Grammar bits in Vishnu Sahasranamam

Peek into recurring Vibhakti forms, Verb & Gerunds

Sujatha R
8 min readFeb 11, 2022

Bhakthi or Vibhakthi is an intrinsic choice of exploration. One need not think of grammar while soaking in the chant. In the otherwise analytical world of learning, the familiar chants tend to play hide-n-seek and slowly intrigue and reveal the grammar patterns, and thereby provide guidance and support to recollect these patterns.

The 1000 names of the divine itself are all in the 1st vibhakthi. The conversation between the grief stricken Yudhistira asking Bheeshma for the ultimate stuthi, the conversations in the phalashruthi of Krishna-Arjuna- Sanjaya bits from Bhagawadgita, and some verses from the puranas with Brahma, Shiva, Parvathi, all of them provide a rich tapestry to recognise and register some grammar bits.

If you are a beginner in Sanskrit Grammar and familiar with the chant, you may be able to relate or identify some of the grammar patterns mentioned here. Feel free to skip a section that seems overwhelming. And I am a student myself and will be happy to receive any kind of corrections or feedback.

Vibhakti 1: The doer

The 1000 names are all masculine or neutral gender names of the divine. The visargas may be changed doe to the sandhi in a few places.

This particular concluding verse from Gita comes in the phalashruthi. Interestingly all the nouns are in the first vibhakti.

यत्र योगेश्वरः कृष्णः
यत्र धनुर्धरः पार्थः
तत्र
श्रीः, विजयः, भूतिः, ध्रुवा नीतिः मम मतिः
Gita 18.78

Where there is Krishna, the Master of Yoga… Where there is Partha, the archer… there stands glory, victory and prosperity, and there also is the immutable Law in my opinion.

My take away for this verse.. Where execution is aligned with the management.. where the body is aligned with the intelligence, success and prosperity is to be for sure..

Another one on the plural case

आर्ताः विषण्णाः शिथिलाश्च भीताः घोरेषु च व्याधिषु वर्तमानाः । 32

Vibhakti 2: Karma

The following verses from dhyaanam.. Saluting “वन्दे” to शान्ताकारं भुजगशयनं and the list of other names.

शान्ताकारं भुजगशयनं पद्मनाभं सुरेशं
विश्वाधा
रं गगनसदृशं मेघवर्णं शुभाङ्गम्
लक्ष्मीका
न्तं कमलनयनं योगिहृर्ध्यानगम्यम्
वन्दे विष्णुं भवभयहरं सर्वलोकैकनाथम् ॥ 3 ॥

मेघश्यामं पीतकौशेयवासं
श्रीवत्सा
कं कौस्तुभोद्भासिताङ्गम्
पुण्योपे
तं पुण्डरीकायताक्षं
विष्णुं
वन्दे सर्वलोकैकनाथम्

Vibhakti 4: Sampradaana

From the opening lines in Vishnu Sahasranamam.. My “नमः” to..

व्यासाय विष्णुरूपाय व्यासरूपाय विष्णवे
नमो वै ब्रह्मनिधये वासिष्ठाय नमो नमः ॥ 4 ॥

अविकाराय शुद्धाय नित्याय परमात्मने
सदैक रूप रू
पाय विष्णवे सर्वजिष्णवे ॥ 5 ॥

नमो विष्णवे प्रभविष्णवे

A tip: When there are multiple nouns with the same vibhakthi, we can see them as qualifiers/adjectives to the main noun which is “Vishnu” in this case.

My नमः to Vyasa who is Vishnuroopa.. My नमः to Vishnu who is Vyasa roopa
My नमः to Vishnu,
My नमः to the pure one,
My नमः to the one who is not affected …

Another one from the phalashruthi

नमोऽस्त्वनन्ता
सहस्रमूर्त
ये
सहस्रपादाक्षिशिरोरुबाह
वे
सहस्रना
म्ने
पुरु
षाय
शाश्व
ते
सहस्रकोटीयुगधारि
णे नमः ॥ 28 ॥

If you are wondering about the endings of the nouns, take help of these shabdas. rama=>ramaaya, hari => haraye, guru => gurave

विष्णवे, सर्वजिष्णवे, सहस्रपादाक्षिशिरोरुबाहवे follows the guru shabda.
guru => gurave, vishnu =>
विष्णवे

hari => haraye, sahasramurthi => सहस्रमूर्तये

There are consonant ending noun words like ‘bhagawat’ , ‘shashwat’, ‘naaman’ and their 4th vibhakthi forms end with ‘e’.
ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
Hence शाश्वते, सहस्रनाम्ने,

And the popular verse from Gita..

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम्। ।
धर्मसंस्थापना
र्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे ॥ 31 ॥

Hopefully this section has given some insights into the the masculine pullinga forms of the 4th Vibhakti.

