108 Names of the Sun: Surya Ashtottara Shatanamavali #31

Om Hrishkesaya Namaha, Salutations to the One who is fully in control of the senses and is filled with joy. When one masters the senses, the outward-going mind is under control, fear, desire, attachments all pass away.


hrishikesha (hrishika+isha) San. M. master, the presiding ruler of the senses, he under whose control the senses subsist – epithet of Vishnu and Krishna. (V. 47)
Tanmatra ‘rudimentary, undifferentiated, subtle elements from which a gross element is produced.’ M. 3. 22-26; Va. 4. 52.
tanmatra (IE 7-1-2), ‘five’.
dasendriyas the ten senses comprising the pancha (5) jnanendriyas (internal senses of perception or knowledge) and the pancha (5) karmendriyas (internal senses of action).
purushārtha San. n. the (four) legitimate goals of man: dharma, artha, kāma and moksha. ‘Acquire wealth (artha) by righteous means and use it for righteous ends (dharma); develop desire (kāma) for liberation (moksha).’ (SSS)
jiva the individual soul
atma Ātman or paramātman is the divine impersonal core of personality, the Self, the ‘wave of the ocean’. There is no real distinction between ātman and brahman – God immanent and God transcendent – they are the same indivisible Reality both without and within; they are advaita, ‘not two’, but one alone.
ātma-swarūpa (atmaswaroop) San. n. God, Consciousness, the Self, original nature, our true essential nature
chitt, chitta– Hin. m. chitta San. n. the mind (the seat of understanding and awareness, of intellect and will); memory, thought, reflection; the soul, heart. It is the individual consciousness, composed of intelligence and intellect (buddhi), ego (ahankāra) and mind (manas).
gyan; jñān Hin. m. jñāna San. n. (from jñā – to know) true intuited understanding; spiritual wisdom; higher knowledge. ‘What use is information which does not bring about transformation?’ ‘Jñāna is that which is beyond mind and speech.

The Five Elements

5 elements cognised by the senses: fire – agni – water jala – air vayu – earth prithvi – ether akasha – sky. Tanmatras give rise to the elements.

Earth (prithivī) has sound (sabda), touch (sparsha), form (rūpa), taste (rasa) and smell (gandha). It is the densest element and is relatively stable.

  • Water (apa or jala) has sound, touch, form and taste. It is subtler than earth, so it flows and spreads.
  • Fire (tejas or agni) has sound, touch and form; it is subtler than water so it rises up and spreads.
  • Air (vāyu) has only two attributes, sound and touch – it is even more subtle than fire, so it can move in all directions and wafts everywhere.
  • Ether (ākāsha) is characterised by the single attribute of sound – it is the subtlest element present everywhere, for sound energy pervades the entire creation.

tan matras (thanmathraas) are the five subtle senses that emerge from the water element, jala. The five subtle senses of knowledge, experienced through the internal sense organs are:

  • sabda – sound involves the sense of hearing through the ears
  • sparsa – touch involves the sense of touch through the skin
  • rupa – form involves the sense of sight through the eyes
  • rasa – taste involves the sense of taste through the tongue
  • gandha – smell involves the sense of smell through the nose

Mastery of the Senses

Mastery of the senses is one of the most important skills humans need to acquire. A person reaches the goal of life through discipline and control of the outgoing mind. As shown above, the mind is outgoing via the subtle senses. It is taught, bend the body, end the senses, mend the mind and you will read the same in Sri Yoga Vasishtha below. The universe is illusion, yet, the senses are necessary adjunct of duality in order that we pass through duality to advaita, the cognition of Atma, wherein all are One. When one has cognition that all are One (cognition that the body is Atma only, hence, atmaswaroop, embodiment of the atma) only joy and bliss remain. There is nothing else to be cognised or known.

Discipline, discrimination and detachment are the principal tools for mastery of the senses.

from Sri Yoga Vasishtha:

Question 189 : Sir, you say that everything can be attained with purushartha and nothing can be attained without it. If that be so, why didn‘t Prahlad awaken without the boon of Lord Vishnu? He attained gyan only after he had got the boon from the Lord?

Answer: Ramji, whatever was attained by Prahlad, was the result of his purushartha. It was only with his purushartha that Prahlad was stabilised in devotion and had merged his mind in Atma. He controlled his mind with contemplation, and that was his purushartha. He realised Atmaswaroop Lord Vishnu and had His vision as a result of his purushartha. A jiva awakens in Atma either by his own power or by the power of Lord Vishnu. Prahlad had meditated upon Lord Vishnu for a long time; hence he attained gyan with the grace of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu does not grant gyan to one who does not contemplate. It shows that contemplation (vichara) arising from purushartha is the main cause for the realisation of Atma. Boon is the secondary cause; you have to take recourse to the primary cause. To begin with, control the five senses and then fix your chitta in contemplation on Atma. When you succeed in it, you will cross the ocean of the universe (samsara) and attain to the supreme state. If Lord Vishnu were to grant liberation to one without purushartha, then He would grant it to birds and beasts too. And gurus, too, would grant liberation to the ignorant and thoughtless; but it is not so. Ramji, know it for certain that a jiva attains to the supreme state through purushartha only. Those who have controlled their senses with the forces of vairagya and discipline (abhyas) have realised Atma on their own. You, too, should be engaged in devotion and worship. See the Self yourself and be established in the Self.


Om Hrishkesaya Namaha, Salutations to the One who is fully in control of the senses and is filled with joy.


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