SHAANTAAKAARAM BHUJAGASHAYANAM PADMANAABHAM SURESHAM
VISHWAADHAARAM GAGANASADRASHAM MEGHAVARNAM SHUBHAANGAM.
LAKSHMIKAANTAM KAMALANAYANAM YOGIBHIRDHYAANAGAMYAM
VANDE VISHNUM BHAVABHAYAHARAM SARVALOKAIKANAATHAM.
I bow to Lord Vishnu the One Master of the Universe, who is ever peaceful, who reclines on the great serpent bed, from whose navel springs the Lotus of the Creative Power, who is the Supreme Being, who supports the entire universe, who is all-pervading as the sky, who is dark like the clouds and has a beautiful form; the Lord of Lakshmi, the lotus-eyed One, whom the yogis are able to perceive through meditation, He, who is the destroyer of the fear of Samsara.
Vishnu aspect of the Divinity.
India has two main traditions regarding the concept of God, and the modes of worship. These are Vaishnavism and Saivism. Although the outer practice of rituals differs, the inner significance of both the Faiths is the same. Vishnu is believed and pictured as having a 'Shankha' in one hand and Chakra in the other. Shankha represents sound and Chakra, the wheel of time. So also Shiva holds a Trisula in one hand representing Kaala, i.e., the past, present and future and the Damaru in the other hand symbolizing sound. Thus it will be seen that three are two essential features of the Divine, namely, (1) Time and (2) Sound - both are subservient to and controlled by him.
Vishnu symbolizes the functions taken on by divinity of sustaining, fostering, stabilizing and strengthening the creation. So, Vishnu has to incarnate often in order to save and salvage the world.
The mace is the sight of might and majesty. The Shankha in Vishnu's hand, the Damaru in Shiva's hand and Murli in Krishna's hand symbolize God's accessibility through audible praise and song. The Chakra in Vishnu's hand and Trishul in Shiva's hand is symbolic that God is the Maker and Master of time.
Significance of Garuda as the Vehicle of Vishnu
It is the heart of man that is referred to as a bird. It carries the thought of God; it moves swiftly to where He is. His abode is Vaikuntha meaning a place where there is no shadow of grief. How far is it? It is within the hearing distance of every grief - stricken heart. "I do not dwell in Vaikuntha or in the heart of Yogis. I am present wherever my devotees sing my praise Oh Narada".
The Vishnu stotra
Viswasya Anu iti Vishnu' meaning every atom of the world is filled with His presence. We are all aware of the tremendous energy that is present in the atom. That energy is Lord Vishnu.
The Sanskrit words that appear in the Stotra describe God beautifully. They have the power to fill us with delight.
The correct address of God
People wander in the name of pilgrimage to holy places, takes bath in the sacred rivers and visit temples to find their God. All these holy places; rivers and temples are only 'care of ' address of God. The correct address is found in the Gita Chapter 18, Sloka No. 61: "Eashwaras Sarvabhootanaam Hriddeshe Tishati".
"The Lord is seated in the heart of all beings, Oh Arjuna". This stotra enables the child to understand in a delightful way the Omnipresence of God, His beauty, His Majesty and His Grace, and he is stirred to Devotion.
Meaning of Stotra
Lord Vishnu who is ever peaceful, who lies on the great serpent bed, from whose navel springs the Lotus of the Creative power, who is the controller of the Gods, whose form is the entire Universe, who is all pervading as the sky, of the hue of the clouds, of fascinating beauty, the Lord of Lakshmi, the lotus eyed, he who dwells in the heart of the Yogis and who can be approached and perceived through meditation. He who is the destroyer of fear of Samsar, we bow down to the Master of the universe.
Shantam means equanimity, unruffledness. The countenance of the Lord depicts the inner calm, happiness; balance, inner grace and mercy, the consciousness of strength and sovereignty - the very picture of peaceful calm. (All the deities exhibit this Bhava on their faces and in their stance.
