sri vishNu sooktham

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Lord Vishnu

Sri Vishnu Sahasra Naamam celebrates the glory of Lord Vishnu .The first verse itself contains the Vishnu Sabdham/Naamam:

Visvam VishNu VashaDkAram BhUtha bhavya bhaavth prabhu:
BhUthakruth bhUthabruth bhaavO BhUthAthmA BhUtha-bhaavana:

Visvam means also perfect or paripoorNam (full in all aspects) according to ParAsara Bhattar.That perfect One, That Nampi pervades all of His creations (sentient and insentient):

"CharAchara BhUthEshu vEsanAth VISHNU:”

The next naamam points out that He is "VashatkAran" (i-e) He not only pervades all of His creations, but He also controls and directs them as their NiyanthA.

His Omnipotence is celebrated with the next Naamam:


He is the Swamy of all things that existed in the past , that are present today and are going to be created in the future. He is their Prabhu. He creates them (BhUthakrith); He protects and supports them (BhUthabruth)and serves as their epicenter(adhAram). He thus exists ( BhAva:)with all these VibhUthis as "Sarva-bhUtha-antharAthmA" . As " BhUtha-bhAvanan " , He as Sarva Seshi blesses all of His creations to grow and provides them the means " to sustain them ,nourish them and contribute to their enjoyment of Him ("ThAni dhAraka-pOshaka-bhOgya-pradhAnEna Vardhayathi").

The first nine of the Sahasra Naamams thus provide a beautiful introduction to the powerful and unique Concept of VishNu Tattvam. These naamams are based on Veda Manthrams including those housed in Sri VishNu Sooktham. adiyEn will refer to two manthrams from the Third Canto of Rg Vedam to illustrate the Vedic pramANam for the VishNu Tattvam.

VISHNUM sthOmAsa: purudasmam arkA bhagasyEva kAriNO yAmani gman
Urukrama: kakuhO yasya pUrvIr na: mardhanthi yuvatayO: JanithrI:
--Rg Vedam : III.54.14

Meaning: May our adulations and prayers, the causes behind our Isvaryam, reach the all-pervading VishNu, whose DayA and Preethi is the goal of all of us in our tasks and worship. That VishNu traverses all regions of His Universe with His gigantic strides. The multifaceted and interlocked regions of space, the twin-mother of all His creations, never transgress His commands.

Vishnur gOpA: paramam pAthi pATa: priyA dhaamany amrithA dhadhAna:
agnishtA VisvA BhuvanAni vEda mahaddhEvAnAmasurathvamEkam
--Rg Vedam III.55.10

Meaning: " Pervading and protcting ALL , possessing -- immortal radiance (as Agni), He (VishNu) preserves the Supreme path of rains, for the divine fire is conscious of all these worlds. For VishNu's glory in nature's bounties is greatand unequalled".

Such is His Veeryam ; another Rg Veda Manthram passage
(X.1.3) elaborates on this Veeryam :

" VishNur ittTA paramam asya vidvAn jAtO brihann abhi pAthi ThruthIyam" (VishNu becomes vast and wise as soon as He is manifested , and pervades the entire Universe .He as fire divine protects His third form ( the Sun).

Rg Veda manthram I.154.3 describes the total and unshakable loyalty of the worshipper to Lord VishNu, the creator of this extensive universe:

pra VishNavE sUshamEthu manma girikshita urugAyaya vrushNE
ya idham dhIrgam prayatham sadhasTamEkO vimmaE thribhiritpadhEbhi:

Meaning: " To Him alone , who has created this entire extensive universe with three components (micro , macro and ultra-micro) , and who is the showerer of bliss, the upholder of clouds, and the One glorified by ALL , are dedicated our learning and endeavours".

The Vedic word " Girikshita" here has been intrepreted as the One , who abides in high places. The highest of these high places is Parama Padham , where the Nithya-Sooris offer kaimakryam to Him . The word "Thribhi:" has also been intrepreted to mean the triads of tatthvans:

(a) Prithvi, Jala and tEjas (Earth, water and Light)
(b) Three divisions of Time (Past, Present and Future)
(c) Beyond Three GuNAs (Satthva, RajO and Tamas) a Suddha Sathva  ThirunEni.

Lord VishNu's limitless Vaibhavam, jagath KaaraNathvam, Jagath Aadharathvam , Jagath Rakshathvam as JagannAthan and His glories as VaisvAnaran (Ruler of all souls), as atthA or enjoyer of all souls, as SarvAthmA(the underlying soul of all), as Akshara Brahmam (the imperishable reality) as AayathanavAn (the abode of Heaven & Earth),as the BhUmA (the infinitely lofty and immense) and as DaharAkasan (the dweller of the subtle space in the heart lotus) are celebrated by the above Rg Veda Manthrams and elaborated further in the Thirteen Sri VishNu Sooktha Manthrams .

The Taitthiriya Samhithai has seven manthrams assembled under the title of Sri Vishnu Sooktham section. The Vaishnavas have the version that has 13 manthrams. Additional manthrams are from Rg vedam and elsewhere. adiyEn will focus on the latter. The VaishNavAs recite these 13 mnathrams during Bhagavath AarAdhanam and Thirumanjanam to salute the Lord's glories.

