NARASIMHA Avatar - The Story of giant lion-man Avatar of Lord Vishnu

 The Story of NARASIMHA Avatar of Lord Vishnu
NARASIMHA Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as a semi-man,semi-lion in this world. The king of demons(asuras), Hiranyakasyapa, wanted to become immortal and wanted to remain young forever. To this end, he meditated for Lord Brahma and because of his severe penance, the gods were frightened and asked Brahma to pacify the king. Brahma was impressed by his austerity and granted him a wish.

HiranyaKasyapa wished that he be neither killed by a man or beast, nor in daylight or at night and neither inside or outside a building. Having obtained the wish he considered himself the supreme God and frobade all worship of gods by anyone. But his son Prahlada, was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. This enraged Hiranyakasyapa very much. He ordered numerous ways to kill Prahlada including asking his sister Holika to sit with Prahlada in the fire.

But everytime Prahlada escaped unhurt. Enraged, once he asked Prahlad to show him the Lord Vishnu. Prahlad said, "He is everywhere". Further enraged, Hiranyakasyapa knocked down a pillar, and asked if Lord was present there. Lord Vishnu then emerged as a half lion, half man from the pillar which was neither inside the house nor outside, and the time was evening, neither night nor day. He then killed Hiranyakasyapa thus saving the life of his devotee Prahlada.

In this appearance Lord Vishu assumed the form of half man half lion, at twilight, manifesting himself from a pillar to kill the demon Hiranyakashipu. Pralad, son of Hiranyakashipu is a very devoted soul and always absorbs his mind, words and actions in the devotional service of Lord Vishnu so much that the Lord appeared personally to give him protection from his demon father who was trying to kill him..
The Personality of Godhead assumed the form of Nrsimha dev in order to vanquish the great fears of the demigods. He killed the king of the demons [Hiranyakashipu], who challenged the Lord with a club in his hand, by placing the demon on His thighs and piercing him with His nails, rolling His eyebrows in anger and showing His fearful teeth and mouth.

Prahlada Maharaja, the great devotee of , Nrsimha dev is narrated in the Seventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Prahlada Maharaja, a small child of only five years, became the object of envy for his great father, Hiranyakashipu, only because of his becoming a pure devotee of the Lord. Demons cannot stand to hear the glories of the lord and feel that they should get praise for any great accomplishment. The demon father employed all his weapons to kill his devotee son, Prahlada, but by the grace of the Lord he was saved from all sorts of dangerous actions by his father. He was thrown in a fire, in boiling oil, from the top of a hill, underneath the legs of an elephant, and he was administered poison. At last the father himself took up a chopper to kill his son, and thus Nrsimha deva appeared and killed the heinous father in the presence of the son. Thus no one can kill the devotee of the Lord. Similarly, Arjuna was also saved by the Lord, although all dangerous weapons were employed by his great opponents like Bhisma.

Prahlada Maharaja requested Lord Nrsimha dev to deliver his sinful father, who had so many times offended the lotus feet of the Lord. The Lord replied that in a family where a Vaisnava like Prahlada is born, not only his father but his father's father and their fathers—up to the fourteenth father back—are all automatically delivered.

Brahmana, the topmost section of human society, are mostly devotees. They are generally unaware of the happenings within the material world because they are always busy in their activities for spiritual advancement. Nonetheless, when there is a calamity in human society, they cannot remain impartial. If they do not do something to relieve the distressed condition of human society, it is said that due to such neglect their spiritual knowledge diminishes. Almost all the sages go to the Himalayas for their personal benefit, but Prahlada Maharaja said that he did not want liberation alone. He decided to wait until he was able to deliver all the fallen souls of the world.

Now to the Full Story :
According to Bhagavata Purana,  Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha were gatekeepers of Vishnu’s palace.

> During the Satya Yuga, Maharishi Kashyap and his wife Diti had two sons – Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu. It is said that asuras were born to them as a result of their union at the time of dusk, which was said to be an inauspicious time for such a sexual act.

> You will find the Kashyapa name  in other Hindu texts forward in time—these belong to the descendants of Kashyapa.. .

"" The birthplace of Hiranyakashipu is Moolsthan ( present-day Multan in Pakistan ).  The magnificient Narasimha temple there was destroyed by the Paki mullahs after Independence.  They aroused the base passions of Muslim villagers off Suraj Kund and burnt the temple.