The Lord is the very embodiment of peace calm, though reclining on a thousand hooded snake. The snake is the symbol of the objective world, with its poisonous fangs. Being in the world but not of it, bound by it - that is the secret. Immanent in the universe, yet transcending it. The Ocean on which He reclines is symbolic of the Bhavasagar. (S.S.S.V)
This refers to the lotus arising out of the navel of the Lord; Brahma is depicted as seated on the Lotus. Brahma stands for creation. The lotus stalk represents the umbilical cord. Just as the child draws sustenance from the mother through the umbilical cord, the creation draws sustenance from the God, who is the Viswadharam or the basis of the universe.
The Lord is like the sky, Sarva vyapi, pervades everything. He is at all times, everywhere, besides His children. He is in the most distant star as well in the blade of grass. He is the core of everything, as butter in every drop of milk. A person who realizes this becomes fearless. Therefore, the Lord is called Bhavabhayaharam. Despair is sin against God. When he is in your heart, why do you lose hope?" Be always joyful, optimistic and Courageous.
The dark color of the Lord is the color of the deep sea and the vast sky. It signifies the fathomless, unfathomable. He secret is beyond us, (S.S.S.IV/p. 168). However long you try, whosoever seeks to know, by whatever means, you cannot grasp the mystery of My Majesty. Only intense study with faith of the scriptures can help you catch a glimpse of my glory. "Yogibhirdhyanagamyam".
His form is full of Loveliness and charm which radiates auspicious everywhere. (S.S.S.V)
His is the source of all wealth. He is the universal provider.
- The five elements that sustain life,
Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space.
- The Wealth of sound Indriyas and good health.
- The wealth of virtues.
The Lord is the master of the five elements. He is the source of all virtues. He is the provider of sound body; mind and buddhi.
The Lord is the like the lotus, unaffected by the environment where He is. That is the reason why His eyes and His feet are compared to the lotus. (S.S.S.V)
Sustainer of the universe.
The Paramaatma is present in the minutest particle; Being in everything; that remains unaffected.
That universal consciousness (Vishnu) pervades everything in creation.
He is purer than the whitest snow.
That universal consciousness illumines and sustains the three worlds.
Story related to the Stotra
Lord Vishnu is described as Shantakaram; always peaceful and steady minded.
Once Sage Kashyapa was celebrating a yajna and all the sages had gathered to witness the same. Now there arose a doubt in their mind as to who was highest of all the divinities. Sage Narada replied that the Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara were the highest of all, but Lord Vishnu was Supreme. Either praise or blame never disturbed him. He was every peaceful and in bliss. The sages asked Narada to prove it. Narada called sage Bhrigu aside, whispered something in his hear. Bhrigu was sent to verify the truth of Narada's statement.
He first went to Brahmaloka. He saw that Lord Brahma was busy in his act of Creation. From afar, Bhrigu started condemning Lord Brahma. He said "Oh! Brahma you don't have the proper knowledge of creation! Your creation is full of defects and faults. Therefore all your efforts are in vain. Not a single things in your creation is worth praising". Lord Brahma was annoyed to hear these words. He got up from his seat and came forward to punish Bhrigu. But the sage ran away from Brahmaloka. Then Bhrigu went to Shivaloka. He saw Lord Shiva engaged in Tandava Nritya. From a distance Bhrigu began to criticise Lord Shiva. He said "Oh! You are not looking after your department properly at all. Your task is to destroy the evil of the world; but the world today is full of evil. You are busy dancing the whole day and are not performing the task allotted to you, why should we worship you then?" Lord Shiva was angry to hear this and he was about to open his third eye to burn the sage, but the sage ran away from there.
Then he went to Vaikuntha. He saw Lord Vishnu resting upon the Sesha. He got very angry seeing that Lord was not coming for his devotees but seemed to be engaged in self-enjoyment; he went near Lord Vishnu and kicked hard upon his chest. Then Bhrigu was afraid of the consequences and was about to run away. But to his surprise he saw Lord Vishnu getting up from his seat falling at his feet. The Lord said, "Oh sage! please forgive me for not noticing you and ignoring you, thereby causing anger to rise in you; My iron-like chest may have injured your foot. Let me press it and comfort you". What great tolerance! What peaceful state! Bhrigu was taken back to hear these words and asked the Lord to forgive him.
Then the Sage came back to the council of the sages at the yajna and narrated the whole story. Hearing it, all the sages believed that Lord Vishnu alone was Shantaakaram and their doubt was cleared.