Glories of Sri Narasimha avatAram



tvayi rakṣati rakṣakaiḥ kimanyaiḥ
tvayi cārakṣati rakṣakaiḥ kimanyaiḥ |
iti niścitadhīḥ śrayāmi nityam
nṛharē! vēgavatī-taṭāśrayaṃ tvām ||

“O Narasimha! When You protect me, there is no use of other ‘saviours’. Even if You do not protect me, there is no use of other ‘saviours’. With this firm knowledge that You alone are my saviour, I take permanent refuge in You even as You take shelter on the banks of River Vēgavatī.” (Swami Vedanta Desikan in Kamasikashtakam)

The Lord’s Narasimha Avataram is the best avatharam. The best amongst manthram is the Narasimha Manthram as it contains 32 letters each of which teach one of the 32 Brahma Vidhyas. Similarly the best amongst Tanthrams is Narasimha Tanthrikam. “Namaha” is the heart of Saranagathi manthram. The best person to surrender to is Lord Narasimha. He is also called as Pinaki as He wields the bow called Pinaka. As He displayed anger while incarnating, He is called as Maha Raudri. The Mrthyu Jaya Manthram praises the glories of Lord Narasimha. He has three eyes; the right eye is the Sun, the left the moon and the eye on His forehead is Agni. The protection obtained by chanting the Narasimha Manthram cannot be over ruled by any other Manthram. The ManthrarAja Pada Sthothram composed by Lord Shiva teaches the importance of Narasimha Manthram.

The Lord’s Narasimhaavataram is glorious because HE appeared to uphold the words of a five year old child! He appeared with the face of a lion and not that of any other animal because Hiranyakashipu threatened to pounce on Prahladan like a lion. Lord Narasimha appears instantly to help anyone who calls Him during an emergency.

Marichan warned Ravanan not to proceed with the plans to abduct Sita Piratti by saying that she is seated on the lap of Narasimhan. Lord Hanuman consoled Piratti by saying that he will soon return with Narasimhan. Lord Rama revealed Himself as Narasimhan when He informed Sugreevan that, with just the tip of His nails He can destroy the hosts of any beings be they asuras, rakshashas, devas or gandharvas. During other incarnation the Lord has to hold His weapons in His hands while as Narasimhan the weapons never leave His hands!

Rukmini Piratti addressed Lord Krishna as Narasimhan in the seven slokams she wrote to Him asking Him to come and wed her. Andal Nachiar informed her friends happily that she dreamt that she sat next to Narasimhan while He held her hands and performed laja homam at their wedding.

Bhishmacharya started the Vishnusahasranamam with Narasimha Avataram by mentioning “Narasimha vabhu Sriman”. He is Sriman because He is always with Sri. He is Sundara Simhan also known as Azhagiya Simhan. The Vishnu sahasranamam ends with “sarva pragadanayudha” which means capable of using anything as a weapon and according to Adi Sankaracharyar this name is also about Lord Narasimhan. Thus the entire Vishnu Sahasranamam is about Lord Narasimhan.

Adi Sankaracharyar transmigrated in to a king’s body per a bet he had accepted from the king. The king’s ministers found out about this bet and ordered the body of Adi Sankaracharyar to be destroyed in fire so that he would have to remain as their king. Adi Sankaracharyar found out about their plot and returned to his body immediately but by then they had thrown his body on the funeral pyre. From amidst the burning fire, Adi Sankaracharyar composed the karAvalambha stothram as lord Narasimhan was the only one who appears instantly to save His devotees. Thus Adi Sankaracharyar was saved by the Lord.

Lord Narasimha is often sought by people seeking Moksha.

Lord Ranganathan is known as Peria Perumal because He was worshiped by Lord Rama whereas Lord of Ahobilam is Peria Peria Perumal since He was worshiped by both Lord Rama as well as Lord Srinivasa. Lord Srinivasan ordered food prepared for His thirukalyana utsavam to be offered to Lord of Ahobilam first. Thus even today if archai murthies of the Lord’s many incarnations are present in the same place, offerings should be first given to Lord Narasimha.

