Author: Swami Tapasyananda
Publisher: Sri Ramakrishna Math
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8171204201
The word Sahasranama means the thousand names of the Lord. According to the Vedic tradition there is only one manifesting sound (Sabda) indicative of the Supreme Being (Para-Brahman), and that is called Om, as far as the human ears could capture it. Just as that one Para-Brahman is adored as manifesting in the form of many Deities, the one name Om, indicative of Him, also takes the form of innumerable sound forms representing Divine attributes and other excellences. Sahasranama is perhaps the most extensive elaboration of the Divine Name. This is a special feature of Hindu devotional practice, unknown to other religions which invoke the Supreme Being by one name only.
Today of all Sahasranamas, the Visnu-sahasranama is known as the Sahasranama. It is the most widely chanted by people in all stations of life, and besides there are cassettes made of its as rendered by well-known artistes. It is believed that if he cannot do all this on any day, chanting Visnu-Sahasranama alone is sufficient. It is open to all to chant it, without any distinction of caste, creed or sex. It can be chanted at any time and no special rituals are obligatory on one chanting it. It is also interesting to note that in some parts of India students are asked to learn by heart the Visnu-sahasranama when they begin Sanskrit studies.