Sri Nrisimha Deva’s Ferocious Form:
“I offer my respects to the great Lord Nrisimhadeva. You have nails and teeth like lightning bolts and are garlanded by a mane of flames. Chopping, cutting, tearing, and killing, please protect us, your devotees.”
Lord Nrisimhadeva is an avatar of Lord Vishnu. His wonderful form is that of a half-man and half-lion. His wide open mouth displays a set of wonderful pearl-like teeth, with a growl to chase away the miscreants and any fears perturbing the hearts of his devotes. With magnificent nails, he has three eyes and is as radiant as the autumn moon; the lord’s charming face is a joy to look at! The Lord has four mighty arms, yet his limbs are as soft as butter. He is decorated with golden earrings, and His wide chest is resplendent like a lotus flower. His arms are embellished with jewel-studded ornaments, and he is armed with weapons such as the conch and disc.
The Lord is an abode of all auspiciousness; although a lioness is generally very ferocious, she is very kind to her cubs.
Similarly, although very ferocious to the non-devotees like Hiranyakashipu, Lord Nrisimhadeva is very, very much soft and kind to devotees like Prahlad Maharaja.
Sri Nrisimha Deva Pranam Mantra:
ugram viram maha-vishnum
jvalantam sarvato mukham
nrisimham bhishanam bhadram
mrityur mrityum namamy aham
“I bow to Lord Narasimha, who is ferocious like Lord Vishnu. He is burning from every side. He is terrific, encouraging, and the death personified.”
It is mentioned in Shastra that this mantra is the essence of all kavacha mantras. The mantra is encrypted on a small piece of bark from a botched tree and then sealed into the capsule with a Tulsi leaf then offered to the deity of Lord Nrisimha. After worshipping Lord Nrisimha, the pujari requests the Lord to reside in the kavacha. It then has full power. Men carry the kavacha around the neck or on the upper right arm, while women carry it around the neck or on the upper left arm. The Kavacha can be worn in all conditions.
Moreover, it is stated in the ‘Brahma Samhita’ it is stated that Lord Ganesh derives his powers to destroy all impediments by worshipping the lotus feet of Lord Nrisimha deva.
Also Read:- Narasimha Chaturdashi
Reason for the Appearance of Lord Nrisimha:
Adhering to the curse given by the great sages, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanatkumara, the gatekeepers of Vaikuntha, Jaya, and Vijaya, took birth in the material realm as the sons of sage Kashyapa and Aditi, Hiranyaksha, and Hiranyakashipu.
After Hiranyaksha was killed by Lord Varaha, the boar incarnation of the Supreme Lord Vishnu, for deceitfully bringing the world under his control, Hiranyakashipu wanted to avenge his brother’s death. To attain immortality, he undertook severe penances at Mandarachala to please Lord Brahma.
When Lord Brahma appeared, he asked for immortality. Lord Brahma explained to him that even though his life span was a million years, he must die, so how could he offer him the boon of immortality? So Hiranyakashipu instead demanded that he should never be killed in the day or the night; neither would he die on land or in the air, or the water.
He further asked that he not be killed by any man, beast, or weapon.
After receiving these benedictions, Hiranyakashipu became more demonic and began conquering the material universe. With each new victory and increase in his power, bringing everyone under his control, the Demigods became increasingly worried and hence decided to kill the child growing in the womb of Hiranyakashipu’s wife, Kayadhu.
When Hiranyakashipu went to Mandarachala to execute severe austerities, the demigods headed by Indra attacked the demons and arrested Kayadhu. They wanted to kill the child as soon as it took birth. Narada Maharishi Narada, however, appeared at the scene and informed everyone how the child would be an exalted devotee of Lord Vishnu, the enemy of Hiranyakashipu.
That was when he took Kayadhu to his hermitage, instructing her on spiritual matters and devotion to the Lord. The child in the womb of Kayadhu listened attentively to Maharishi Narada’s instructions and became the greatest devotee of Lord Vishnu that the world had seen.
As he grew up, Hiranyakashipu appointed his Chanda and Amarka, the two sons of Shukracharya, to educate him. They tried by various means to teach him politics, economics, and other material subjects, but Prahlad rejected these ideas, always meditating on the Lord of his heart. At just 5, he would preach about Krishna to his school friends when the teachers left the room.
When Hiranyakashipu learned what was happening, he was furious and demanded to know why the teachers were teaching the child about Vishnu-bhakti. But when he learned his son was behind the act, he killed him.
Hiranyakashipu ordered to be thrown Prahlad into a circle of cannibals. However, he began chanting Hare Krishna, and the cannibals had no power to harm him. His father then had Prahlad thrown into boiling oil, taken to a small island to endure a huge hurricane, thrown off the top of a cliff, trampled under the feet of an elephant, and thrown into a pit of venomous snakes, but the holy name of Krishna protected him every time.
Since Prahlad was not harmed through all this, Hiranyakashipu concluded that he must possess some mystic power. Pretending to be ashamed of his activities, he invited him to lunch, poisoning his food. Hiranyakashipu poisoned Prahlada’s food with enough poison to kill hundreds of full-grown men. First offering it to Krishna, Prahlad ate the remnants and thus was saved.
When the poisoned food did not affect Prahlad, Hiranyakashipu became so enraged he lifted Prahlad above his head and threw him on the floor. When Prahlad was still left unharmed, Hiranyakashipu ordered him to reveal where he got his extraordinary powers from.
