Compiled by: Jagadguru Sri Maha Periyava – Kanchi Paramacharya
Experiences with Maha Periyava: Who recorded the Vishnu Sahasranamam?
Once, way back in the 1940’s or 50’s, someone was interviewing Sri Maha Periyava. That gentleman recorded the interview using a tape recorder. Periyava then posed a question,
“Does anyone know which is the oldest known tape recorder?”
Nobody was able to answer. Then Sri Maha Periyava asked another question,
“How did Vishnu Sahasranamam come to us?”
Someone said Bheeshma Pitamah gave it to us.
All agreed. Then Sri Maha Periyava posed another question,
“When all were listening to Bheeshma on the battlefield, who took the notes at Kurukshetra?”
Sri Maha Periyava explained…
“When Bheeshma Pitamah was glorifying Krishna with Sahasranamam, everyone was looking at him including Sri Krishna and the sage, Veda Vyasa. After he finished the 1000 Namas, all opened their eyes. The first to react was Yudhistirar. He said, ‘Pitamah has chanted 1000 glorious names of Vasudeva. All of us listened to it but none of us have noted it down. The sequence is lost’. Then all turned to Sri Krishna and asked for His help. As usual He said, ‘I was also listening like the rest of you. What can we do?’
Then all beseeched Sri Krishna to help them recover the precious rendition. Then Sri Krishna said, ‘It can only be done by Sahadeva and Vyasa will write it down.’
Everyone wanted to know how Sahadeva could do it. Krishna replied, ‘Sahadeva is the only one amongst us wearing the Shuddha Sphatika. If he prays to Shiva and does dhyanam, he can convert the Sphatika into waves of sound and Vyasa can write it down. Then both Sahadeva and Vyasa sat in the same place under Bheeshma Pitamah, where he had recited the Vishnu Sahasranamam. Sahadeva started doing the dhyanam to recover the sound waves from the Sphatika.
The nature of Sphatika is that it will capture sounds in a calm environment which can be got back with proper dhyanam of Maheswara who is Swethambara and Sphatika. So, the world’s earliest tape recorder is this Sphatika which gave us the wonderful Vishnu Sahasranamam. When Sri Maha Periyava explained this all were stunned… From the Sphatika recording, the grantha came to us through Veda Vyasa.