Download Narasimha Avtaaram Notes PDF

TitleNarasimha Avtaaram Notes
TagsHindu Philosophy Indian Religions Ancient Indian Philosophy Hindu Mythology Bhagavan
File Size43.8 KB
Total Pages8
Document Text Contents
Page 1


AhobilE Garuda shaila madhyE krupAvashAth kalpitha sannidhanam
lakshmyA samAlingitha vAmaBhAgam Lakshminrusimham sharaNam prapadyE


Dear Bhaktas,


For the most sacred Nrusimha Jayanthi, Adiyen wishes to share the following
reflections on Bhagavan Nrusimha on this list. The avataram of Bhagavan Nrusimha
is eloquently described in the
Srimad Bhagavatam salutation
"Satyam viDhAtum nijaBhrutyaBhAshitam vyAptim cha BhUtEshu aKhileshu chAtmana:

Adhrushyata atyadhBhuta rUpamudhvahan sThamBhE SaBhAyAm na mrugam na
mAnusham". [ 7th Canto, 8th Chapter, 17th sloka ]


The avataram of Bhagavan Nrusimha took place at the Kshetram of Ahobilam, where
the Lord remains enshrined as the Archa Murthis of the Nava Narasimhas.


Once Veda Vyasa stated an important opinion.
'Satyam satyam punassatyam udhrudya bhujamuchyate
Vedassastram param nasti na daivam kesavat param'
Vyasa said" I raise my hands and tell the truth, nothing but truth, that
Vedas are the best shastra and Sri Kesava is the God, none above Him".


Lord Vishnu is saluted in the Vedas as Mantraroopi Mahavishnu. The most powerful
Mantram in this context is the blessed NrusimhAnushtup Mantram. Very aptly, the 9
padams employed in this
Mantram are eloquently expounded on by Ahirbudhnyan in the Mantrarajapada Stotram
of the Ahirbudhnya Samhita-an important Pancharatra Agama text. Specifically,
verses 2-10 of the Mantraraja
pada stotram elaborate on the individual padams of the Nrusimhanushtup Mantram. As
a result of the nine Padams, the nine verses of Ahirbudhnyan extolling their
significance, and the nine Narasimhas
of Ahobilam,the number 9 assumes special importance in the context of Bhagavan


A number of reasons have been evinced for the avataram of Bhagavan Nrusimha. The
Nrusimha puraNam states that the Avataram of Bhagavan Nrusimha took place to
rescue the Devas from HiraNyan's
persecution (cf: RuNa vimOchana Stotram salutation "DevatakArya sidhyartham saBha
sThamBha samudhBhavam"). Some commentators opine that the Avataram took place to
rescue Prahlada from
HiraNyan's tyranny. However, U.Ve. Sri Mukkur Lakshminarasimhachariar Swamin
argues that all these positions while valid are not the primary reason for the
Lord's incarnation. Swamin notes that had either
of these reasons been valid, the Lord need not have waited for so long to
incarnate.Instead, the Lord chose to emerge from the pillar primarily to uphold
the words of Prahlada who declared "He is present
everywhere including this pillar". It may be noted that these words of Prahlada
embody the quintessence of Our Sampradayam, wonderfully stated by Lord Krishna in
the Bhagavad Gita declaration
"Vasudeva sarvam iti". Swami Desikan pays tribute to the pillar which housed
Bhagavan Nrusimha in the Dashavatara stotram and declares that the pillar is
verily the grandmother of the four-faced Brahma.


The avataram of Bhagavan Nrusimha is unique for a number of reasons.
(1) In all other incarnations of the Lord, his avataram took place easily due

Page 3

shuddered in fear at this sight. How is it that Prahlada was unperturbed and
calm at this sight?" Swami then answered the question as "For Prahlada, Lord
Narayana was manifest in everything sentient
and insentient. As a firm believer (Maha Vishvasam) in the declaration
vasudeva sarvam iti, Prahlada beheld Lord Nrusimha in everything. Therefore, why
should he be terrified by the form of
Bhagavan Nrusimha?" Swami then continued "Bhadram is the name of Bhagavan
Nrusimha and Bhadra is the name of his consort-Sri. What is the protection
(Bhadram) offered by the the Divine Couple
together? It is the act of granting SharaNagati to a supplicant. Such
protection is elevating, ennobling and permanent (Moksham resulting in Nithya
Kaimkaryam for the pleasure and at the pleasure of the
Divine Couple). As a by product of this act, the Divine Couple (Bhagavan
Nrusimha and his consort) also confer the boons of Dharma, Artha, and Kama.
Therefore engage in daily recitation of the
Mantrarajapada Stotram" Swami Desikan refers to the elevated nature of the
protection offered by the Divine Couple in the KamasikAshtakam salutation "Tvayi
rakshati rakshakai: kimanyai: tvayi cha arakshati rakshakai:
kimanyai:" (when You have decided to protect someone where is the need for other
protectors? When You have decided not to protect someone of what use are other


