~by Gopalan Suresh Raj
Sanathana Darma or what has come to be referred to as Hinduism, talks about One God and One God only. Contrary to popular belief, the concept of multiple Gods is a misnomer which will readily become very apparent after you go through this post.
The scriptures say that Sriman Narayana is The one and only Supreme-most Being; The one and only Supreme-most Principle; The one and only Supreme-most Truth; The one and only Supreme-most Reality bar none. Everyone and Everything else are souls servile to that Supreme Being/The Supreme Personality of Godhead.
All Vedas, Vedanta, Veda Samhitas, Veda Brahmanas, The Upanishads, Veda Aranyaka, The Itihasas, The Puranas, Agamas, Kalpas, Smritis, Suktas, Granthas, Mahatmyams, and Slokas - all identify Sriman Narayana and Him alone as The Brahmam, or The Supreme Being, or The Supreme Personality of Godhead, or The Paramathma and sing His glory.
Here are two derivations for the name Narayana:
1. नरानं (Naraanam) + अयनं (Ayanam) = नारायणः (Narayana) meaning The One who is the ultimate refuge of all beings - the support of the host of all souls.
2. नराः (Naraa) + अयनं (Ayanam) + यस्य (Yasya) + सहः (Saha) = नारायणः (Narayana) meaning The One for whom the entire multiverse consisting of sentient living beings, and non-sentient things constitute His body.
Rules of Sanskrit Grammar 1:1 - According to Sanskrit grammar, when the words नरा (Nara) and अयनः (Ayana) are combined, it does not become नारायनः, but becomes a proper noun as in नारायणः (Narayana) with the emphasis on the last णः (Na) which exclusively means Sriman Maha Vishnu Narayana.
Instead of me explaining the details in prose, I thought I would just place direct quotes from the scriptures and let them speak for themselves. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of references to Sriman Narayana as The Supreme Being, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, The Brahmam, The Paramathma in all the ancient scriptures.
Please find below a list of such randomly selected quotes. These references are such that even on giving a cursory glance, there would not even be an iota of doubt to Sriman Narayana being The Supreme Being or The Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In this context, I have to place on record my appreciation and strong recommendation for Sriman Anbil Ramaswamy's book Hinduism Rediscovered which everyone should read without fail.
This is a long running list. It is not exhaustive - there are literally hundreds and hundreds of such references in the scriptures. I will keep updating this post with selected references as and when I get the time.
Here goes ...
#1 सत्यं सत्यं पुनः सत्यं उध्तुत्य बुजं उच्यते
वेदस् शास्त्रं परम् नास्ति न दैवं केशवातः परम् ॥
True, True, and again True. Raising my hand high, I swear under oath that there is nothing greater than the Veda Shastras nor a Supreme God than Sri Keshava (Sriman Narayana).
- Veda Vyasa.
#2 Every time one reads the Mahabharata or the eighteen Puranas, this is always the first sloka in each of them.
नारायणं नमस्कृत्य नरं चैव नरोत्तमम्
देवीं सरस्वतीं वाचं ततो जयं उदीरयेत् ॥
One should pray to Sriman Narayana, and also to Nara the best of all humans, and also to Devi Saraswathi before one attempts to read and understand the following. The word jayam is used to refer to the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and the eighteen Puranas as well.
- Veda Vyasa in the Mahabharata's first verse
#3 आलोड्य सर्व शास्त्राणि विचार्य च पुनर पुनः
इदमेकं सुनिष्पन्नं ध्येयो नारायणस् सदा ॥
After making a thorough research of all the Shastras, and only after great deliberation and discussion with knowledgeable persons, I have arrived at this unassailable and irrefutable conclusion that Sriman Narayana should be meditated upon always.
- Veda Vyasa in conclusion of the Mahabharata.
