Highest Form of Divinity to have descended to human-accessible levels – Bhagawan Sri Krishna, who is Paramatman, Himself!

In the initial part of Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam, Sri Bhishma tells that the Supreme Person for whom the Thousand Names are addressed is standing right next to him!

The word Krishna is discussed by people in many ways –
(1) Krishna: Krishna: - Krishna is One Who is Dark Complexioned
(2) Aakarshna: Krishna: -Krishna is One Who is all Attractive

Krishna was a Purna Avataram – That is he came with unrestricted glory – For e.g., Sri Rama had to confine Himself to the capabilities of a human. But, with Krishna, there was no such thing! He killed monsters when he was a baby, danced on a snake, lifted mountains, gave liberation to devotees and what not!

In Vedas, lot of Karma (actions / duties) are prescribed – For e.g., Nitya Karmas (that need to be performed daily) like Sandhya Vandanam, and others like Yajnas, Homams etc – When we make mistakes while performing those Karmas, then we have to do Prayahschitta Karmas – To make amends for the mistakes. But, what do we do when we make mistakes while doing the Prayahschitta karmas? There is no end to the loop! So, Vedas say, the only way to stop this is by chanting ‘Krishna’ 12 times! That’s it!

Krishna can be adored as a baby, cherished as a friend, revered as a Master, prayed to as a God, loved like a spouse and what not! There is no restriction whatsoever to pray to Krishna – He is the most accessible one, who comes running on calling His name!

Scriptures say – ‘Ishwara: Parama: Krishna: - Sat-chit-ananda vigrah:
Anadir-adir Govinda: - Sarva Karana Karanam’

Lord Krishna is indeed the supreme (parama:) of all Gods (Ishwara:) – He is ‘Truth-Consciousness-Bliss’ which took Form (for us, it is our Karmas which give our form, made of pancha bhootas) – He is without an end (anadi:) or beginning (adi:) – He is a the Cause of all Causes (Primal Cause) (Sarva Karana Karanam)

Benefits of chanting entire Vishnu Sahasranamam, can be acquired by chanting the name of Sri Krishna alone!

Make use of the auspicious time of Sri Krishna Janmashtami, and pray to the Lord! Please do not queue up to God with requests on His birthday! Thank Him for all His Grace which sustains our breath, and helps us enjoy this marvelous gift of life

He has made few important promises (in Bhagawat Geeta:
(1) Ma-Sucha: - Do not Fear!
(2) Yoga-Kshemam-Vahamyaham – I’ll bring unto you what you don’t have and protect what you have!
(3) Sambhavami Yuge Yuge – I’ll come down in every Yuga!

Let us remember His Words, and follow His advice.

May all of us be fortunate enough to seek the blessings of Bhagawan Sri Krishna!

Sarvam Sri Krishnarpanamastu!

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?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Vishnu Sahasranamam - Part 2

I stopped the previous part with the following questions -

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?

Let me take the first question first (unlike Bhishma, who answered the 5th question first (actually sixth) :D)

Saints and Rishis swear by the potency of the God's name. But, if we had to trust in our ability to focus or concentrate, it means that Vishnu's name is potent only because of our efforts and not by itself, which is totally incorrect!

A fire will burn the skin of the person who touches it irrespective of the person knowing if the fire is hot or not. Medicine cures the person who may not necessarily believe in the potency of the drug. One need not know the recipe of the food to enjoy it. Same way, each of God's names has the potency to help, cure, palliate, comfort and relax the devotee irrespective of his level of advancement. We only need to keep chanting His names!

There are many incidents in our scriptures which support this claim - For e.g., Saint Valmiki was initiated into the 'Rama' maha-mantra by Sage Narada. Actually, Narada was challenged not to give the mantra as-it-is. So, He initiated Valmiki to the mantra as 'Ma-ra' - Which when repeated sounds 'Ra-ma'. This name alone took Valmiki to His realization and He could write the epic Ramayana with almost 24000 verses! (Mahabharata is even bigger with 125,000 verses - So called Greek classics pale in comparison!)

