Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Book Review: Vishnu Sahasranamam

Publisher: Central Chinmaya Mission Trust

Author: Swami Chinmayananda 

Pages: 266

ISBN: 9788175972452 

Every human being has some inner conception of God, which is formed or fuelled by selective interpretations depending on the environment, experiences and temperament an individual is associated with. The Vishnu Sahasranamam, is a stotra containing the 1000 names of Lord Vishnu. During the interaction between Yudhisthira and Bheeshma after the Mahabharata war, the Vishnu Sahasranamam was revealed by Bheeshma Pitamaha in the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata as he awaits his death on the bed of arrows. 

The Vishnu Sahasranamam summarises in 1000 names all the attributes and deduced facts about God. Students and scholars of Indian philosophy often start with the Vishnu Sahasranamam along with an incisive commentary of Adi Sankaracharya which enables a person to understand the concept of God in Hinduism in one go.

Broadly speaking, the Upanishads form the core principles of Vedanta, a branch of Indian philosophy that explains the Vedas. The Bhagavad Gita summarises the teachings of various Upanishads while the Vishnu Sahasranamam summarises what The Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and Puranas and other ancient texts say about God. In other words, the Vishnu Sahasranamam acts as a shortcut to illumination. 

There is a deep connection between the name and the named. The 1000 names of Lord Vishnu invoke a deep sense of bonding with the Lord. The commentary with word meanings point out the essence and the goal. Swami Chinmayananda's version of the Vishnu Sahasranamam, draws from Adi Sankaracharya's commentary. The commentary gives us a reference behind each name that can be found in all the other sacred texts. It is together a gripping work with each explanation shining like a 1000 watt torch in a deep dark cave. In other words, it is like a mini-treatise on Advaita philosophy. 

1 comment:

jyothi l said...

I liked your narration in the book of vishnu sahasranamam.I gained lot of Knowledge by reding your book, thank you.