100 Names of God
AN ETYMOLOGICAL EXPOSITION
OF THE VARIOUS NAMES OF GOD
(from the root Rajri to illuminate, with the prefix vi and suffix kwip added to it) signifies God, because He illuminates this multiform universe.
Agni (from the root anchu which signifies gati and worship. Gati means to know, to move or go, to realize) connotes God, because He is
all-knowledge, Omniscient and worthy of adoration, fit subject to be known, sought after and realized.
Vishwa (from vish to reside) means God, because all the world and the worldly objects dwell in Him and He resides in all of them.
Hiranyagarbha (Hiranya - light and garbha - source) means One who is the source and support of all light and luminous bodies such as the
sun. This is also substantiated by Yajur Veda, which says :-
” In the beginning was Hiranyagarbha - the One Lord of the creation. He sustains the sun and the earth. We adore Him - the all Blissful
Being.” YAJUR VEDA 13: 4.
Vaayu (from the root Va to move, to kill) means One who is the life and support of the Universe, the cause of its dissolution, mightier
than the mightiest.
Taijas (from Teja to shine or enlighten) is One who is Resplendent and gives light to the sun and other luminous bodies.
Ishwar (from Ish - power, knowledge) is One whose knowledge and power are infinite.
A’ditya (from a - not, do - to break, decay) is One who never dies or decays - is Immortal.
Prajna (from Pre - perfectly and Jna - to know) One whose knowledge is perfect, Who is Omniscient.
Thus we have briefly described the meanings of the three letters A, U, M of the word AUM. Besides those already mentioned it also cover
other names of God. Similarly Mitra, Varuna,, and other names occurring in the mantra quoted at the head of this chapter are all
names of God, because He alone is worthy of homage and adoration, who is Varuna (good, pure and holy), i.e., superior to others, in nature,
attributes, power and good works.
But God is called Varuna, because He greatest among the great; Holiest among the holy and purest among the pure. There is no one
equal to Him, nor shall any one ever be. How can then any one be greater than Him? Neither matter nor soul possesses such infinite
powers and attributes as Truth, Justice, Mercy, Omnipotence, Omniscience. A thing that is true and real, has nature, attributes
and characteristics also true and real.
It behoves, therefore, all men to worship and adore God and God only, none besides Him, because, even the men of yore, saints and sinners
as Brahma, Vishnu, Mahaadeva, Daaitya, Daanava, believed in and worshipped Him and Him only. They adored no other God. We shall take
up this subject in detail in the chapters on ‘Divine Worship’ and ‘Emancipation’.*
Q. The words such like Mitra should be taken to mean friend, etc., and the words like Indra, etc., the well-known devas** of this
A.~ No, not here (i.e., in the verses such as above, wherein prayers are addressed). A man, who is friend to one, is an enemy of another
and indifferent to a third person. Hence Mitra her cannot be taken to signify an ordinary friend, but it here means God, because He is One
Who is an absolute Friend of all, unfriendly or indifferent to none. No man can ever be like Him. This is the primary meaning of the word.
But its secondary meaning is an ordinary friend.
Mitra ( from nimid to love) means God, because He loves all and is worthy of being loved by all.
Varuna (from vri - good or vara - to desire) is One who is best, holiest of all and desired and sought after by all righteous, pious
and learned men who are seekers after truth and salvation.
Aryama (from re to obtain, to go and ma to respect) is One who respects oar honors the good and, the just, and punishes the wicked -
The Great Judge who gives souls the fruits of their deeds, good or evil.
Indra (from Idi - power) is One who is all - powerful.
Vrihaspati ( pa - to correct or govern, Vriha - great) is One who is greatest among the great, and governs the entire universe.
Vishnu (Vishr - to pervade) is One who pervades all the universe, animate and inanimate.
Urukramaa ( uru - great, krama - energy) is One who possesses infinite energy.
Brahma (brih or brihi - to lord) is One who lords over all.
Bhumi is One who is the abode of all and greater than all.
Surya is One who is the life and light of the universe, animate or inanimate.
A’tma (at - to pervade) is One who pervades the soul as well as the material universe.
Paramaatmaa (para - great, aatmaa see above) is One who is holier than the soul, subtler and more powerful than the soul and matter,
who pervades and controls the soul.
Parameshwar (Param - great, I’shwara - powerful, see No. 7) is One who is All-powerful among the powerful, Almighty.
Savita (su - to create) is One who is the Creator of the Universe.
Deva (from the root div, which means to operate, desire to win, work, illuminate, praise, please, punish, sleep, desire and know) is One
who operates in the universe and governs it and does all His works by His own powers without help from others; Who desires or helps the
good and the righteous to win an is Himself invincible, gives all power and means to work; Who knows everything and is just and
glorious, illuminates and enlightens all, is worthy of praise, All-blissful, bestows happiness on others, punishes the wicked and
gladdens the hearts of the good and Himself enjoys perpetual bliss; who has ordained night for all to sleep and rest, in the indefinable,
imperceptible, primeval elementary matter - prakriti; Whose will is holy and Whose is desired and sought after by the good, and Who
pervades all and knows all.
