Greatness of Vishnu Sahasranama

Sri N. Krishnamachari, a Vaishnavite scholar, at Stephen Knapp's web site, quoting Vaishnavite scholars, states that there are six reasons for the greatness of Vishnu sahasranama:

  1. Vishnu sahasranama is the essence of the Mahabharata;
  2. Great sages such as Narada, the Alvars, and composers including Saint Tyagaraja have made repeated references to the "Thousand Names of Vishnu" in their devotional works;
  3. The person who strung together the thousand names as part of the Mahabharata and preserved it for the world was none other than Sage Veda Vyasa, the foremost knower of the Vedas, who is considered an Avatar of Vishnu;
  4. Bhishma considered chanting of the Vishnu sahasranama the best and easiest of all dharmas, or the means to attain relief from all bondage;
  5. It is widely accepted that the chanting this Stotram gives relief from all sorrows and leads to happiness and peace of mind;
  6. Vishnu sahasranama is in conformity with the teachings of the Gita."

Adi Sankaracharya, the Advaita enlightened master, in verse 27 of his hymn, Bhaja Govindam, said that the Gita and Vishnu sahasranama should be chanted and the form of the Lord of Lakshmi, Vishnu should always be meditated on. He also said that the Sahasranama bestowed all noble virtues on those who chanted it.

Parasara Bhattar, a follower of Ramanujacharya had said that Vishnu sahasranama absolves people of all sins and has no equal

Madhvacharya, the Dvaita philosopher, said that the Sahasranama was the essence of the Mahabharata which in turn was the essence of the Shastras and that each word of the Sahasranama had 100 meanings.

Swaminarayan, founder of the Hindu Swaminarayan faith, said in verse 118 of the scripture, Shikshapatri, that one should "either recite or have the 10th canto,(of Bhagavata Purana ) and also other holy scriptures like the Vishnu Sahasranama recited at a holy place according to one's capacity. The recital is such that it gives fruits according to whatever is desired."

Swaminarayan also said in verses 93-96, "I have the highest esteem for these eight holy scriptures: the four Vedas, the Vyas-Sutra,(i.e., Brahma Sutras, the Shreemad Bhagavata Purana, the Shree Vishnu Sahasranama in the Mahabharata, and the Yaagnavalkya Smruti which is at the center of the Dharma Scriptures; and all My disciples who wish to prosper should listen to these 8 holy scriptures, and brahmins under My shelter should learn and teach these holy scriptures and read them to others."

Swami Sivananda
, in his 20 important spiritual instructions, stated that the Vishnu sahasranama, along with other religious texts, should be studied systematically.

Quote by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; on February 15, 1970 to J.F.Staal; Professor of Philosophy and of South Asian Languages. Second paragraph, states:

”In this way we find all the scriptures aiming at the Supreme Person. In the Rig Veda (1.22.20) the mantra is om tad vishnoh paramam padam sada pashyanti surayah ("The demigods are always looking to that supreme abode of Vishnu"). The whole Vedic process, therefore, is to understand Lord Vishnu, and any scripture is directly or indirectly chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu.”

    Lord Shiva addressed his wife, Parvati:

    sri rama rama rameti rame rame manorame
    sahasranama tat tulyam rama nama varanane

"O Varanana (lovely-faced woman), I chant the holy name of Rama, Rama, Rama and thus constantly enjoy this beautiful sound. This holy name of Ramachandra is equal to one thousand holy names of Lord Vishnu." (Brhad-visnu-sahasranama-stotra, Uttara-khanda, Padma Purana 72.335)

Brahmānda Purana said:

sahasra-namnam punyanam, trir-avrttya tu yat phalam
ekavrttya tu krsnasya, namaikam tat prayacchati

    "The pious results (punya) achieved by chanting the thousand holy names of Vishnu (Vishnu sahasra nama stotram) three times can be attained by only one utterance of the holy name of Krishna."

Shri Krishna Himself said:

    yommAm nama sahasrena stotum icchati pandava
    sohamekena shlokena stuta eva na samshaya

    "Arjuna, One may be desirous of praising by reciting the thousand names. But, on my part, I feel praised by one shloka. There is no doubt about it.”[11]

From the oldest scriptural text in Hinduism, the Rig Veda; V.I.15b.3, it states:

    "O ye who wish to gain realization of the Supreme Truth, utter the name of "Vishnu" at least once in the steadfast faith that it will lead you to such realization."