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Nrisimha Chaturdashi – Appearance of Lord Nrisimhadeva (part 2)



Prahlada’s Tests


Hiranyakashipu was enraged by Prahlada’s words, so he decided he must now kill him, and in turn made many different attempts to do so. One time, he ordered his son to be thrown in the waters of the ocean. Another time, he even tried to kill Prahlada by placing him under the feet of mad elephants. And on a different occasion, he threw Prahlada into a fire. He also gave the order to have Prahlada placed on the hood of a poisonous snake so he may be bitten. However, Prahlada Maharaja was completely surrendered to Lord Vishnu. For this reason, Lord Vishnu protected him, and despite his father’s repeated attempts, Prahlada never died.


Prahlada Engages His Classmates in Bhakti


Previously, after being placed into college for the second time by his father, Prahlada Maharaja had told all his fellow students, “O my friends listen, everybody has to do bhajana and sadhana at an early age.”


kaumāra ācaret prājño dharmān bhāgavatān iha


Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.6.1)


[One who is sufficiently intelligent should use the human form of body from the very beginning of life — in other words, from the tender age of childhood — to practise the activities of devotional service, giving up all other engagements.]


Prahlada Maharaja said, “Please listen. Everybody here has to perform bhajana and sadhana to Lord Krishna. He is Vishnu. Without bhajana and sadhana to Lord Vishnu our life is what? Useless.” Then, the students asked Prahlada, “How do you know about serving Lord Vishnu? We were also born in the same dynasty of demons, yet, we have never heard this katha? Prahlada, you have told us very beautiful and sweet pastimes of the Lord, and we are very eager to hear more from your lotus lips. How did you know these things? Even our gurus Shanda and Amarka don't know these things and have never spoken these types of kathas. How did you know these things?” Prahlada Maharaja answered, “Listen. Actually, during the time I was in the womb of my mother Kayadhu, my guru, Narada Rishi spoke all of these kathas, and from inside her womb, I listened to everything. Actually, my original guru is called Narada Rishi and I learned everything from him.” Next, the classmates asked, “But, how did you realise all of these spiritual things?” Prahlada Maharaja responded, “O my brothers, please hear...”:


guru-śuśrūṣayā bhaktyā sarva-labdhārpaṇena ca saṅgena sādhu-bhaktānām īśvarārādhanena ca


Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.7.30-31)


[One must accept the bona fide spiritual master and render service unto him with great devotion and faith. Whatever one has in one’s possession should be offered to the spiritual master, and in the association of saintly persons and devotees one should worship the Lord.]


Guru-śuśrūṣayā bhaktyā means rendering service to the lotus feet of guru. Sarva-labdhārpaṇena ca is to attain service to his lotus feet, then by his association and practising bhajana and sadhana, you will reach your perfected goal. You will attain the Lord.”


In this way, Prahlada Maharaja gave so many sweet lessons to his classmates. Now they all had faith and all of the students began performing bhajana and sadhana and chanting the holy names.


Together, they chanted:


(1)

hari haraye namaḥ kṛṣṇa yādavāya namaḥ yādavāya mādhavāya keśavāya namaḥ


[“I offer pranama unto You. O Hari, O Krishna, O Yadava, O Madhava, O Keshava!”]


(2)

gopāla govinda rāma śrī-madhusūdana

giridhārī gopīnātha madana-mohana


[“O Gopala, Govinda, Rama, Sri Madhusudana! O Giridhari, Gopinatha, Madana-mohana!”]


(1)

hari haraye namaḥ kṛṣṇa yādavāya namaḥ yādavāya mādhavāya keśavāya namaḥ


[“I offer pranama unto You. O Hari, O Krishna, O Yadava, O Madhava, O Keshava!”]


Hari Haraye Namaḥ Kṛṣṇa

By Srila Narottama dasa Thakura


In this manner, Prahlada Maharaja took all his friends and performed nama-sankirtana. Then the two teachers, Shanda and Amarka, ran and came in front of Hiranyakashipu and said, “O our master Hiranyakashipu, listen. Since this great devotee Prahlada has entered our school, all of the students have become completely affected by his good activities. What shall we do now?”