The population of Suraj Kund was fully Hindu due to this Narasimha temple .  Bundu Das, the caretaker of the temple, escaped with the Narasimha idol.  Before independence Hindus from all over India used to take a dip in the pool where Narasimha took bath after killing Hiranyakashipu.

Multan was known as the city of gold for its large and wealthy temples. The Sun temple, Suraj Mandir, which was destroyed after Independence was considered one of the largest and wealthiest temples in the entire sub-continent. ""

Hiranyaksha kept troubling both humans and the Devas alike. The humans and the Devas unable to bear this any more prayed to preserver god Lord Vishnu to protect them.

> Lord Vishnu assumed his 3rd avatar  as a Boar ( Varaha ) and killed Hiranyaksha.— but he left some unfinished business.

> After the death of his brother Hiranyaksha at the hands of Lord Vishnu , Hiranyakasipu was furious with both the humans and the Devas.  He led his army of asuras to attack them.  Hiranyakasipu came to know that every time, Lord Vishnu helped the Devas to fight him back.

> The Asura King Hiranyakashipu sought the advise of his guru Maharishi Shukracharya.

> Shukracharya the son of Bhrigu Rishi was on the side of the Asuras and was training them. Shukracharya had a point to prove to the Devas who had spurned him when he offered to be their guru and mentor. They chose Sage Brihaspati son of Maharishi Angira instead. Brihaspati is known in other cultures as Zeus  or Thor.

> He advised him to do severe penance to appease Lord Brahma and then ask for a boon of immortality .
Hiranyakasipu started his severe austerities and soon forgot all about himself and his kingdom....

> For many years he stood still with his hands raised towards the shy on Mount Mandara, and even though ant hills, grass, and plants grew on his body, he would not stir. Wild insects burrowed in his body and his flesh was covered with maggots . His bones stood exposed.  Ant hills formed around his boy and termites bit him.  Still he continued his tapasya.

> Meanwhile Lord Indra the King of the Devas came to know that Hiranyakasipu was not leading his men.  He realized that if he acted decisively now, he would be able to exterminate the Asuras and cut their strength for ever.

Indra along with other Devas attacked the kingdom of the Asuras. Just as Lord Indra had perceived , without the leadership of Hiranyakasipu, the Asuras were no match for the devas. The Asuras lost the war.

Lord Indra drove away the Asuras.

>> After destroying Hiranyakasipu's capital,  Lord Indra and party marched into Hiranyakasipu's palace.
There he found Hiranyakasipu's pregnant wife Kayadhu.  Indra then though of using her as a future hostage , in case Hiranyakasipu broke his tapasya and came back full of vengeance.

>> At that time that Sage Narada appeared before Indra. He flew into a uncharacteristic rage and warned him NOT to do what he had in mind.  He declared that Hiranyakashipu’s wife is not a sinner and if she is harmed Indra would pay for it.

>> Indra looked at the angry sage who had his own powers , realised that he had no choice other than to let Kayadu go.  Indra and his men went away leaving a crying and pregnant Kayadu in the midst of the ruined and burning capital.

>> Sage Narada consoled here and asked if she knew of a place where she could be safe with well wishers.
Kayadu looked around her and was fraid that after Narada left, Indra would come back with his men.
She pleaded that Narada should take care of her in his ashram.

>> Narada smiled. This was the reason Narada had come here – to take Kayadu to his home.. The divine foretelling would come true, things had started..

>> Kayadu accompanied Sage Narada to his home and there Kayadu served the sage well.  Sage Narada found Kayadu to be fast on the uptake and very intelligent.  So in In the evenings, Sage Narada would relax and tell Kayadu stories of Lord Vishnu....Hearing all this Kayadu developed a profound sense of attachment towards Lord Vishnu.  Prahalada was a tiny fetus in her womb.

In her womb, the young unborn baby also heard these stories and also loved Lord Vishnu. The time passed happily there...When Prahlada was  born in Narada's ashram Devatas showered flowers on the cottage from the sky.

Lord Brahma and the other Devas were meanwhile having a very huge problem.  The air of the heavens were becoming hotter and hotter and the Devas were finding it difficult to sleep .The Devas realized that Hiranyakasipu's penance was becoming so powerful that he was disturbing the environment and the heavens were burning up.
Unable to take it anymore, the Devas ran to Lord Brahma.  Lord Brahma agreed to meet Hiranyakasipu and went to earth to meet the Asura.  He found him standing with his hands raised , entwined in creepers and vines , his body infested with maggots with a large part of his skull and skeleton exposed.

