Where did the Visargas Go?

Storytelling the Visarga Sandhi in Vishnu-Sahasranaamam

Sujatha R
4 min readJan 1, 2023

Sarga is Creation..

Imagine a Glassmaker of Venice.. In the blazing furnace of the mouth, words are blown out and released with a gentle HH ..
VishnuHH.. ShivaaHH.. RaamaHH..

The 1000 names in Vishnusahasranamam glorify the actor Vishnu, and all set in the 1st Vibhakthi. One would imagine a sea of Visargas. But WAIT.. Where did the Visargas GO? Where did the Rs, the Ss, and the Os land from?

Amidst the many hidden treasures, the 1000 names have many windows of words all of them beginning with the same letter. And it presents a great opportunity to observe Visarga Sandhi.

The Sounds have a Story to tell..

Meet the free-flowing and elastic VOWELS.. Say aaaaa.. Say eeee.. Say uuu and feel the stretch..

Meet the CONSONANTS. These are always up to some rubbing and friction and are of 2 types.

The harsh कर्कश sounds are like the cawing of the crow.. ka ka ka.. Feel them as you utter. Let’s call them HARD CONSONANTS.
क ख
च छ
ट ठ

And their counterparts.. The soft मृदु sounds.. A layer of softness and deep voice is added. Let’s call them SOFT CONSONANTS.

ग घ ङ
ज झ ञ
ड ढ ण

And let’s meet the heat-generating ऊष्म sounds. The mouth is almost closed. Depending upon the position of the tongue, we have a range of sounds.
श ष स
and take a long breath and leave out..the soft ह

This picture from Reddit tersely divides the alphabet into HARD consonants, SOFT consonants, and heat-generating SIBILANTS. We will use this as a reference if needed.

https://www.reddit.com/r/sanskrit/comments/llk37e/created_a_visarga_sandhi_flowchart/

And the sounds decided to make some accomodations in their marriage. As Harmony comes with adjustments and flow. Be it in Life or in the vocal apparatus of Sounds..

In the process of Sandhi between words, sounds of 2 different types get to unite and weld at the boundaries. Let us see WHERE DID THE VISARGAS GO?

Says He: “I was at the trailing end. Nobody to meet with.. And I remained VISARGA.”

विश्वं विष्णुर्वषट्कारो भूतभव्यभवत्प्रभुः
भूतकृद्भूतभृद्भावो भूतात्मा भूतभावनः ॥ 1 ॥

Meeting the Hard Consonants

Says A: “There was no need to change.. I united with my siblings.. They were of my type.. The Hard consonants क् ख् प् फ् and the heat generating श् ष् स् .. ”

क्
कुमुदः कुन्दरः कुन्दः पर्जन्यः पावनोऽनिलः । ८७

प्
वैकुण्ठः पुरुषः प्राणः प्राणदः प्रणवः पृथुः । ४४

पूर्णः पूरयिता पुण्यः पुण्यकीर्तिरनामयः ॥ ७३॥

श्
श्रीदः श्रीशः श्रीनिवासः श्रीनिधिः श्रीविभावनः ।
श्रीधरः श्रीकरः श्रेयः श्रीमाँल्लोकत्रयाश्रयः ॥ ६५॥

स्
सुव्रतः सुमुखः सूक्ष्मः सुघोषः सुखदः सुहृत् । ४९

सद्गतिः त्कृतिः त्ता द्भूतिः त्परायणः ।७५

Says B: “I met with the other Hard consonants.. And I morphed into the corrosponding thermal sounds..”

