Janamejaya said, “O holy one, it behoveth thee to tell me the significance of those diverse names uttering which the great Rishi Vyasa with his disciples hymned the praises of the illustrious slayer of Madhu. I am desirous of hearing those names of Hari, that Supreme Lord of all creatures. Indeed, by listening to those names, I shall be sanctified and cleansed even like the bright autumnal moon.
Vaisampayana said, Listen, O king, to what the significances are of the diverse names, due to attributes and acts, of Hari as the puissant Hari himself of cheerful soul explained them to Phalguna. That slayer of hostile heroes, viz., Phalguna, had at one time asked Kesava, enquiring after the imports of the some of the names by which the high-souled Keshva is adored.
“Arjuna said, “O holy one, O Supreme ordainer of the Past and the Future. O Creator of all Beings, O immutable one, O Refuge of all the worlds, O Lord of the universe, O dispeller of the fears of all persons, I desire to hear from thee in detail, O Kesava, the significance of all those names of thine, O God, which have been mentioned by the great Rishis in the Vedas and the Puranas in consequences of diverse acts of thine. None else than thee, O Lord, is competent to explain the significations of those names.’”
“The holy one said, ’In the Rigveda, in the Yajurveda, in the Atharvans and the Samans, in the Puranas and the Upanishads, as also in the treatises on Astrology, O Arjuna, in the Sankhya scriptures, in the Yoga scriptures, and in the treatises also on the Science of Life, many are the names that have been mentioned by the great Rishis. Some of those names are derivable from my attributes and some of them relate to my acts. Do thou hear, with concentrated attention, O sinless one, what the import is of each off those names (in particular) that have reference to my acts. I shall recite them to you. It is said that in days of yore you were half my body. Salutations unto Him of great glory, Him, viz., that is the Supreme Soul of all embodied creatures. Salutations unto Narayana, unto Him that is identifiable with the universe, unto Him that transcends the three (primal) attributes (of Sattwa, Rajas and Minas), unto Him that is, again, the Soul of those attributes. From His grace ’lath arisen Brahman and from His wrath hath arisen Rudra. He is the source whence have sprung all mobile and immobile creatures. O foremost of all persons endued with Sattwa, the attribute of Sattwa consists of the eight and ten qualities. That attribute is Supreme Nature having for her soul the Sky and Earth and succeeding by her creative forces in upholding the universe. That Nature is identical with the fruit of all acts (in the form of the diverse regions of felicity to which creatures attain through their acts). She is also the pure Chit. She is immortal, and invincible,