From the Vedas and Veda Samhitas
#4 द्येयत सदा सवितृ मण्डल मद्यवर्ति
नारायणः सरसिजासन संनिविष्टः
केयूरवान मकर कुण्डलवान क्रीटी
हारी हिरण्य वपुः धृत शङ्क चक्रः ॥
शङ्क चक्रः गदा पाणे द्वारक निलया आच्छ्युत गोविन्द पुण्डरीकाक्ष रक्षमां शरणागतं ॥
Sriman Narayana who is at the center of the sphere of the Sun, who is well seated on the lotus bedecked with dolphin-shaped ear rings, crown and garland, with a golden body adorned with weapons like the conch, discuss, maze, who resides in Dwaraka, He who never forsakes His devotees, He who protects cows (representing all beings), whose eyes are like the lotus - O! Sriman Narayana! Please protect me who has surrendered myself at Your feet.
- from The Sandhya Vandhana of all twice-born irrespective of denomination composed from the original Vedas and held as most authentic and authoritative.
#5 नमः ब्राह्मण्य देवाय गो ब्राह्मणे हितायच
जगत्थिताय श्रीकृष्णाय गोविन्दाय नमो नमः ॥
Salutations to the Lord of Brahma; One who is benevolent to all beings; One who supports the multiverse; One who is known as Sri Krishna and Sri Govinda; My salutations to You.
- from The Sandhya Vandhana of all irrespective of denomination composed from the original Vedas and held as most authentic and authoritative.
#6 कायेन वाचा मनसा इन्द्रियर् वा बुध्यात्मना वा प्रकृतेर स्वभावात करोमि यद यद सकलं परस्मै श्रीनारायणाये इति समर्पयामि ॥
Whatever I do by my body, or speech, or mind, or other senses, or by intellect, or by the nature of - everything I dedicate to Sriman Narayana and to Sriman Narayana alone.
- from the dedication in The Sandhya Vandhana of all twice-born irrespective of denomination composed from the original Vedas and held as most authentic and authoritative.
#7 प्रायस चित्थानि असेषाणि तपः कर्मात्मकानि वै
यानि तेषां असेशानां श्रीकृष्णानु स्मरणं परम् ॥
There is no greater atonement than the remembrance of Lord Sri Krishna for extinguishing sins without even leaving any trace thereof.
- referring to atonement for sins, in The Sandhya Vandhana of all twice-born irrespective of denomination composed from the original Vedas and held as most authentic and authoritative.
#8 मानसं वाचिकं पापं कर्मणा समुपर्जितं
श्रीराम स्मरणेनैव व्यपोहति न संशयः ॥
Whatever sins had been committed by mind, word, or deed, and whatever sins had been accumulated all of them get to be totally obliterated by the mere remembrance of the name of Sri Rama and there is no doubt about this.
- referring to obliteration of sins, in The Sandhya Vandhana of all twice-born irrespective of denomination composed from the original Vedas and held as most authentic and authoritative.
#9 अपवित्र पवित्रो वा सर्व अवस्तं गतोऽपि वा
यस स्मरेत पुण्डरीकाक्षं सः बःयप्य अन्तरः सुचि ॥
Whether one is already pure or impure, in whatever condition to which one had gone on account of defilement, such a person becomes purified both externally and internally on just remembering Sri Pundarikaksha. (one who is lotus-eyed. This is another name, which refers to only Sriman Narayana and no one else.)
- on the matter of purification in all purification ceremonies.
From the Vedas
All four vedas commence and close invariably with the words Hari Om (हरिः ॐ). All the four Vedas thus proclaim in no uncertain terms the fact that Sriman Narayana is at the begining and through the very end.
