Origin of Vishnu Sahasranaama:
Vishnu Sahasra naama, as the name itself reveals, is a collection of a thousand names of Lord Vishnu. It is seen as given by revered Bheeshma (one of the 12 most wise scholars, according to Hindu scriptures) to the eldest of Pandavas, Yudhishtira, during the epic war of Mahabharata. It is said that when Yudhistira had lot of questions in his mind regarding spirituality, Lord Krishna guides him to Bheeshma who was on his death bed of arrows, to pass on his knowledge to Yudhistira.
Yudhistira was haunted by the following questions which he raises to Bhishma:
- kimEkam dhaivatam lokE?
Who is the one and only or greatest Lord in this world?
- kim vaapyEkam parAyaNam?
Under who, can the entire creation surrender?
- stuvantam kam prApnuyuh mAnavaah shubham?
By praying whom, can one attain peace and prosperity?
- kam archayan prApnuyuh mAnavaah shubham?
By worshiping whom can one attain auspiciousness?
- kO dharmah sarva dharmANaam bhavatah paramO matah?
What according to you is the biggest/greatest Dharma in the world?
- kim japan mucyatE jantur janma samsAra bandhanAth?
By worshiping whom, will the entire living existence be able to get rid of the cycle of life and death?
That is when Bheeshma gives the thousand names of Vishnu, Vishnu sahasranama and says that the same is the answer for all questions and thoughts that were bothering Yudhistira.
Importance of Diction and Intonation while chanting a stotra:
Sanskrit is a unique language. It is often referred as “Deva bhaasha”, a language spoken by Gods/demi Gods and Goddesses. Most of our ancient Hindu scriptures, hymns, chants and mantras are in Sanskrit.
My personal view on why Sanskrit is unique is, because of the fact of it being a wholesome language, that is, it has got maximum number of syllables. Each syllable is associated with a particular energy center of our body. The whole idea is that when a particular syllable(which is nothing but a burst of sound) is uttered, it taps the corresponding energy center and that there is a particular pattern of energy flow in our body. Perhaps this is the reason its said that correct toning and pronunciation is required to experience the effect of a particular shloka/stotra.
I am posting Vishnu Sahasranaama, chanted by me. I have attempted it with the correct possible diction. Experience it and get back to me with the feedback. :)