Nrisimhadeva Appears from the Pillar


Then, Hiranyakashipu once more became very angry and he again called Prahlada, “Prahlada you are always saying, ‘Vishnu, Vishnu, Vishnu!’ Where is your Vishnu?” Prahlada Maharaja very boldly, nirbhaya (fearlessly), and without hesitation, replied, “O my father, his name is Lord Vishnu, vyapnoti iti viṣṇuḥ, and He resides everywhere.” At that time, Hiranyakashipu asked, “Does He reside in this pillar?” “Of course,” answered Prahlada. Hiranyakashipu retorted, “If you can see Lord Vishnu in this pillar, why can’t I?”


Prahlada responded, “One whose eyes are completely free from maya can see Lord Vishnu. However, my father, your eyes are completely covered by your false ego and maya. For this reason, you cannot see Lord Vishnu.” “I don't believe in Lord Vishnu,” quickly replied Hiranyakashipu. “Vishnu is here and everywhere,” Prahlada said humbly. This caused Hiranyakashipu to become incredibly angry and in response, with his gada (mace), he tested the pillar, khambha, by striking it. Within a couple of seconds a huge storm formed, a great thunderous sound was heard. Now, Hiranyakashipu’s body started shaking, and suddenly Lord Nrisimhadeva appeared, “Raaaahhhrr!!”


At first, Hiranyakashipu thought, “Perhaps this is just a lion coming…” So, Hiranyakashipu began laughing and joking with Him, saying things like, “You cannot kill me….” Then, Lord Nrisimhadeva began fighting Hiranyakashipu. And in this way, He relished His virya-rasa with him. Nrisimha Purana explains that sometimes the gada fell down from the hand of Nrisimhadeva and then, Lord Nrisimhadeva would wrestle Hiranyakashipu— sometimes defeating Hiranyakashipu and other times being defeated Himself by Hiranyakashipu.

Finally, Lord Nrisimhadeva caught and placed Hiranyakashipu on his lap, uruuru means thighs. Hiranyakashipu now said, “You cannot kill me as I have received the benediction of immortality, amaravara, from Brahmaji.” “What did you ask of Brahma?” asked Lord Nrisimhadeva. “That I will not die in the sky nor on earth,” answered Hiranyakashipu. Lord Nrisimhadeva replied, “This is true. Except, now you are neither in the sky nor on earth. You are on My lap.” Hiranyakashipu now said, “And another benediction I received from Lord Brahma was that I will not die inside or outside of any house.”

At that moment Lord Nrisimhadeva said, “But you are not inside of a house and also, not outside of a house, you are now in a doorway— understand, as now I am sitting where? Is there another benediction?” Hiranyakashipu quickly replied, “Yes, I will not die by any weapons, astra.” Nrisimhadeva answered, “Look, My fingernails are very sharp. I shall kill you without the use of any weapons.” “I will not die!” boldly claimed Hiranyakashipu.


“So, any other benedictions?” inquired Lord Nrishimhadeva. “Yes Nrisimhadeva, Brahmaji also gave me the benediction that I will not be killed by any human being or any animal that was created by Vishnu or Brahma.” Nrisimhadeva cleverly said, “Look, I am neither a human being nor an animal, and I was not created by Brahma. I am Vishnu, Svatantra Bhagavan. Is there another benediction?” “Yes! I will not die during any month,” answered Hiranyakashipu. “But this month is called adhik maas, extra month…” answered Lord Nrishimhadeva. In this way, Lord Nrisimhadeva took hold of Hiranyakashipu on His thigh, where He tore open his chest with His very beautiful fingernails. Srila Jayadeva Gosvami very nicely glorified this moment:


tava kara-kamala-vare nakham adbhuta-śṛṅgaṁ

dalita-hiraṇyakaśipu-tanu-bhṛṅgam

keśava dhṛta-narahari-rūpa jaya jagadīśa hare


Gita-govinda

by Jayadeva Gosvami


[“Upon the beautiful lotuses of Your hands, Your nails, with their amazing tips, have torn asunder the wasp-like body of Hiranyakashipu. O Keshava, who assumed the form of a man-lion, all glories to You, O Lord of the universe, O Hari!”]


