Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!


Sri Narasimha (Nrisingha; Narsingh) lit. ‘man-lion’ is the fourth manifestation of Lord Vishnu and one of Hinduism's most awe-inspiring deities.

Lord Narasimha having a human-like torso and lower body, with a lion-like face and claws is widely worshipped in deity form by a number of Vaishnava sects. He is known primarily as the 'Great Protector' who specifically defends and protects his devotees in times of dire need.

There are references to Sri Narasimha in a variety of puranas, with seventeen different versions of the main narrative being the appearance of the Lord in a very angry aspect out of a pillar in the palace of the demon Hiranyakshipu, for the protection of his devotee, the child Prahalad.

Bhagavan Narasimha and Prahlad

The Bhagavata Puran describes that in his previous appearance as Varaha the divine boar, Lord Vishnu killed the asura Hiranyaksha, the older brother of Hiranyakashipu, who then wanted revenge on Lord Vishnu and his followers.

Hiranyakashipu undertook many years of severe austerity to obtain superhuman powers to enable him to defeat Lord Vishnu.  Lord Brahma thus offers the demon a boon and Hiranyakashipu asks for immortality. Brahma tells him this is not possible, as all created things, including living being, are inevitably destined to an end.

Then Hiranyakashipu, asks for a number of conditions tied to his own death, which virtually render him immortal.

“O my lord, O best of the givers of benediction, if you will kindly grant me the benediction I desire, please let me not meet death from any of the living entities created by you.

Grant that I not die within any dwelling or outside of it; during the daytime or at night, nor on the ground or in the sky. Grant me that my death cannot be brought about by any weapon, nor by any human being or animal.

Grant me further that I not meet death from any entity, living or nonliving created by you. Again grant that I will not be killed by any demigod or demon or by any great snake from the lower planets. Since no one can kill you in the battlefield, you have no competitor. Therefore, grant me the benediction that I too may have no rival. Give me sole lordship over all the living entities and presiding deities, and give me all the glories obtained by that position. Furthermore, give me all the mystic powers attained by long austerities and the practice of yoga, for these cannot be lost at any time.”

Lord Brahma said, "Tatha asthu" (So be it) and disappeared. Hiranyakashipu was happy thinking that he had won over death.

Earlier while Hiranyakashipu was away undergoing austerities at Mandaracala Mountain for his boon, his kingdom was attacked by Indra and the demigods. At this point the divine sage Narada arrives just as the victors are about to kill Hiranyakashipu’s pregnant wife. The sage intervenes to protect Kayadu, whom he describes as 'sinless'.

Narada rishi takes Kayadu into his care and they go to his ashram. While under the guidance of Narada, her unborn child (Hiranyakashipu's son) Prahlad, hears the transcendental instructions of the sage even in his mother’s womb and comes to know about the greatness of the infallible Lord Sri Hari.

Thus, Prahlad later begins to show symptoms of this earlier training by Narada, gradually becoming recognised as a devoted follower of Vishnu, much to his father's disappointment.

When he returns after securing his boons, Hiranyakashipu is furious at the devotion of his son to Lord Vishnu, the killer of his brother and their sworn enemy. Finally, he decides kill the child, but each time he attempts to kill the boy, Prahlad is protected miraculously by Lord Vishnu's mystical power.

When asked, Prahlad refuses to acknowledge his father as the supreme lord of the universe and claims that Sri Hari Vishnu is the all-pervading and omniscient Lord.

"O most unfortunate Prahlad, you have always described a supreme being other than me, a supreme being who is above everything, who is the controller of everyone, and who is all-pervading. But where is He? If He is everywhere, then why is He not present here before me right now…?”

Prahalad calmly replies “But He is here father. There is no place where He isn’t”.  With mounting anger, Hiranyakashipu taunts his son while pointing to a nearby pillar and asks if 'his Vishnu' is in it. “Oh yes father, He is there” utters the boy with absolute faith.

Beside himself with rage, the ill-fated King takes his huge mace and smashes it into the pillar. The pillar cracks and a horrific roar is heard. Lord Narayana Vishnu in the form of Sri Narasimha – half man half animal – appears out of the pillar and pounces on Hiranyakashipu. 

The Lord is exceeding angry and after a fierce hand-to-hand fight, He grabs hold of the demon by the throat and drags him to the door.

In order to kill Hiranyakashipu and not upset the boon given by Brahma, the form of Narasimha is manifested on the spot.

Hiranyakashipu cannot be killed by human, demigod or animal. Narasimha is neither one of these as he is a form of Vishnu incarnate as a part-human, part-animal. He comes upon Hiranyakashipu 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 lap (neither earth nor space).

Using his sharp claws (neither animate nor inanimate) as weapons, He rips open the belly of the demon and in a fury wrenches out his entrails while roaring in a most terrifying manner. Thus ends the demon’s life.

