The Secrets Of The Glorious Stotra- Vishnu Sahasranama

Vishnu Sahasranama is a Sanskrit Stotra(hymn) that literally translates to thousand names of Lord Vishnu who is one of the most revered Gods in Hinduism. Vishnu Sahasranama is chanted by those who are truly devoted to Lord Vishnu and seek his mercy.
'Vis' means pervading and 'nu' means a person; Vishnu thus literally means One who is all pervasive. Vishnu is the supreme lord of the cosmos who is all-pervading. Holding a conch, discus, and mace, he nurtures the world.

Divine Gift from Bhishma

After the epic war of Kurukshetra, Bhishma-famously known as Gangaputra or Devratha-was lying on the bed of the arrows. Ganga's son Bhishma was well aware of the effects Vishnu Sahasranama has on the one who chants it. On his deathbed, he gave Vishnu Sahasranama to Yudhishthir—the eldest of all five Pandavas. Various interpretations are available on the benefits and effects of chanting Vishnu Sahasranama. The most famous commentary is the one written by Adi Shankaracharya.
Every single name in Vishnu Sahasranama has a profound meaning. Let's check out the benefits and the methods one must follow while chanting these names!

Three Major Benefits of Chanting Vishnu Sahasranama

Enhances physical and mental health — Charaka Samhita says that chanting Vishnu Sahasranama is the best remedy for improving physical and mental health. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are the three humours or doshas in Ayurveda. A disturbance in any of these three doshas is believed to give rise to various mental, physical, and emotional problems. Because we are made up of all three doshas, good alignment in all three is essential for our overall well-being.
Ether, air, fire, water, and earth are the five elements. The combination of any of these two elements gives rise to three humors. For instance, pitta is formed when fire and water come together. Access of pitta in the body causes acid reflux, inflammation of the joints, anger, nausea, and excessive sweating.
Thus, it's essential to bring all these five elements into balance if we are to enjoy sound physical and mental health. One of Vishnu's names is 'Bhootadih'—the cause of the five great elements. He is also called 'Prabhavah', or the womb of the five great elements. Chanting Vishnu Sahasranama can thus bring all these five elements and humours into balance.
Vishnu's other name is 'Jyotiraditya'. Here, Vishnu has the resplendence of the Sun. Sun is the source of all energy and is important for our digestion, the root function of our body. Chanting Vishnu Sahasranama thus promotes our overall mental and physical wellbeing.
Bestower of all the four Purusharthas - Of the thousand names of Vishnu, he is called 'Jeevanah'. He is the source of life in all living creatures. For us mortal humans, Vishnu manifests this spark in the form of four Purusharthas—Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.
Dharma - Dharma is righteousness. Dharma is one of the four goals and refers to moral values. This goal stresses the right way of living and teaches us the importance of truth and compassion towards other creatures. Chanting Vishnu's name 'Satyadharma' propels us on this path of righteousness.
Artha - Artha refers to the prosperity and the material comforts of worldly life. But artha does not only include money and material possessions. This category encompasses our environment, the family we're born in and the kind of people we love or have associations with throughout our life. Chanting Vishnu names like 'Vasupradha'—the giver of wealth enables us to prosper in all possible directions.
Kama - Kama is the pleasure, the prime motivating factor of all our actions. The right kind of Kama is necessary and will lead us towards dharma and artha. Chanting Vishnu's name 'Udumbara' leads to our overall nourishment and fulfilment of desires without getting us into over-indulgence.
Moksha - Moksha is the final Purushartha. Moksha is liberation and is our final abode. Moksha is the form of self-realization. We can break the cycle of birth and death when we have the right knowledge. But right knowledge requires a clear mind and keen perception. Chanting Vishnu's name 'Chaturatma' gives a clear state of mind where bliss flows naturally.
Unlock your potential and pursue the highest material and spiritual benefits - It's in the pursuit of material and spiritual benefits that man tends to travel far away. Both the material and spiritual worlds are essential, and chanting Vishnu Sahasranamam bestows us with these benefits effortlessly.
Material and spiritual success both depend on the strength of our body. A weak body can never lead us to unlock our true potential. 'Annam' literally means food. But here, it's the food that is sattvic and free of impurities. Chanting Vishnu's name 'Annam' will grant us a body fit for material and spiritual advancement. Once the purification of the body is done, we must then focus on purifying our hearts. Vishnu is also called 'Guha'—the one who dwells in our hearts. Chanting this name will purify the heart. Chanting Vishnu's other name, 'Pavitram'—literally means he who purifies and will take you to the final levels of purification.
Advancing on material and spiritual paths covers all fields of experience. Be it the joy we get or the struggle while we pursue our goals (whether material or spiritual)-we must be receptive to all kinds of experiences that we get on our journey. 'Dhaata'—another of Vishnu's names supports these fields of experience and enables us to interpret these experiences in the right way.
The six chakras form an important part of the process of spiritual awakening. These chakras are present in our spinal cord and awaken when the prana pierces through these 6 chakras, giving us the experience of ultimate bliss. Chanting Vishnu's name, 'Chakree', enables us to channelize prana in our spinal cord and awaken these chakras. Chakree here also refers to Vishnu's discus, the wheel-like instrument of destruction. Here, destruction refers to our sloth, apathy, greed, envy, arrogance, selfishness (and the list is too long!). Chanting his name effortlessly destroys these impurities and propels us on the path of realization.
The above three are the major benefits of chanting Vishnu Sahasranamam.

The other benefits of chanting Vishnu Sahasranama are:

  • It removes deep-rooted fears.
  • Each verse in Sahasranama is related to the nakshatra and the Dasha lord. Chanting Sahasranama helps you overcome planetary afflictions.
  • Chanting Vishnu's names keeps us energetic, happy, and content.
  • It helps us focus, releases anxiety, and neutralises negative energy.

How to chant Vishnu Sahasranama?

We've seen the secrets and benefits of Vishnu Sahasranama. Now let's check out the ways to chant it so that we can derive maximum benefit from Vishnu Sahasranama.
You can choose to chant Vishnu Sahasranama every day. But if every day is difficult, then you may try chanting it every Wednesday and Thursday.
On Thursday, offer yellow sweets and jaggery to Lord Vishnu. You may fast on this day, but if fasting is not possible, then try to avoid alcohol and non-vegetarian food on this day.
Wake up early in the morning (preferably Brahma muhurat-but it's not a compulsion) in the morning. Sit in any comfortable posture on the ground. You may also sit on a chair (avoid sitting on the bed) in case you find difficulty sitting on the ground. Once you settle on the ground, focus on your breath. While you breathe, centre yourself and try to focus on the form of Lord Vishnu. After you establish focus on Lord Vishnu, do a minimum of three rounds of Nadishodhana or Anuloma Viloma pranayama. Once you finish three rounds of pranayama, then open your eyes and start reciting Vishnu Sahasranama.
Once you finish chanting Vishnu Sahasranama, close your eyes for a few moments and continue meditating on the form of Lord Vishnu. After a gap of a few moments, gently open your eyes and relax (or lie down in Shavasana).
Chant fervently and visualize the miracle as it takes place.
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