Narasimha Deva Avatara
Narasimha ( Narasingh or Narasinga), is the fourth avatara of Vishnu from the Dasavatharas described in the Puranas, Upanishads and other ancient religious texts of Hinduism. This avatara is evidenced in early epics, iconography, and temple and festival worship for over a millennium. He is visualized as one who takes the form of half-man/half-lion, having a human-like torso and a lower body, but with a lion-like face and claws.
In his previous avatara of Varaha, Vishnu killed Hiranyaksha. Hiranyaksha’s brother Hiranyakasyapa, greatly angered by this, started to abhor Lord Vishnu and his followers. To which end he decides to attempt to kill Vishnu by gaining mystical powers from Bramha, the creator of the Universe. He retired to Mount Mandara to undergo many years of great austerity and penance.
One day while Hiranyakasyapa was performing austerities at Mandaracala Mountain, his home at the kingdom was attacked by Indra(king of Gods) and the other devas, seizing the opportunity in his absence. At this point the divine sage, Naarada Maharshi intervened in order to protect Kayadu,wife of Hiranya kasyapa, who he describes as ‘sinless’. Following this event Narada takes Kayadu into his care and while under the guidance of Narada, her unborn child Prahlada, became affected by the transcendental instructions of the sage even at such a young stage of development. Thus, Prahlada when later growing as a child began to show symptoms of this earlier training by Naarada, gradually becoming recognised as a devoted follower of Vishnu, much to his father’s disappointment.
Hiranyakasyapa eventually becomes so angry and upset at his son’s devotion to Vishnu that he decides to torture him, so that he would stop chanting Lord Vishnu’s Name.
Nothing could make prahlada stop from his devotion to Lord Vishnu. So, out of this hatred, Hiranyakasyapa decides to kill his son and teach all the devotees of vishnu a lesson. He pushes his son in an elephants stampede. He throws his son from a Hill Top. He makes poisonous snakes to bite his son. But each time he attempts to kill the boy, Prahlada is protected by Vishnu’s mystical power.
When asked, Prahlada refuses to acknowledge his father as the supreme lord of the universe and claims that Vishnu is all-pervading and omnipresent. He tries to tell his son to stop chanting his enemy’s name (Vishnu’s) with love and affection. But Prahlada who was drowned in the immense devotion of Lord Vishnu refuses to do so. Hiranyakasyapa gets frustated with anger and decides to attack vishnu. He asks prahlada where his Lord lives and points to a nearby pillar and asks if ‘his Vishnu’ is in it.
To which Prahlada answers, ” He was, He is and He will be. . He is in pillars, and he is in the smallest twig” . Hiranyakasyapa, unable to control his anger, smashes the pillar with his mace, and then following a tumultuous sound, Vishnu in the form of Narasimha appears from it and in defence of Prahlada moves to attack his father.
In order to kill Hiranyakasyapa and not upset the boon given by Bramha, the form of Narasimha was chosen. “Hiranyakasyapa could not be killed by human, deva or animal, day or night, indoor or outdoor, at Earth or at space , without weapons” according to his boon from Bramha
Narasimha Avatara is part-human, part-animal. He came upon Hiranyakasyapa at twilight (when it is neither day nor night) on the threshold of a courtyard (neither indoors nor out), and puts the demon on his thighs (neither earth nor space). Using sharp nails (not a weapon), he disembowels and kills the demon.
Thus Narasimha Avatara was assumed to protect his devotees from the Demon Hiranyakasyapa. It is the most Fiercest Avatara of all the Dasavataras so far. After he slayed the demon, he was so furious that no god was able to please him and restore him to his peaceful state. Prahlada was his favourite devotee. He took the task of pacifying the lord. Lord upon the prayers of Prahlada was immediately pacified and blessed prahlada granting him salvation after that life.
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