#10 हरिः ॐ अग्निमीले पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य देवं रत्विजं होतारं रत्न धतमन हरिः ॐ ॥
- Rig Veda
#11 हरिः ॐ ईशेत्व उर्जेत्वा वयवस्थ उपयवस्थ देवोवः सविता प्रर्पयतु स्रेष्टतमाय कर्मणे हरिः ॐ ॥
- Yajur Veda
#12 हरिः ॐ अग्न याहि वीतये गृणानो हव्य धाथये निहोता सत्सि बर्हिषि हरिः ॐ ॥
- Sama Veda
#13 हरि ॐ संनो देवीर अबीष्टये अपो भवन्तु पीथये संयोर अभिस्रवन्थु नः हरिः ॐ ॥
- Adarva Veda
#14 तद् विष्णोः परमं पदं सदा पश्यन्ति सूरयः
तद् विप्रासो विपन्यवो जागृवांस समिन्दते
विष्णोर यद परमं पदं ॥
The ever-free Angels (Nityasooris) with eyes wide open enjoy Lord Sri Vishnu's divine form happily. These great and wise ever-free Angels (Nityasooris) are also proficient in praising the Lord; endowed with Supreme Knowledge they are ever vigilant.
- Rig Veda
#15 नारायणतः ब्रह्म जयते नारायणतः रुद्रो जयते ॥
From Sriman Narayana was born Brahma; From Sriman Narayana was born Rudra
- Rig Veda
#16 ह्रीस् च ते लक्ष्मीस च पत्न्यौ ॥
Sriman Narayana, The Paramathma, is one who has Mother Earth and Mother Mahalakshmi as His consorts.
- Yajur Veda
From the Veda Samhita
#17 व्याप्ति कान्ति प्रवेसेस्च तत् दाथु निबन्दनातः परत्वेब्यदिका विष्णोः देवस्य परमात्मानः ॥
Such qualities as pervasiveness, splendor, entrance to all, immanence, and will, which are deduced from the respective verbal roots are additional qualities of the Supreme Being Sri Vishnu, and decisive of His being the Supreme deity.
- Shiva in Ahirbudnya Samhita (52.38)
#18 नीच भूतो ह्यसवात्मा यत् संरक्ष्यातय अर्प्यते तत् कस्म इति अपेक्षयं विष्णवे देवस्य परमात्मनः ॥
If it is questioned as to whom this soul has to be surrendered for protection, undoubtedly the answer is Sri Vishnu only.
- Shiva in Ahirbudnya Samhita (52.35 & 36)
From the Veda Brahmanas
#19 नारायण परम् ब्रह्म तत्वं नारायणः परः ॥
Only Sriman Narayana is the Supreme the only truth that ought to be known
- Taittriya Brahmana
From the Upanishads
#20 एकः साष्टा न द्वितीयो अस्ति कश्चित् ॥
There is only one (Sriman Narayana) who rules over the multiverse. There is no other.
#21 माता पिता ब्राता निवासः शरणं सुहृत् गतिर नारायणः
एष सर्व भूत अन्तरात्मा अपहत पाप्मा दिव्यो देव एको नायायनः ॥
The one who is the mother, father, brother, resting place, friend, and the refuge, the indweller of all beings totally devoid of blemishes, shining and that one is Only Sriman Narayana.
#22 नित्यो नित्यानां चेतनस चेतनानां
एको बहूनां यो विददाति कामान् ॥
Sriman Narayana is the most permanent of all permanent things, the most sentient of all sentient beings, the only one among many who grants wishes.
- Svetaswatara Upanishad (6.13)
#23 यो ब्रह्माणं विदधति पूर्वं
यो वै वेदंस्च प्रहिणोति तस्मै
तं हि देवताम बुद्धि प्रकाशं
मुमुक्षुर्वै सरणं अहं प्रपद्ये ॥
I, who am desirous of Moksha (emancipation/liberation/salvation), surrender unto Him who created Brahma and taught him the Vedas and the One who alone can grant liberating knowledge of the self leading to Moksha (emancipation/liberation/salvation).
- Svetaswatara Upanishad
#24 न तस्य कार्यं कारणं च विध्यते
न तत् समश्च अपि अधिकस्च द्रिस्यात ॥
There is nothing that Sri Bhagavan has to aspire for; There is no circumstance requiring His aspiring anything that He cannot obtain; There is none equal to Him not to speak of anyone being superior.
