Sri Narasimha Chaturdashi

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kandiya nrsimha-pade magibo kakhana
nirapade navadvipe jugala-bhajana
bhaya bhaya paya yan’ra darsane se hari
prasanna hoibo kabe more daya kari

Weeping, I will beg at the lotus-feet of Lord Narasimha for the benediction of worshipping Radha and Krsna in Navadvipa, perfectly safe and free from all  difficulties. When will this Lord Hari, Whose terrible form strikes fear into fear itself, ever become pleased and show me His mercy?

Narasimhadeva, who is bhakti-vijṇa-vinasak, the destroyer of all obstacles on the path of bhakti, is very merciful to all His devotees, and His appearance day is celebrated on the caturdasi-tithi of the Vaishakha month. It is celebrated by one and all with great enthusiasm, with the desire to please Lord Narahari and become fearless on the path of bhakti. In this way, we may attain the ultimate goal of life – loving service at the feet of the divine couple Shri Shri Radha Syamasundara.

This material world is nothing but the perverted reflection of the spiritual world, and therefore all the rasas experienced here are present in their pure state in relation to the Supreme Lord. It is for this reason that once, when the Lord desired to taste vira rasa, the mellows of chivalry, His internal potency, Yogamayamaya, made the following arrangement. By her influence, when the four Kumaras, who were exalted devotees of Lord Narayana , came to Vaikuntha to take darshan of Him, Jaya and Vijaya, the gate keepers of Vaikuntha, stopped them from entering. The four Kumaras, displaying transcendental anger, cursed Jaya and Vijaya, telling them that they could choose between taking sevan births as great devotees of the Lord or three births as demons, who would be killed by the Lord. Jaya and Vijaya understood the desire of the Lord and wanted to please Him. They thus chose to become demons, so that the Lord may enjoy vira-rasa by fighting with them. There is no one qualified in this entire universe to satisfy the desires of the Lord other than his pure devotees, and therefore this desire of the Lord also had to be fulfilled by the pure devotees of the Lord. For the pleasure of the Lord, His servants descended on this earth as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu. 

After Hiranyaksaa was killed by Varahadeva, Hiranyakashipu became furious and desired to take revenge for his brother’s death by killing Lor Vishnu. He proceeded to the mountains to perform severe austerities and gain the benediction of immorality so that he may defeat Visnu. While he was performing the severe austerity of standing on the tips of his toes without moving and not eating or drinking anything, and while his entire body being eaten by ants, Indra kidnapped Kayadhu, the wife of Hiranyakasipu. His intention was to kill the child within her womb, thinking him to become a threat to the demigods when he would grow up, but Narada Muni convinced Indra that the child in Kayadhu’s womb, the son of Hiranyakashipu, was great a devotee. He then took Kayadhu to his ashrama, where he instructed Prahlada, while still in his mother’s womb, about the science of Krishna consciousness. Being thus instructed by Narada, Prahlada Maharaja, when sent to school by his father, started preaching to his friends about bhakti and transformed all the demoniac children into devotees. He instructed them on navavidha- bhakti, the nine prominent kinds of bhakti out of the sixty four angas of bhakti mentioned in the saastras

sri-prahlada uvaca
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam

iti pumsarpita visnau
bhaktis cen nava-laksana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha
tan manye ‘dhitam uttamam
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.5.23-24)

[“Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) – these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.”]

When, however, Hiranyakashipu realized the extent of the devotion that Prahlada had for the Supreme Personality of Godhead and was informed that Prahlada was imparting that knowledge and devotion to other students, he was infuriated. Deciding to kill his very own son, he tried to harm Prahalad Maharaj in various ways, like throwing him off a mountain cliff, trying to burn him by putting him on the lap of his sister Holika in the midst of a blazing fire, dipping him in boiling hot oil and many more cruel tactics of torture to kill him. Enraged by the fact that none of his endeavours were harming Prahlada in the least, he demanded to know the source of Prahlada’s strength by which he was being protected. In response, Prahlada Maharaja started glorifying Lord Visnu. Upon hearing the glories of Vishnu from his son, Hiranyakashipu asked him about the whereabouts of the Lord. Prahlada told him that the Supreme Personality is omnipresent and is therefore present in every part of this universe. “Is your Lord in this pillar?” he cried furiously.  Full of envy of the Lord, he immediately struck a pillar with his fist and out came Lord Narasimhadeva, the Lord’s manifestation as half lion, half man.The Lords appearance was so ferocious that Hiranyakashipu could understand that his death was now certain. Still, he fought with the Lord in an effort to kill Him. Narasimhadeva, without transgressing the benediction that Hiranyakashipu had received from Brahma that Hiranyakashipu would not be killed by any weapon, tore open his body and killed him, thus giving pleasure to the entire universe, which had been suffering due to the atrocities of the demon.  

After the anger of the Lord had been pacified by the prayers of his dear devotee Prahlada and He desired to bestow a boon upon Prahlada. He asked him to ask for anything he may desire. Being a great Vaisnava, Prahlada Maharaja prayed to the Lord for the welfare of all conditioned souls, upon which the Lord proclaimed that anyone who would hear the description of the story of Prahlada Narasimha would be quickly liberated and would not have to suffer in this material world. On this auspicious occasion we too implore the Lord to bestow his mercy upon us, so that being freed from all obstacles on the path of bhakti we may make rapid advancement in spiritual life and go back home back to Godhead. 

In Iskcon Vrindavan, the festival of the appearance day of lord Narasimhadeva is observed by all the devotees by keeping a fast for the pleasure of the Lord till dusk. In the morning all the devotees engage in glorifying the Lord’s pastimes and in the evening all the devotees assemble for the abhiseka ceremony of the Lord accompanied by uproarious kirtana. After being bathed, Lord Narasimhadeva and all the deities are offered an elaborate offering prepared by the devotees who had been engaging themselves in cooking for the Lord the entire day. 

tava kara-kamala-vare nakham adbhuta-śṛńgaḿ


keśava dhṛta-narahari-rūpa jaya jagadīśa hare

O Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of half-man, half-lionl All glories to You! Just as one can easily crush a wasp between one’s fingernails, so in the same way the body of the wasp like demon Hiranyakasipu has been ripped apart by the wonderful pointed nails on Your beautiful lotus hands.