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Book Review

Devotional hymn

BHAGAVAD GUNA DARPANA — Part II: Commentary on Sri Vishnu Sahasranama by Sri Parasarabhatta (original in Sanskrit — translation in English); Published by Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Sathsangam, C-8519, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi-110070. Price not mentioned.

THE GREAT epic, Mahabharata, is hailed as the fifth Veda. It is rich with one-lakh verses and has rare gems for embellishments like Sri Vishnu Sahasranama, Siva Sahasranama, Bhagavad Gita, Sanatsujaatiya, Vidhuraneethi and Yakshaprasna.

King Yudishtira poses to Pitamaha Bhishma "What should I chant to get liberated from the worldly bondage". Bhishma replies that the one who steadfastly chants the thousand names of Sriman Narayana, who is the Lord of the world, the first among the Devas, and the Supreme Being, is sure to attain salvation. Such is the eminence of Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam. It is unique that the great savants of various philosophical doctrines have chosen this to offer their commentary. Among those are renowned scholars like Adi Sankara, Sathyasandha Thirtha of Dwaita and Parasarabhatta of Visishtadvaita.

Parasarabhatta (1122-1174 A.D.) is the son of Koorathazhwan. He is an ardent devotee of Lord Ranganatha. He was earlier known as Ranganathan, before he came to be known as Parasarabhatta. He has also authored several works like Srirangarajastavam and a prose on Kaisika Purana, in addition to Bhagavad Guna Darpanam, a commentary on the Vishnu Sahasranamam.

The publishers, who have been doing laudable services to the cause of religion, have chosen to publish the commentary of Parasarabhatta. The book under review is the second of the two parts so far published.

Parasarabhatta exhibits, while explaining the "Namas" according to the rules of Vyakarana and Nirukta and further relating to Upanishads, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and Puranas, his erudition and comprehensive grasp. He makes an astonishing arrangement of the "Namas" (names) according to the doctrine of Pancharatra Agama, viz., Param, Vyuham, Vibhavam, Archa and Antaryami. He goes on in affirmation that the first 120 names prove that the Lord is Para Vasudevan and the next 25 names refer to Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddati aspects.

According to Parasarabhatta, the name 144 (sahishnu) connotes to Lord's enduring mercy, the 24 names starting from Jagadadija (145) to Him as Vishnu, names 211 to 225 to Mastyaavatar, and the 21 names starting from 226 to Purushasuktha and Upanishads. The book covers the first 500 names, with "Namavalis" in Sanskrit and their transliteration in English.

The Sanskrit commentary of Parasarabhatta has been painstakingly translated into English in lucid style. This book deserves a place in the collection of every true subscriber to the doctrine of Vaishnavism. The Sathsangam deserves credit also for bringing out this book neatly printed.


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