- Svetaswatara Upanishad
#25 यश्च किञ्चित् जगत्यस्मिन दृश्यते स्रुयतेपि वा
अन्तर बहिस च तत् सर्वं आपि अधिकस्च दृष्यत ॥
Whatever is seen or heard in this multiverse they are enveloped both within and without by Sriman Narayana
- Taittriya Upanishad (11.25)
#26 यतो वा इमानि बूतानि जायन्ते
येन जतानि जीवन्ति
यत्प्रयन्त्याबी संविसन्ति ॥
From what are these living things born, by whose will they subsist, and into whom they will ultimately integrate that is Sriman Narayana
- Taittriya Upanishad's Anandavalli (1)
#27 एको ह वै नारायण आसीतः
न ब्रह्म न ईशानः
न इमे द्याव पृथ्वी
न नक्षत्राणि ॥
Before creation there was only Sriman Narayana - neither Brahma, nor Shiva, nor the sky, nor the earth, nor the stars.
#28 अपहत पाप्मा विराजो विमृत्युः विसोकः विजिगत्सो
अपिभसहा सत्य काम सत्य संकल्पः ॥
He who is bereft of sins, old age, death, sorrow, hunger, thirst; He who can get whatever He desires; He who can accomplish whatever He desires.
- Chandokya Upanishad
#29 सदेव सोम्येतं अघ्र आसीथ् ॥
Before creation only this Sri Bhagavan was there all alone
- Chandokya Upanishad
From the Itihasas - Srimad Valmiki Ramayana
#30 पद्मे दिवेर्क साङ्कसे नाभ्यां उत्पाद्य मां अपि
प्राजापत्यं त्वया कर्म सर्वं मयि निवेसितं
सोऽहं संन्यस्त भारो हि त्वां उपासे जगत पतिं ॥
Having created me in the divine lotus of your navel, shining like the Sun, you have assigned to me all the duties of creation (प्राजापत्यं) and with this responsibility entrusted to me, I worship you, the Lord of the Multiverse to help me in discharging my duties.
- Brahma in Srimad Ramayana (7.104.7 & 8) while addressing Sriman Narayana.
#31 सकृदेव प्रपन्नाय तव अस्मि इति याचते
अभयं सर्व बुथेभ्यो ददामि येतद् व्रतं मम ॥
To him who has sought My protection even once, and begged of Me saying "I am Thine", to him I afford protection from all beings, This is my vow.
- Sri Ramachandra in Srimad Ramayana (6.18.33) also known as Sri Rama Charama Sloka.
#32 ब्रह्मा स्वयंबुस च चतुराननो वा
रुद्रस त्रिनेत्र पुरान्थको वा
इन्द्रो महेन्द्रः सुरनायको वा
त्रातुं न सक्तः युधि राम वध्यं ॥
If a man deserves death at the hands of Sri Ramachandra, neither the four-faced Brahma who is born of no mortal, nor the three-eyed Rudra (Shiva) who destroyed Tripura, nor the great Indra who is the leader of the Devas will be able to shield him in battle. If on the other hand a man seeks refuge under Sri Ramachandra, even if everyone and initimate friends of his propose to injure him, Sri Ramachandra will protect him by overcoming the wicked and pursuading the good ones.
- Srimad Ramayana.
#33 अधिकं मेनिरे विष्णुं देवास स ऋषि गणास् सध ॥
Therefore, Devas, Rishis, and others considered that Sri Vishnu is The Supreme Deity.
- Srimad Ramayana (1.75.20)
#34 मित्र भवेन संप्राप्थं न त्यजेयं कथंचन
दोषो यद्यपि तसया स्यातः सदामेतद अगर्हितं ॥
Vibheeshana has surrendered. He is a friend. He should not be let down under any circumstances or for whatever reasons. I will not let him down even if he has any defects. This is the way accepted by great Sadhus.
