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RANGASWAMY_at_plh.af.mil
Date: Mon May 19 1997 - 06:58:47 PDT

	   Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swami Parabrahmane Namaha

Dear Members of the Bhakti List,

The following is a brief note about Lord Narasimha. Tomorrow (May 20) is 
Narasimha Jayanti. Among the Dashavatarams of Lord Narayana NarasimhAvataram 
is unique in many respects. The speciality of this avataram is that "Avataram 
Khatinam. Avatara Karyam Sulabham" whereas in all other avatarams, the Avatara 
Karyam was Khatinam while the avataram itself took place rather easily upon 
the Lord's Sankalpam.

Several articles on the subject of Lord Narasimha have been posted in this 
forum. Sri Dileepan posted an excellent article on Sri Adivan Sadagopa 
Mahadesikan (founder of Ahobila Matham). The Ahobila Matham homepage has a 
wonderful article by Sri Devanathan on the Nava Narasimhas of Ahobilam. Sri 
Rengarajan had an excellent post on the Tala Puranam of Sholingar. Sri 
Sadagopan's note on the joint worship of Sudarshana-Narasimha was very 
eloquent and insightful. 

Hiranyakashipu had obtained a boon from Brahma that he could not be killed
either by day or by night, neither inside nor outside, neither in the 
earth nor in the sky, and no weapon could kill him. Additionally, his killer 
could not be any creation of Brahma or the any one among the trinity. 
The Narasimhavataram was difficult because, the avataram itself could not 
be any creation of Brahma. By emerging from the pillar (Sthambam) in the 
form of Narasimha (half man-half lion), the Lord satisfied the condition of 
not being any creation of Brahma. Since he emerged at twilight (neither 
day nor night), the second condition was also satisfied. By carrying 
Hiranyakashipu to the doorstep (neither inside nor outside), the third 
condition was met. By placing Hiranyakashipu on his lap, Bhagavan Narasimha 
satisifed the condition of Brahma's boon that Hiranya could not be killed 
either on the earth or in the sky. Finally by using his finger-nails to tear 
Hiranyakashipu apart, Lord Narasimha upheld the last condition of 
Brahma's boon (no weapons could kill Hiranyakashipu). 

Furthermore, the Lord had to remain in the pillar for a long time before
incarnating. The Avatara Karyam was accomplished by Narasimha rather 
swiftly compared to those of the other Avatarams.  Another useful reference 
in this context is Sri Thyagaraja Swami's Prahlada 
Bhakti Vijayam where Sadguru Thyagaraja portrays Lord Narasimha as his 
Abhimana Daivam Sri Rama in the Kriti Daya Rani Daya Rani. Interestingly, 
this work is devoid of the Ugra (violent) aspect of Lord Narasimha and 
focusses exclusively on Prahlada's Bhakti. The Krithi Kambadinda Vodadu 
Bandayo Narasimha, provides a very moving description of Lord Narasimhar 
emerging from the pillar to the rescue of his Bhakta, Prahlada. 

Further references to Bhagavan Narasimha can be found in the Panchamruta 
Stotram of Lord Rama (cf: Harivamsha PuraNam). Sriman Sadagopan posted an 
excellent translation of this Stotram. The Stotram begins with 
Ahobilam Narasimham Gatva Rama PratapavAn. It is important to note that this 
Stotram includes salutations of Lord Narasimha in Para, Vyuha, Vibhava, Archa 
and Antaryamitva forms. In particular, the line "Narayana Achyuta Nrisimho 
Namo Namaste" dwells on the Antaryamitva aspect of Lord Narasimhar and points 
to the fact that Narasimha is Achyutan personified. At the arrival of Lord 
Krishna during her Swayamvara, Rukmini exclaims "KalE Narasimha Narasimha", in 
reference to the timely appearance of Lord Krishna, akin to that of 
Lord Narasimha. The line Meena Krute... of the Venkateshwara Suprabatham 
dealing with the Dashavataram dwells on Bhagavan Narasimha as "Nrisimha 
VarNin". 

