Vishnu: Narashima (man-lion)- 4th stage of sadhana

4. Narashima (man-lion)- 4th stage of sadhana:

Nrusimha (in Sanskrit), popularly called by devotees as “Narasimha”, denotes the divine form of half man and half lion. The Asura King Hiranyakashibu on the advice of his guru Shukracharya, undertook severe penance on Lord Bramha and when the God appeared before him, he requested the following boons in the hope that he will not die.

1) No human or animal can kill him. 2) Death should not occur in his palace and outside. and 3) Death should not occur during day time or night. When he was granted with the boon, he thought he was immortal and tortured saints not realizing that no human being is immortal. His thought of immortality made him to pose himself as God and he forced his subjects to worship him as their God.

Those who refused to accept him as their God were either killed or driven out of his country. Meanwhile, his wife was pregnant and she used to hear the Bhagavatha from Naradha Maharishi. She gave birth to a male child Prahlada. Since Prahlada heard Bhagavatha during his pre-natal stage, he was devoted to Narayana.

Prahlada would always chant ‘Om Namo Bhagavathe Vasudevaya’. Hiranyakashibu tried his best to coerce his child to worship him but everytime he failed. Even in his gurukula, Prahlada was forced to worship his father as God.

Nevertheless, Prahlada continued his Narayana Bakthi and made every child in his Gurukula to adore Him. Hiranyakashibu tried several horrendous methods like pushing from a mountain but Prahlada through his strong bakthi came out unscathed.

One day Hiranyakashibu, tired of converting his son, decided to make it final and asked to show him his God. If he failed, he will be his God. In Alwar’s verses, this scene is beautifully described as the God waiting in every atom of that palace so that he can prove his devotee.

Prahlada proclaimed that his God Narayana is everywhere, present in Pillar and tiny particle. When Hiranyakashibu broke one of the pillars to check His existence, God came out in the form of Narasimha (to honour the Boon) with fearsome roaring, caught hold of Hiranya, sat on the door step of the palace with Hiranya on His thighs, pulled out the intestine to signal his end.

Prahlada sung in praise of the Lord and Narasimha with Lakshmi and got their blessings.

Boon given to Hiranyakashibu

No human or animal can kill him and therefore Vishnu took the form of half lion and half man (Lion’s head & claws and human body)

Death should not occur in his palace and outside and therefore Vishnu teared the Asura on the Door step of his palace

Death should not occur during day time or night and therefore Vishnu choose Sandhya Kala i.e., when day and night meets.

4th Stage of sadhana- The seeker now stands well up the stage of growth, half-God half-man as reflected by Narashima avatar. God-like qualities like love, compassion and kindness have developed in the heart and the mind but a few rajasic qualities like spiritual ego, pride and arrogance of learning still continue to hold and plague him.