I become श् on meeting च्

चतुर्मूर्तिश्चतुर्बाहुश्चतुर्व्यूहश्चतुर्गतिः ।
चतुरात्मा चतुर्भावश्चतुर्वेदविदेकपात् ॥ ८२॥

Meeting the Soft Consonants

Says C: “Quite the aH O moment.. I met with the soft consonants like the ग् ,ज् , ब् , दs.. And I melted and became O.”

aH + ग् => O ग्

गुह्यो गभीरो गनो गुप्तश्चक्रगदाधरः ॥ ५८॥

अनिरुद्धः सुरानन्दो गोविन्दो गोविदां पतिः ॥ २०॥

aH + ज् => O ज्

जननो जनजन्मादिर्भीमो भीमपराक्रमः ॥ १०१॥

aH +द /ध => O द /ध

दुर्लभो दुर्गमो दुर्गो दुरावासो दुरारिहा ॥ ८३॥

धनुर्धरो नुर्वेदो ण्डो मयिता मः । ९२

aH +ब् /भ् => O ब् /भ्

ब्रह्मण्यो ब्रह्मकृद् ब्रह्मा ब्रह्म ब्रह्मविवर्धनः ।
ब्रह्मविद् ब्राह्मणो ब्रह्मी ब्रह्मज्ञो ब्राह्मणप्रियः ॥ ७१॥

भूशयो भूणो भूतिर्विशोकः शोकनाशनः ॥ ६७॥

Says D: “The rr effect.. When my iH uHs met the soft consonants.. ”

iH + m=> irm
महाबुद्धिर्महावीर्यो महाशक्तिर्महाद्युतिः ।

iH + j/h/v
विहायसगतिर्ज्योतिः सुरुचिर्हुतभुग्विभुः ।
रविर्विरोचनः सूर्यः सविता रविलोचनः ॥ ९४॥

uH + dh => urdh
धनुर्धरो धनुर्वेदो दण्डो दमयिता दमः । ९२

uH + m => urm
चतुर्मूर्तिश्चतुर्बाहुश्चतुर्व्यूहश्चतुर्गतिः ।
चतुरात्मा चतुर्भावश्चतुर्वेदविदेकपात् ॥ ८२॥

Meeting the Vowels

Says X: The O moment.. When my ‘aH’ met ‘a’..

अः + => ओऽ ( is just a visual aid indicating that the beginning letter अ was absorbed by the process of Sandhi)

kṣetrajñaH + akṣara => kṣetrajño’kṣara
अव्ययः पुरुषः साक्षी क्षेत्रज्ञोऽक्षर एव च ॥ 2 ॥

padmanābhaH + amaraprabhuḥ => padmanābho’maraprabhuḥ
अप्रमेयो हृषीकेशः पद्मनाभोऽमरप्रभुः

asaṅkhyeyaH + aprameyātmā => asaṅkhyeyo’prameyātmā
असङ्ख्येयोऽप्रमेयात्मा विशिष्टः शिष्टकृच्छुचिः 27

भूतभव्यभवन्नाथः पवनः पावनोऽनलः 32

पद्मनाभोऽरविन्दाक्षः पद्मगर्भः शरीरभृत् 38

सोमपोऽमृतपः सोमः पुरुजित् पुरुसत्तमः 54

Says Y: “ The disappearing act.. When my ‘aH’ met the other vowels इ, उ, and एs.

ॐ न ति
दं शृणुयान्नित्यं
ज्ञ ज्यो महेज्यश्च क्रतुः सत्रं सताङ्गतिः ।

अर्जुन उवाच
व्यास उवाच

क्षेत्रज्ञोऽक्षर एव च

Says Z: “Just a handful of us.. We are not visarga ending words. Just in case you were wondering..”

र्ता र्ता महीभर्ता सत्कर्ता विकर्ता

त्त्वं तत्त्वविदेकात्मा प्रियकृत्

I hope you enjoyed this visual Visarga Alchemy exhibited in the Vishnu Sahasranamam. I was writing it while observing and assimilating it during the chants.

I found this amazing flowchart on Reddit as I was writing this post. A precisely structured “if else ” flowchart-like approach. My post is more of a beginner and simplistic visual approach. I did try to align the 3 sections to the 3 color codes in this diagram.

https://www.reddit.com/r/sanskrit/comments/llk37e/created_a_visarga_sandhi_flowchart/

References

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Sujatha R

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