Lord Brahma was touched with the devotion of Hiranyakasipu.  He took some water from his Kamandalam and sprinkled it on Hiranyakasipu.  Suddenly Hiranyakasipu woke up from his trance. When the water fell on Hiranyakasipu, he emerged from the creepers new and fresh. The wounds healed like magic. He looked at the God of Creation and fell on his feet.

Lord Brahma looked at Hiranyakasipu touched, 'Arise son! Your penance is unparalleled! You can have any boon you wish!'

Hiranyakasipu bowed and said, 'My Lord! I wish to be immortal...'

Lord Brahma looked unhappy as he shook his head, 'Son, all who are born have to die. I cannot change the laws of nature. Please ask for anything else, and I will grant it to you ...'

Hiranyakasipu had been tutored by Sage Shukracharya. He bowed to Lord Brahma. 'Lord, I wish for an alternate boon...'

Lord Brahma gestured for Hiranyakasipu to continue.  Hiranyaksipu spoke in clear tones,

'Lord I wish that I cannot be killed by any man, God or animal or any other creature created by you. Nobody should be able to kill me at day or night, in heavens or in earth, in the day or the night either inside the house or outside the house, or with any weapons...'

When Lord Brahma heard this he stayed still for some time. He knew that granting this boon was not good considering that Hiranyakasipu had shown utter contempt for all other lives. But he also knew that he had no choice. He had to grant whatever was asked of him and he could NOT afford to allow this asura to continue with more severe tapasya..

Brahma in a bind, said tersely "So be it !! " ( Tatha asthu )

Saying thus Lord Brahma limped away with a heavy heart.

Hiranyakasipu overjoyed with the wrangled boon ran back to his kingdom.  He ran back skippety skip crying  “I have become invincible; I have become immortal!”

He was grieved to see his ruined capital , massacred citizens and wife missing. He was filled with a feeling of revenge. Hiranyakasipu attacked Indra.  Indra had no chance.  The Devas were driven out of Devaloka. Hiranyakasipu became the ruler of the Heavens. Hiranyakasipu found his wife Kayadu and brought back his wife home.

Despite Kayadu asking Hiranyakasipu to change his ways, Hiranyakasipu continued tormented the humans and the Devas alike, but no one was able to raise a voice against him.

As Prahlada was growing up, Hiranyakasipu became more and more powerful and he started committing more and more atrocities.

He decreed that everyone in his kingdom must worship him alone. Nobody could worship the Lord in any form.  In all temples to the Lord, a  statue or a picture of Hiranyakashipu replaced the idols.  His soldiers were to check that everybody obeyed the decree, and offenders were tortured and  killed.  Terror spread like wild fire throughout the kingdom.

Prahlada was quiet different from his father. Unlike his father Prahlada never hurt another living being.  He was a strong devotee of Lord . While everyone was scared of Hiranyakasipu, all the people loved Prahlada.

Hiranyakasipu once asked Prahlada to come and sit on his lap.  He lovingly stroked his 8 year old son Prahlada's hair, 'Son! What a fine son you are!  Tell me son, how are things going on in your Gurukul?'

'Father!'  Prahlada looked at his father lovingly, 'I have learnt that Vishnu – the Dark Lord is the Ruler of the Three worlds and that if we are devoted to him, he will always be there for us...'

Hiranyakasipu was stunned for a few seconds.  His own flesh and blood talking in this manner. He was terribly upset and sent for his son’s guru.

He asked Prahlada to go and play with friends as he wanted to talk to the teacher alone. When the teacher appeared,  Hiranyakasipu was furious.   He yelled at the learned guru. 'What nonsense have you been teaching my son ”

The Guru quailed with fear. He stammered, 'L..Lord...Lord...I did not teach him these things...'

Hiranyakasipu shook his head furiously, 'Watch over the child! Someone is teaching him these useless things...'  The guru nodded his head and quickly melted away , lest Hiranykasipu gets more pissed off..

At the school,  the Guru taught Prahlada about how Hiranyakasipu was now the Lord of the three worlds and how he was to be worshipped... However Prahlada countered “ No sir! This is not correct!  Lord Vishnu is the Lord of the three worlds. The whole universe exists because of him...'

