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[tiruvengadam] The 'ati-adbhuta-avatAra' of Nrsimhan - May 6, 2001

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Sun May 06 2001 - 06:20:46 PDT

Dear BhakthAs: Today is "Appan avatharittha KathAmrutha dinam ".
At Sunset today (SandhyA Kaalam ), Sri Nrusimha BhagavAn 
demonstrated Bhaktha RakshaNam and Dushta Nigraham 
at HiraNya Kasipu's Court. We celebrate His avathAram
today on this Vishu Chitthirai SvAthi dinam.

Sriman M.K.Sudarshan , moderator of the Thiruvengatam 
list serving the BhakthAs of Middle East has released 
a moving posting on Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Vaibhavam.
This brilliant vandhanam would have wider appeal to 
Nrusimha BhakthAs all over the world . Hence I have taken 
the liberty of forwarding this timely salutation 
by Sri Sudarshanan to Nrusimha BhakthAs all over the world.
I thank Sri Sudarshanan in advance for his contribution.

That great Mangala Moortham Sri Lakshmi Nrusimhan 
worshipped at AhObilam by the great AchAryAs of
Sri Matam founded by Sri Lakshmi Nrusimhan Himself .
Great are His glories ! One of them is the command 
through HH the 44th Jeeyar of Ahobila Matam to build 
a Temple for Himself and Lord Ranganathan at Pomona , NY
in USA. This AchArya's command has been constructed now and 
is awaiting consecration on May 29, 2001 with  grand 
Vedic and Aagamic ceremonies ( http://www.ranganatha.org) .

On this Nrusimha jayanthi day , my slautations to all
that are supporting this Temple Consecration Kaimkaryam.

Daasan,
V.Satakopan 
 
Attachment : Sri Sudarhsanan's article On Nrusimha Vaibhavam
*************************************************************

Dear friends,

Today the asterism is 'swAti' and it is the 'jayanti' of the 4th 
avatAra of Vishnu... Lakshmi-nrsimhan…the man-lion form in which
the Almighty appeared before his beloved devotee, the child PrahlAda, 
and rescued him from the tyranny of the evil 'asura', Hiranyakassipu.

The story of the Nrsimha-avatAra is related in the ancient purAnA of 
our land, the Srimad BhAgavatam, in the 7th 'skanda'. Today is an 
especially appropriate day to re-read the "prahlAda-charitram"  and 
recount/recollect/re-live the experience of this unique avatAra of
the Lord Almighty.

The Nrsimha-avatara is 4th in the line of Vishnu's 'dasAvatAra' and 
the first in a form akin to human kind. The 'avatAra' of half-lion 
half-man was necessitated because the evil of Hiranyakassipu was so 
overpowering that it could be destroyed by neither human or animal 
agency alone... It required a Divine Force combining within itself
the awesome ferocity of raw animality ("ugram") and the marvellous  
capacity of human genius ("agatita-ghaTana-sAmarthyam") to outwit and 
root out the scourge of Evil from earth.

Hiranyakassippu, the personification of evil, and the Lord's 
child-devotee, Prahlada, were father and son. The father by dint of 
years of penance and effort had attained extraordinary powers and had
become the lord of all the worlds. So powerful did he become that he 
came very near claiming immortality and omnipotence. 

Pride soon made arrogate to himself the status of God Almighty. He
saw all the world to be but his own creation... and he saw nothing 
beyond the world of which he had become undisputed ruler.

Prahlada though born of his father's flesh was of entirely different 
character. Even as a child his soul tended toward utter devotion to 
God. And as he grew in years Prahlada became more and more
immersed in the consciousness and worship of the Almighty.

This infuriated the father who could'nt tolerate his son bowing to a 
Being other than himself.

When neither fatherly persuasion nor threats could succeed in turning 
Prahlada away from contemplation of God, Hiranyakassippu subjected
his son to untold misery.... He had his courtiers throw the boy into a
pit of serpents; they fed him to the lions; they tried sinking him in 
the sea; they hurled him from a steep cliff; they tried poisoning 
him...

