Vishnu Sahasranama: The Thousand Names of Lord Vishnu

Vishnu Sahasranama, meaning “Thousand Names of Vishnu,” is a revered hymn in Hinduism that extols the divine qualities and attributes of Lord Vishnu, one of the principal deities in the Hindu pantheon. Composed in the form of a stotra (devotional song of praise), the Vishnu Sahasranama holds profound significance and is often recited as an act of devotion, meditation, and spiritual contemplation.

The hymn is found in the ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata, specifically in the Anushasana Parva (Book of Instructions). It is narrated by the grand-sage Bheeshma to Yudhishthira, imparting the knowledge of the thousand names that encompass the various manifestations, qualities, and virtues of Lord Vishnu.

Each name in the Vishnu Sahasranama carries deep symbolism and encapsulates aspects of Lord Vishnu’s cosmic role as the preserver and sustainer of the universe. Devotees believe that reciting these names not only invokes divine blessings but also helps in attaining spiritual clarity, inner peace, and protection from life’s challenges.

The Vishnu Sahasranama beautifully captures the multifaceted nature of Lord Vishnu, depicting Him as the ultimate source of creation, the embodiment of righteousness (dharma), and the supreme refuge for all beings. Through its verses, devotees gain insight into the divine attributes that guide and nurture the universe, fostering a deep connection with the divine presence of Lord Vishnu.

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Vishnu Sahasranama: A Thousand Names of the Supreme

In the recitation of a thousand names, we unveil the myriad facets of the divine. Each name is a doorway to understanding the infinite nature of Vishnu, the cosmic sustainer and preserver

1.

Audio :

viśvaṁ viṣṇurvaṣaṭkārō bhūtabhavyabhavatprabhuḥ |
bhūtakṛdbhūtabhṛdbhāvō bhūtātmā bhūtabhāvanaḥ || 1 ||


1. Viśvaṁ: The all or the Universe.
2. Viṣṇuḥ: He who pervades everything.
3. Vaṣaṭkāraḥ: For whom the sacrificial versus are uttered in the
yajnas.
4. Bhūta-bhavya-bhavat-prabhuḥ: The one who is the master and
beyond the past, present and the future.
5. Bhūtakṛd: The creator and destroyer of all existences in the
universe.
6. Būtabhṛd: One who supports or sustains or governs the
universe.
7. Bhāvaḥ: Pure existence.
8. Bhūtātmā: The essence of all beings.
9. Bhūta-bhāvanaḥ: He who originates and develops all Elements.

2.

Audio :

pūtātmā paramātmā ca muktānāṁ paramā gatiḥ |
avyayaḥ puruṣaḥ sākṣī kṣetrajñōkṣara eva ca || 2 ||


10. Pūtātmā: One whose nature is purity/who is purity.
11. Paramātmā: He who is the supreme one and the Atman.
12. Muktānāṁ paramā gatiḥ: The highest goal of the liberated
ones.
13. Avyayaḥ: One for whom there is no decay.
14. Puruṣaḥ: One who abides in the body or pura.
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15. Sākṣī: One who witnesses everything.
16. Kṣetrajñaḥ: The knower of the field or body.
17. Akṣara: He who is without destruction.

3.

Audio :

yōgō yōgavidāṁ netā pradhānapuruṣeśvaraḥ |
nārasiṁhavapuḥ śrīmān keśavaḥ puruṣōttamaḥ || 3 ||


18. Yogaḥ: One attainable through Yoga.
19. Yogavidāṁ netā: The master of those who are established in
the above-mentioned Yoga.
20. Pradhāna-puruṣeśvaraḥ: The master of pradhana or Prakriti
and Purusha or Jiva.
21. Nārasiṁha-vapuḥ: One in whom the bodies of a man and a lion
are combined.
22. Śrimān: One on whose chest the goddess Shri always dwells.
23. Keśavaḥ: One whose Kesa or locks are beautiful.
24. Puruṣottamaḥ: The greatest among all Purushas

4.

Audio :

sarvaḥ śarvaḥ śivaḥ sthāṇurbhūtādirnidhiravyayaḥ |
saṁbhavō bhāvanō bhartā prabhavaḥ prabhurīśvaraḥ || 4 ||
25. Sarvaḥ: The omniscient source of all existence.
26. Śarvaḥ: Destroyer.
27. Śivaḥ: One pure.
28. Sthāṇur: One who is steady, immovable and changeless.
29. Bhūtādiḥ: Source of all elements or existing things.
30. Nidhir-avyayaḥ: The changeless and indestructible Being in
whom the whole universe becomes merged and remains in
seminal condition at the time of Pralaya or cosmic dissolution.
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31. Sambhavaḥ: One born out of His own will as incarnation.
32. Bhāvanaḥ: One who generates the fruits or Karmas of all Jivas
for them to enjoy.
33. Bhartā: One who supports the universe as its substratum.
34. Prabhavaḥ: One from whom all the great elements have their
birth. Or one who has exalted births as incarnations.
35. Prabhuḥ: One who is an adept in all rites.
36. Iśvaraḥ: One who has unlimited lordliness or power over all
things

5.

Audio :

svayaṁbhūḥ śaṁbhurādityaḥ puṣkarākṣō mahāsvanaḥ |
anādinidhanō dhātā vidhātā dhāturuttamaḥ || 5 ||

 
37. Svayambhūḥ: One who exists by Himself, uncaused by any
other.
38. Śaṁbhuḥ: One who bestows happiness on devotees.
39. Ādityaḥ: The golden-hued person in the sun’s orb.
40. Puṣkarākṣaḥ: One who has eyes resembling the petals of
Pushkara or lotus.
41. Mahāsvanaḥ: One from whom comes the great sound – the
Veda.
42. Anāndi-nidhanaḥ: The one existence that has neither birth nor
death.
43. Dhātā: One who is the support of the universe.
44. Vidhātā: He who generates Karmas and their fruits.
45. Dhāturuttamaḥ: The ultimate support of every thing

6.

