FOREWORD by Swami Ranganathananda

The Vishnu-shasranama is a well-known hymn dear to millions of devotees in India. Vishnu is the personal aspect of the Impersonal-Personal Brahman of the Upanishads and is the one source of the universe. There are similar Stotras to Shiva and Devi also.
Our very ancient Rig-vedic dictum, ‘Ekam sat vipra bahudhaa vadanti – Truth is one; sages call it by various names’, is particularly applicable to the Sahasranaama of one and the same Divinity. In verse 11, the Sahasranaama tells:

Yattah sarvaani bhutaani bhavantyaadi-yugaagame
Yasminscha pralayam yaanti punareva yugakshaye

‘From whom all beings begin to exist in the beginning of a Yuga, and into whom also, in the end of the Yuga, they all get dissolved.’

The Vedantic cosmology is far ahead of modern Western cosmology because of the inclusion of the principle of Intelligence as the source of the universe, not a piece of matter.
In verse 19, the name of ‘Tvashta’ has a similar significance. Shankaracharya’s comment on this word is: ‘The power that compresses the whole universe at the end of the cosmic age to a small point.’ Tanukritam is the word that Shankaracharya uses here.

This ancient Indian description is what is repeated today in modern Western cosmology, but its source is not only dull dead matter on which no human being will be singing praises as we do to Vishnu.

I hope Swami Gabhirananda’s book will be a delight for the people to read and to recite the whole of Vishnu-sahasranaama. This great hymn is available, with accurate pronunciation and sweet voice, by Bharat Ratna M.S. Subbalakshmi, in audio-cassette form.

Belur Math Swami Ranganathananda
12 March 2001 President
Ramakrishna Math and
Ramakrishna Mission

Swami Gabhirananda who translated the Stotra into English is a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order, India. He joined the Order in 1951 and served the organization in various capacities in its major centres. He was for sometime the President of the Ramakrishna Math, Kochi, and Ernakulam. Swami Gabirananda has interpreted many scriptures, which are marked for their special effectiveness.