Research article by London swaminathan

Date: 22 December 2019

Time in London – 17-59

Post No. 7372

Pictures are taken from various sources; beware of copyright rules; don’t use them without permission; this is a non- commercial, educational blog; posted in and simultaneously. Average hits per day for both the blogs 12,000

Here is an alternate reading of the Vishnu Sahasranama, the oldest of the Sahasranamas. One thousand names of any god is a ‘’Sahasranama. Though every Hindu god and goddess has a Sahasranama Vishnu’s one is the most famous of all Sahasranamas. It is the oldest and part of Mahabharata. Great grandsire Bhisma said it in front of Lord Krishna. Saints like Adi Shankara, Parasara Bhatta and Madhwa have commented on it. Hundreds of articles are written by prominent religious leaders on the religious merits of it.

Though I also recite it everyday like any devout Hindu, being an amateur historian, I can’t stop thinking of its influence on world history. Roman and Mitannian King names are in it. I have interpreted the words or its sounds on the bais of history.  Let me tell you what I found in it:-

Five Generations

In the introductory First Part, we see five generations in one sloka- vyasam vasistha naptharam………………… Vyasa, his son Suka, Vyasa’s father Parasara, grand father Sakthi, great grand father Vasistha.

As all Hindus know Vyasa lived just before the beginning of Kaliyuga in 3102 BCE, we are talking about 3200 BCE here.

Sloka 16……yatha sarvani bhutani……….. talks about Big Bang and Big Crunch of cosmology.

Dhyana sloka sees the God as the universe with Sun and Moon as eyes, earth as His feet and Sky as His head. This is a repeat of Purushasuktam of Rig Veda and Viswarupa Darsan of Bhagavad Gita.

Concept of Time

Hindu concept of Time is very different from the Westrn concept of Time. In the main part of Sahasranama, the very first sloka describes god as master of time past, present and future. He is beyond the sway of  Time.

All Gods in Sahasranama

Though it is called Vishnu Sahasranama, all gods’ names are in it – Siva, Sambhu, Aditya, Prajapati, Indra, Sumuka ( Ganesa), Ganesvarah, Vasu, Varuna, Rudra, Indra

Sikkandi ,Nahusha – epic and puranic names

Skanda ,Purandhara , Parameswara,Guha

Lord Kartikeya, Indra, Lord Shiva, Sastha,  figure in the hymn.

Rama , Pranava, Krishna

Names of Rama, Omkara also in the hymn.

Mitannian king

Pratardhana was one of the kings who ruled Turkey- Syria region around 1400 BCE. It is one of the 1000 names of Vishnu.


World’s first law giver Manu is in the hymn.


This is a Vedic deity with lot of funny interpretations such as sexy monkey etc. Since it is in the Sahasranama it is as old as Vedic literature.


It is the name of the Gautama Buddha ofsixth century BCE


Another Vedic deity. Names of Vedic deities are found only in this hymn. That proves that Vishnu Sahasranama is the oldest.

Margo (Way)

I am the Way.

Indus valley God

Vishnu is called Maha Srnga- we see God with horn/ srnga in the Indus Valley Seals; though mistakenly identified with Shiva/Pasupati. Later we see Srngi (horned god) Na Eka Srngi (not just one horned) in this hymn.

Kapila (Tamil Poet’s Name)

Kapila is the name of a great rishi. It is in this hymn. Sangam Tamil literature has a Brahmin poet with this name Kapila. He is the most celebrated poet and highest contributor to the 2000 year old Sangam corpus.

Mr Doctor

Hindus are the only people who call god as a doctor and Medicine (Beshajam, Bishak in Rudra of Yajur Veda) here in this hymn God is called Bishak/ doctor).

Gupta dynasty

Gupta is one of the names here in the hymn; probably Gupta dynasty named themselves with this word.


Tamil poets describe God as a Brahmin. This is an echo of Sahasranama


Manetho is one of the Egyptian priests who wrote Egyptian history in the third century BCE. Here we have Manatho

Surya Namaskar

Names of Surya found in the Surya Namaskar Mantra are Vishnu’s names found in the hymn.


Rome’s greatest orator, lawer, statesman is Cicero. We see Sisirah in the hymn.

Sri Vijaya Dynasty

Sri Vijaya Dynasty of South East Asia took its name

From the Sahasranam. This is in the last part of Sahasranama


Sri occurs in many words. It simply means, wealth, auspicious , Goddess Lakshmi.

English title SIR and Tamil title Thiru came from Sri.


Many Indian kings including the greatest legendary king Vikramaditya has this name.

Garudadwaja -Flag of Eagle-

Today we see Garuda/ emblem in several countries including USA. Garuda Pillar was erected in Besnagar by Helidorus in 113 BCE. He was the ambassador of Indo-Greek king of Taxila. He called himself Parama Bhagavata/ great devotee f Vishnu.

