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Although "pranavah" occurs in vishnu sahasranama, it seems that the impersonal "Om" clashes with the "lakshmipati pitambaradhari shanka chakra gada pani" image of the God of vaishnavites.

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    Omkara means Supreme Brahman, and Vishnu is para Brahman – Ikshvaku Nov 29 '17 at 2:17
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According to what Sri Vaishnavism, the Pranava denotes the supreme Brahman. Here is what the Sri Vaishnava Ramanujacharya says in this section of the Sri Bhashya:

We therefore shortly explain the drift of the whole chapter as follows. At the outset of the reply given to Satyakâma there is mentioned, in addition to the highest (para) Brahman, a lower (apara) Brahman. This lower or effected (kârya) Brahman is distinguished as twofold, being connected either with this terrestrial world or yonder, non-terrestrial, world. Him who meditates on the Pranava as having one syllable, the text declares to obtain a reward in this world--he reaches the world of men. He, on the other hand, who meditates on the Pranava as having two syllables is said to obtain his reward in a super-terrestrial sphere--he reaches the woorld of the atmosphere. And he finally who, by means of the trisyllabic Pranava which denotes the highest Brahman, meditates on this very highest Brahman, is said to reach that Brahman, i. e. the supreme Person.--The object of seeing is thus none other than the highest Self.

He is referring to this chapter of the Prashna Upanishad, by the way. Also, the Sri Vaishnava Acharya Parashara Bhattar says that the "Pranavah" name in the Vishnu Sahasranamanam refers to the fact that the Pravana indicates the relationship between Jivatmas and Brahman:

By means of the sacred Pranava mantra, Bhagavan reveals to His devotees the true relationship between Him and them, and makes them understand the need for surrendering to Him.

For details on how the three syllables of the Pranava convey the relationship between Jivatmas and Brahman, see Vedanta Desikan's Rahasyatraya Sara.

Madhwas also think that the Pranava refers to Brahman. Here is what Madhvacharya says in his Mandukya Upanishad Bhashya:

Om is the designation of Brahman, and it is called Akshara or the imperishable also. For the word Om means literally "that by which everything is pervaded (otam)." Because this word is woven in Him, therefore Om denotes the Lord Hari.

And later on in the Mandukya Upanishad Bhashya, Madhvacharya gives an explanation for why Vishnu is called Pranava:

Vishnu in his four-fold aspect as Vishva etc. is called Pranava also; because he controls or leads (pranayana) the waking etc. states of the Jiva.

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    "Here is what the Sri Vaishnava Ramanujacharya says in this section of the Sri Bhashya:" The 'here' links to the Prashna Upanishad itself. Could you please link to the Bhashya as mentioned in the text? – user1952500 Nov 29 '17 at 2:39
  • My question was more on actual religious practice rather than theology. Do Vaishnavites give the Omkara powers of granting liberation, erasing sins and so forth? Can it be uttered by itself or does it have to be coupled with name(s) of the personal god? – S K Nov 29 '17 at 13:13
  • @SK It's not about uttering it, but meditating upon it. Ramanujacharya says "And he finally who, by means of the trisyllabic Pranava which denotes the highest Brahman, meditates on this very highest Brahman, is said to reach that Brahman, i. e. the supreme Person." Meditating upon the 32 Brahmavidyas leads to Moksha - but not by itself. Sri Vaishnavas believe that there are two paths to Moksha: Bhakti Yoga and Sharanagati. Bhakti Yoga involves meditating upon the 32 Brahmavidyas, Nishkama Karma, and devotional service to Vishnu. Sharanagati is complete surrender to the lotus feet of Vishnu. – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 29 '17 at 21:34
  • @Keshav Srinivasan - does that mean that without Bhakti and/or Sharanagati to the personal God - Pranava alone cannot lead to liberation. Is that correct? – S K Nov 29 '17 at 21:39
  • @SK First of all, we believe that the supreme Brahman is Saguna, not Nirguna. But yes, we do believe that Moksha is impossible without either Bhakti Yoga or Sharanagati. – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 29 '17 at 21:44

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