The Vishnu sahasranāma has been the subject of numerous commentaries. Adi Shankaracharya wrote a definitive commentary on the sahasranāma in the 8th century, which is the oldest and has been particularly influential for many schools of Hinduism even today. Parasara Bhattar, a follower of Ramanujacharya wrote a commentary in the 12th century, detailing the names of Vishnu from a Vishishtadvaita perspective. Madhvacharya also wrote a commentary on Vishnu sahasranama, disclosing that each name in the sahasranama has a minimum of 100 meaning. Upon being challenged by the audience during his time, Sri Madhvacharaya not only gives 100 meanings for each of the Vishnu sahasranāma but also expands on each of the meanings making it a multi-fold complexity and displays an outspoken quality to hold and explain the real and deep hidden meaning of sahasranāma. Hindu literature includes sahasranamas dedicated to Shiva, Devi, Ganesha and other popular deities.
In Sanskrit, sahasra means "a thousand" and nāma (nominative, the stem is nāman-) means "name". The compound is of the Bahuvrihi type and may be translated as "having a thousand names". In modern Hindi pronunciation, nāma is pronounced [na:m]. It is also pronounced sahasranāmam in South India