Thus we see many dynasties and kings in the Sahsranama.

Trees and birds and Stars

Several trees, birds, fish and star names are also found in the Vishnu Sahasranama.

So, an alternate reading of the oldest Sahasranama sheds more light on the history of the world from Turkey/ Syria to Sri Vijayas of South East Asia.



Three Books on a ‘Deity with a Thousand Names’: Vishnu Sahasranama

Compiled from London swaminathan

Post No 1806; Date 17th April 2015

Uploaded in London at 15-24

The first book review is from my old paper cuttings file; before I destroy the paper cuttings, I want others to read it. Published on 9-11-99; probably in The Hindu

Sree Vishnu Sahasranama – A Treatise: Kalluri Suryanarayana;Sankhyayana Vidhya Parishad, H No.2-12-34, Annapurna Colony, Uppal, Hyderabad- 500039, Rs.153

The religious importance of Vishnu Sahasranama can be gauged from the nearly forty commentaries by saints and scholars for this most popular hymn; three of them have been rendered by the leaders of the three different systems of Hindu philosophy.

Of them Adi Shankara’s was the first and a version says how when he wanted to write his commentary on another Sahasranama, this work was placed before him.

His was based on Advaita, while the Dwaita approach was by Sri Satya Sandha Tirtha whereas the “Bhagavad Guna Darpana” was by Parasara Bhattar as per Vishishtadwaita school. The entire work, as contained in the Mahabharata, refers to the glory of Vishnu.

The treatise by the author, with Sanskrit text and English annotation, explains the significance of the 1000 names. Since the English meaning of this hymn is given in this work, many in this country and those living abroad, will welcome it. The author points out that the commentary of Sankara is like that of River Ganges, of Bhattar’s like Yamuna of the Madhwa saint’s as Saraswati. Every name is a mantra by itself, some with two and some ranging up to eight words. The hymn is an antidote for all ills.

The author mentions the benefits which will accrue by  by reciting the various name of Vishnu. One gets immortal ecstasy by chanting the names.  He connects twenty four Bhijaksharas of Gayatri mantra to the 24 names of Vishnu. In his commentary, Sankara has explained the glory of Visnu in Saguna and Nirguna forms, fit for meditation to attain the merger of Jeeva with the Paramatma.

The brief meaning of each name is simple as for instance for “Kshamaya”, the author says that for devotees who could not realise him earlier, Vishnu will confer liberation immediately when they start meditating on Him. The hymn can be chanted by everyone and for this, , no special ritual is prescribed. The book will quench the thirst of people who wish to achieve progress in the realm of spiritualism. The name of Koorattazhwan has been mis-spelt in the book giving an unsavoury meaning—DVV

Two More Books on Sahasranama

Thousand Ways to the Transcendental by Swami Chinmayananda

Central Chinmya Trust, Mumbai -400 072, 2009, Price Rs 115

“There is a deep connection between the name and the named. The name brings to our mind the image of the person thought of and the more one thinks, the more consistent the impressions. Eg. When I say flower, you immediately conceive a mental picture of the flower. This is the sole principle behind association.

“The 1000 names of Lord Vishn are meant to invoke a sense of bonding with the Lord, who’s the most intimate one, whether we recognise it or not. Yet how often and how deeply do we call out to him? The meanings of the names given out here will help in understanding the magnitude and depth of Godhood.

Vishnu Sahasranama was taught by Bhisma lying on a Bed of Arrows to Yudhisthira. It bought joy and solace to both. May t do the same to you as well”

“In the Thousand Names, 90 names have been repeated; and of them 74 are repeated twice, 14 are repeated thrice, and again two of them repeated four times.

“There are exactly 1031 single “Names” of Lord in the 1000 Name Chant (Sahasranama). The extra 31 names to be considered each as an adjective qualifying (vishesana) the immediately following noun”.

(This book contains how to use the names in Archana)

SRI VISHNU SAHASRANAMAM by Swami Tapasyananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math, 16 Ramakrishna Math Road, Mylapore, Madras – 600 004

From Introduction:

Vishnu Sahasranama is part of the Santi Parva of the Mahabharata. Tradition says that it was composed by Sanaka, one of the Kumaras (eternal living youths) and was transmitted to Bhisma who recied in the presence of Sri Krishna to the Pandava brothers when he was questioned by Yudhisthira “Who is the Being who is the Supreme Lord of all and by praising and worshipping whom man gains what is good and attains salvation?” The Thousand Names of Mahavishnu is the answer Bhisma gives to this enquiry. Besides its inherent quality, the importance of the Stotra is enhanced by the fact that no less than a personage than the great Sri Sankaracharya thought it worthwhile to write a commentary on it, expounding the meanings of the various names that find a place in it.

My comments: Read Vishnu Sahasranama every day and solve all your problems the easy way!