Another incident which describes the potency of Lord's name is 'Ajamila Upakhyanam' in Srimad Bhagavatam. (I'll describe that in short now)

Ajamilan was a Brahmin by birth - Once when he went to forests to collect herbs and grass for his prayers, he saw a prostitute in the forest and fell in love with her. He never went back to his family. He started living an immoral life which also included stealing from the village for sustenance. As time passed, the prostitute gave birth to many kids.

When his last kid was born, by God's Grace, a saint came that way, and named the kid as 'Narayana'. Ajamilan was totally in love with the kid. He kept calling him by his name always - Narayana, Narayana!

Then Ajamilan fell ill and was in his death bed. He was approached by Yama Ganas (assistants to Lord Yama, the Lord of Death). Ajamilan saw their violent and scary form, and he remembered his last kid playing outside and called him 'Narayana! Narayana'

Suddenly, Vishnu Dhootas (Vishnu's messengers) came over and asked the Yama Ganas to leave! Yama Ganas were taken aback! They told Vishnu Dhootas that this guy was one of the biggest sinners and they have all his records. Vishnu Dhootas told them that, even if he had spent a life time sinning, he called the name 'Narayana' during death and so, he cannot be taken to hell.

Ajamilan who was witnessing this was stunned. He thought how much better his life would have been if he had spent his whole life contemplating Sri Vishnu! Thus, Ajamilan was saved by chanting Narayana name even though his intent was to call his son! Thus is the potency of Lord's name.

I am no way indicating that we can be saved by chanting Narayana's name in our end after spending a life time of sins :-) - Scriptures say that at the time of death, the soul gets into a trance just identical to the dreaming state. Just as we don't have any control on our dreams, we would have no control on our thoughts at the time of death. So, we have to practise chanting Lord's name always!

Alwar sings - "In my old age, Oh Lord Ranganatha, I'll be sick, tired and unconscious. My throat will choke and I cannot speak. My body will not let me remember you. So, Lord I chant your name now itself. Please consider this chanting towards that time!" (appothaikku ippothe solli vaithen, arangathu aravanai palliyane!)

Sri Arunagirinathar sings to Lord Murugan -
"Kar ma misai kalan varin, kalaba
ther ma misai vanthu ethira paduvai!"
When Lord of Death approaches in His large and black buffalo, You must come before me in Your chariot of Peocock, and save me!

So, please don't worry about mind wandering off! Just make it a practice to chant Vishnu Sahasranamam regulalrly - Mind will indeed be subdued sometime. But, if you wait for mind to subdued to start chanting Vishnu Sahasranamam, it would become the case of the guy who waited for the waves in the ocean to subside to take bath. Carpe Diem!

I'll answer the rest of the questions in subsequent posts!

Na Vasudeva Bhaktanam Ashubham Vidhyate Kwachit!
"No ill befalls the devotee of Sri Vasudeva Bhagawan Vishnu:"

Om Namo Narayanaya!
Sri Subrahmanya Rakshitoham!
Arunachala Siva! Arunachala Siva!
Siva Siva Ram Ram!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Vishnu Sahasranamam - Part 1

Most of my New Year Resolutions, sadly, have been centered around a common theme - Losing weight. I came very close to pulling that off last year, but I decided to start a software company, and I became *VERY* busy. I piled on more kilos than I lost, and I am weighing the max I have weighed in my life ever :D

This year, I have decided to get back Vishnu Sahasranamam and few other texts COMMITTED to memory. I used to know Vishnu Sahasranamam quite well about 10 years ago, till I gradually gave up chanting it daily, till some parts of it appear quite new to me.

By, God's Grace I still remember some parts very well along with their meaning. I'll try to share some of it in this post.