Kurvera (kuvi - to cover or spread) is One who covers all or overspreads all.
Prithivi (prithu - spread) One who has spread this extensive universe.
Jala (jala - to beat) One who beats or punishes the wicked and beats the atoms into shape, or beats them asunder in the Creation or
Dissolution of the universe, respectively.
Akaash (kash - to illuminate or enlighten) is One who illuminates or enlightens the whole world.
Anna and atta ( from ad to eat) is One who eats or absorbs into Himself or contains the universe, animate and inanimate. As grubs are
born in the inside of a fruit of a fig tree, live and die in the same, so is the universe born, lives and perishes* in God. TAITREYA
UPANISHAD 2: 10. VEDANT SHASTRA 1: 29.
Vasu ( vas to abide or dwell) is the One who dwells in all things, and is the abode of all.
Rudir (Rudir - shed tears) is One who makes the wicked and the unjust shed tears. It is said in the Shatapatha Brahmana “Whatever a man
thinks, he speaks; whatever he speaks, the same he acts; whatever he acts, he reaps”. In other words, a man reaps whatever he sows. When
the wicked suffer pain in consequence of their sins at the hand of Divine Justice, they wail and weep. He is, therefore, called Rudra
Naaraayana ( Naraa - water and souls, aayana - abode) signifies, God, because He is the abode of souls and pervades them. MANU 1:10.
Chandra (chadi - to please) is the One who is All-bliss, and gives pleasure and happiness to others.
Mangala (mang - has the same meanings as gati, see No. 2) is One who is All-blissful, and showers bliss on the soul.
Budha (budha - know) is One who is All-knowledge and endows souls with knowledge.
Shukra (shu -to purify) is One who is All-knowledge and endows souls with knowledge.
Shanaishchara (shanaish - with ease, char - to go, eat) is One who reaches or gains access to all with ease, and possesses great fortitude.
Rahu (rah - to avoid, reject) is He Who is one without admixture of anything else. Who rejects the wicked, and frees others from the
hands of the wicked.
Ketu (kit - to abide or reside and cure disease) is One who is the abode of the universe, free from death and disease. He frees the
emancipated souls from disease and suffering during the period of salvation.
Yajna (yaj - to shine, worship, combine, devise and give) is One who combines the different elements together and evolves this world and
its objects out of them, Who is worthy of being worshipped by all the sages and seers from Brahma downwards and will always be. He is the
Omnipresent God. “Yajna is the Omnipresent God”, says the Shatapatha Brahmana.
Hotaa (hu - to give or take) is One who gives all that is worth giving to souls and takes from them what is worth taking.
Bandhu (bundha - to bind, connect) is One who keeps all the worlds bound by laws to Himself, and helps to keep them in order so that
they cannot move out of their orbit or the laws of their constitution. He is like a brother unto all the world and supports,
protects and gives happiness to all.
Pitaa (paa - to protect, rear) One who protects all. Just as a father, through paternal love and kindness always desires the good of
His children, even so does God -is the Father of all - desire happiness for all.
Pitaamaha - The father of fathers.
Prapitaamaha - The Great-Grandfather.
Maataa - God is named mata (mother), because He has happiness and prosperity of all souls at heart just as an earthly mother, out of
extreme love and kindness, desires happiness and prosperity for her offspring.
A’charya (char - to conduct, move, go and, eat) God is called so because He is the source of all true knowledge and righteousness. It
is through Him we receive knowledge, and live virtuous lives.
Guru (Gri - to speak) the Teacher of all true knowledge and learning Who revealed the Word of salvation (Vedas) in the beginning of the
world, the Teacher of eve all the early teachers such as Agni, Vayu, A’ditya, Angira and Brahma. He is immortal, says Yogashastra. “He is the Teacher of even the most ancient teachers. He is Immortal. Time cannot influence Him.” YOGASHASTRA SAMADHI 26.
Aja (aja - to combine, join, manifest or evolve) is One who combines the elements and atoms properly, and evolves the world out of them;
unites bodies with souls, and brings them out into the world, which is called their birth. He is Himself never born.
Brahma (brihi - to develop, multiply) is One who has created the world and multiplies it.
Satya (sat - to exist) is One who is the true embodiment of existence among all existences.
Jnaana is One who knows all the world, animate and inanimate. “The Great God is Satya Jnaana and Ananta” - Taitiriya Upanishad.
Ananta is one who has no limitations, boundaries, end or dimensions.
Anaadi is One who has no beginning, nor a first cause.
Ananda is One who is All-blissful and endows happiness on the good and the righteous.
Sat (asi - to be) is One who exists in all times, the past, the present and the future, and is not limited by time.
Chit is One who is a truly conscious Being and endows souls with true knowledge of right and wrong.
Sachidaananda (sata + chit + ananda) is One who is a truly conscious, blissful being.
Nitya Firm, Immortal, Eternal.
Shudha (shudh - to purify) is One who is Himself pure and purifies others.