- Sri Ramachandra in Srimad Ramayana (6.18.3)
From the Itihasas - Srimad Veda Vyasa Mahabharatha
#35 आबुत संप्लवे प्राप्ते प्रलीने प्रक्रितौ महान्
एकः थिष्ठति विश्वात्मा स थु नारायण प्रभुः ॥
At the time of deluge, everything dissappears, but there is only One that remains - the One that is in the soul of all others and that is Sriman Narayana
- Shanthi Parva (210.24) of the Mahabharatha.
#36 ब्राह्मं सिथिकँटं च याश्च अन्याः देवता स्मृतः
प्रति बुद्दः न सेवन्ते यस्मात परिमितं फलं ॥
Brahma, Neelakanta (Shiva/Rudra), Indra, and others are NOT worshipped by the discreet because they can grant only trivial, temporary worldly benefits and definitely not Moksha (emancipation/liberation/salvation) - which can be granted only by Sriman Narayana.
- Shanthi Parva (350.36) of the Mahabharatha.
#37 तव अन्तरात्मा मम च ये च अन्ये देह संज्ञिताः
सर्वेषां साक्षी बुथो असौ न ग्रह केनचित् क्वचित् ॥
This God who is in the soul of you and me and all beings is watching our actions. None of us, however, can ever know Him at anytime.
- Brahma tells Shiva in the Shanthi Parva (361.4) of the Mahabharatha.
#38 सर्वेशमेव लोकानां पिता माता च मादवः
गत्च त्वं एनं सरणं सारण्यं पुरुश्र्षबः ॥
Sri Madhava (Sriman Narayana) is the Father, and the Mother of the entire multiverse and you should take refuge in Him because He is the only one who can be sought for refuge.
- Vana Parva (61.50 and 192.56) in the Mahabharata
#39 रुद्र आदित्य वसूनां च तथ अन्येषां दिवोउकसां
एतेय वै निरयाः तात स्तानस्य परमात्मनः ॥
The places where Rudra (Shiva), Aditya, Vasu, and other devas reside look like a veritable hell when compared to the felicity of SriVaikuntam, the abode of Sriman Narayana.
- Shanti Parva (196.6) in the Mahabharata.
#40 सर्वेषां खिल धर्माणां उथामो वैष्णवो विधीहि
रक्षते भगवान विष्णु भक्थानां आत्मा सरीरवत् ॥
Bhagavan Sri Vishnu protects His Bhaktas with great care and anxiety like looking after the health of His own body. Indeed we are all His body, and He is the indweller in our soul.
- Moksha Darmam in the Mahabharata.
#41 ये भजन्ति पितॄन देवान ब्रह्माणं स हुतासनातः
सर्व भुतर अन्तरात्मानं विष्णुमेव भजन्ति ते ॥
Rites performed in the shastras invoking the Manes, Divinities, Brahmins, or the Fire-God, all these performances reach ONLY Lord Sri Vishnu since He is the indweller of all entities
- Shanti Parva (355.41) in the Mahabharata
#42 कृष्णं कमल पत्राक्षं न अर्चयन्ति ये नराः
जीवन् मृतस्तु ते ज्ञेयाः न संबाष्य कदाचन ॥
Those that do not honor lotus-eyed Lord Sri Krishna are just walking corpses unfit to be talked to at any time.
- Sage Narada in the Mahabharata
#43 एतौ ड्वौ विबुथ स्रेश्टौ प्रसादात् क्रोधजौ ॥
The two great divinities were born respectively from Sri Bhagavan's grace and anger. Directed by Sri Bhagavan, they carry out their respective duties of creation and destruction.
- on Bahma and Rudra (Shiva) in the Mahabharata.