The Bhagavata Purana further narrates: even after killing Hiranyakashipu, none of the demigods and even chiefs of gods who also appear on the scene to witness the rare appearance of the Supreme Being in this most amazing form, are able to calm Narasimha's fury, not even Lord Shiva.

The energy released by the Lord in His anger causes the entire universe to tremble and there are cataclysmic events on the earth and in the heavens.

Goddes Lakshmi is summoned but even she is unable to calm Him down. Then, at the suggestion of Brahma, the child Prahlad is ushered into the presence of Lord Narasimha, and when His eyes alight on the boy, Lord Narasimha begins to calm down.  

Totally unafraid, Prahlad approaches Him with a garland. The Lord picks him up and placing him on His lap, He licks him all over and sniffs his head affectionately like a mother lioness. Recalling the number of times the young child was persecuted and yet how he remained steadfast in his devotion, the Lord is moved to tears.

Before parting, Lord Narasimha rewards the wise Prahlad by crowning him as the king and giving him the boon that no other member of his race would ever be slain by Him or His divine appearances ever again.

Prahlad is unperturbed knowing that anyone who is slain by the Lord, including his father and uncle, actually attain liberation.

In a more detailed account, Kurma Puran describes the preceding battle between the Purusha (Lord Narasimha) and demonic forces in which the Lord escapes a powerful weapon called Pashupat astra and it describes how Prahlad's brothers headed by Anuhrada and thousands of other demons "were led to the valley of death (yamalayam) by a lion produced from the body of man-lion" avatar.

The same episode occurs in the Matshya Purana 179, several chapters after its version of the Narasimha advent.

The Protector of Devotees

Sri Narasimha is also a protector of his devotees in times of danger. Near Srisailam, there is a dense forest called Hatakeshwanam, that no one dares enter.

Adi Shankaracharya entered this wilderness and performed penance for many days. During this time, a Kapalika, called Kirakashan appeared before him. Kapalikas are a set of people who live in burial and cremation grounds and perform occult rituals by offering human and animal sacrifice.

This Kapalika tells Sri Shankara that he should give his body as a human sacrifice to Kali, the divine mother. Sankara readily agrees. His disciples are shocked to hear this and plead with Shankara to change his mind, but he refused to do so saying that it is an honor to offer his body as a sacrifice to Kali and one must not lament such things.

The Kapalika arranges a fire for the sacrifice and Shankara sit beside it. Just as he lifts his axe to severe the head of Shankara, Lord Vishnu as Narasimha enters the body of one of the disciples of Shankaracharya and a Narasimha devotee, Padmapada.

He then fights and kills the Kapalika, and frees the forest of Kapalikas. Adi Shankara composed the very powerful Lakshmi-Narasimha Karavalambam Stotram at the very spot in front of Lord Narasimha.

Mode of worship

Due to the nature of Sri Narasimha's form (transcendental anger), it is essential His  worship be conducted with a very high level of attention and care compared to other deities. Forms where Lord Narasimha appears sitting in a cross-legged yogic posture, or with His consort, the goddess Lakshmi, are the exceptions to this rule, as Lord Narasimha is taken as being more benign in both of these instances compared to His ferocious aspect when first emerging from the pillar to protect Prahlad.

All that is needed is love. As we worship the Lord with love and care, so He protects us in similar manner.


A number of prayers have been written in dedication to Narasimha avatar. These include:
The Narasimha Maha-Mantra

Om Hreem Kshraum Ugram Veeram Mahaa-Vishnum,
Jwalantham Sarvatho Mukham
Nrisimham Bheeshanam Bhadram
Mrityu-Mrityum Namaamyaham.

"O Angry heroic Maha-Vishnu, thy fiery brilliance permeates everywhere. O Lord Narasimha, at once beautiful and terrible, who are the very death of Death I surrender to You."

namas te narasimmhaya,
prahladahlada dayine,
hirannyakasipor vakssah,
sila ttanka nakhalaye
ito nrsimhah parato nrsimho,
yato yato yami tato nrsimhah,
bahir nrsimho hrdaye nrsimho,
nrsimham adim saranam prapadye

"I offer my obeisance to Lord Narasimha, who gave joy to Prahlad Maharaja and who rent apart with claws like chisels the stone-like chest of the demon Hiranyakasipu." (Narasimha Pranama)
"Lord Narasimha is here and also there. He is within and without as well. Wherever I turn Lord Narasimha is present. I surrender to Lord Narasimha, the primeval Lord and the supreme refuge."

tava kara-kamala-vare nakham adbhuta-srngam,
kesava dhrta-naraharee-rupa jaya jagadisa hare

"O Kesava! O Lord of the universe. O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of half-man, half-lion! 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 wasplike demon Hiranyakasipu has been ripped apart by the wonderful pointed nails on your beautiful lotus hands." (from the Dasavatara-stotra composed by Jayadeva.