Mukta (much - to free) is One who is always free from all sin and impurity, and frees souls from sin and suffering.
Nitya shudha budha mukta subhaava is One who is Eternal, Holy, Omniscient and Free.
Niraakaara (nir - no, akar - form) is One who has no form nor body nor is ever embodied.
Niranjana (Nir -no, anj - form, color, immorality, disorder) is One who is free from immoral conduct, disorders, etc., nor is He the object of senses such as the eyes.
Ganapati (Gana -host, pati - Lord) is One who is the Lord of host, i.e., of all the Material and Spiritual world, which He also protects.
Ganesha (Gana - host, Isha - Lord) Lord of Hosts.
Vishveshwara (Vishwa - universe, Ishwara - Lord), Lord of the Universe.
Kutastha is One who pervades all, supports all, and yet Himself undergoes no transformation.
Devi has the same meanings as the word Deva, which is of Masculine gender, whilst Devi is of feminine gender. God has names in all the three genders.
Shakti (shak - power) is One who is powerful enough to create the world.
Shri (shri - to serve) is One who is served by all saints, sages and seers.
Lakshmi (Laksh - to see and mark) is One who sees all the universe and endows it with distinguishing marks or features, as bodies with eyes, ears, etc.; trees with leaves, fruits and flowers; liquids and solids with different colors as black, white, red, etc. earth with dust and rock, etc.; and sees them all. He is the most beautiful among the beautiful. He is the chief. Source of the Vedas, of the Yogis and wisemen.
Saraswati (sri - to achieve and know) is One who is possessed of infinite knowledge of the universe, of words, their objects and their relations.
Sarvashatimaan, One who does not require the assistance of another in accomplishing His works, Who by His Own innate power does all His work.
Niyaayakaari, Niyaaya is what is proved to be true by all the eight kinds of evidence such as, Direct Cognition, Inference, Analogy. It
is the dispensing of justice without favor or partiality. Niyaayakaari is One who practices Niyaaya, i.e., truth, justice and righteousness.
Dayaalu (Daya - to give, take, go, know, protect injure) is One who makes you fearless knows all, protects the good, and punishes the wicked.
Advaita is One is only one, and indivisible without any admixture, either of the same kind ( as man and man are of the same kinds from man), or made up of different parts. Consequently there is no relation of whole to its parts, as of body with its parts such as, eyes, ears.
Nirguna is One who is free from the (distinguishing) properties of matter such as Satwa, Rajas, Tamas,* color, taste, touch, smell and of the soul, such as finite power and knowledge, ignorance, passions and desires, and pain of all kinds. This definition is substantiated by the authority of Upanishada. “He is free from sound, touch, color, and such other qualities.”
Saguna** is One who possesses such attributes, as perfect knowledge, perfect bliss, purity, infinite power.
Everything in this universe is Saguna (positive) and Nirguna* (negative). For instance, the material objects are called Nirguna, because they are void of the properties and powers of conscious beings, as will and feelings. Whilst they are also Saguna (positive), because they possess their own material properties. The same is true of God. He is Saguna, when He is looked upon as possessed of His own attributes, as Omniscience, Omnipotence, but He is also Nirguna, being free from the properties of matter and soul.
Antaryami is One who pervades the animate as well as the inanimate universe, and controls it.
Dharma Raja is One who is free from sin and evil, and rejoices in truth, justice and righteousness - The Great Judge.
Yama is One who governs all, administers justice to all and is the personification of Justice.
Bhagwaan (Bhag - to serve) is One who is possessed of all might and power, and is worthy of being served and worshipped.
Manu (man - to know) is One who is the true embodiment of knowledge, and worthy of being known and believed.
Purusha (pri - to fill, sustain) is One who counts and classifies the material objects and souls.
Vaishwambhara is One who sustains and preserves the world.
Kaala (Kal - to count) is One who counts and classifies the material objects and souls.
Shesha is One who undergoes no change during Creation or Dissolution. He is the one Unchangeable Eternal world.
A’pta (aap - to pervade) is One who pervades the universe, is filled with all true knowledge and righteousness, is the true Teacher of all, accessible only to the good and the righteous, and free from such bad attributes, as dishonesty, fraud, etc.
Shankara (sham - good, from kri - to do) is One who is the Benefactor of all, and Giver of happiness.
Mahaadeva (maha - great + deva) is One who is greatest among the great, the good, and the learned, and is the Light of the world.
Priya (pri - to please and desire) is One who gladdens the good, the righteous and the true seekers of salvation, and is worthy of being sought after - The embodiment of Love.
Swayambhu (swayam - self and bhu - to be) is One who is Self-existent, Uncreated.
Kavi (ku - word) is One who is all-knowledge and reveals true knowledge through His Word (The Veda).
Shiva is One who is all Bliss and he Giver of happiness to all.
Swarat - Self-effulgent.
Suparnaa - the Protector and Preserver of the Universe.
Matrishwaa - Powerful like wind.
Garutmaan - Mighty by nature.