In Gita-govinda, Sri Jayadeva Gosvamipada very beautifully praised Lord Nrisimhadeva and Hiranyakashipu. Due to our bodily conceptions, we are thinking Hiranyakashipu is just a demon. But in this context, Jayadeva Gosvamipada explained that Hiranyakashipu is like a black bee, bhramara, and Lord Nrisimhadeva’s hands are like a bloomed lotus, and the petals of this blossomed lotus are His nails.


tava kara-kamala-vare nakham adbhuta-śṛṅgaṁ

dalita-hiraṇyakaśipu-tanu-bhṛṅgam


Virodhabhasa alankara (rhetorical device of irony) is used here— generally, we know black bees and honeybees always collect honey from the lotus flower while simultaneously cutting the petals of the lotus. Yet, here it is shown in an opposite way. The Lord’s hands are the lotus and with the lotus petals being the nails of Lord Nrisimhadeva, the honeybee is now the one being disturbed.


How beautiful is this? Here this means, Hiranyakashipu is like the bumblebee or honeybee. And where does the honeybee go? Collecting honey from the lotus flower. This is because the Lord’s hands are beautiful, and we see in this pastime, Lord Nrisimhadeva's nails or nakha, have, this time, disturbed the honeybee.


keśava dhṛta-narahari-rūpa jaya jagadīśa hare


Jaya Jagadisha! Keshava! He is called Jagadishvara, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who is the Supreme Controller of all living entities. And this same Keshava has now manifested in the form of Nrisimhadeva Bhagavan. Thus, Lord Nrisimhadeva killed Hiranyakashipu. Nrisimhadeva then became very angry. In our commentaries it is also explained He was like a lion who just killed an elephant— after killing an elephant, a lion becomes very angry and with so much anger, he begins to roar.


In the same way, after killing the demon Hiranyakashipu, Lord Nrisimhadeva became very angry and started looking in the four directions. Our shastra states that when Lord Nrisimhadeva manifested this ugra-murti, His intense ferociousness, all the demigods and demigoddesses became afraid. Then, they came very close to Lord Nrisimhadeva to try and pacify Him with their stava and stuti (prayers and glorifications).


Prahlada Pacifies Nrisimhadeva


But the moment Lord Nrisimhadeva noticed Brahmaji, He shouted, “O Brahma! Why did you give this benediction to the demon Hiranyakashipu which allowed him to disturb all of My devotees?” After hearing this, Brahmaji became very upset and his body started to shake. Now he could not speak as his tongue was completely stunned, jada! When Shivaji noticed how angry Lord Nrisimhadeva became with Brahmaji, Shivaji ran away and all devotees also ran very far! They were saying, “What will we do now? Lord Nrisimhadeva is very angry and all of creation will be destroyed!”


Then, all the demigods and demigoddesses told Lakshmi-devi, “O Lakshmi-devi, you have to go and pacify your husband Nrisimhadeva Bhagavan.” Except, Lakshmi-devi said, “This time I cannot go.” So all of the demigods and demigoddesses told Prahlada, “Prahlada, only you can pacify your master Lord Nrisimhadeva.” Prahlada Maharaja then approached the Lord, and just by Nrisimhadeva seeing Prahlada, His heart completely melted and tears began rolling down His face. Before, His mood was very aggressive, but when He saw Prahlada Maharaja, His mood changed to one of complete calm, He became quiet and peaceful.


The Lord took Prahlada, seated him on His thigh and began patting his back while saying, “Prahlada, I have come to end your father’s disturbances to you. Prahlada, you may ask any benediction from Me. And I have to give it to you because I am Bhagavan.”


Prahlada Maharaja replied, “Prabhu, I am not a businessman. I do bhajana and sadhana to You. Why, for You to protect me? No, I do not want any benediction.” Lord Nrisimhadeva then said, “If I do not give anything to you, I will not be happy. So, ask for any benediction.” Prahlada Maharaja answered, “O my Lord Nrisimhadeva, if You are pleased with me, first, forgive my father for his disturbances unto You. And in this way, my father can be delivered from this material world.”