Adiyen wishes to conclude this posting with the following passage from the
Linga Aspotita Nrusimha Gadyam, which appears in the Vishnu puraNam


JnAnaIshwarya Shakti Bala TejOguNAtmaka!
Parama Purusha! PadmanAbha! Hayashira:! AdIvarAha! Narasimha!
Vamana! Trivikrama! RAma! RAma! VAsudeva! SankarshaNa! Pradyumna!
Aniruddha! Purusha! Satyashruta!VAsudeva! Adimadhya Nidhana ChEshtita!
ChEstAtma MAyA AhOrAtra YatimAnjishta! ShuklavAsa:! SuparNatAla
Makaradwaja!ParamavidyAkarmakAlanABha! Svasti Asmabhyam, Svasti


TvamEva Mantram Tvam RakshA, TvamoUshadamanuttamam I
TriviDhadapi DukhAnmAm PramOchaya JagatpatE II

Sri Sudarshana-Narasimha ParabrahmaNE Namaha,

"Adbhuta Kesari" or "SingappirAn Perumai"


Tamil novelists of yore like Sri Vaduvur Duraiswamy Iyengar, Sri AraNi Kuppuswamy
Iyengar, Smt. Vai. Mu. KodainAyaki Ammal etc., used to preface their novels with
two titles. "Didum PravEsa MahAjAla ParadEsiyAr, alladhu "Rama Simhanin ashta
jayangaL" is one such sample title. One used to wonder what prompted these
pioneers of Tamizh composition to resort to such alternate titles. It must have
the reluctance to forego good captions that must have forced them to adopt such a
strategy. I am also under a similar compulsion, and in having to choose between
the appellation coined by Swami Desikan and Sri Nammazhwar, ended up using both.


"Engum uLan KaNNan endra maganai kAindu
ingu illayAl endru IraNiyan thooN pudaippa
angu appouzhudE avan veeya thOndriya
en SingappirAn perumai ArAyum seermaitthE" 2.8.9

This beautiful pasuram of Sri Nammazhwar brings out the immeasurable glory of Sri
Nrsimhavatara. PrahalAda, the son of HiraNyakasipu, said to his father " KaNNan is

Page 4

in all places". When he was asked by his
father "Does He live in this pillar?" and showed a pillar, PrahalAda said "Yes,
Of course.". Our Lord made a SUPERFAST move into the pillar before it was broken
by HiraNya kasipu and was killed by Lord NrsimhA.
Is there any point in doubting His capabilities? Is there any capacity for us to
even get to knoe His powers? NO.


The scene is the sprawling palace of Hiranyakasipu, with its lofty roof supported
by numerous artistically carved stone pillars. These pillars were put up under the
personal supervision of the asurA, who wanted the best for his residence. Each of
the pillars was inset with precious stones and gave off brilliant light.


With worry writ large on his face at the intransigent attitude of his only son and
heir to the throne, Hiranyakasipu was pacing the broad corridors, not a little
concerned. Where did he go wrong in bringing up the child? He had engaged the best
masters in the kingdom to teach his son Prahlada the rudiments of Asuric life, to
teach him to hate the DEvAs as poison, and to regard as prime enemy that mAyAvi
Mahavishnu who had tricked beloved brother HiranyAksha to death, assuming the form
of a giant boar. Lamentably, Prahlada had somehow been misguided by someone and
kept repeating that Sri Hari, the one person whom Hiranyakasipu hated most, was
Lord and Master. His teachers had tried to convince Prahlada of the folly of his
thoughts and Hiranyakasipu had himself spoken to him in the kindest of words that
it was he, Hiranyakasipu, who was the master of all the worlds, and not any
pretender like that Vishnu. However, all these words had fallen on apparently deaf
ears and Prahlada had stuck to his stand.


