Tuesday, September 8, 2015

24 Names of God | How to Perform Vishnu Puja With 24 Names of Lord Vishnu

It is upheld by many seers of Vaishnavism that the 24 Keshava Namas are of most special importance among the 1000 names of God that are famous as Vishnu Sahasranama.

In a previous post, I have mentioned about performing Achamana or the purification act of body and soul by sipping water 3 times into your mouth with your bowl-shaped palm while chanting the primary three names of God.

After that ritual has been performed, you will start the worship of God Vishnu reciting the below-mentioned 24 names which are popularly known as  "Keshava Nama in Sanskrit". The worship can be done with flowers and/or akshata or akshintalu (raw rice mixed with turmeric powder that is mostly used for performing puja and thereafter, for blessing your youngsters at all ceremonies).

These twenty-four names of God Vishnu are a part of the Vishnu Sahasranamam and are treated as most auspicious by all devotees, each name signifying some special quality and attribute of God.

You will be reciting each name and offering the flower or akshata/kumkum to God at each name. You can offer both the flower and akshata interchangeably or even by mixing both in one plate. Offer a flower each for each name or one or two grains of akshata as per your convenience.

24 Keshava Namas

First of all, let me be clear that the prefix "Om" refers to the sound which vibrates all through the universe in the form of spiritual sound waves reaching to God.

The suffix "namaha" or "Namah" refers to the fact that "I am saluting" (the performer of this worship), or bowing my head or folding my hands before God.

So these both words are used as the prefix and suffix in almost all prayers.

1) Om Keshavaaya namaha  ( one who possesses dense, black curled hair. It is also interpreted as one who Himself is Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. K is for Brahma, and a hidden letter A in 'e' is for Vishnu and 'ish' in esh is for Shiva. The full word of Keshav is broken into K+A+Ishav)

2) Om Naaraayanaaya namaha ( one who has his abode as water/ocean, or,  who is the abode for all living beings. "aayanam" means resting place and "naara" means either water or all living things)

3) Om Maadhavaaya namaha ( one who is the husband of Lakshmi or one who took birth in madhu creed or family which is a sub-sect of the Yadav vamsha. Further, maa means mother' (Lakshmi) and 'dhava' means husband.)

4) Om Govindaaya namaha (Govinda means "cowherd' or as "the one who regained earth again from netherworld" or as "who can be realized through Vedic chantings alone".)

5) Om Vishnave namaha (One who is present in all the creatures and things of the universe. "Vishnu' means who is present all through the elements of the universe. It may also mean as 'giver' and 'protector')

6) Om Madhusoodhanaaya namaha (One who has conquered a demon named 'Madhu'. Or whose form is like honey. It may also refer to as the stealer of butter/ghee as a child, Lord Krishna. Because 'Madhu' refers to 'honey' and ghee/butter also).

7) Om Trivikramaaya namaha ( One who measured all three worlds with his step, one who covered entire universe with 3 long steps or who is spread and shines through all 3 Vedas of Rig, Yajur, and Saama. 'Tri' means three and 'Vik' means states and 'ramaaya' refers to one who pleases or shines)

8) Om Vaamanaaya namaha ( One who is beautiful in a dwarf form and spreads the glowing light bestowing pleasures. 'Vaaman' means handsome dwarf)

9) Om Sriidharaaya namaha ( One who is wearing Lakshmi in his heart. 'Sri' refers to Lakshmi and 'Dhar' means one bearing her and giving support)

10) Om Hrusheekeshaaya namaha (One who is the controller of senses. It also refers to one having rays of sun and moon in his hair that give joy to all beings.)

11) Om Padmanaabhaaya namaha (One who has Lotus in his navel, which is an abode of Brahma. It may also refer to his navel being beautiful as lotus. 'Padma' means lotus and 'naabhi' means navel.)

12) Om Daamodaraaya namaha (One who was tied with a rope around his stomach by Yashoda. 'Udara' means stomach and 'daama' means rope or cord. "daama" can also refer to the whole universe and so denotes 'one who has the entire universe in his stomach'.)

13) Om Sankarshnaaya namaha (One who awards the fruits of karma or fate to both living and lifeless beings. Or one who has the dual powers of attraction and repulsion. 'Sankarshana' is also considered as a name of the great serpent, Adishesha who is a part of God. He is also the Lord of 'Ahamkaara' or ego.)

14) Om Vaasudevaaya namaha (Vaasudeva means son of "Vasudeva". He is Sri Krishna, the first of the four manifestations of Vishnu, others being Sankarshana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. These four manifestations are Lords of 4 states of the soul: Chitta (sub-conscious mind), Ahamkaara (ego), Buddhi (intellect or knowledge), Manas (mind)).
Vaasudeva is Lord of 'Chitta' or subconsciousness.

15) Om Pradyumnaaya namaha (Pradyumna means one who is self-glowing. He is enriched with beauty, wealth and lovable appearance. He is the 3rd of the four manifestations of Vishnu and is the Lord of 'Buddhi' or intellect.)

16) Om Aniruddhaaya namaha (Aniruddh means unstoppable. He possesses mighty valor and an uncontrollable form that protect his devotees. He is the 4th manifestation and is the Lord of 'manas' or mind)

17)Om Purushottamaaya namaha (One who is the supreme being or God. 'Purusha' means person and 'uttama' means supreme. One who is beyond death and life.)

18) Om Adhokshajaaya namaha (One who does not decrease or diminish even after continuously gets enjoyed and consumed by all beings. It also means one having the eternal knowledge that is not reachable through our senses.)

19) Om Naarasimhaaya namaha (One who took the form of half lion and half man to protect Prahlad and to kill his demon father "Hiranyakashipu" 'Nara' means man and 'Simha' means lion.)

20) Om Achyutaaya namaha (One who does not fall or lose his powers even after entering this material world. An infallible being. 'Achyuta' means one who does not fall or beget of something. It also means one who keeps Brahma and others infallible.)

21) Om Janaardhanaaya namaha (One who protects his devotees from enemies and miseries. 'Jana' means people, 'aardhan' means miseries or enemies creating miseries)

22) Om Upendraaya namaha (One who appeared as Indra's brother.'Upendra' means Indra's part or youngster. It is believed that 'Vamana' also resembled Indra's brother when seeking three steps from Mahabali, the demon)

23) Om Haraye namaha (One who removes or evaporates the miseries of his devotees and gives them eternal bliss or moksha)

24) Om Srikrishnaaya namaha (One who is the most beautiful and enchanting with his hue resembling dark clouds. One who is in an eternal bliss with his own creations in the form of Sri Krishna)

So, above are the 24 Names of Sri Krishna or Vishnu that are popular as Keshava Namas or 24 names of Lord Vishnu.

After performing puja with these names, one may recite some more hymns or slokas of Vishnu, thereafter, of Sri Krishna, Goddess Lakshmi, and Panchaayudha slokas, etc. if he likes to enjoy more time spent with God or may end the worship offering dhoop, deep, naivedya, and Mangala haarati in a simple form.

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