Audio :

aprameyō hṛṣīkeśaḥ padmanābhōmaraprabhuḥ |
viśvakarmā manusvtaṣṭā sthaviṣṭhassthavirō dhruvaḥ || 6 ||


46. Aprameyaḥ: One who is not measurable or understandable by
any of the accepted means of knowledge like sense,
perception, inference etc.
47. Hṛṣīkeśaḥ: The master of the senses or He under whose control
the senses subsist.
48. Padmanābhaḥ: He in whose navel (nabhi) the lotus (padma),
the source of the universe, stands.
49. Amara-prabhuḥ: The master of Amaras or the deathless ones,
i.e. the Devas.
50. Viśvakarmā: He whose Karma (work) has resulted in all that
exists (Vishvam) or He whose power of creation is unique and
wonderful.
51. Manuḥ: He who thinks.
52. Tvaṣṭā: He who makes all beings shrunken (Tanukarana) at the
time of cosmic dissolution.
53. Sthaviṣṭaḥ: He who excels in everything in bulk or
substantiality.
54. Sthaviraḥ-dhruvaḥ: Eternal One, being the most ancient. It is
taken as a single phrase, the name along with its qualification.

7.

Audio :

agrāhyaḥ śāśvataḥ kṛṣṇō lōhitākṣaḥ pratardanaḥ |
prabhūtastrikakubdhāma pavitraṁ maṁgalaṁ param || 7 ||


55. Agrāhyaḥ: One who cannot be grasped by the organs or
knowledge or conceived by the mind.
56. Śāśvataḥ: One who exists at all times.
57. Kṛṣṇaḥ: The existence-Knowledge-Bliss.
58. Lohitākṣaḥ: One whose eyes are tinged red.
59. Pratardanaḥ: Destroyer of all at the time of cosmic dissolution.
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60. Prabhūtaḥ: Great because of unique qualities like
omnipotence, omniscience etc.
61. Tri-kakub-dhāma: He who is the support (dharma) of the three
regions above, below and in the middle.
62. Pavitraṁ: That which purifies everything.
63. Maṅgalaṁ param: Supremely auspicious

8.

Audio :

īśānaḥ prāṇadaḥ prāṇō jyeṣṭhaḥ śreṣṭhaḥ prajāpatiḥ |
hiraṇyagarbhō bhūgarbhō mādhavō madhusūdanaḥ || 8 ||


64. Īśānaḥ: He who controls and regulates everything.
65. Prāṇadaḥ: One who bestows or activates the Prana, the vital
energy.
66. Prāṇaḥ: The Supreme Being.
67. Jyeṣṭhaḥ: The eldest of all; for there is nothing before Him.
68. Śreṣṭhaḥ: One deserving the highest praise.
69. Prajāpatiḥ: The master of all living beings, because He is
Ishvara.
70. Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ: One who is Atman of even Brahma the
creator.
71. Bhūgarbhaḥ: One who has got the world within Himself.
72. Mādhavaḥ: The Consort of Ma or Mahalakshmi or one who is
fit to be known through Madhu-Vidya.
73. Madhusūdanaḥ: The destroyer of the demon Madhu.

9.

Audio :

īśvarō vikramī dhanvī medhāvī vikramaḥ kramaḥ |
anuttamō durādharṣaḥ kṛtajñaḥ kṛtirātmavān || 9 ||


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74. Īśvaraḥ: The Omnipotent Being.
75. Vikramī: The courageous One.
76. Dhanvī: One armed with bow.
77. Medhāvī: He who has great intelligence capable of grasping all
texts.
78. Vikramaḥ: He who crosses (Karmana) i.e. transcends samsara.
Or one who has Vih, bird i.e. Garuda as His mount.
79. Kramaḥ: Vishnu is called Kramah, because He is the cause of
Kramana or crossing of the ocean of samsara by devotees, or
because from Him all Krama or manifestation of the universe,
has taken place.
80. Anuttamaḥ: He than whom there is none greater.
81. Durādharṣaḥ: One whom none (Asuras) can overcome.
82. Kṛtajñaḥ: One who knows everything about what has been
done (Kruta) by Jivas. Also one who is pleased even with those
who offer such simple offerings as leaves, flowers, fruits and
water.
83. Kṛtiḥ: The word means what is achieved through all human
efforts or works.
84. Ātmavān: One established in his own greatness i.e. requiring no
other support than Himself.

10.

Audio :

sureśaḥ śaraṇaṁ śarma viśvaretāḥ prajābhavaḥ |
ahaḥ saṁvatsarō vyālaḥ pratyayassarvadarśanaḥ || 10 ||


85. Sureśaḥ: The lord of the Suras or Devas. It can also mean the
greatest of those who bestow good.
86. Śaraṇaṁ: One who removes the sorrows of those in distress.
87. Śarma: One who is of the nature of supreme bliss.
88. Viśvaretāḥ: The seed of the universe.
89. Prajābhavaḥ: He from whom all beings have originated.
90. Ahaḥ: Luminous one.
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91. Saṁvasaraḥ: As Time is a from of Vishnu, He is called
Samvasara or a year.
92. Vyālaḥ: Being ungraspable like a serpent, He is called Vyalah.
93. Pratyayaḥ: One who is of the nature of Pratiti or Prajna
(consciousness).
94. Sarva-darśanaḥ: One with eyes everywhere. As the Lord has
assumed all forms, the eye-sight of all beings is His.

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