Tvayi Rakshathi Rakshakai: Kim Anyai:,
Tvayi Cha Arakshati Rakshakai: Kim Anyai:,
Ithi Nischita Dhee: Srayaami Nityam,
Nruhareh: Vegavathee Tataasrayam Tvam!

"O Kamasikha Narasimha! you are sarva shaktiman. When you are resolved to protect someone, where is the need to seek the protection of anyone else? When you are resolved not to protect someone, who else can save that person? There is no one. Knowing this fundamental truth, I have resolved to surrender at your lotus feet alone that rest at the banks of Vegavathi river." (Kamasika Ashtakam by Vedanta Desika).


  • Narasimha indicates God's omnipresence and the lesson is that God is everywhere and is never limited by time or space.
  • Narasimha demonstrates God's willingness and ability to come to the aid of His devotees, no matter how difficult or impossible the circumstances may appear to be.
  • Prahlad's devotion indicates that pure devotion is not one of birthright but of character. Prahlad, although born an asura, demonstrated the highest standard of bhakti or devotion to God, and endured continuous hardship, without once losing faith or even getting disheartened.
  • Narasimha is known by the epithet "Mriga-Sharira" in Sanskrit which translates to Animal-Man. From a philosophical perspective. Narasimha is the very icon of Vaishnavism, where jnana (knowledge) and bhakti are important as opposed to Advaita, which has no room for Bhakti, as the object to be worshipped and the worshipper do not exist. (According to Advaita (non-dual) philosophy the jeeva (individual soul) is same as Paramatma (the supreme soul).


Occult significance

Lord Narasimha has particular significance for countering the effects of black magic, spells and/or tantra-mantra. Being a manifestation of raw primal energy, the Lord is worshipped by tantric aspirants for attainment of mystical powers.

The Lord grants protection from evil eyes, envy and fears. One who chants any of the prayers given above, is sure to obtain the Lord’s grace.

What is the spiritual reason of a Yoga Narasimha behind a Sudarsana Chakra statue in temples?

Lord Narasimha is also accepted as a manifestation of Lord Narayana’s Sudarshan Chakra (Discus). Tantric texts are based on the doctrine that the body is identical to the universe. Sri Vishnu is seen as the supreme Purusha who has no beginning or end and is both with a form and formless. Sri Lakshmi becomes the moola prakriti or shakti of Vishnu. Purusha (Vishnu) and Prakriti (LakshmI) are inseparable and their union lead to creation of the universe.

Lakshmi Tantra describes an expansion of Lakshmi (Sri) in the form of Agni and calls it kriya shakti and mentions that Sudarsahana manifests from this kriya shakti of ‘Sri’. Laksmi tantra also says that this form of kriya shakti as Sudarshana creates, protects and destroys the universe. Creation begins when the kriya shakti of ‘Sri’ merges with ‘Purusha’. So the form of Sudarshana chakra with Narasimha behind may be seen as a form of Narasimha (purusha) with the ‘Sri’ shakti to jointly take the form of Lakshmi Narasimha. Lakshmi and Vishnu are inseparable and creation may be visualized as none other than Sudarshana Narasimha or Lakshmi Narasimha.

For the tantric aspirant, the six corners may denote six chakras in one’s body. Further Yoga Narasimha seated on a serpant may signify the Kundalini energy existing as a coil within us. As the Kundalini energy rises across the chakras, one progresses spiritually till atma-gyan (self-realization) is achieved.

Another interpretation states that Bhagavan Narayana has Iccha Shakti (Power of Will) and Kriya Shakti (Power of Action).

Iccha Shakti is Lakshmi. Kriya Shakti is 'sankalpa rupa unmesham' or His determination to act without any hinderance. Sriman Narayana's actions in all aspects in the whole universe is Kriya Shakti. This Kriya Shakti is Sudarsana tatva.

So when the Lord simply wills it (ichcha-shakti), Sudarshan, His kriya shakti (Sudarshan), appears as required in a most appropriate form, in this case, Sri Narasimha.

The more one delves into Lord Narasimha’s glofies, the more fascinating and intriguing He seems. It is impossible to know everything about this enigmatic, deeply mystical and mysterious manifestation of the Supreme Being.

The Narasimha form of Shri Hari is our Gurudeva’s ishta deva. Baba used to say that for common people like us, we only need to remember Lord Narasimha in the mood of Bhakta Prahlad. He stated that it is enough just to say “Om namo Narasimhaaya”, if we cannot do anything more.

Also, we must remember that Prahalad himself only worshipped Lord Vishnu always. The Lord assumed the most appropriate form for that particular occasion - i.e., Sri Narasimha.

Baba also said that Lord Narasimha is fond of good food. He should be offered cool, sweet and palatable dishes and leaves of the holy basil (tulasi). He particularly loves paayas (rice and milk pudding); sweet pineapple, mangoes and ‘jhili’  a sweet dumpling steeped in sugar syrup.

Read more about Lord Narasimha here.



Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Bhagavan ki Jai !!

Jai Guru !

Jai Jai Sri Radhey!