When the boy had failed to see reason, Hiranyakasipu had tried to "persuade" him
to change his views, by arranging for his being pushed down from a precipice,
being fed deadly poison, being stung by the most venomous of snakes and pushed
into the deepest of waters. Miraculously, no doubt due to some indestructible gene
inherited from himself (Hiranyakasipu), Prahlada had survived all these attempts,
which would have finished off any ordinary asurA.


All these attempts to change his way of thinking had only made the young Prince
firmer and firmer in his faith in Sri Hari. Not only was Prahlada posing a
challenge to his father's wisdom and power, he was subverting children of his age
by indoctrinating them in the cult of Vishnu. Hiranyakasipu could well imagine the
disastrous consequences of letting such seditious tendencies grow unchecked. He
would have a final talk with the misguided boy and if he still could not be
brought around, would finish Prahlada off with his own hands, irrespective of the
pain it would occasion him to cause the death of his own precious progeny. Enough
was enough and before the poisonous weed grew into an indestructible tree, a
"Visha Vriksha", it had to be destroyed. No longer could he let the scales of
parenthood cloud his reason and had to act mercilessly.


Blissfully unaware of the murderous thoughts coursing through his father's mind,
Prahlada, in all his innocence, approached his father and prostrated before him.
For a moment, Hiranyakasipu was moved at the sight of the beautiful young Prince,
his visage awash with infantile innocence, greeting his father with a radiant
smile, despite all the torture he had been put through for chanting the Lord's
haloed name. The lad's face shone with pure love and affection, uncontaminated by
thoughts of reproach for past happenings. Looking at him, Hiranyakasipu's hopes of
reforming him were rekindled and he spoke to Prahlada in the soft tones of an
affectionate father, trying to instil in the boy the basic truth of his
(Hiranyakasipu's) invincibility. He made the lad understand that his father was no
ordinary dEvata, but an all-powerful asurA, who had obtained, nay, snatched, boons
of indestructibility. He could not be killed with any weapon, however mighty, nor
could his life be ended by man or beast. He could not be de

Page 5


The listening Prahlada was beset with as great a worry as his father. Why was
father, who was so capable and so wise, have a blind spot as far the Lord was
concerned? Why hadn't he learnt the lessons from the untimely demise of his
brother Hiranyaksha? It must be clear to every right thinking person that Sriman
Narayana was indeed the Supreme Being and none else was as powerful as Him. Why
was father so insistent that he himself was the ultimate power, despite the
unanimous voice of the Shruti, which they all held in reverence? Was it after all
the Lord's will that his father should continue to suffer from delusions of
absolute power? Did he not realise that BrahmA, from whom he had derived all those
boons of supposed indestructibility, was after all a creation of the Supreme Lord
Sriman Narayana? Why was everybody- father, teachers, courtiers, subjects- so
intent on concealing the beautiful truth and acting as if they were eternal beings
beyond the purview of the Parabrahmam?


Why didn't the indescribably sweet name of the Lord evoke in his father and others
the sort of bliss, which it did in himself? It was quite embarrassing to be
telling father things, when, as a dutiful son, he should be listening to parental
words of wisdom. However, he would not give up his attempts to apprise father, in
the most respectful fashion, of where the truth lay, come what may. The Lord had
protected him from the potentially fatal fall from the mountaintop, from deadly
poison and from venomous snakes, and would continue to be his Saviour whatever be
the new perils his father had in store for him. He did not feel any anger or
hatred for father for putting him through all these travails, only sorrow at the
monarch's lack of realisation of the truth, which was shining like the Sun, for
all to see.


Matters were coming to a head, with Hiranyakasipu losing his patience fast.
Whatever he might say, Prahlada refuted it calmly, reiterating his stand that it
was Sri Hari who was omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. The asurA's face
became suffused with rage and his voice level gradually rose till he was shouting.
Collecting himself, he thought he would give the brat one more chance, the final
one, to prove his patently false averments. If the lad failed, it would surely
make the truth of Hari's insignificance and his (Hiranyakasipu's) own greatness
dawn on the misguided infant. This would pave for a win-win situation-if Prahlada
were to fail to prove his claim of omnipresence for Vishnu, the boy would realise
the folly of his ways and return to a good, Asuric life as the heir to the throne.
If, on the other hand, Vishnu indeed materialised, it would be an ideal
opportunity to eliminate Him forever. With his boons of indestructibility, there
was no way Hiranyakasipu could lose against any adversary, howeve