Prahlad replied that he got his strength from the same place as Hiranyakashipu did–from Lord Vishnu and that he was omnipotent and existed everywhere. Hiranyakashipu went livid upon hearing that and demanded that his lord was also present in the pillar in the palace. When Prahlad said, “Yes, my Lord is in that pillar,” Hiranyakashipu stated that he would kill Prahlada’s Lord by using his mace to smash the pillar to pieces. As he smashed Lord Nrisimhadeva, Krishna’s half-man, half-lion incarnation, appeared from the broken pillar and attacked the startled demon.
The fight ensued. Lord Nrisimha played with the demon like an eagle. Sometimes He caught him and let him escape. Finally, in the palace doorway, the mighty Lord captured the demon.
Thus the Supreme Lord killed the demon and protected His devotee without contravening any of the benedictions awarded by Lord Brahma.
Sri Nrisimha Deva- the abode of all mercy:
Lord Nrisimha is known primarily as the ‘great protector’ who protects his devotees in times of need. He is quick to reciprocate in loving exchanges with his devotees.
When Lord Nrisimhadeva first arrived in Mayapur, all the pujaris were reluctant to worship His magnificent form. Bhava-siddhi Dasa was particularly scared and always very nervous worshipping Him. One night, after putting the ferocious Lord to rest, he was leaving the altar when he heard an enormous sound that made his hairs stand on the edge. He turned back. However, everything seemed to be in place. Hence he quickly rushed out, locking the door and paying his obeisance; he prayed for forgiveness for any offence he might have unintentionally done. At night, he was awakened by the bed shaking. Bhava-siddhi was sleeping on a bunk bed. So he concluded it must be the pujari underneath him, waking up for mangala-arati.
However, when he opened his eyes, he saw Lord Nrisimhadeva sitting on his bed. That pujari became very fearful, practically to the point of panic. As he tried to stand, Lord Nrisimhadeva placed His two mighty hands, which felt like the universe’s weight, on his shoulders.
“Be peaceful, be calm,” the Lord consoled him. “I have just come to tell you that when you worship Me in the temple, there is no need to fear Me. Please, give up this fear.”
He later said, “I still have those two marks from Lord Nrisimhadeva on my shoulders. They have almost faded now, but they are still visible.”
Another devotee recounted how Lord Nrisimhadeva helped him: “I was suffering intensely. I could not stand without supporting myself on the column before Lord Nrisimhadeva’s altar. I prayed, ‘Please help me, take away this suffering condition so that I may serve You fully!’ I then felt all my pain moving up and flowing out of my body. It just left.”
These are just some of the pastimes showing how the Lord is an ocean of mercy, and just a little service offered to him is magnified and appreciated by him by manifolds. More pastimes of Lord Nrisimha Deva in Mayapur can be found in a book compiled by H.G Pankajanghri Prabhu.
Moreover, by regularly reciting the 108 names of Lord Nrisimha, one can attain the lord’s grace, courage, confidence, faith, and fearlessness, and the removal of all kinds of fears and anxieties will automatically flow.
Lessons from this Pastime:
No one faced more constraints and difficulties than Prahlad Maharaja. However, he stayed firm in his faith in the lord and his holy name and didn’t let it be defeated by his father’s attempts to kill him.
Similarly, when we face difficulties and challenges in our life, we must chant the holy name of the Lord with complete faith and constantly remember the Lord. By remembrance of the lord, a devotee can get over any threatening situation of this world without any harm. It is a powerful message to the world’s people to accept the Lord’s unfailing protection by becoming His surrendered devotee.
The only way to win over the Lord and bind him in our hearts forever is by devotion to him. In the Bhagavad Gita, the lord states that no amount of penance, austerity, or charity can cause him to appear to the sadhana. Only by pure devotional service he’s controlled and compelled to reciprocate to the devotee. Prahlad Maharaj saw the omnipresence of the Lord and, with absolute faith, stated that the Lord was present even in the pillar, and he indeed appeared from there to honor his devotee’s word and faith.
The Lord has promised in the Bhagavad Gita,
“Always think of Me and be My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage. Thus you will always come to Me. I promise you because you are My very dear friend.”
Hence, by continuously hearing about Krishna from his pure devotees, chanting his holy names, and sincerely praying for his shelter, we can easily attain his grace, see his presence in every part of our life, and easily sail over the ocean of material existence.
This pastime is also constructive in instructing the modern society, which is so occupied with making plans for sense gratification similar to those of the demon and abandoning the worship of the Lord; their true well-wisher can notice from the tragic world conditions that all their plans if not aligned with the will of the Lord would lead to their sufferings.
Moreover, any boon desired from demigods is temporary and would perish at the coming of death, but devotion to the Lord is indestructible and does not just liberate the devotee from material existence and help him attain the abode of the Lord but also generations to come.
When Prahlad Maharaja prayed to the lord, “My Lord, my father was atheist, and he has committed so many offences, so I beg that my father may be liberated.” And Nrisimha Deva replied, “Despite his offences, your father is already liberated because you are his son. Not only your father but your father’s father, his father up to seven generations, are all liberated.”
So if Vaishnava appears in a family, he liberates not only his father but his father, his father, and his father in that manner. It is the best service to the family to become Kṛṣṇa conscious.