The greatness of Bhagavan Narasimha is brilliantly described by Swami 
Desikan in the KamasikAshtakam. This Stotram containing eight verses, 
dwells on the Archa Murthy of Bhagavan Narasimhar seated in Yogic posture on 
the banks of the Vegavathi river. Bhagavan Narasimha is considered to have 
arrived at this Kshetram on his own accord and worship offered to him 
confers the seekers with the boon of fulfilling their desires. In the 
salutation "Tapaneeya RahasyaNAm Sara: KamAsikhA Hari:" Bhagavan 
Narasimhar is extolled as the secret of the (Purva and Uttara) Tapaneeya 
Upanishad of the AtharvaNa Vedam. This Upanishad contains a brilliant 
Gayathri Mantram in praise of Bhagavan Narasimha. Perhaps in keeping with 
the statement of Tapaneeya RahasyaNam, this Gayathri Mantram is not very 
well known and is seldom used in Homams. 

Swami Desikan uses the description Adbhuta Kesari to salute Bhagavan 
Narasimha. This salutation ties in very nicely with the 
reference "Narasimhavapu Sriman Keshava Purushottama" from the Vishnu 
Sahasranam. The import of Swami Desikan's message is that the half-man-
half lion was beautiful to look at. The beauty (Adbhuta) of Narasimhar was 
that he had manifested himself in every atom surrounding the Sabha of 
HiraNyakashipu in his anxiety to help Prahlada. Bhagavan Narasimha decided to 
reveal his omnipresence in this manner so that he could be found anywhere 
HiraNyan went looking for proof of His all-pervasiveness. 

KamasikAshtakam dwells on the three eyes of Bhagavan Narasimhar (Sun, Moon and 
Agni). A benevolent glance of Lord Narasimhar is capable of curing anyone 
from the three kinds of illness (Adhyatmika, Adi Bhowdika and Adi Daivika).
The hands (competing with each other to destroy Hiranyan and grace Prahlada) 
and eyes of Bhagavan Narasimha simultaneously radiating compassion 
for Prahlada and striking terror in HiraNyan is beautifully brought out by 
Swami Desikan  in the salutations Vikasvara Nakhasvarukshata: Hiranya 
Vakshasthalee and SatapatalabheeshaNe SarabasAttahasOtpateh, respectively. 
This symbolizes the Pida Pariharam (for Bhaktas) and Pida Pradanam 
(for Dushtas) attributes of Bhagavan Narasimha. Further connections between 
the Pida Pradanam and Pida Pariharam aspects of Bhagavan 
Narasimhar can be inferred from the Vishnu Sahasranamam salutation 
"ParitrANaya SadhUnAm VinAshayacha DushkritAm" with emphasis on 
ParitrANaya SadhUnAm, i.e., protection of Sajjanas. The destruction of 
evil is only a by product which results from the protection of the righteous. 
Further indications of the Pida Pariharam and Pida Pradanam aspects 
of Bhagavan Narasimhar are evident from the fact that he is the only 
incarnation of Lord Narayana who is seen wearing his Padhukas constantly, i.e., 
he is ever willing and ready to rush to the succour of his Bhaktas.

The movement of Bhagavan Narasimhar in pursuit of 
HiraNyan is wonderfully captured by Swami Desikan's (Shardoola Vikridita meter)
description in the KamasikAshtakam. Daya for Prahlada is described in the 
salutation SatApatala bheeshaNe.... DayE Danura Dimba DattastanAm. An 
identical salutation is used by Swami Desikan in the Daya Shatakam to 
describe the merciful nature of Lord Srinivasa. Perhaps this points to the 
connections between Bhagavan Narasimha and the Lord of Seven Hills. The 
concluding salutation (Tvayi Rakshati...) of the KamasikAshtakam refers to 
the ultimacy of Bhagavan Narasimhar. In this salutation, Swami Desikan 
states "When you have decided to protect someone where is the need for other 
protectors? If you have decided not to protect someone, of what use are other 
protectors?"