Lord Ranganathan is known as Namperumal while Lord of Ahobilam is Namudaya namPerumal i.e “our own namperumal” to show the ease with which He is available to His devotees.

People who seek Moksham should worship Lord Narasimha. The Ahobilla Mutt was established by Lord Narasimha Himself when He initiated the first pontiff of Ahobila Mutt in to SanyAsA.

PrathyAdhishta purAtana praharaNa grAma: kshaNam pANIjai:
avyAth threeNi jaganthyakuNDa mahimA VaikunDa KaNDeerava:
yath PrAdhurbhavanAth avandhya jaDarA yAdhrucchikAth vEdasAm
yaa kAchith sahasA MahAsura gruhasTUNA pithAmahyabhUth

In the above slokam from Dasavathara Sthothram, Swami Vedanta Desikan highlights the saulabhyam of Perumal when He incarnated from the pillar to kill Hiranyakashipu. In this incarnation Perumal protected the words of two of His devotees. Lord Brahma had granted boons to Hiranyakashipu that he will not be killed by devas, asuras, human beings et al or beasts. Lord Brahma also granted boons that living beings or non-living things cannot be used as weapons to kill Hiranyakashipu. In order to hold the words of Lord Brahma true, Perumal incarnated as a man-lion which is neither animal nor human. Perumal used His nails to kill Hiranyakashipu. Nails can neither be classified as living or non-living as they are made out of dead cells and yet they grow. Perumal could have ignored Lord Brahma’s words but He did not do so as, if He ignored Lord Brahma’s words no one would respect Lord Brahma or seek any boons from Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma trusted the Lord’s abilities in destroying Hiranyakashipu and hence wasn’t worried when he granted boons to Hiranyakashipu. Perumal upholded Lord Brahma’s words and status by incarnating as Lord Narasimha.

Perumal also upholded the words of the five year old child Prahaladan. When asked by Hiranyakashipu about the whereabouts of the Lord, Prahaladan had replied that the Lord is present everywhere.
‘Brat!’ yelled Hiranyakashipu in rage. ‘I will kill you with my own hands! Who is He? Where is He?’

‘Why do you have this doubt father that if he is here or not? He is everywhere! There is not a single place in which He is not present. In fact He is even present in you, in me and even in your words!’
‘Do you see this pillar?’ asked Hiranyakashipu. ‘I built this pillar with my own hands! Every inch of this pillar was built by me. Do you see Him in this pillar?’

‘I see Him in this pillar as well since He is present everywhere.’

‘Liar! Why do you pretend to see things which I can’t see! I will cut your head! If He is there in this pillar let Him come and put your head back on your body!’

‘He won’t do this task.’

‘If He won’t do this task why do you keep singing His praise? Come to me your father for I will protect you!’

‘You misunderstand me; He won’t do the task of putting my head back on my body because He is not going to sit by and watch while you lay your hand on my head!’

‘I will break this pillar with my mace! If He is not there, I will break open your head like a lion breaking open an elephant’s skull and will drink your blood!’

Hiranyakashipu raised his mace and hit the pillar hard. From the place where he hit the pillar and the very instant he hit the pillar appeared the Lord as Narasimha with the face of a lion and the body of the man.

The Lord appeared with the head of a lion because Hiranyakashipu had threatened to crush Prahaladan’s head like a lion crushing an elephant’s head. Lord Narasimha appeared out of the very pillar which had been built personally built by Hiranyakashipu. Since Hiranyakashipu had sculpted the pillar with his own hands he could not say that Prahaladan was playing a trick by concealing this fearsome form within the pillar!

The Lord incarnated not to protect Prahladan as He could have done this task without having to incarnate but to protect Prahaladan’s words. Earlier the Lord had protected Prahladan from fire, snakes, elephants and poison without incarnating. He incarnated now because with firm faith Prahladan told Hiranyakashipu that the Lord was present inside the pillar. Thus to uphold Prahladan’s faith He incarnated the instant Hiranyakashipu’s mace touched the pillar.

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  1. SrI:
    Adiyen. Can you please give the pramanam for the statement that Sri Narasimha should have the first offering amongst many archa murthies. Dhanyavada: Dasohamasmi Vivek


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