As referred to earlier, Sri Vishnu Sooktham is a celebration of the Lord's ThrivikramAvathAram, the avathAram that fascinated the AzhwArs and AchAryAs like Swamy Desikan (DehaLIsa SthOthram).

Manthram 1:

VishNOrnukam veeryANi pravOcham
ya: paarthivAni vimamE rajAmsi
yO askabhayadhauttharam sadhastham
--TaitthirIya Samhithai: 1.2.27 & Rg.vedam 1.154.1

Meaning: With reverence, adiyEn will describe now the brave, divine and wonderous deeds of the Lord Thrtrivikraman. He measured the Universes with three steps. He is the One eulogized profoundly by the sages, who had the bhAgyam to witness this great performance. This amazing Lord set in order the Earth and the other worlds, which in deomensions are like dust specks from His Thiruvadi. He stabilized the upper regions like Svargam and made them stay firm through His power .

Manthram 2:

VishNOr rarADamasi VishNO: prushtamasi
VishNO: snapthrE sTo
VishNO: syUrasi VishNOrdhruvamasi
Vaishnavamasi VishNavE thvA

Meaning: Oh my Mind ! You serve as the face of the Lord. You are the seat for the Lord . You have become the instrument to know our Lord. You serve as the firm seat made up of the stitching of nerves on both sides to hold Him firm .You have become the permanent place of residence of the Lord of infinite glories. Oh my mind! You are the property of the Lord. adiyEn presents you to Your Swami , the Owner.

Manthram 3:

tadasya priyamapi pATO asyAm
narO yathra dEvayavO madhanthi
Urukramasya sa hi bhandhuriTTA
VishNO: padhE paramE madhva uthsa:
--Rg Vedam I.154.5

Meaning: Therefore adiyEn will partake the holy water flowing from the sacred feet of Thrivikraman that is dear to all. Those devotees , who never ever want to be separated from the Lord partake this SripAdha Theertham and feel mentally fulfilled. That Lord , who grew quickly to stride over the Universes binds these devotees to Himself and stays at His Supreme Abode of Srivaikuntam conferring bliss to all MukthAs and Nithyasooris.

Manthram 4:

pra tadhvishNu: sthavathE veeryAya
mrughO na bheema: kucharO GirishtA:
yasyOrushu thrishu vikramaNEshU
adhikshayanthi bhuvanAni visvA
Rg Vedam I.154.2

Meaning: The all-pervading Thrivikraman dominates by His prowess like a powerful mountain lion. Within His three extended strides, all His creations rest (find their home). Just as an extraordinarily powerful lion strutting at the foot of the mountain jumps and reaches in a flash the top of the mountain, Our Lord extended His feet to measure all the Universe. Every one who wishes to attain glory eulogizes the Lord in this way.

Mantram 5:

parO mAthrayA tanuvA vrudhAna na
tE mahithvamanvasnuvanthi
ubhE tE vidhama rajasI pruThivyA:
VishNO dEva thvam Paramasya viTsE
--Rg vedam 7.99.1

Meaning: Oh Lord ThrivikramA of many mysteries! You grew into a gigantic form never seen before to measure the universe with Your three strides! Nobody fully comprehends Your infinite glories. Therefore You are the Supreme Lord (Parama Purushan/ PurushOtthaman). You measured this enchanting BhU Lokam with one of Your stride and the upper Svarga lOkam with another stride. This we know of; however, You alone know about the greatness of Your Parama Padham. You begged for three steps of land with Your small feet as Vaamanan at MahA Bali's Yaaga Saalai.  You had in mind two measures for striding over the earth and Upper lOkam. In that case, You did not then need the third measure at all. That was our understanding. You had some thing else however in mind. You wanted to place that third step of Your Thiruvadi on the head of MahA Bali, who was born in the vamsam of a great BhaagavathA like PrahlAdhan . You begged MahA Bali therefore for the third measure of land to confer Your supreme anugraham. You alone were privy to this plan. We learnt about it (your purpose) later.

Manthram 6:

VichakramE pruTvImEsha yEthAm
KshEthrAya VishNurmanushE dasasyan
dhruvAsO asya kIrayO janAsa:
urukshithim sujanimA-chakAra
--Rg Vedam 7.100.4

Meaning: "With an object of giving a home to every man, the all-pervading Lord (VishNu) traverses the earth in one mighty step. In His benevolence, the humble people repose their confidence for safety. He, who is the noble progenitor, has made spacious dwelling (for His people)". Those people who eulogize Him out of gratefulness for His dayA live blessed lives here. (Vedam identifies these noble ones , who sing about the glories of the Lord and meditate on Him as Sujanima or nobly born).

Manthram 7:

Thrir deva: pruTvImEsha yEthAm
vi cchakramE satharchasam mahithvA
pra VishNurasthu tavasas tavIyAn
tvEsham hy asya sthavirasya nAma
--Rg vedam 7.100.3

Meaning: In all His majesty, the Lord (Thrivikraman) strides in three steps over this earth that is resplendent with hundred splendours. May this all-pervading VishNu NaarAyaNan, the most powerful among powerful, rule over us. Sacred and unmatched in glory is the name of this eternal Lord (aksharan).