In the Ahirbudhnya Samhita (a Pancharatra Agama text), Ahirbudhnya 
conclusively establishes the all pervasiveness of Bhagavan Narasimha in the 
Mantra Raja Pada Stotram. Sri Narasimha Priya carried a series of articles 
about this Stotram last year. Several connections between the Sudarshana 
Chakram and Bhagavan Narasimha are established in the Ahirbudhnya Samhita and 
a related reference-the Sudarshana Kavacham.  According to both the 
Pancharatra and Vaighanasa Agamams, Lord Narasimha is worshipped in four 
places- below the earth (Patalam), in pillars, on hills and in the Sudarshana 
Yantram. Lord Narasimha and the Sudarshana Chakram share deep connections. 
The joint worship of Sudarshana and Narasimha is prescribed in both Agamams.  

The Chakram has the attribute of Pida-Pradanam for Dushtas and Pida Pariharam 
for Bhaktas, which is also a characteristic of Lord Narasimha. The Chakram is 
the mighty Jwala which forms the center of the Kalanala (fire at the end of 
time). This Jwala has the radiance of a thousand Adityas and therefore 
dispels all forms of darkness and ignorance. This mighty Jwala connotes the 
Jwala Narasimhar aspect. Lord Narasimhar destroyed Hiranyakashipu in the form 
of Jwala Narasimhar, bringing instant relief to Prahlada from his sufferings 
(Pida Pariharam). The presence of Lord Narasimha in the wheel is mentioned 
for the first time in the Padma Samhita, a Pancharatra Agama text. Also, a 
description of Lord Narasimhar with sixteen arms (Shodasa Ayudha aspect) is a 
trait shared by the Sudarshana Chakram. Consequently, these references may be 
used to infer that Lord Narasimha is resident in  the Sudarshana Chakram. 

The Chakram is the protector of the Devas, destroyer of the Asuras and is the 
bestower of true knowledge, while tearing to shreds every pretence of false 
knowledge, as can be seen from Swami Desikan's Sudarshana 
Ashtakam (Dhanuja VistAra Kartana Janita Misra Vikartana....). This is also 
the attribute of Lord Narasimha in Jwala and Yoga Narasimhar forms. It can 
also be argued that the Sudarshana Chakram destroys one's sins (Papa 
Nashanam). This is the first step towards realizing Lord Narayana. The 
realization of the Lord comes about due to the grace of Lord Narasimhar in 
Yoga Narasimhar form. There is a Saligramam symbolizing the back-to-back 
forms of Sudarshana and Narasimhar in support of this argument. There is also 
a Temple in Srirangam where the Murthis of Sudarshana Chakram and Lord 
Narasimhar are seen in a single Peetham. 

Lord Narasimha is known to be Vara Prasadi. In other words even contemplating
on him even for a single moment is sufficient to being instant relief
from sufferings and untold prosperity. Before his marriage to Padmavati 
Thayar Lord Srinivasar was required to perform Tadiaradhanai and feed 108 
Brahmins. Lord Srinivasar made a pilgrimage to Ahobilam, performed 
Tiruvaradanam for Lord Narasimhar and obtained his blessings. Upon 
receiving Lord Narasimha's blessings Lord Srinivasa fed the 108 Brahmins and 
returned to marry Padmavati Thayar. There is a Sannidhi in Ahobilam 
symbolizing this aspect of Lord Narasimhar. 

Finally, an important aspect of the NarasimhAvataram is that the Lord 
grants Sharanagati entirely by himself. Nobody
can control the Lord in the matter of granting Sharanagati. All attempts to 
abate the fury of Lord Narasimha (upon killing Hiranyakashipu) were futile.
The Lord was furious on account of Bhagavata Apacharam to his devotee 
(Prahlada) by Hiranyakashipu. This fury threatened to destroy the three 
worlds. The pleas of all the Devas and Sri were of no avail. It was only 
Prahlada's prayers that made Lord Narasimha come back to his Shanta  
Swaroopam. 

Everything correctly stated in the above post is entirely due to the grace of 
my Acharyan. All errors are due to my shortcomings.

Aho Viryam Aho Shouryam Aho Bahu Parakramaha
Narasimham Param Daivam Ahobilam Ahobalam

Muralidhar Rangaswamy