Vibhakti 3: Instrument

मनसा वाचा कर्मणा
By mind.. By Words.. By action

आत्मना
By Self

manas, vaac, karman are base words words ending in consonants. Hence their third form is मनसा वाचा कर्मणा

कायेन वाचा मनसेन्द्रियैर्वा बुद्ध्यात्मना वा प्रकृतेः स्वभावात् ।33

~

Illustration of dual noun in 3rd vibhakti.. With Rukhmini Satyabhama

रुक्मिणी-सत्यभामाभ्यां सहितं कृष्णमाश्रये ॥ 8 ॥

Vibhakti 5: Apaadana

We can see the seperation and freedom aspect मुच्यते in this verse from phalasruthi.

रोगार्तो मुच्यते रोगाद्बद्धो मुच्येत बन्धनात्
भया
न्मुच्येत भीतस्तु मुच्येतापन्न आपदः

And he who is ill will be free from rogaa,
He who is bound will be free from bondage,
He who is afraid , will be free from fear,
He who is in danger , will be free from danger.

Sambhodana

From the phalashruthi

अर्जुन उवाच
पद्मपत्र विशालाक्ष पद्मनाभ सुरोत्तम
भक्ताना
नुरक्तानां त्राता भव जनार्दन ॥ 23 ॥

Oh large eyed one !
Oh who has a lotus on his stomach !
Oh Janardhana !

Be protector ‘of your devotees’ (6th vibhakti, plural)

He Who

Let us see the forms of the pronoun which means “he who” “it who”. Beautifully, many forms have been used in these verses. Knowing their intent makes the meaning so much more closer.

1. यः / यानि (neutral plural)
2.
3.
4.
5. यस्मात् / यतः
6. यस्य
7. यस्मिन्

~

यः He who (1)
परमं यो महत्तेजः परमं यो महत्तपः ।
परमं यो महद्ब्रह्म परमं यः परायणम् । 15 ॥

He who is the greatest light,
he who is the greatest penance,
he who is the greatest brahmam,
he who is the greatest shelter.

~

यतः सर्वाणि भूतानि भवन्त्यादि युगागमे ।
यस्मिंश्च प्रलयं यान्ति पुनरेव युगक्षये ॥ 17 ॥

From Him whom all the souls, were born at the start of the world,
In him, all that lives during parlaya

~

यानि नामानि गौणानि विख्यातानि महात्मनः ।
ऋषिभिः परिगीतानि तानि वक्ष्यामि भूतये ॥ 19 ॥

I will tell you those famous names which were sung by the sages

Observe the plural noun नामानि and the adjectives गौणानि , विख्यातानि which means famous names

~

In this Dhyaanam verse, notice यस्य meaning “of whose”.

भूः पादौ यस्य नाभिर्वियदसुरनिलश्चन्द्र सूर्यौ च नेत्रे
कर्णावाशाः शिरोद्यौर्मुखमपि दहनो यस्य वास्तेयमब्धिः ।
अन्तःस्थं यस्य विश्वं सुर नरखगगोभोगिगन्धर्वदैत्यैः
चित्रं रं रम्यते तं त्रिभुवन वपुशं विष्णुमीशं नमामि ॥ 2 ॥

यस्य नाभि.. यस्य वास्तेयमब्धिः.. अन्तःस्थं यस्य विश्वं

His nabhi is the sky.
His stomach the ocean..
His internals is the vishwam where play men, birds, animals..

VERBS

Let us see a few form of verbs.

1. In the first-person present tense, we have:

नमामि विष्णुं शिरसा चतुर्भुजम् ॥ [ णमँ ]
विष्णुमीशं नमामि [ णमँ ]
सम्भवामि
युगे युगे ॥ 31 ॥ [ सम् + भू ]
करोमि यद्यत्सकलं परस्मै नारायणायेति समर्पयामि ॥ 33 ॥ [ कृ to do][सम्- अर्प्य??, to offer]

I pray (to Vishnu).. I am born (whenever there is adharma)..
(Whatever) I do.. I offer (to Narayana)

~

2. In the third-person present tense, we have:

Singular:

यो मां नामसहस्रेण स्तोतुमिच्छति पाण्डव । PS 24 [ इष्, wish]
यशः प्राप्नोति विपुलं यातिप्राधान्यमेव च । [ प्र- आप्, obtain]
अचलां श्रियमाप्नोति श्रेयः प्राप्नोत्यनुत्तमम्। ॥PS 6 ॥ [ आप्, obtain]
न भयं क्वचिदाप्नोति वीर्यं तेजश्च विन्दति । PS 7 [ विद्, get]

He who wishes to do my stuti -इच्छति
He gets fame.. he gets riches.. he gets fearless — प्राप्नोति
He gets valor — विन्दति

Plural:

विघ्नं निघ्नन्ति सततं विष्वक्सेनं तमाश्रये ॥ 2 ॥ [ नि + हन्, kill]
भजन्ति ये पुष्कराक्षं न ते यान्ति पराभवम् ॥ 22 ॥ [ भज्, pray ]
सुखिनो भवन्ति ॥ 32 ॥ [ भू, be ]

destroy obstacles..
People pray to him, obtain him.. people be happy ..

