Narayana - Etymology

Etymology

Narayana Sukta

The Lord Narayana is the Supreme Absolute;
Narayana is the Supreme Reality;
Narayana is the Supreme Light;
Narayana is the Supreme Self;
Narayana is the Supreme Meditator;
Narayana is the Supreme Meditation.

The Narayana Upanishad of the Krishna Yajur Veda states that the Narayana Mantra is the crowning message of the Sama-veda. The Upanishad explains — In the beginning one vibrates "Om," then "Namo," and thereafter "Narayanaya." Om has one syllable; Namo has two syllables; Narayanaya is five syllabled. Together these make the eight jewelled syllable Narayana-mantra. One who recites this Narayana-mantra is free from fame with a pure heart and attains all: life, offspring, wealth, health and cows. Thereafter that person achieves to immortality, the spiritual world. Indeed he achieves the spiritual world. In this way it is understood.

The Narayana Upnaishad states that Narayana is the eternal being: and therefore Narayana is Brahma. Narayana is Shiva. Narayana is Indra. Narayana is time. Narayana is the primary directions. Narayana is the subdirections. Narayana is above. Narayana is below. Narayana is within and without. Narayana is certainly everything; past, present and future. He is 'nishkalam' without material parts . Being free from all falsehood, matter, He is 'niranjanah' or Brahman. He is without any master 'nirvikalpah.' He is 'nirakhyatah' invisible to the masses in general . Narayana is the pure effulgent Supreme Personality of Godhead: no one else, without a second to compare. He, Lord Narayana, manifests in this world as Shri Vishnu. Certainly, He appears as Shri Vishnu.

Atha nithyo Narayana. Brahma Narayana
Shivascha Narayana. Shankrascha Narayana.
Kaalascha Narayana. Disascha Narayana.
Vidhisascha Narayana.Oordhwascha Narayana.
Adhascha Narayana. Anthar bahischa Narayana.
Narayana eevedam sarva yad bhootham yachcha bhavyam.
Nish kalanko niranjano Nirvikalpo niraakhyatha.
shabho deva eka Narayano na dwitheyesthi kaschit.
Ya evam veda sa vishnureva bhavathi sa Vishnureva bhavathi.

In Mahabharat, Naar means water in human (Nar) body, is residence (Aayan) of God (Naarayan). Another interpretation of the word Narayana sees Nara meaning "human" and Ayana as "direction/goal". Some view Narayana as meaning "son of man." Hence Narayana refers to the "direction of a human" (or the one that helps a human to his/her goal, i.e. towards moksha). Nara is related to moksha as both are rooted to the Water element (Ap), one of the Great Elements (Mahābhūta). (See also Tattva). Srimad Bhagavatam states that 'Yesha tu Narayanam devam adevam isham' ('Narayan is the lord of the lords beyond him there is nothing exists'). Whoever worships with love and devotion achieves the highest destination Vaikuntha. (G as Generator, O as Operator and D as Destroyer hence GOD)

The religion propagated by Lord Krishna was known as Narayaniya or Pancharatna earlier and later because the Satvat sect adopted and followed it assumed the name Satvat. Later on, people started believing in the fact that Nar-Narayana were none other than Arjuna and Sri Krishna themselves. Hence, it got labelled also as 'Bhagwat religion.

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