#44 वासुदेवो महत भूतं सर्व दैव अदैवतं
न परम् पुण्डरिकाक्षात दृश्यते पुरुष रिशबः
एष दाथ विधाता च सर्वेषां प्राणिनां प्रभु
परम् हि पुण्डरिकाक्षात न भूतं न भविष्यन्ति ॥
Sri Vasudeva is the greatest Soul. He is Supreme. He is the God of all. There is none greater to Him. He is the creator of all beings; the One who decides their destiny. There never was, nor will there ever be, any God higher than Sri Vasudeva, Sri Pundarikaksha (Sriman Narayana).
- Bheesham Parva (67.2 and 67.18) in the Mahabharata.
From the Harivamsa
#45 कः इति ब्रह्मणो नाम ईशोऽहं सर्व देहिनां
आवां तव अङ्गे सम्बुथौ तस्मात केसव नामवान् ॥
Brahma's name is Kah, and I am known as Isa. Both of us were born from your limbs. Therefore, you are called Sri Keshava.
- Harivamsa (3.31.48) Shiva addressing Sriman Narayana
#46 हरिर एकः सदा द्येयः बवत्बिहि सत्व संस्तिताः
उपास्योयं सदा विप्रः उपायोस्मि हरे स्मृति ॥
Sri Hari (Sriman Narayana) has no equal or superior and therefore, is fit to be meditated upon always. So, develop Satvaguna for the purpose. I am incapable of granting Moksha (emancipation/liberation/salvation), and at best can guide you in your efforts to meditate on Sriman Narayana.
- Shiva addressing His devotees in Harivamsa.
From the Puranas
#47 नारायण नमः इति अयमेव सत्यं
संसार घोरा संहरनाय मन्त्रं
शृण्वन्तु बवाय अमतय यतरस्त रागाः
उचैस्वरं उपदिस्यामि अहं उर्द्व बाहुः ॥
Sriman Narayana is the only one to be worshipped and this is the only truth; because, it is the only Mantra that removes the wicked clutches of bondage (Samsara). Listen! You are free from prejudices and have an open mind. With my hand raised under oath, I proclaim loudly this truth for your benefit.
- Nrusimha Purana
#48 त्वत् कोपातः सांभवो रुद्राः तमसा च समावृताः
त्वत् प्रसादात् जगतातः राजस च पितामाः ॥
Rudra (Shiva) was born out of your anger and is enveloped by endopy (tamas). The creator and the great sire, the four-faced Brahma was born out of your pleasure and is governed by activity (rajas)
- Linga Purana describing Sriman Narayana.
#49 वैकुण्टे थु परे लोके श्रियः सार्दं जगत्पतिः
आस्ते विष्णुर अचिन्त्यात्मा बक्तैर भागवतै सः ॥
Sri Vishnu (Sriman Narayana) is The Supreme Lord residing in SriVaikunta with His consorts and devotees.
- Linga Purana describing Sriman Narayana.
#50 सरणं त्वं प्रपन्ना ये द्यान योग विवर्जितः
तेऽपि मृत्युं अतिकृत्य यान्ति तद वैष्णवं पदं ॥
Those incapable of performing Bhakti take refuge in You as a means to conquer death and cross bondage (Samsara) and reach SriVaikunta.
- Brahma Purana (53) addressing Sriman Narayana.
அடியேன் ராமானுஜ தாசன் (Ramanuja's humble servant)
श्रीनिवास वरद शर्मा a.k.a. Suresh Raj Gopalan.
काश्यप आपत्सार नैद्र्व त्रयाक्षय प्रवरान्वितः नैद्र्व काश्यप गोथ्रः आपस्तम्भ सूत्रः यजुष शाकाध्यायि श्रीनिवास वरद शर्मा नाम अहं अस्मि भोः ॥
I am Srinivasa Varadha Sharma, of the Naidruva Kaashyapa gotra, a student of the Apastamba dharma sutras, from the Taittiriya shakha of the Krishna Yajur Veda, and of the three pravaras named Kaashyapa, Aapathsaara, and Naidruva.