“Kimekam Daivatham Loke kim vapyegam parayanam Sthuvantha Kam Kamarchanda Prapnuyur Manava Shubham. Ko Dharma Sarva Dharmanam Paramo Matha Kim Japan Muchyathe Jandur Janma Samsara Bhandana”
- Who is the One Supreme Deity?
- What is the highest goal of life?
- By praising which Deity's auspicious qualities will human beings attain prosperity in this world as well as bliss in the next?
- By reciting which mantra will man be released from the bondage of the cycle of birth and death?
- Of the three means referred to above (i.e., recitation, praise or archana, and meditation), which is the best means for attaining the grace of the Supreme Deity based on your vast experience and knowledge?
Bhishma adds that of all the dharmas, the dharma or practice involving service done to the Lotus-eyed Lord Krishna, without any desire for benefit, through worship (archana) and hymnal praise (stava), is the best dharma. Note that praising is easy, involving only speech, and does not involve any material sacrifice or bodily exertion. It is open to all, and does not need help from, or dependence on, others. Other kinds of worship might require money or other resources to perform the worship, or the need to impose on other people for their involvement (e.g., a priest to give instructions on the method of worship etc.).
For the purpose of chanting the name of God, there is also no constraint on the asrama (i.e., brahmacharya, grihasta, etc.) to which a person belongs, unlike, for example, the constraints that the vedas place in performing the ceremonial rites with sacrificial fire. There is also no requirement regarding time, place, status of purity, etc., for the chanting of the stotram. The key element of the act of chanting as a means to attain the Lord's grace is the sincerity and purity of mind, and there is no other constraint or consideration.
The Thousand Names
In Isavasya Upanishad, it is said that you cannot reach (understand) the Paramatma with the human mind (reasoning) alone even if you spend all your life. This holds true even though mind can travel (think) faster than anything known to us, including the speed of light (anejadekam manaso javiyo..). Given this Infinite nature of the Paramatma who is not governed or constrained by any of the physical laws as we know them, the choice of a thousand names of Vishnu by Bhishma should be recognized as a representation of some of the better-known qualities of Sriman Narayana that are repeatedly described in our great epics, vedas, puranas, etc., and sung by the devout sages repeatedly.