Why should scholars learn Vishnu Sahasranamam and its meaning?
The Vishnu Sahasranamam summarises in 1000 names all the attributes and known/deduced facts about God. Students and scholars of Indian philosophy who start with Vishnu Sahasranamam along with Sankaracharya‘s commentary can at one short go understand what the concept of God is in Hinduism.
- The Upanishads form the Vedanta that explains the Vedas.
- The Bhagavad Gita summarises these Upanishads.
- The Vishnu Sahasranamam summarises what the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads, and Puranas and other ancient texts say about God. It is your shortcut to illumination.
Adi Sankaracharya’s commentary gives us all the references behind each name that can be found in all the other sacred texts.. and it is a gripping work with each explanation shining like 1000 watt torch in a deep dark cave. It is a mini-treatise on Advaita.
It is said that Adi Sankaracharya, wanted to first write a commentary on the Lalita Sahasranama, but his student kept bringing the Vishnu Sahasranama instead, 3 times in a row. Then he decided to comment on this first following a divine injunction.
The author of the Vishnu Sahasranamam.
In the Mahabharata, Yudhisthira learns the Vishnu Sahasranama, from his dying grandfather Bhishma, among a host of other matters. Just as the Bhagavad Gita is Krishnena Kathita and Vyasena Grathita, similarly, Vishnu Sahasranamam is Bhishmena Kathita and Vyasena Grathita. So Veda Vyasa reported what Bhishma said, in beautiful, awesome poetry.
The benefits of Parayanam.
Even those who do not know the meaning will get the pranayama benefits of parayanam ie the health and spiritual benefits that come from breath control. While not exactly a tongue-twister, still it the sounds themselves are perfectly arranged to make a very good poetic reading.
There are also karmic benefits of chanting the Vishnu Sahasranama like protecting you from trouble, granting your wishes enabling to attain your life’s goal. It is sat-karma or punya karyam.
Listen to Smt. M.S. Subbalakshmi Chanting the same : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT2rgZcCLDU
Read Along and Learn Text and Slow Pronounciation : the pronounciation is very good.. the translation follows one of the Vaishnava traditions.
Translations of Vishnu Sahasranamam : “Though it is called SahasraNama in fact it contains only 901 distinct sounding names. Eight hundred and fifteen names are repeated once, Seventy-five of these names are repeated twice, nine of these names thrice and two of these names four times. The acharyas have attempted to give different meanings to the same word in different places successfully.” (Sri P.R.Ramachander)
- Vishnu sahasranama excerpt from the Mahabharata by Kisari Mohan Ganguly (published between 1883 and 1896)
- Translation by Sri P.R. Ramachander for download
- Translation by Sri P.R. Ramachander at AncientIndians Site
I am planning to teach this at Ancient Indians University – eGurukula in February., chanting plus meanings. A reasoably quick student is likely to need 16 classes approx to complete this course. That is 4 months, once a week or 1 month, 4 days a week.
- Students who would like to enroll on a regular basis may visit : Register for studies at Ancient Indians University
- Student who would like to register for one-off or flexi-classes, may visit : Voice/Video Online Classes on Ancient Indian Studies : Flexi-Timings
The advantage of learning from a teacher is that you get corrected is you make mistakes, you get an opportunity to get your doubts cleared and if you also have classmates you get to argue with them after class about different points of view and strengthen your concepts. And of course make friends.
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