Lord Vishnu - Shunyah

© All Rights Reserved

26 views

Lord Vishnu - Shunyah

© All Rights Reserved

- The Context of Child's Logic- A Short Story by Vinay Ranjan
- DISCOVERING YOUR PURPOSE - COURSE OUTLINE
- Father Heart of God
- Philosopher Believes
- Is This It: A short story by Madori Renae
- EVEN IF YOU PLACED.doc
- New Year 2010 Message of His Eminence the Archbishop Samuel T
- We're Not Even Connected to Ourselves
- 1-s2.0-S031508601000025X-main
- IEMedAK
- Brittany's Essay Outline for HeyNostra&StRalph
- Reflections on “Varieties of Religious Experience”
- Stay Away From Stupid
- Religions are meant to bring peace; then why do they cause wars?
- Francis Bacon
- The International Society - Bozhidar Paliushev
- one 's own work
- my time in your class
- Journal 2
- 1stsemesterstudentlearningguide

You are on page 1of 9

Sahasranama?

name shunyah given to Vishnu, which appears in sloka No. 79:

viraha vishamaha sunyo grithasirachalaschalaha

The Sanskrit word sunya means zero, nullity, cipher, emptiness.

It would strike anyone as extremely odd that the Sahasranamam should

choose to call Lord Vishnu as Zero! You can understand God being called

ekaha, the One Supreme Being. The essence of all monistic theism lies in

the belief that God is One (the Upanishad says, sayaschayam purushe;

yaschasavadhithye; sa ekaha).

You can understand too God being addressed as ananthaha the Infinite, as

in the Sahasranamam stanza 70:

kamadhevaha kamapalaha kami kanthaha krithagamaha

anirdhesya vapurvishnuhu viro nantho dhananjayaha

Since God is Immeasurable it seems plainly alright to name Him

ananthaha the Infinite. But how is one to explain hailing the Almighty as

shunyah the Cipher?

There is a view that If Infinity is immeasurable, so is Zero. Mathematically

speaking, one could define zero to be anti-infinity. If Infinity is

immeasurable plenitude, Zero is immeasurable emptiness. If you were to

imagine, say, an interminable series of values, from zero to infinity, floating

somewhere out there in endless space, then, surely, Zero would be at one

end of it while Infinity would be found at the other end, wherever, that is,

the two ends may be found, if at all. And if you reflect upon it deeply, that

would make out Zero and Infinity to be two sides of the same ungraspable coin.

By the same logic, you might say the Sanskrit ananthaha and shunyah

might seem antonymous but in reality they mean the same thing. Hailing

God Almighty as Lord Infinity is hence no different from hailing Him Lord

Zero.

Incredible logic notwithstanding, we know for a fact however that the

Infinite and the Cipher are never really the same thing. None of us would

be willing to exchange one for the other if it came to a real choice between

the two. If I go up, for instance, to a venerable acharya or guru and

prostrate at his feet, I would expect him to shower his benediction upon me

saying, May you be blessed in life, my son, with Gods infinite Grace! If

instead the man were to say, May Gods zero grace be thine in life!, the

blessing would stand transformed into a vicious curse, wouldnt it?

So then, why is God, who is Infinite Being, being called sunya, a Zero the

very opposite of infinity? The traditional commentators of the VishnuSahasranamam offer us some explanation in their respective bhashyas.

Lets take up Adhi Sankaras Sahasranama bhashya first.

In his commentary, Sri Sankara (6th CE) explains sunya as an apt nama

for God, the Supreme Brahman, who is nirguna i.e. the Being who is

totally devoid of any qualities or attributes. In other words, according to

Sankaras school of metaphysics, God is guna sunyan.

According to this explanation, God transcends all attributes. His qualities like

omnipotence, omniscience etc. only serve to help us in ascertaining His

reality but they do not per se define Him. The truth of Gods existence

cannot be grasped by us with reference to His qualities or guna alone,

says Sankara. Brahman is to be apprehended as an Absolute Being who

stands far apart from and quite beyond any of His infinitely (ananthaha)

great qualities i.e. He is nirguna brahman, a Being without qualities, a

Being with zero qualities. Hence it is fit to call Him shunyah

Lets turn to the other explanation found in the commentary of Sri Parashara

Bhattar (11th CE) on the Vishnu Sahasranamam titled bhagavadh guna

dharpanam.

