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4th Avatar Narasimha

In Narasimha Avatar, Sriman Narayana is the protector of the innocent.

Sriman Narayana incarnates in the huge form of a man with a lion’s head.

4th AVATAR – NARASIMHA AVATAR

In Narasimha Avatar, Sriman Narayana incarnates under the circumstances from His previous incarnation as Varaha.

Sriman Narayana killed the Asura or demon Hiranyaksha. This filled his elder brother, Hiranyakashipu, with a burning desire for revenge. While commanding the Asuras to create havoc on earth, Hiranyakashipu prepared himself for the battle with Sriman Narayana by practicing the most severe austerities, so that he could acquire the most tremendous powers.

For many years he stood still on Mount Mandara, and even though ant hills, grass, and plants grew on his body, he would not stir; the rivers and oceans trembled; the volcanoes roared and the earth shook; and the astral bodies went astray, he showed supreme devotion to his penance.

The fiery smoke emanating from Hiranyakashipu’s head left a massive trail of destruction, and the panic-stricken Devas, led by Indra, went to seeks Brahma’s help. Warning Him that the worlds of His own creation would soon become extinct, the Devas pleaded with Brahma to intervene. Brahma was very pleased at the immense austerities practiced by Hiranyakashipu and agreed to grant him any boon, hopeful that he would cease to terrorize the world and the Devas.

Hiranyakashipu receives from Brahma a boon that he shall “never be killed by these means: the striking and throwing weapons of his enemies, thunderbolt, stones, trees, dried tree-trunks and high mountains, by water or fire.

Drought, earthquakes, thunder, hurricanes, and all other manner of natural calamities will not affect him. He shall not be slain in heaven, on earth, in the daytime, at night, from neither above nor below, neither inside nor outside, and most importantly neither by man nor animal or the Devas.

From these, he shall have immunity. In his arrogance, Hiranyakashipu fails to distinguish between Sriman Narayana and the other Devas, and finds it beneath his dignity to ask that the boon should bestow on him the power to withstand Sriman Narayana.

Emboldened by his boon of “immortality”, Hiranyakashipu and his Asuras lost no time in bringing the entire world under their authority, dominating the Devas, and creating a reign of absolute terror. He considered himself the Supreme God and forbid all worship to Gods by anyone. This time, feeling that Brahma let them down, the Devas approached Sriman Narayana, who advises them that the seeds of Hiranyakashipu’s destruction are already planted in his own home.

He further states that: “If virtuous parents do not always have virtuous offspring, wicked-minded fathers do not always seed wicked-minded children.”Hiranyakashipu’s own son, Prahlad, is a devoted follower of Sriman Narayana.

This enraged Hiranyakashipu very much. He ordered numerous ways to kill Prahlad including asking his sister Holika to sit with Prahlad in the fire. Prahlad is subjected to a lot of pain and suffering; Asuras are let loose at him; and he is thrown down a cliff.

Yet Prahlad outlives all these attempts at terminating his life. His father’s ceaseless efforts to make him abandon his faith do not bear fruit. Immensely pleased by his devotion, Sriman Narayana at last decides to intervene.

Enraged, Hiranyakashipu asked Prahlad to show him Sriman Narayana. Prahlad said, “He is everywhere”. “Everywhere”, replied Hiranyakashipu, “even in this pillar.” “Yes”, said Prahlad. This further enraged, Hiranyakashipu. He said, “I will show you that I am going to knock this pillar down and kill your Sriman Narayana.”

As he struck the pillar, Sriman Narayana descended to earth in the form of Narasimha – A form of a man with a lion head. Narasimha – Nara means half man and Simha means lion, He is neither man nor lion; He springs out of a pillar; and strikes at twilight, when it is neither day nor light; He attacks Hiranyakashipu at the threshold of his palace, under the arch of the doorway, neither inside no outside, He places Hiranyakashipu on his lap, neither on earth nor in the sky and rips apart his bowels with his claws, not using any weapons.

 

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