However hard they tried, none could do harm to Prahlada who came out 
unscathed from every ordeal almost miraculously. The Lord's
protection was upon him in full measure.

Finally, Hiranyakassipu could stand it no more. In a terrible rage
one evening he confronted his little son and challenged him to reveal 
the whereabouts of the God he worshipped. "Show me where your Vishnu  
is and I shall show you who I am!", he thundered. "PrahlAda, I am the 
Lord of the World, I am unmatched.. I am invincible... No man or
being on earth can overpower me... Death cowers in my presence... Day 
and night, the earth and the skies shudder in my presence... No
weapon on earth, sword, mace or axe.. can smite me... Who is this 
Supreme Being Narayana you are talking about?! Show him to me! And
you shall know who is truly supreme!".

Prahlada quietly retorted, "My father you ask me to show you where
the Lord Vishnu is? How can I? He resides everywhere! He resides in
my heart as much as He does in yours! There is no place in all of 
Creation where his Presence is absent! He is "sarva-vyApi". He is 
witness to everything... and everything is witness to Him... 
"avyaya:purusha-sAkshi"!".

When he heard this almost laconic reply of his son, Hiranyakassipu 
became incensed. In a paroxysm of mad temper he gathered his great 
mace and said, "If your great Vishnu resides everywhere let him show 
himself up in this pillar here! If your Vishnu is brave enough to 
stand up to Hiranyakassipu, he should show up here!". 

So saying the Emperor of Evil took up his massive mace and brought it 
down on one of the great pillars in the palace-hall...

The earth trembled. The walls crumbled. The wind suddenly howled. The 
day passed suddenly into night... and a strange, macabre event 
unfolded itself!

>From within the pillar rent asunder by Hiranyakassippu emerged a 
strange, hideous form that was half-man and half-lion. It had long 
manes, blazing, fiery eyes... It had massive leonine jaws and gaping 
fangs... It stood tall... taller than anything around the palace...It 
emerged out of the debris with a spine-chilling roar... It strode 
towards Hiranyakassipu, towering over him like a colossus, casting
its eerie shadow of death upon him like a malevolent predator lurking 
in the darkness of the night...("bheekara-bheekara kareendra...")

NammAzhwAr in his famous 'tiruvoimOzhi' sang of this scene in 
brilliant Tamil images:

     pozhuthu melintha pUn sekkaril vaan thisai
      suzhum ezhunthu uthirap-punalA malai
     kizhuthu-piLantha singam othathAl appan
      aazh thuyar seyydu asurarai kollumArE !   (7.4.6)

The above verse has been very beautifully translated into English by 
A.K.Ramanujam as follows:

                  "At the red hour of sunset,
                   there was blood
                   on the heavens and the eight directions.

                   Our Lord
                   plunged the demon into despair
                   and slaughtered him:

                   a lion
                   tearing open
                   a mountain under his claws."


It was a ghastly sight indeed... and it is described very vividly by 
the great SriVaishnava poet-philosopher, Swami Vedanta Desika (14th 
CE) too in his famous 'stOtra' "kAmAsikAshtakam" in praise of Lord 
Nrisimha:

"saTa-paTala bheeshanE sarabha-sAta hAsoTbhaTe
spuradh-kruti sphutat brukuti-kEpi krutE..." etc.

Vishnu emerged instantly in such a strange and marvellous form 
("nArasimha-vapu:) and picking up Hiranyakassipu, He laid him upon
His lap and snapped his spine like a twig. The fury of the Lord was 
unbounded. Nrsimha cracked open the mighty chest of the Evil Emperor 
as if it were a nut-fruit; and with with His Nails ("nakkAgrE")
gouged out the entrails of His devotee's tormentor and wound it
around his neck like a garland...

It was gory spectacle that the purAnA describes... It all happened in 
the flash of an instant... in that nether hour of twilight when day
is not far gone and night too is not far away...And it happened right 
on the doorsteps of the Emperor's palace … The death of he who
had claimed lordship over the entire world was dealt by nothing more 
lethal than a pair of feline claws... 

