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Editor's Note - 69 (February 1, 2014)

Narayana - The Name That Bestows All That Is Auspicious

Dear Fellow-Bhagavathas,

We have seen in an earlier Note the glory of the thousand names of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu. Among those, 'Narayana' has the pride of place as it is the crux of the Moola Manthram (also known as Thiru Manthram or Ashtaaksharam) and the Dhvayam (hailed as 'Manthra Rathnam).

Also, it is one among the three Naamas which encompass His 'Vyaapaka' nature. The other two are Vasudeva and Vishnu. 'Vyaapaka' names are those which distinctively bring out the 'all pervading nature' of the Lord. The Vishnu Gayathri, which is given below, consists of all these three names:

நாராயணாய வித்மஹே வாஸுதேவாய தீமஹி தந்நோ விஷ்ணு: ப்ரசோதயாத்!

"We worship to realise Narayana for which we meditate upon Vasudeva and may Vishnu help us accomplish that".

The speciality of the name is that it cannot be used with reference to any other god and hence is a unique one. It occurs only once in the entire Sahasra Naamam. The word 'Narayana' is derived from 'Naraanaam Ayanam' which means 'One who is the sustaining support (Ayanam) to the group of indestructible Athmas (Naraanaam)'; and He is all their soul and dictates from within."

Swami Desika, in his 'Rahasyathraya Saaram', shows that the name 'Narayana' is the extension of the first syllable of the Pranavam, i.e., the 'akaaram' which stands for Paramaathma, and that the name clearly establishes the master-servant relationship between the Paramaathma and Jivaathma.

The Vedas, other legends, sages like Narada and Yogis like Sanakas are never tired of singing the glory of the name 'Narayana'. It is this name that lends a helping hand to Samsaaris in getting rid of their worldly sufferings and shows His feet en route to the divine destination 'Sri Vaikunta'; it is this name which is the object of all Vedic knowledge and meditation.

A Sloka from Naaraaadhi Kalpam says that those who chant just the name 'Narayana' will get rid of diseases, danger, fear and distress.

The inherent characteristic of the holy name is that it destroys all sins. A story from Srimath Bhagavatham exemplifies the same.

There lived one Ajaamilan, a devious person, who committed innumerable sins. By the strength of some of his inadvertent, good deeds, he had named his youngest son 'Narayana'. He fell ill and in course of time found himself in the deathbed. He was surrounded by the messengers of Yama who had come to take away his life. Ajaamilan repeatedly called out his son who was playing with his friend outside for some help but the son did not care much. He told his friend that his father had nothing else to do but annoy him.

Suddenly, a group of Vishnu's messengers appeared and stopped the Yama's men as they prepared to do their duty. The two groups were engaged in an argument and Vishnu Dhoothas prevailed. The fact that Ajaamilan uttered the name 'Narayana' (even if without intending to chant the Lord's name) saved him. He, then, followed the righteous path and attained liberation after his time on the earth was over.

The most striking feature of this anecdote is that Ajaamilan derived the benefits of uttering the name 'Narayana' without ever knowing the meaning and without the intention of calling out the Lord's name. Such is the power of the name.

In one Paasuram, Kaliyan sums up what the Name 'Narayana' is capable of. There is nothing that cannot be attained by chanting this great name, as envisaged by the Azhwar in the opening decad of Periya Thirumozhi.

குலம் தரும் செல்வம் தந்திடும் அடியார் படுதுயராயினவெல்லாம்
நிலந்தரம் செய்யும் நீள்விசும்பருளும் அருளொடு பெருநிலம் அளிக்கும்
வலம் தரும் மற்றும் தந்திடும் பெற்றதாயினும் ஆயின செய்யும்
நலம் தரும் சொல்லை நான் கண்டுகொண்டேன் நாராயணா என்னும் நாமம்.
(Periya Thirumozhi 1-1-9)

"It gives (those who chant it) a good family, wealth, decimates all the miseries of devotees; confers Moksha and with benign grace, bestows the great fortune of Kainkaryam; grants strength and everything that is good. And it does more good than even a mother. I have discovered the benedictory word which gives the pure good - Narayana it is."

In the previous verse, the Azhwar says, "seeking a life of redemption, I found the perfect support and guide in the name 'Narayana'.

"...செல்கதிக்கு உய்யுமாறு எண்ணி நல்துணையாகப் பற்றினேன் அடியேன் நாராயணா என்னும் நாமம்".

Swami Desika, in his 'Dramidopanishad Saaram' which is a synopsis of Thiruvoymozhi in Sanskrit verses, describes the attributes of the Lord as found in each of the 10 centuries. He gives out the name 'Sathpadhavyaam Sahaaya:' to the Lord, in respect of the final century, in which, Nammazhwar shows how the Lord is a good companion in leading him to Moksha. It is interesting to note that Thirumangai Azhwar also has expressed the same sentiment in the above-mentioned Paasuram.

Let us keep chanting the divine name and invoke the blessing of Sriman Narayana.

Meet you in the next Note.

எங்கள் தூப்புல் பிள்ளை பாதம் என் சென்னியதே!

Natteri P. Srihari (a) Lakshmi Narasimhacharyar

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