Bhattar explains shunyah in the typical way of the school of Visishtadvaitha

theology. According to this school, God is the Supreme Abode of all

auspicious attributes. The Almighty is full of innumerable good qualities like

gny+an+a, bala, aiswarya, virya, shakthi and thejas. In

Visishtadvaitha, God is ananthakalyana guna ganan+ (to use a famous

expression of Sri Ramanujacharya) i.e. Brahman is Being with infinite

number of happy and wholesome attributes. The theology next states that

God, by corollary, is also totally devoid of inauspicious, un-wholesome or

negative qualities.

According to Bhattar, in so far as, Brahman is replete with infinitely good

attributes, He is to be known as ananthaha. And in so far as He is

absolutely bereft of defective qualities, He is to be known as the God of

zero-defects in other words, He is shunyah.

valid and wholly satisfying (depending, of course, upon which school of

Vedanta Sankaras or Ramanujas one is predisposed towards). All the

same, for one who is not steeped in the various nuances and niceties of

Vedhantic theology, (especially for one who cannot really appreciate the

Brahman), the explanations of Adhi Sankara and Parashara Bhattar for

sunya might only seem to resemble the case of the proverbial bottle that

got described as half-empty by one and half-full by another.

Even leaving theological considerations aside, one can still regard Zero to be

a remarkably apt nama for the Almighty. Common knowledge of the world

around us reveals how allpowerful the concept of Zero, sunya, truly is.

When we look at the history of Zero, we realize why sunya is almighty

indeed!

Until about 1500 years ago nobody in the world outside India could count

numbers beyond 9 without enormous difficulty. The entire Graeco-Roman

Western world knew nothing about the Hindu-Arabic system of numerals that

prevails in the entire world today. The Romans depended upon alphabets to

denote numbers such as I, X and C or with V, L and D. In their system the

number 32 had to be written, for example, as XXXII but writing a number

like 3200 or 32000 for the Greeks and Romans presented a huge, often

insurmountable problem! For several centuries the Graeco-Roman civilization

struggled with this cumbersome system of numbering. It was the principal

reason why for almost a thousand years Western mathematics hardly

advanced beyond being a method of elementary counting and mensuration

using crude devices like the abacus. The Greeks and Romans had no

knowledge of how to deal with large numbers, ratios, series, complex

algebraic functions and calculations all childs play for any high-school

student today. Western thought simply stagnated for ages since it could just

not grapple with the mathematical problem of large numbers and

calculations.

Somewhere between 1000 and 1200 AD, the Western world came in contact

with the Arab world and that was when the Hindu-Arabic system of numerals

opened the eyes of the Europeans to a whole new world of mathematical

thought.

The Arabs had for long borrowed and been using the Hindu system of

numerals that had been in use in ancient India for more than a thousand

years earlier. The Hindu system did not use alphabets but a simple but

versatile scheme of numeric symbols starting from Zero the famous

sunya and ending with 9. These symbolic numerals made it so easy to

represent and calculate numerate values anywhere from zero to infinity in

quick time. They enabled complex functions and calculations. They made it

possible to represent the most formidable series of values by a mere formula

which in turn facilitated further complex mathematical functions! The

Western world realized for the first time ever the power of the Hindu

numeral system: a power that became the inspiration for all the

mathematical advancements to later come out of Europe: algebra, ratios,

surds, functions such as squares, cube and root, series and progressions,

logarithmic tables, quadratic equations and so on and so forth.

It was the power of Zero, sunya, indeed, that made the European

Renaissance possible the Renaissance that eventually gave birth to all the

wonderful discoveries of modern mathematics such as Fibionacci series,

Pascals Probability theory and even Newtons Calculus! The concept of Zero

unleashed something more profound than just an enhanced method of

counting and calculating. Zero revolutionized the old modes of human

thought. It meant firstly people could use only ten digits, from 0 to 9, to

perform every conceivable calculation and to write any conceivable number.

