RUMI MALIK says chanting the thousand names of Vishnu can help add value and calm to our lives
There are panchratnas, five gems, that emerged in Ved Vyasa’s Mahabharata — Yaksha Prashna, Vidur Niti, Sanat Sujatiyam, Bhagwad Gita and Vishnu Sahasranama. All these are compendiums on living a spiritual and successful life. Vishnu Sahasranama refers to the thousand names of Vishnu. When Bhishma Pitamah lay on the bed of arrows awaiting his death during the battle at Kurukshetra, surrounded by the Pandavas, Draupadi and Krishna, Yudhishtira asked him specific questions about the path of righteousness and how one can live life in peace and joy and attain liberation.
When Yudhishtira asked Bhishma about that one absolute, Supreme Being who should be venerated, Bhishma replied that it was Vishnu. Thereafter, in a sequence, he recited all the one thousand names of Vishnu and the benefits of chanting them. Krishna, a Vishnu avatar, stood there listening to Bhishma, approvingly. It is the only sahasranama that has God’s anumodan, approval.
Secondly, Adi Shankaracharya has written his commentary on only one sahasranama — other deities have sahasranamas as well — and that is the Vishnu Sahasranama.
He advocated its chanting to bring sweetness, simplicity and harmony in one’s life.
The divine principle that is activated after chanting it brings about a definite reduction in fear. Chanting of Vishnu Sahasranama increases the sattva guna, the sublime, luminous quality in oneself. It leads one to acquire sattva budhhi, illuminative intelligence. Once the mind is stable and calm, devoid of anger and over-attachment, it becomes very powerful and can achieve anything.
There have been studies on how a theta state is achieved by chanting the Sahasranama. It works on our brain waves. Each and every name is divinely arranged and brings about a qualitative change in the person chanting it. The name Jitkrodho calms one’s temper, Achyut makes one firm on one’s principles, and so on. Also, a very important aspect is that manas roga, mental afflictions such as feeling low, unworthy, angry, frustrated and depressed can be overcome by chanting the Vishnu Sahasranama.
The phalashruti, result of chanting the sahasranama are manifold — from gaining fame and prominence and realising one’s potential and expressing it, to overcoming dreaded diseases.
Our life is a result of past and present karmas; chanting nullifies negative karmas and appeases our ancestors as it is clearly mentioned in the Sahasranama that our pitra, ancestors, emerged from Vishnu. That is why it is chanted during pitru paksh / shraadh as well. A simple and sure-shot remedy to help remove ill-effects of certain planets — for
those who believe in astrology — is to chant the Vishnu Sahasranama with devotion.
Acharya Vinoba Bhave used to say that if the same name is recited a thousand times, an element of monotony and fatigue might set in, but the diverse names ensure that there is no fatigue. Tukaram would proudly proclaim, “These thousand names are our thousand weapons.” At his daughter’s marriage, he gifted his son-in-law with a handwritten copy of the Vishnu Sahasranama.
Sages have repeatedly stressed that God’s name is the only kavach, protection, in Kali Yuga when there are formidable obstacles to goodness. Chanting God’s names is a simple calming tool to enable us to face life’s myriad challenges and achieve our goals peacefully. ■