The guru got furious and afraid at the same time.  Furious that Prahlada was defying him openly in the class for all the students to hear and afraid that if Prahlada repeated this to his father, Hiranyakasipu may even kill him.

The guru dragged Prahlada back to his father's palace. He went to Hiranyakasipu, 'Sir! I have tried everything...The boy keeps on repeating what he said. He would not tell me from where he learnt this...'

Hiranyakasipu was now trembling in rage.  Anger blinded him. This boy cannot have my blood inside him. He is no son of mine...He does not have any right to live... Hiranyakasipu called his men, 'Guards! Take this boy and kill him with your swords.'

The guard looked anxiously at Hiranyakasipu wondering whether he had indeed ordered for killing the prince.

Hiranyakasipu angrily looked at his men and yelled three times , 'NOW!'

Prahalada calmly and unceasingly repeated, “Om Namo Narayanaya!” ( when Mangal Pandey did this in 1857 —he was accused of incoherent babbling and show on contempt by the British )

They took out their swords.  The first guard struck Prahlada and watched surprised as the blade fell from the hilt... Prahlad looked unharmed and without fear. All the guard together struck Prahlada only to find their blades breaking off even before it struck Prahlada.

Bewildered they turned to Hiranyakasipu.  Enraged Hiranyakasipu then ordered Prahlada to be thrown into a snake pit full of cobras.  However  the snakes just kept off him.

Furious Hiranyakasipu turned on mad elephants at Prahlads to trample him.  Hiranyakasipu was stunned when he saw the mad elephants become calm as soon as they saw Prahalada.

Hiranyakasipu called his sister Holika. 'Sister Holika! I need your help!'

Holika bowed to Hiranyakasipu, 'Speak my Lord!'

Hiranyakasipu said harshly, 'You have received a boon from the Lord that fire cannot harm you! I want you to use that boon now.'

“ I want you to take Prahlada in your lap and hold him tight, so that when I can set both of you on fire”
When the fire finally burnt out, Prahlada was sitting in the middle of glowing ashes unharmed , whereas Holika had burnt to cinder..

She was unaware of the fact the boon worked only when  she entered the fire alone. Prahlada came out unharmed while Holika was burnt to  ashes.

Now Hiranyakasipu started to feel that something is amiss.  He went to Prahlada and pulled the boy up.  The boy woke up as if from a trance, looking around him.

Hiranyakasipu shook him, He yelled, 'Where is your Vishnu now?  Is he here inside my palace?  Is he here in this pillar' Hiranyakasipu screamed.

Prahalda looked at his father straight in the eye, "Yes father! Lord Vishnu is everywhere..He is all pervading and is present in every atom and every pore"

Enraged Hiranyakashipu smashed his mace on the pillar.

The pillar shattered and with a terrible roar a grotesque glowing and ferocious form, with the head of a lion and body of a man stepped out.

Before Hiranyakasipu could escape, Narasimha caught him with his clawed fingers, in a vice like grip.

Hiranyakasipu struggled against grip, but it was of no use. Narasimha took Hiranyakasipu and dragged him to the threshold of the door –

Brahma’s voice resounded from the skies.

“Hiranyakasipu---look where are you standing ---
nor in a residence or outside, you are at the threshhold,
look at the time it is nether day or night , it is twilight,
look who has grabbed you, neither man or animal, he hold no weapons
look from where he has emerged, nether ground or sky, but from in-between a pillar.”

After killing Hiranyakasipu with his claws ,  Narasimha let out a loud roar and sat on Hiranyakasipu's throne.

All the Asuras had escaped from there seeing the ferocious beast.  Even the Devas were afraid to go near Narasimha.  However unafraid, Prahlad went forward.  There was nothing but love in his eyes. 'My Lord! You have come to protect me...I knew you would come...'

Looking at the face of Prahlad, Narasimha smiled, 'Yes son! For you I have come!...' Prahlad looked at his father's body and looked at Narasimha, 'Do not worry son! You do not know his story!  He is my ex-doorkeeper Vijaya.  He was born here because of a curse. After three more births he will attain his place back in Vaikunta.. .Do not worry about him...'

Prahlad nodded his head, 'I want nothing more, my Lord!'

Narasimha shook his head, 'No son! You are meant to rule your people. You will come to Vaikunta after you have completed your work on earth as your people's ruler...'

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