Secondly, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for abstract human

thinking that had been simply unthinkable before!

How did the ancient Hindus discover such a powerful concept as sunya

while the rest of the world remained ignorant of Zero for ages?

To grasp the concept of sunya required a very high level of intellectual and

spiritual advancement as what prevailed in India during and after the Vedic

period. As the English philosopher, A.N.Whitehead wrote: The point about

zero is that we do not need to use it in the operations of daily life. No one

goes out to buy zero fish or eggs. (But) It is in a way the most civilized of all

the cardinals, and its use is only forced on us by the needs of cultivated

modes of thought. Vedic mathematics and astronomy of those ancient times

clearly bear evidence to the highly sophisticated conceptual and ideological

skills that our Indian forbears possessed. There was no doubt at all that the

ancient Vedic Indians who gave to the whole world the idea of sunya were

indeed masters of the most civilized and cultivated modes of thought.

There was a great mathematician in India who lived in the 10th century CE,

He was Bhaskaracharya. He wrote several pioneering treatises (in Sanskrit)

on Vedic mathematics. In one of the treatises, it is said, he wrote a small

dedication: To the Supreme Brahman, who is Infinity, I offer my salutation.

Bhaskaracharya used the Sanskrit word khahara to denote God as

Infinity in the dedication. It is derived from kham which means Zero

and hara meaning divided. The word khahara was meant to indicate

that God who is Infinity is related to Zero.

Bhaskaracharya was the first mathematician to reveal to the world the

intimate relationship between sunya and ananthaha, between Zero and

Infinity. Any quantity divided by sunya is equal to Infinity, he said. Take a

value like 16 and divide it (haraha) with progressively decreasing divisors.

What happens? The quotient progressively enlarges. For e.g. 16 divided by 4

= 4; and 16 divided by 2 = 8; and eventually when 16 is divided by 0 it

equals Infinity! Every quantity, every value in the world, when divided by

sunya, results in the same quotient or result viz. Infinity, ananthaha

Such is the mighty power of Zero that it can raise and relate all values on

earth to the exalted state of Infinity that very same state in which God

Almighty, the Vishnu of the sacred Sahasranama, is said to eternally reside

and rule!

- The Context of Child's Logic- A Short Story by Vinay RanjanUploaded byVinay Ranjan
- DISCOVERING YOUR PURPOSE - COURSE OUTLINEUploaded byAdetokunbo David Odunaiya
- Father Heart of GodUploaded bym28181920
- Philosopher BelievesUploaded byapi-3731398
- Is This It: A short story by Madori RenaeUploaded byMadori Renae
- EVEN IF YOU PLACED.docUploaded byNikhil Parekh
- New Year 2010 Message of His Eminence the Archbishop Samuel TUploaded bySamuel T.L.Yemey
- We're Not Even Connected to OurselvesUploaded byJS Gluck
- 1-s2.0-S031508601000025X-mainUploaded byBelmira Mota
- IEMedAKUploaded bySatyakaam Satya
- Brittany's Essay Outline for HeyNostra&StRalphUploaded bykempscott
- Reflections on “Varieties of Religious Experience”Uploaded byRiccardo Tozzi
- Stay Away From StupidUploaded byJim Poitras
- Religions are meant to bring peace; then why do they cause wars?Uploaded byMJ
- Francis BaconUploaded bySiti Maria Ulfah
- The International Society - Bozhidar PaliushevUploaded bymiro_vladimirov
- one 's own workUploaded byAnonymous s8adxPd
- my time in your classUploaded byapi-242206521
- Journal 2Uploaded bytermmaster
- 1stsemesterstudentlearningguideUploaded byapi-256105506
- 2372 Misguided teachings are barriers for the seeker of God....Uploaded byMarianne Zipf
- 3 Comparative CultureUploaded bysyylee
- The God of ChristiansUploaded byrex tanong
- Religion Has Actually Convinced People That ThereUploaded byAftab Saad
- God’s Grace Knows No Limits.pdfUploaded byPaoloFernandoCaraganColabres
- Spiritual AssessmentUploaded byJovita Rodrigues
- Abt VoglerUploaded byCaramujoSan
- AsssUploaded byEr Win
- Pidato b.ingUploaded byfima
- Vigil - Ecological Challenges for ReligionUploaded byMili González Briganti

