Partha Desikan

Some historians believe that the Mahabharata was composed in three stages. According to them Sri Vishnu Sahasranaama and Srimad Bhagavad Gita occur in a part that could not have been the first instalment.

This blog does not concern itself with this view or its opposite.

I have been a great admirer, ever since I learnt some Sanskrit, of the marvellous thousand name hymn to Vishnu. It is not just a devotional poetic composition that falls mellifluously over the ear, simultaneously filling the reciter and the listener with a joy difficult to describe. It is much more.

Commentators such as Sankara and Parashara Bhatta have discovered special philosophical insights in its lines as well as sequential patterns related to different avataras of Vishnu on earth. 

But lay perusers like me too every now and then stumble upon contiguous name clusters giving a collective message.

I wish to share one such that occurred to me this morning.

An entire line containing five names suggests something significant.

The line is

archishmaan architah kumbho vishuddhaatmaa vishodhanah.

Never mind what the wise commentators say about these five names. Let us look at them as simple Sanskrit words with direct meanings. The line means

worshipper, worshipped, kalasha pot, purified soul, purifier.

Does this not suggest to you a kumbha filled with water made holy by the invocation of the infinite principle, its representative Varuna, or cosmic energy itself , through dedicated chanting of appropriate mantras? Do you not visualize an auspicious function at home or in a temple, especially a Mahasamprokshanam of an idol to be installed or kumbhabhishekam of the shrine itself?

Is it an accident? Or was Bhishma blessed by the all-powerful who was standing close to him to have cosmic vision, including the truth that in every samprokshana, the Lord is the functionary, the object of worship, the water filled vessel, the object to be purified and the purifier?


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