What is Sahasranaam ?
Sahasranaam is a Sanskrit term which means “A Thousand Names”. It is also a genre of Stotra literature, usually found as a title of the text named after a deity, such as Vishnu Sahasranāma, wherein the deity is remembered by 1,000 names, attributes or epithets. As Stotra, Sahasranaam are songs of praise, a type of devotional literature. The word is a compound of sahasra “Thousand” and Nama “Name”. A Sahasranāma often includes the names of other deities, suggesting henotheistic equivalence. Thus Ganesha Sahasranaam list of one thousand names includes Brahma, Vishnu, Shakti, Shiva, Rudra, SadaShiva and others. It also includes epithets such as Jiva (life force), Satya (truth), Param (highest), Jnana (knowledge) and others. The Vishnu Sahasranaam includes in its list, work and jnana-yajna (offering of knowledge) as two attributes of Vishnu. Lalita Sahasranaam, similarly, includes the energies of a goddess that manifest in an individual as desire, wisdom and action. A Sahasranaam provides a terse list of attributes, virtues and legends symbolized by a deity. There are also many shorter Stotra, called ashtottara-shata-nama, which have only 108 names.