- Ladu Baba Temple Bhubaneswar Kainchhi Temple Odisha.docxUploaded byMister
- Louisa May Alcott - Little WomenUploaded byRahul Bevinahal
- The Ancient Katasraj Shiva TempleUploaded byMister
- Unknown Story of KarnaUploaded byMister
- Significance of Yagya and Saffron Flag in Hindu DharmaUploaded byMister
- Lord ShivaUploaded byMister
- Dreams of Lord SuryaUploaded byMister
- MindUploaded byMister
- Practical Applications of the Concept of GunasUploaded byMister
- Indus Civilization at Least 8Uploaded byMister
- Ancient Western Philosophy and the Hindu WisdomUploaded byMister
- HarappaUploaded byMister
- The Story of Panduranga VittalaUploaded byMister
- The Symbolism of Lord GaneshaUploaded byMister
- Terminal RestlessnessUploaded byMister
- Art of Living is to Master the Art of DyingUploaded byMister
- Muslim Youth Translates Hanuman Chalisa Into UrduUploaded byMister
- Rare Pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi Living as a Sadhu in His YouthUploaded byMister
- Rare Pictures of Sri Veena Baba of BadrinathUploaded byMister
- India Maritime HistoryUploaded byMister
- Kohinoor Diamond Was Not StolenUploaded byMister
- soundarya lahariUploaded byMister
- rudramUploaded byKaran Sinha
- Stotras - EnglishUploaded byMister
- Shrirudra EnglishUploaded byMister
- Pranayama and CreativityUploaded byMister

- C3 CH6 SolutionsUploaded byGia Khanh
- merz3Uploaded byjose492432
- A Parabola is the U Shape That We Get When We Graph a Quadratic EquationUploaded byRoobendhiran Sivasamy
- An Interactive Introduction to Mathematical Analysis-J.lewineUploaded byZerina Dragnic
- Group Axioms and PropertiesUploaded bySalman Habib
- CATIA V5 Fundamentals - Lesson 2: Profile CreationUploaded byAnonymous 8vNGfpdo
- JMSLUploaded bymaximin
- EMTL-NOTESUploaded byramyaraki
- comparing arithmetic and geometric sequencesUploaded byapi-253892365
- Alternative Input Output Matrix Updating Formulations_Jackson_and_MurrayUploaded byMario Carrasco
- Issads An Architecture for Selecting Data Distribution AlgorithmsUploaded bycruzreyeslaura
- f ExtremesUploaded byIleana Vasile
- lesson plan-exponentials-sadrettin ormanUploaded byapi-301980453
- Conquering SAT Math Practice Test 1 AnswersUploaded bysarahleeabc
- PcaUploaded byjhansiprs2001
- Optimeyes Theory PaperUploaded byBayron Torres
- FX-4500PA EnglishUploaded byHéctor Nandar C.
- Assignments-discrete mathsUploaded bySundeep Chopra
- eureka math-tips for parents-grade k module 3Uploaded byapi-216717776
- Fa16 Cs188 Lecture 4 -- Csps iUploaded byyaodis
- V3I11-IJERTV3IS110007Uploaded byAnggara T Nugraha
- sig-Lecture 1Uploaded bySherif Ayad
- ABAQUS-umatUploaded byManickavasagam Arun Kumar
- Stpm (Maths m) Paper2 2013Uploaded byYvette Mack
- 1-s2.0-S1877705813013313-mainUploaded byadelmin
- ECE 495N Lecture 8 - Schrodinger Equation and Finite DifferenceUploaded byTheodore Chandra
- Chapter 3 Data Representation and Computer ArithmeticUploaded byamir
- Exp 1 Introduction to Signal and SystemUploaded byFakhzan Mohd Nor
- CE QuizUploaded byFrancesnoel Carvajal
- Mad DalaUploaded byimane