Lord Nrisimha's fury did not however abate. The Man-Lion continued
his mayhem ... roaring, gnashing his talons,  eyes spewing fire and 
sheer terror... The 'purAnA' tells us that such was the terrible, 
irrepressible mien of this avatArA, even the presence of His Consort, 
Goddess Lakshmi, who hurriedly appeared on the scene, could not douse 
the mighty fires of rage emanating from "jwAla-narasimhan"! The 
Goddess gave up trying to pacify Her Lord saying, "Maybe this
Creature here is not My Lord at all!!".

Finally, the 'devAs' and gods who had gathered there pleaded with 
PrahlAda to himself approach the raging form of the Man-Lion and 
somehow mollify it. The child boldly strode forth and sang a peaean
to the Lord... "prahlAda-stuthi".... on hearing which Nrisimhan's
"ugram" waned. Goddess Lakshmi once again seated herself beside Her 
Lord and together with the assembled Deities there, gave audience to 
devotees in the auspicious form of "sri.mAlOla"...

The world was rid of evil... the devotee Prahlada was rescued and 
peace once again reigned in all the worlds.

                   ****   *****   ******

The purAni-c lore of Lord Lakshmi-narasimha lives eternally in the 
hearts of millions of people in India. There are many temples in the 
states of Andhra Pradesh and T.Nadu where this deity is worshipped 
ardently to this day.

Ahobilam near Kurnool is the most famous where "nava-nrsimhan" or the 
nine different forms of the Lord are found in 9 shrines at various 
spots on the great, verdant hills of Ahobilam. This Ahobilam is a 
great place of pilgrimage for millions of devotees from all over the 
country. According to the 'hari-vamsha purAna" Lord Rama Himself 
worshipped the deity here in Ahobilam through the hymn titled
"narasimha-panchAmruta stOtra".

There are beautiful temples of Lakshmi-nrsimhan also in Vishakapatnam 
(simhAchalam), Yadagirigutta (near Hyderabad), Mangalagiri, 
SingaperumAl koil (near Madras), Simhacholapuram (or Sholinghur, near 
Madras), Vellukai (near Kanchipuram), Namakkal (T,Nadu), VedAdri, 
Wadapalli and Mattapalli (all on Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh).

The devotees of Ahobilam by and large also belong to the famous 
Ahobila Mutt headed by the holy pontiff, Sri.Azhagiyasingar Jeer.

The worship of Lakshmi-narasimha is popular amongst all sects of 
Saivites, Vaishnavites and MadhvAs since all the great AchAryas of
the Vedic tradition have worshipped this Deity. In the 
'ahirbudhnya-samhita" it is written that Lord Siva himself worshipped 
Narasimhan through the famous 'stOtra' called 
"mantra-rAja-pada-stOtra'. Adi Sankara sang the famous 
"lakshmi-nrsimha-karAvalamba-stOtra' in praise of this Deity. The 
Sankara Mutt also has a special shrine for this Deity in Sringeri. 
Many MAdhvAs worship this Deity in their homes as "kula-deivam". For 
millions of SriVaishnavas who belong to the lineage of the 15th 
century saint Sri.Adivan Satagopa Muni, Lakshmi-nrisimhan is one of 
the foremost deities in their traditional pantheon.

Lord Nrsimhan is thus a universally acknowledged God celebrated as
the Mighty One who rushes instantly to the succour of His dear 
devotees just as He rushed to save His beloved PrahalAda.

                *****    *****   *****

Today is 'nrsimha-jayanti'. Let us all in our hearts beseech the Lord 
to shower His Blessings on one and all.

"tvayi rakshati rakshakai: kimanyaihi
tvayi chAraskhati rakshakai kimanyaihi
iti nishrutadheehi srayAmi nityam
nruharE vegavati tatAshrayam mAm" 
             (Verse 8 of "kAmAsikAshtakam" of Swami Vedanta Desika)

"If You deigned to protect me, 
Who else do I need appeal!
But if You should turn away, alas,
What use is it beseeching anyone else?".

dAsan,
Sudarshan
Namo VenkateshAya namah:




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