Merits of Recitation Vishnu Sahasranamam

Benifits of Chanting (Phala Shruthi)

Believers in the recitation of the Sahasranama claim that it brings unwavering calm of mind, complete freedom from stress and brings eternal knowledge. A translation of the concluding verses (Phalasruti) of Vishnu sahasranama, state the following: "Nothing evil or inauspicious will befall a man here or hereafter who daily hears or repeats these names.. Whichever devoted man, getting up early in the morning and purifying himself, repeats this hymn devoted to Vasudeva, with a mind that is concentrated on Him, that man attains to great fame, leadership among his peers, wealth that is secure and the supreme good unsurpassed by anything. He will be free from all fears and be endowed with great courage and energy and he will be free from diseases. Beauty of form, strength of body and mind, and virtuous character will be natural to him.... One who reads this hymn every day with devotion and attention attains to peace of mind, patience, prosperity, mental stability, memory and reputation.... Whoever desires advancement and happiness should repeat this devotional hymn on Vishnu composed by Vyasa....Never will defeat attend on a man who adores the Lotus-Eyed One (Kamala Nayana), who is the Master of all the worlds, who is birthless, and out of whom the worlds have originated and into whom they dissolve."

In orthodox Hindu tradition, a devotee should daily chant the Upanishads, Gita, Rudram, Purusha Sukta and Vishnu sahasranama. If one cannot do all this on any day, it is believed that chanting Visnu sahasranama alone is sufficient. Vishnu sahasranama can be chanted at any time, irrespective of gender.

Varahi Tantra says that in the age of Kali yuga, most stotras are cursed by Parashurama and hence are ineffective. While listing the ones which are free from this curse and hence suitable during Kali Yuga, it is said, "Gita of the Bhishma Parva, Vishnu Sahasranama of Mahabharata and Chandika Saptashati' (Devi Mahatmyam) are free from all Doshas and grant fruits immediately in Kali Yuga."

In a classic astrological text, the Bṛhat Parāśara Horāśāstra, Sage Parashara frequently recommends the recitation of the Vishnu Sahasranama as the best remedial measure for planetary afflictions. For example, see the following verse: "The most effective and beneficial remedial measure for the prolongation of longevity and to obtain relief from other evil effects is recitation of Vishnu Sahasranam." ch 56 verse 30

Sage Parashara mentions this practice more than ten times in his text. Here's another verse:

"The remedial measure to obtain relief from the above evil effects, is recitation of Vishnu Sahasranama." ch 59 verse 77

It is customary to commence the Vishnu sahasranama with a devotional prayer to Vishnu.

Shlokas - Recitation and aggregation

An alternative approach is to say the starting prayer, and then say the names collected in stanzas (As they were originally said by Bhishma.) Such stanzas are called Shlokas in Sanskrit. The Sahasranama (apart from the initial and concluding prayers) has a total of 108 shlokas.

For example, the first shloka is:

    Om Vishvam Vishnurvashatkaaro Bhootbhavyabhavatprabhuh
    Bhootkrid Bhootbhridbhaavo Bhootaatma Bhootbhavanah

Notice the aggregation of several words and the omission of their intervening spaces. For example, the last word of the first line of this Shloka:


corresponds to:

    OM Bhoota Bhavya Bhavat Prabhave Namaha

of the expanded version.

This joining-together of words is a common feature of Sanskrit and is called Samasa. It makes the shlokas compact and easier to remember, which was necessary in ancient India since the religious scriptures were seldom written down and were memorised by Brahmins, or the priest class. This collection of memorised knowledge was passed by word-of-mouth from Guru to disciple (which is called in Shruti Gyana in Sanskrit, or "the knowledge (gyana) of that which was heard (shruti)").