Coming to a decision, Hiranyakasipu stopped pacing and confronting Prahlada, asked
him sarcastically if this Hari was indeed a real and live being or a figment of
the boy's imagination, and where He could be found. In his clear, piping voice,
the blessed boy told his father that Sri Hari was the most real and unchanging
Lord amidst a world of changing objects and beings, passing from birth to death
endlessly. Sriman Narayana was ever-present everywhere. His pervading presence was
there as much in a stone pillar as the one beside which they were standing, as in
a blade of grass growing in the meadow opposite. "ThooNilum iruppAn, thurumbilum
iruppAn" declared Prahlada fearlessly, reiterating the Upanishadic dictum, "antar
bahischa tat sarvam vyApya Narayana: stittha:" Prahlada gave a detailed account to
his father, to demonstrate the Lord's omnipresence-


"urvyAm asti, udakEshu cha asti, vidikshu Vayu nabhasO tiryakshu atiryakshu cha
asti anta: bahirasti sati asati vA sArEshu asArEshu vA
sarvatra asti sadA asti kim bahunA tvayi asti mayi asti cha"


The precocious child, held up as a model of all goodness ("upamAnam asEshANAm ya:

Page 6

sAdhoonAm sadA abhavat"), told his father that the Lord was to be found on the
earth, in water, in air, in the sky and in the four directions. He is ever present
inside and outside all animals and others. "He is present everywhere all the time,
present in you and me", concludes Prahlada.


Reaching the end of his tether, Hiranyakasipu thought he had finally trapped the
lad into an admission, which he could not prove. There was little chance that Hari
could have hidden Himself in the pillar pointed out by Prahlada, because as he
himself had supervised its construction, he knew that it contained little other
than stone, brick and mortar. He told Prahlada, "You foolish boy! How could you
imagine the presence of an alien creature in a pillar in my own palace, which is
guarded more closely than any other spot on earth! I will demonstrate to you right
now the falsity of your belief. I shall break this pillar into pieces and show you
that your Hari can never insinuate Himself into my territory. He wouldn't dare!".


When all this was happening, the Lord in Sri Vaikuntam, ever at the ready for the
protection of the SAdhUs, hearing Hiranyakasipu challenge Prahlada to prove the
omnipresence of Hari, transformed Himself into a wonderful Man-Lion form, half-
lion and half-man, and entered into all beings animate and inanimate, ready to
spring out from anything that the asurA should choose for demonstrational
purposes. This avatara was meant to show to posterity the lengths to which the
Lord would go, to make their words come true-"Satyam vidhAtum nija bhritya


Thus He was and still is present in all sentient and non-sentient beings in the
form of a glorious Lion God, which the Shruti describes as "MrigO na bheema:
kucharO girishttA:" It was a terrifying figure, with huge eyes red with anger at
the insult meted out to His young devotee, a broad mane of golden hair framing His
face, dense eyebrows shaking in anger, ferocious mouth bared to reveal razor-
sharp, protruding teeth capable of tearing anything to pieces ("irinda pEzh vAi
vAL eyittru Or KOLari"), long, powerful arms ending in nails resembling deadly
sceptres on all His fingers, a roar that could benumb the entire universe with its
volume and power, nostrils flared in rage, a form that filled the entire canvass
of the broad earth and skies with its awesome presence. Up to the neck, the Lord
sported His normal torso and above that was the face of an extraordinarily
beautiful and ferocious lion. It was in this form that the Lord was present in all
things big and small, awaiting the cue as would the dramatis p


Hiranya kasipu swung his mace at the offending pillar with a deafening impact.
The pillar broke into a thousand pieces, not due to the external blow, but from
the Lord springing out with all His power, in the terrifying Nrsimha svarUpam,
with a roar of released anger that struck terror in the hearts of everybody
including the most exalted of deities. Taken aback at the awesome figure leaping
out of the pillar, Hiranyakasipu collected himself and responded with speed,
trying to attack the strange figure with his mace.


However, the powerful asurA found himself lifted up like a doll in the
phenomenally strong arms of the man-lion, carried to the threshold of the palace,
where the Lord put him firmly on His lap and tore open his chest with His bare
nails, to check whether there was even an iota of bhagavat bhakti hiding somewhere
in a corner of the asurA's heart. Failing to find even the slightest traces of it,
Sri Nrisimha tore the asura to pieces and plucking out his entrails, adorned
Himself with them as a gory garland.


One might wonder whether such a bloodbath was indeed necessary and whether the
Lord could not have disposed of the offender in a more decent manner. One must
remember here that the asura had a lot of boons in his favour and the mode of his
destruction had to conform to all of them. He was killed on his own threshold,

Similer Documents