~

3. From the atmane-pada roots, we have singular forms

First Person:

I pray to
पराशरात्मजं
वन्दे शुकतातं तपोनिधिम् ॥ 3 ॥[वन्द्, pray]
वन्दे विष्णुं भवभयहरं सर्वलोकैकनाथम् ॥ D 3 ॥
विष्णुं
वन्दे सर्वलोकैकनाथम् ॥ D4 ॥

Third person:

चित्रं रं रम्यते तं । D2
न वासुदेव भक्तानामशुभं
विद्यते क्वचित् । 11 [ विदँ ]
सर्वागमानामाचारः प्रथमं
परिकल्पते । 17 [ परि + कृप् ]

he enjoys.. exists.. creates..

~

4. In passive voice in singular,

किं जपन्मुच्यते जन्तुर्जन्मसंसार बन्धनात् ॥ 9 ॥ [ मुच्, free]
रोगार्तो मुच्यते रोगाद्बद्धो ॥ PS 8 ॥[ मुच्]
विमुच्यते
नमस्तस्मै विष्णवे प्रभविष्णवे ॥ 6 ॥ [ वि + मुच्]
त्रिसामा हृदयं तस्य शान्त्यर्थे विनियुज्यते ॥ 21 ॥[ युज्, join]

What frees from bondage, from disease.. मुच्यते
joins
him विनियुज्यते

~

5. Imperative mood in third person.. विधिलिङ् लकारः

It has a wishful and benidictory sense of “ought to be done”

प्रसन्नवदनं ध्यायेत् सर्वविघ्नोपशान्तये ॥ 1 ॥ [ ध्यै, meditate ]
सहस्रं वासुदेवस्य नाम्नामेतत्
प्रकीर्तयेत् ॥ 5 ॥ [ प्र + कॄत् ]
य इदं शृणुयान्नित्यं यश्चापि
परिकीर्तयेत्॥ PS 2 [ परि + कॄत् ]
क्षत्रियो विजयी भवेत् । ॥ PS 3॥[ भू ]

-He ought to meditate on ever-smiling face -ध्यायेत् / ध्यायेद्
-
He who sings the thousand names of Vasudeva, He who listens to the names.. he ought to get fame -प्रकीर्तयेत्
-
Kshatriya Warrior ought to get victory -भवेत्

~

In passive voice, we have
रोगार्तो मुच्यते रोगाद्बद्धो मुच्येत बन्धनात् ।[ मुच्, free]
भयान्मुच्येत भीतस्तु मुच्येतापन्न आपदः ॥ PS 8 ॥

ought to be freed from bondage, fear, danger..

AVYAYAS

These dont change with noun contexts, gender of number and hence called Avyayas.

नमः
अमुत्र: In the next life
इह -Here, in this place.
-and
य इदं शृणुयान्नित्यं यश्चापि परिकीर्तयेत्॥
नाशुभं प्राप्नुयात् किञ्चित्सोऽमुत्रेह च मानवः ॥ PS 2 ॥

He who hears or sings regularly,
Will never get in to bad, in this life and next life.

GERUNDS

We will pick one Gerund type that runs in these verses. Gerunds are nouns derived from verb roots.

This pattern gives a feel of “present continuous tense”.. while praying, working, doing archana, doing dhyaan, doing nama.

In plural, it ends with “antah”, In singular, it has “an” ending.

The questions asked by Yudhustira

युधिष्ठिर उवाच -
किमेकं दैवतं लोके किं वाप्येकं परायणम्।
स्तुवन्तः कं कमर्चन्तः प्राप्नुयुर्मानवाः शुभम्॥८॥

को धर्मः सर्वधर्माणां भवतः परमो मतः। किं जपन्मुच्यते जन्तुः जन्मसंसारबन्धनात्॥९॥

doing stuthi.. doing archana.. of whom can people get shubham.
स्तुवन्तः कं कमर्चन्तः र्मानवाः

Doing japa of what can the jantu, a being be liberated?

~

Bheeshma replies..
Doing stuthi.. doing archana.. doing dhyaanam.. doing namamam of him alone.
स्तुवन्, Archan
ध्यायन्
स्तुवन् नमस्यं
यजमान (for atmane pada)

भीष्म उवाच -
जगत्प्रभुं देवदेवमनन्तं पुरुषोत्तमम्।
स्तुवन् नामसहस्रेण पुरुषः सततोत्थितः॥१०॥
तमेव
चार्चयन्नित्यं भक्त्या पुरुषमव्ययम्। ध्यायन् स्तुवन् नमस्यंश्च यजमानस्तमेव च ॥११॥

Stuvan archan dhyayan naman are ekavachana pullinga forms in shatr pratyaya..

REFERENCES

www.sanskritabhyas.in Amazing lookup for verb and noun extensions and derivatives

https://kosha.sanskrit.today Multi level dictionary and cross referencing

Meaning: http://www.hindupedia.com/en/Vishnu_Sahasranamam

Verses: https://vignanam.org/samskritam/sree-vishnu-sahasra-nama-stotram.html

--

--

Sujatha R

I write.. I weave.. I walk.. कवयामि.. वयामि.. यामि.. Musings on Music, Linguistics & Patterns