1. What is Vishnu Sahasranamam?
Many would know that as thousand (sahasra) names (nama) of Bhagawan Sri Vishnu. This occurs in Mahabharata during the Kurukshetra war description. Bhishma, was defeated by Arjuna and was drilled by arrows so much that it appeared he was lying in a bed of arrows. Since he had a boon that he could decide the time of his death, he was waiting for a time called 'Uttarayanam' to begin, so that it would facilitate his departure to higher worlds. (He was such an exalted soul!). When this holy period was about to start, Sri Krishna went to Pandava's camp and said that one great soul was leaving earth very soon and requested Pandavas, starting from Yudhishtira to come and see Bhishma and learn from him for one final time. So, they all reached the part of the battlefield where Bhishma was lying down. His body was in deep pain (you can imagine that even a needle prick is so painful! Think of whole body riddled with arrows!) but his face was tranquil and serene.

His face lit up on seeing Sri Krishna coming towards him. (Krishna and Bhishma share a very nice bond - More on it later) - He reverentially bowed to Krishna and felt bad that he could not receive Krishna ceremoniously!

Then Yudhishtira asked a few questions to Bhishma:
1. Kim Ekam Daivatam Loke? (Who Only God World) - Who is the Only God?)
2. Kim vap ekam parayanam? (Who is (the) only (and final) refuge ?)
3. Stuvantha: kam kamarchanta prapnuyur Manava Shubham? Stuvantha means to Praise or Extoll. On Praising whom, will Humans (manava) get (prapnuyur / praapthi) Good (Shubham)?
4. Ko Dharma, Sarva dharmanam bhavatha paramo matha: - What Dharma, is First (parama) among all Dharmas (sarva dharmanam)?
5. Kim Japan Muchyate Janthu: Janma Samsara Bhandanath? - On meditating (japa) on whom, can living beings (janthu:) cross the bonding (bhandana) of birth and death (janma samsara)?

Bhishma answers all the above questions, and says that Bhagawan Sri Maha Vishnu is the Ultimate Resting Place and Refuge for all humans - He has infinite names. But, he would tell 1000 names that are very special and have been used by great Rishis and Saints while addressing Him. By chanting these 1000 names, all pain would be removed, happiness will flow and in the end, the endless cycle of birth and death will surely be cut! Btw, that's a tall promise!

Some Saints believe that Sahasranamam is even more special than Bhagawat Geeta, because, Bhagawan told Bhagawat Geeta, but He listened to Vishnu Sahasranamam :-) (along with Pandavas)

I have wondered how this was the FIRST text expounded by Sri Sankara after he concluded his travels and re-established Sanatana Dharma (so called Hindu Dharma) throughout India. Anyone would know that Sri Sankara was an Adwaitin - He believed that God only existed, and did not believe God was separate from Self.

I realized that these names are not just some collection of sounds, but are meaningful names - They show what God Is or Does. For e.g., the first name 'Vishwam' indicates that the entire creation is God. The next name 'Vishnu' means that He is all pervading! There is is NOTHING that is NOT Vishnu. He pervades deep into atoms and the great Sky and Cosmos. (I need to forcefully stop here, otherwise I might go on for long :D)

These names are called 'Bhagawat Guna Darpanam' - Mirror (Darpanam) that reflects the Properties (Guna) of God (Bhagawan) - By realizing these properties in God, we finally see them in the Self, and realize that the Self and God are One. So, if you believe in Adwaita, you should definitely chant Vishnu Sahasranamam! That's the reason why Sri Adi Sankara Bhagawat Pada expounded Vishnu Sahasranamam. (There is another story why He did that First, but that's for later too!)

So, Bhishma said that the person to whom all these names are meant, is standing next to me and listening to me! He bowed reverentially to Sri Krishna and chanted the 1000 names)

And in the end, when the Uttarayanam period started He gave up His Life and Merged into Sri Krishna. As soon as He left the Body, there was fragrance throughout the place and everyone there experienced a mighty peace that they did not even grieve for the death of Bhishma for sometime.

So, I would conclude by this post by telling that if you have a car and drive to office, buy a Vishnu Sahasranamam CD and listen on the way :-) - Even if you travel by bus, it might be good to buy an MP3 player and listen on the way (I have been listening to Vettaikkaran during my past few drives :D)

But, 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? What if mind keeps wandering off? What if I make mistakes in pronunciation? Will it help even if I have all of the above deficiencies? - Wait for Part 2 :D (Pssss - Answer is Yes!)