Excerpts from a discourse by our Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji
Wish you all a very happy Pongal / Makara Sankaranti
The 'Vishnu Sahasranãma' that we chant in evenings appears in the Mahabhãrata. Where does it appear in the Mahabhãrata? Bheeshma is lying on a bed of arrows (in the battlefield). He is awaiting 'uttarãyana punya kãla' (the auspicious time when the Sun is in the northern hemisphere). Desirous of giving up his life in the 'uttarãyana', Bheeshma is awaiting the month of 'Thai' (Tamizh month - mid January to mid February). Since the great Bheeshma is lying on the bed of arrows, waiting for the right time to leave the body, the war has been stopped and both parties stand around him. To the very last breath Bheeshma had been offering 'upadesa' of Dharma. A father informs his son one by one about the house that he owns in a particular place, the land owned by him, people who have borrowed from him and the amount loaned to them, etc. He holds back some matters reserving it for disclosure during the last moment of his life.
Bheeshma gives the essence of all Dharmas to Dharmaputra
'Yesha me sarvadharmãnãm dharmoadhikatamo mathah
Yadbhaktya Pundariikãksham stavairacchennarah sadã' |
"Worship Narayana. Worship Him through Nãmasankirtanam. If you follow this Dharma you will reap the benefit of having followed all Dharma. This is the best of all Dharma."
Bheeshma who spoke of all Dharma to us, viz. Raja Dharma, Moksha Dharma, Stree Dharma, advises this. It is then that he chants the Vishnu Sahasranãma.
Please check these: Excerpts from a discourse by our Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji