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Legend of Yadagiri Gutta

From: Venkatesh Vankipuram (venkat_at_unm.edu)
Date: Wed Aug 08 2001 - 14:33:24 PDT

Hello Bhagavathas,
The following describes the legend of the temple of
Swami LakshmiNarasimha at Yadagiri Gutta which is
situated close to Hyderabad.
-Venkatesh Vankipuram

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In the Tretayuga, there was a Rishi by name
Vibhandaka. His son was the famous Rishyasringa, who
had a son by name Yadavas. From the childhood onwards,
Yadavas was devoted to Lord Vishnu and was'hungering
to have a darshan of the 'sakshatkara' of Lord Vishnu,
in his Swarupa of Lord Narasimha. In order to achieve
and realize his heart's desire, he selected this
secluded hill for doing his penance. There is a
tradition in our country, that secluded spots
unvisited by men are particularly susceptible of
inducing great peace and concentration since there
will not be the impact of the vibrations of the human
mind in these lonely and sacred places. Yadagiri-gutta
is one such secluded place and Yadavas was carrying on
his penance or Tapascharya with one-pointedness of
mind, and with complete Ekagrata with a desire to have
darshan of Lord Vishnu as Narasimha. Lord Vishnu was
pleased with the intensity, patience and perfectness
of his penance, and appeared before Yadavas to confer
boons on him.
Yadavas then begged the Lord to show him the three
supernal forms of the Lord, which had captivated his
heart viz., the Swarup-is of Lord Vishnu as Jwala
Narasimha, Gandabheranda Narasimha and Yogananda
Narasimha. Accordingly, Lord Vishnu granted the boon,
and gave darshan of the above three forms of the
Narasimha Avatara to Yadavas. But Yadavas was still
not fully satisfied with this fleeting view of the
Lord, and the hunger in his soul required that he
should constantly remain in the presence of the Lord
himself. He, therefore, begged of the Lord to remain
permanently in the hill in those three forms. The
Lord, who was well pleased with the devotion of
Yadavas, acceded to his request, and began to live
there permanently on the hill in the above three forms
of Lord Narasimha. Thus, the hill got its name as
Yadavagiri, the corrupted form of which is
Yadagiri.The three forms of Lord Narasimha are to be
seen at three plots in the premises of the present
temple provided one searches for them with devotion
and sincerity.
These places in course of time were deserted and were
covered by dense forest. The Lord appeared in a dream
one night to a village officer of that place and
revealed to him his presence at the top of the hill
and ordained that arrangements for regular worship of
the idol should be made. Accordingly, the village
officer went with some people in search of the Lord on
the top of the hill. There, under a huge rock, they
found the images of the God, which they resuscitated
and cons.-crated for worship, and also appointed a
priest to conduct the daily Puja.
There is also another legend, which has also got wide
circulation, about this temple. According to this, at
first the Lord manifested himself at a place two miles
distant from this hill. That place is now called as
the Old Narasimhaswamy temple site. After the above
dream incident etc., which are common to this legend
also, the God deserted that place and came to the
present hill spot since the present spot was more
conducive to concentration and meditation.
The temple is situated at the top of the hill, which
is about 300 ft. in height. At the foot of the hill,
there is a gateway with Gopuram, which is called
popularly as "Vaikunta Dwaram". As one gets up half
the way above one will find a number of choultry
buildings, which have formed themselves into a hill
town. There are about 150 such choultries constructed
by many devotees of the Lord for the convenience of
the pilgrims who visit the temple.
After entering the Simhadwaram of the temple, there is
a Hanuman Temple on the right side. Exactly beneath
the Hanuman image, there is a horizontal rock gap of
about 10 inches width and about 60-sq. ft. in area.
This horizontal narrow cave is said to be the spot
where the Lord manifested himself in his Swarupa of
Lord Narasimha as Gandhabherunda, one of the three
Narasimhas who appeared before Yadavas. The oil lamp
always kept here is still burning. Indicating the
importance of the site.
Then, turning to the left, we enter a big hall where
generally all devotees sit. Again, on the left side,
there is the temple proper. The front pillar of the
temple is a constructed sculpture whereas the rear
pillars where the actual shrine of the God is
situated, viz., the Garbha Gudi, is a natural cave of
about 30 ft. length and 12 ft. width cut into a hill.
The cave is formed under a huge rock, which forms a
sloping roof into a height of just 5-ft in the middle
for the passage inside. While going through this
constricted passage one has necessarily to lower his
head slightly. Thus the very natural formation of the
cave itself makes one bow involuntarily to the Lord.
On the left of the passage, there is a Peetha where
special Pujas are performed. At the end of the cave,
there are the actual images of the Lord. We see their
two rocks fastened to each other and forming a
vertical cup of about one -foot between them. On the
other side of the rock, we can see the image in the
shape of a serpent head and ending like its tail. This
is said to be the aspect of God known as Jwala
Narasimha, the second of the manifestations of Lord
Vishnu to Yadavas. Popular tradition has it that a
divine serpent still moves about the image.
On the opposite rock, there is another image of a
figure seated in meditation and this is said to be the
image of Yogananda Narasimha, the third of the
manifestations of Lord Vishnu to Yadavas.
These rocks form an integral part of the cave, and so
there is no possibility of having any modern structure
in between them, without dismantling the natural
structure. As these two images of the Lord are not
clearly visible to the worshippers, the icons of
Goddess Laxmi and Narasimha are made in silver and
kept near the original Vigraha for darshan and
worship. The superstructure of the temple is based on
the huge rock, which forms the cave. There is at
Yadagiri a temple to the left of the front pillar,
dedicated to the Goddess, known as Andalamma temple.
 




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