APPEARANCE DAY OF LORD NRSIMHADEVA
Narasimha Story: Demon Hiranyakasipu had obtained a boon from Brahma that he could not be killed by man or beast, by day or by night and from inside or outside. And also he could not be killed by any weapon. After receiving such a powerful boon, Hiranyakasipu conquered heaven and earth and declared himself as God and asked people to worship him and not Vishnu. But Hiranyakasipu’s son, Prahlāda, was a staunch Vishnu devotee and disobeyed his father. The whole kingdom worshipped Hiranyakasipu; but in his own house his son worshipped Vishnu. Father tried all means to change his son, but he failed miserably. He then tried to kill but each time the young boy escaped from the clutches of death with the blessings of Vishnu. Fed up with his son, one day Hiranyakasipu challenged Prahlada and, looking to a stone pillar, asked, ‘If your god is omnipresent, is he in this pillar also?’
Prahlad answered, ‘HE is present in the pillar and even in the rust.’ Hearing this Hiranyakasipu slashed hard on the pillar with a sword. Suddenly, Lord Vishnu emerged from the pillar in the form of a Narasimha and slew the demon at dusk. Narasimha killed the demon by keeping him in his lap and tearing his heart with bare hands thus overcoming all the boons the demon had attained from Brahma.
What to do on Narasimha Jayanti Day?: Devotees fast on Narasimha Jayanthi day and visit Lord Vishnu temples. Fasting is from sunrise to next day sunrise. Those opting for partial fast can consume milk, fruits and food items not made using rice and grains. Prayers dedicated to Narasimha are chanted on the day. The best prayer is to read about the avatar of Narasimha in the Bhagavad Purana. People also give alms on the day and perform Annadhanam (donate food to poor). Donating food to poor children is highly meritorious on the day. It is believed that those people who observe Narasimha Jayanti vratam will reach the ‘Vaikunta’ – abode of Vishnu.
Today, 13 May, Hindus in India and all over the world celebrate Narasimha Jayanti with a lot of excitement. According to Hindu calendar, Narasimha Jayanti is celebrated on the day of Vaishakh Shukla Paksha’s Chaturdashi. Lord Narasimha has always been related to power and victory. According to beliefs and religious texts, Lord Narasimha was the 4th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. On Narasimha Jayanti day Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Narasimha, a half lion and half man, to kill Demon Hiranyakashipu and to establish dharma in this world. The rules and guidelines to observer Narasimha Jayanti fasting are similar to those of Ekadashi fasting. Devotees eat only single meal one day before Narasimha Jayanti. All type of grains and cereals are prohibited during Narasimha Jayanti fasting. Parana, which means breaking the fast, is done next day at an appropriate time. On Narasimha Jayanti day devotees take Sankalp (vows, resolutions) during Madhyana (Hindu afternoon period) and perform Lord Narasimha Pujan during Sanyakal (between dusk and light out) before sunset. Our spiritual masters have taught us that the Narasimha Kavacha – told by Prahlada himself – is a powerful prayer for protection against dangers of the mind, body, nature and other living beings. In this wonderful story, we learn about the importance of always depend on Krsna, and be surrendered to his will, as it did Prahlada Maharaja. When the Lord Narasimhadeva appears from the pillar to annihilate Hiranyakasipu, we can recognize the great truth in the words of Sri Krishna when he says: “For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.”(BG 6:30). Lord Narasimha is the giver of pleasure to the heart of Prahlada Maharaja, and the One who – due to his great compassion – removes all obstacles on the path of devotional service. I pray to Him to be completely surrendered to the service of our Guru parampara. (Editor’s note).
“Then why do I not see Him in this pillar?” retorted Hiranyakasipu.
“I see Him even in this pillar,” replied Prahlada.
The very powerful Hiranyakasipu condemned Prahlada with extreme anger and harsh words. “May your Lord save you!” Saying these words, he picked up his sword, rose from his throne and violently struck the pillar with his fist. As the pillar was struck, it emitted a terrible sound as if the whole universe was being shattered. Brahma and the other demigods were afraid of this unique, terrifying sound and Hiranyakasipu himself began to search out its source. Then, in order to prove correct the words of both his devotee Prahlada and Lord Brahma, the Supreme Lord appeared in a wonderful half-human and half-lion form called Nrisimha. Even though the Lord appeared before his very eyes, Hiranyakasipu still could not understand Him as the Lord; he saw Him as a strange creature. Without pure devotional eyes, one cannot see the Lord.
Śrīla Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Mahārāja :
“Dasavatara – The Ten Manifestations of God”
Chapter 4: “Sri Nrisimha-avatara”
Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math – www.sreecgmath.org
Published by dasavatara das – “Vedic Views on World News”