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361. havir-harih

Hari who is the recipient of the havis offered in the



om havir-haraye namah


This nAma has been considered as two separate nAma-s by some

vyAkhAna-kartA-s. So we will look at the interpretation for havir-harih,

havih, and harih.


havis is the name given to the offering in a yAga. So one interpretation

for this nAma is Hari or vishNu who is the ultimate acceptor of the

offerings - yaj~neshu havir-bhAgam harati iti havir-harih. SrI Sankara

gives reference to the gItA - aham hi sarva yaj~nAnAm bhoktA ca prabhureva

ca (9.24).


The word havis is derived from the root hu, which means both "to accept" and

"to offer". He both enjoys His devotees, and is the subject of enjoyment by

His devotees, and thus again He is havir-harih. The word "harih" is derived

from the root hR - to obtain. One who is obtained by offering of havis is



Also we have in mahA bhArata -


hrAmyagham ca smartR*NAm havirbhAgam kratushvaham |

varNaSca me haridveti tasmAd harir_aham smRtah ||

(SAnti parva 330.3)


"I destroy the sins of those who remember Me, and also receive the

oblations in sacrifices; My complexion also is blue; hence I am named



harih also means one who removes the obstacles - harir harati pApAni.




656. harih -


a) The Green-hued.

b) He Who removes the distress of His devotees

c) He Who wards off samsAra with its cause from His devotees.

d) The Destroyer of the Universe at the time of pralaya.


Om haraye namah.


a) The term hara refers to green color. BhagavAn's words from mahA bhArata are given in support by SrI BhaTTar:


iDopahUtam …….varNaSca me harih SreshThah tasmAd harir-iti smRtah || (mahA. SAnti. 343.39)


"My superior complexion is green, and therefore I am called Hari".


One is reminded of the familiar pASuram "paccai mA-malai pOl mEni…) (tirumAlai 2).


b) SrI aNNa'ngarAcArya gives the interpretation "ArtigaLai harippavar" - He who removes the distress of His devotees.


c) (samsAram) harati iti harih - He who wards off samsAra with its cause from His devotees is harih (SrI Samkara). Alternatively, pApAnAm harati iti harih - He who wards off the sins of His devotees.


d) SrI satyadevo vAsishTha extends the anubhavam to include bhagavAn's destruction of the world at the time of pralaya, and His destruction of the darkness in our minds always.


The dharma cakram writer observes that the sight of green gives a feeling of peace to the mind; the thought of Hari, the green-hued One, similarly gives peace to the mind. The "hari nAma" is chanted whenever one starts anything auspicious, and this is to remove all obstacles and sins that may be committed in the process. SrI rAdhAkRshNa SAstri notes that in kali santaraNa Upanishad, the repetition of the 16 nAma-s in the following familiar chant is prescribed for the removal of all sins caused by kali:


hare rAma hare rAma rAma rAma hare hare |

hare kRshNa hare kRshNa kRshNa kRshNa hare hare ||

(kali santaraNa upa. 6.2)






in the shruti 'hariM harantamanuyanti devAH | vishvasyeshAnaM vR^iShabhaM matInAM', Rudra (conveyed by the word 'IshAna') is said to be killed by Hari. The shruti's interpretation is thus: The shaShThi-vibhakti

in vishasya should be taken in the prathamA-vibhakti. The Devas (vishvedevAH) follow that Hari, who destroys (harantaM) Rudra. It should not be said that the Devas follow that Rudra who destroys Hari. For, the Smriti:


brahmaNamindraM rudraM cha yamaM varuNameva cha |

nihatya harate yasmAttasmAddharirihochyate ||


(On the account of being the destroyer (nihatya harate yasmAt) of Brahma,

Indra, Rudra, Yama and Varuna, he is called 'Hari')


clarifies that the very word, Hari, indicates His being the destroyer and

not the destroyed.


A passage in the Taittariya Aranyaka starts with 'tasyendro vahmirUpeNa

dhanurjyAmachChinatsvayam.h' (Indra in the form of Agni himself breaks the

'heart of his bow' into pieces) and concludes 'etadrudrasya dhanuH |

rudrasyatveva dhanurArtniH shira utpipeSha | sa pravargyo.abhavat.h' (That

bow belonged to Rudra. Since that belonged to Rudra, his 3 heads broke into

pieces) and thus conveys an incident where Indra, powered by his antaryAmi

Vishnu, severes the head of Rudra (thus establishing Vishnu's supremacy over

Rudra). It should not be said that this anecdote does not refer to the

well-known Rudra because the singers of Samaveda consider the Rudra with 3

heads and a bow as some other Yaksha and not the well known Rudra.


As the above shruti (hariM harantaM) says, it is indeed the destruction of well known Rudra that is referred here. Though Indra is not capable of severing Rudra's head on his own powers, he was able to do that with help

from Vishnu's discus and Vishnu Himself. There are pramANas to that effect.

The latter portion of Kurma purana says


raxitaM naiva shaknoShi svAtmAnamapi shaN^kara |

yuddhe kiM jeShyasi tvaM mAM pUrvavR^ittaM mayochyate ||

yadA madbhaktashakrasya yaj~nadhvamsaH kR^itastvayA |

tadA.ahaM te shirashChitvA tatkratU raxito mayA |

tato mAM prArthayAmAsa manobhIShTAya pArvatI |

tadA vai matprasAdena prANAn.h lebhe bhavAn.h shiva ||


(Vishnu says:) Hey Shankara, you are not capable of protecting even yourself. How can you win over me in a war? I shall recount an old account (pUrvavR^ittaM). You came to ruin the yajna performed by Indra. Then, I

protected that Yajna, having got your head severed. Then, to obtain you back, Parvati prayed to me; after which, you got your life due to my grace.


These words are told by Shiva to Parvati praising Vishnu.


There is a upAkhyAna to this effect also (atredaM kilopAkhyAnam.h)


In some kalpa, Indra without telling other gods, meditating upon Lord

Narayana, started a sacrifice. Then the Gods sent Rudra to spoil that yajna.

When Rudra created havoc there, Indra meditated upon the Lord. Then Vishnu's

chakra beheaded Rudra. Later he was brought to life due to Parvati praying

the Lord.

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