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Vishnu (Atma) Sahasranam

The Vishnu Sahasranam came into existence near the end of the Mahabharata under the direct inspiration of S'rî Krishna on the passing of Bhishma. Yudhishthira, the eldest of the five Pandavas, was exhausted from the war with the Kauravas and the misery of death and suffering that was created by the war in which he had been a major player. Bhishma, his dear grandfather, was lying on his deathbed. With his passing away, his irreplaceable wisdom, based on the experiences of his long life of virtue, righteousness and devotion, was about to be lost to the world. Sage Vyasa and S'rî Krishna advised Yudhishthira, who himself was the incarnation of Dharma, an epitome of righteousness and virtue, to seek the advice of Bhishma on any and all aspects of life on which he had any doubts. Yudhishthira did as advised, and a series of dialogs ensued between the two, witnessed by Lord Krishna Himself, and by other great sages including Vedavyasa.

In one of these sessions, Yudhishthira sought Bhishma's advice on the easiest and best means by which mankind can attain lasting happiness, peace of mind, and relief from all bondage and sorrows. This was the setting in which S'rî Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram was imparted, with the welfare of future generations also in mind, by Bhishma to Yudhishthira, as part of the advice given by Bhishma in response to the above question.

S'rî Vedavyasa is the rishi or cognizer of S'rî Vishnu's one thousand names. Anushtup (eight syllables per quarter) is its meter. Lord Krishna, the son of Devaki, is the Lord being worshiped.

S'rî Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram, along with the Bhagavad Gita, is an integral part of the epic Mahabharata composed by Sage Vedavyasa. Vyasa is an incarnation of Vishnu who organized the vedas into appropriate classifications for this Kali Yuga age.

S'rî Sankara, our most immediate link in the Holy Tradition that devolved directly from S'rî Vishnu, created a large number of commentaries on important Vedic scriptures, but that on S'rî Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram was the first one. S'rî Sankara emphasizes the importance of reciting the Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram and it is an integral part of the S'rî Chakra Mahâ-Videhâ Programme.

There are six facts that attest to the greatness of the Vishnu Sahasranam. These are:

  1. It is the essence of the Mahabharata.
  2. Sages such as Narada have made repeated references to the "Thousand Names of Vishnu" in their devotional works.
  3. The rishi is Vedavyasa, the foremost knower of the vedas, and an incarnation of Vishnu.
  4. It is the considered opinion of Bhishma that it is the best and easiest of all Dharmas, or the means to attain relief from all bondage.
  5. It is widely accepted that the chanting of this Stotram gives relief from all sorrows and leads to happiness and peace of mind.
  6. It is in conformity with the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and other important vedic literature.
  ... by listening to and chanting these mantras with devotion, one enlivens all the devatas in the S'rî Chakra and purifies the structure from ungrounded energies.  

Lord Vishnu is the archetype of the Âtman of every individual, so the Vishnu Sahasranama is the Atma Sahasranama. By listening to and chanting these mantras with devotion, one enlivens all the devatas in the S'rî Chakra and purifies the structure from ungrounded energies. This result is an intimate communication with God on the level of consciousness. It creates an influence that connects all the bodies from the level of the absolute body of the vijñamaya kosha where the DNA is structured. As the individual S'rî Chakra comes into alignment with the Cosmic S'rî Chakra through the resonance of the Vishnu Sahasranam, the DNA of all the bodies is purified and perfect health arises.

Even more important than the establishment of perfect health is the catalytic effect of the Vishnu Sahasranam on the transformation of the physiology into its immortal form. 1000 recitations of the 1000 names triggers the start of this transformation process. Everyone is encouraged to begin immediately to resonate with these primordial sounds of the Divine.

The Vishnu Sahasranam contains the essence of S'rî Vyuha and bestows Brahman Consciousness on the one who resonates it with devotion. To assist you in learning to chant the Vishnu Sahasranam, we have provided a complete copy with english transliteration, the meaning of each sloka and an audio presentation. Begin today and learn one sloka each day. In only 108 days you will have learned the Vishnu Sahasranam.

As you begin to learn the Vishnu Sahasranam, at first you may move ahead swiftly for a few days, then you may find it very difficult to proceed. You may begin to feel extremely tired or bored, and may even experience pains in the body or head after just a few minutes. This is normal and symptomatic of the purification that is taking place in the mind and body from this practice. Your ability to persevere and continue with the process of learning to chant the Vishnu Sahasranam is part of the test of your sincerity so you must overcome these obstacles with your determination.