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?