The three words in the Manthram that need comments are:

(1) TridEva: the deity, Thrivikraman, who took three steps to measure the earth and the sky
(2) Satarcasam: radiant with hundreds of splendours
(3) asya Sthavirasya nAma: The name of this One , who lives forever without decay or dissolution.This radiant Lord measured the Earth with three steps so that people can live happily in hundreds of ways.He is DEvarAjan and His name shines brightly forever.

Manthram 8:

athO dEvA avanthu nO yathO VishNurvichakramE
PruTivyA: sapthadhAmabhi:
--TaittirIya Samhithai:1.2.15 & Rg Vedam :1.22.16

Meaning: " May the Omnipresent Lord, along with nature's bounties, preserve us on that part of the Earth whence the Lord measured the seven regions.(This refers to that part of the earth on which the divine revelations came to men through seven metres of the Vedic verses)."

The word "Saptha dhAmabhi:" has been intrepreted in number of ways by Veda BhAshyakArALs. Swamy DayanandhA identifies these seven forms as Casual matter, atom, virAt or MahAn, air, fire, water and Earth. These seven forms can be those of the Seven Vedic metres like Gayathri, Ushnik, Thrishtup etc. These seven forms have also been intepreted as the seven kinds of Samiths used in Yaagams on this Eath measured by the Lord Thrivikraman (Arasu, Purasu, Atthi,Vahni, vikantham, asanihatham, Lotus petals).

Manthram 9:

idham VishNurvichakramE thrEdhA nidhadhE padham
samUDamasya paamsurE
--Rg Vedam: I.22.17

Meaning: "The Omnipresent and the all-powerful Lord dominates over all the three regions , earth, mid-region and the celestial. His one step is deeply rooted in the deep dark mystery , beyond the knowledge of mankind."

The Lord used three steps to measure the Universe at every level (TrEdhA nidadhE padham). This earth filled with dust is brilliantly administered by the Lord.

"samUDamasya paamsurE(Enveloped in dust)" :Here , Niruktham says that the usage is metaphorical(i.e)., the foot steps of the Lord are not visible , as if they are enveloped in dust.

Manthram 10:

thrINi padhA vichakramE VishNurgOpA adhAbhya:
tathO dharmANi dhArayan
-- Rg Vedam I.22.18

Meaning: "The Omnipresent Lord, the preserver of the indomitable, created all the three regions, Earth, the mid-region and the celestial. He sustains and preserves the sanctity of all vital functions that keep life pulsating ".

The other interpretation is: Our Lord Thrivikraman, who can not be subdued by anyone took back from MahA Bali the Universe through the ruse of request of three steps of land as dhAnam and saved the world from his excesses. He could then let the dEvAs receive the Havis and through that anugraham protected the dharmams based on Yaagams.

Manthram 11:

VishNO: karmANi pasyatha yathO vrathAni paspasE
Indhrasya yujya: sakhA
--Rg Vedam : I.22.19

Meaning: " Behold the marvellous creations of the Omnipresent Lord , who fulfils our noble aspirations. He is a true friend of the Soul (Jeevan)".

The Other intrepretation is: Oh People of the World! Enjoy witnessing the divine activities of the Lord. Through these divine acts, the Lord facilitates the initiation of vrathams done by the humans without fear. This Thrivikraman is an inseparable friend andhelper of Indhran.

Manthram 12:

Tadh VishNO: Paramam padham sadhA pasyanthi Sooraya:
dhivIva chakshurAtatam
--Rg Vedam: I.22.20

Meaning: "The wise and true seekers realize the Lord through meditation within their own self; they see Him vividly as the eye ranges over the sky".

Manthram 13:

Tadh ViprAsO vipanyavO jAgruvAmsa: sam-indhatE
VishNOr Yath paramam padham
--Rg Vedam : I.22.21

Meaning: " By transcendental meditation and pious acts, the vigilant seeker of truth realizes the all-pervading God within the innermost cavity , the supreme abode of the Lord.

The other interpretation is: The nithyasooris eulogize the ThirumEni of Parama Padha Naathan , the reward of MukthAs with Jn~Ana vikAsam (fully blososmed Jn~Anam) and enjoy that Lord without interruption (ParipoorNa BrahmAnandham).

AdiyEn will conclude this Article on Vishnu Sooktham with a salutation to Sri VaikuntanAthan (ThiruviNNagarappan) By KurEsar in his Sri Vaikunta Sthavam:

yadh VasihNavam hi Paramam padham aamananthi
kham vaa yadhEva paramam tamasa: parasthAth
tEjO-mayam parama satthva-mayam dhruvam Yadh
Aanandhakandham athisundaram adhbhutham yath
--Sri Vaikunta Sthavm: SlOkam 41

athAto "brahma" zignAsA - Then thereafter be inquisitive to enquire about "the Absolute"