Lord Nrisimha replied, “Prahlada, listen. Actually, you have not asked for any benediction from Me…” You see, our scriptures explain that even by just receiving diksha-mantra from guru, following the four principles and doing bhajana and sadhana, seven generations of a kanishtha-adhikari’s or neophyte devotee’s dynasty, both father’s and mother’s, are delivered from this material world. And those who are madhyama-adhikari, intermediate devotees of the Lord, if they have shastra-jnana, follow the four principles and do bhajana and sadhana, fourteen generations on their mother’s and father’s side are delivered from this material world. And those who are uttama-maha-bhagavata:


śāstra-yuktye sunipuṇa, dṛḍha-śraddhā yāṅra

’uttama-adhikārī’ sei tāraye saṁsāra


Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 22.65)


[One who is expert in logic, argument and the revealed scriptures and who has firm faith in Krishna is classified as a topmost devotee. He can deliver the whole world.]


One who knows the perfect conclusions of the shastra and has atyantiki-shraddha-bhakti, unflinching faith and performs bhajana, he is uttama-bhagavata, and twenty one generations are delivered from both his mother's and father's side. Thus, Nrisimhadeva told Prahlada, “You are uttama-uttama-maha-bhagavata, your parents are already delivered from this material world. You can ask for any other benediction.” “I don't want any benediction,” insisted Prahlada. But, Lord Nrisimhadeva again and again, to the point of force, asked, “Prahlada you have to ask for a benediction.” Then, Prahlada Maharaja spoke many shlokas, but one is very prominent:

prāyeṇa deva munayaḥ sva-vimukti-kāmā

maunaṁ caranti vijane na parārtha-niṣṭhāḥ

naitān vihāya kṛpaṇān vimumukṣa eko

nānyaṁ tvad asya śaraṇaṁ bhramato ’nupaśye


Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.9.44)


[“My dear Lord Nrisimhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence (mauna-vrata). They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all these poor fools and rascals. I know that without Krishna consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy. Therefore I wish to bring them back to shelter at Your lotus feet.”]


Prahlada Maharaja said, “O my Lord Nrisimhadeva, those who perform bhajana and sadhana and are alone delivered from this material world are selfish as they want to only deliver themselves and are not thinking of others. O my Lord Nrisimhadeva, perhaps You can put me in naraka and there, I will suffer the sinful activities that all the living entities have done. Then, you can deliver all the living entities to your Vaikuntha-dhama.”


After hearing his request, Lord Nrisimhadeva’s heart melted and said, “O Prahlada. What thing can I not give to you as a benediction? I promise to you, that on My appearance day, Nrisimha-chaturdashi, anyone who observes Nrisimha-chaturdashi and also glorifies My sweet pastimes, will attain my Vaikuntha-dhama.” So in this way, Lord Nrisimhadeva awarded him this special benediction and gave so much mercy to him. Afterwards, Prahlada Maharaja returned to his home and distributed this prasada, bhagavad-nrisimha-prasada to everybody.


This is why today is such a super excellent auspicious day. On this day, if you chant the holy names and worship Lord Nrisimhadeva, or anyhow, if you listen to the nrisimha-charitra-katha, you will also be delivered from the ocean of this material world and attain Lord Nrisimhadeva.


bolo, ito nṛsiṁhaḥ parato nṛsiṁh

yato yato yāmi tato nṛsiṁhaḥ

bahir nṛsiṁho hṛdaye nṛsiṁho

nṛsiṁham ādiṁ śaraṇaṁ prapadye


Sri Nrisimha Pranama


[“Nrisimhadeva is here and also there. Wherever I go, Nrisimhadeva is there. He is in the heart and outside as well. I surrender unto Nrisimhadeva, the origin of everything and the supreme refuge.”]


Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!


Bolo Nrisimhadeva Bhagavan ki jaya!


Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol!



Date: 6 May 2020 Location: Zoom


 

Transcriber: Radha-sundari dasi (UK) Editor: Damodara dasa (UK), Sanatana dasa (USA) Proofreader: Chandrika dasi (UK) Integrity check: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia) Image: Navina-krishna dasa (Holland)



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