We have multiple versions of Vishnu Sahasranama in our scriptures like Mahabharata, Padma Purana, Skanda Purana, etc. But the Mahabharata version is mostly used by us. So apart from the fact that Mahabharata is more popular than the other scriptures, is there any specific reason why that version of Sahasranama is mostly used and recommended by saints?
I wasn't aware that Vishnu Sahasranama has many versions until I read this question. So, I am unable to verify and compare them to answer. However, I remember a view point of one of the upanyasakar (person who delivers religious discourses) that this sahasranama is great because:
- It is asked by Dharmaputra who was a great person following dharma to the core.
- It was asked to a great purusha - Beeshma
- And more importantly, it was witnessed by the Lord Krishna himself when Dharmaputra asked those 6 questions and Beeshma answered explicitly mentioning the Lord Krishna while all the three connected were physically present together.
The upanyasakar said that Krishna endorsed the answers of Bheesma and hence this is the superior of all.
Puranas are a gain lesser importance with respect to Smirti granthas. Mahabharata which of course is a Smriti grantha, because Badarayana often quotes Vyasas BhagavadGita as smriti pramana in his SharirakaSutras (Vedanta Sutras) [1-2-25,1-3-23 etc]. But moreover it is considered as Panchama Veda (abridged Veda for all). Hence Smriti Mantras are more powerfull and nearer to Veda than Purana Mantras. So Indian saints from all castes have always preferred Vishnu Sahasranama of Mahabharata.