What is Narasimha Jayanthi?
Narasimha Jayanthi is celebrated in the month of Vaishakha (May-June) on the day Shukla Paksha’s (waxing moon) Chaturdashi (14th day). Lord Vishnu incarnated as Lord Narasimha on this day and killed the demon, Hiranyakashipu and hence this day is celebrated as Narasimha Jayanthi.
Legend of Narasimha Jayanthi
Lord Narasimha is worshipped for power and victory. Lord Narasimha took the form of a creature that was half-human and half-lion, to kill Hiranyakashipu. A saint named Kashyap and his wife, Diti had two sons called Harinyaksha and Hiranyakashipu.
Harinyaksha was slain by Vishnu to save earth and humanity. Hiranyakashipu wanted to take revenge for his brother’s death. He did severe penance and received Lord Brahma’s blessings. Following this, Hiranyakashipu established his sway over all Lokas and even the heavens. The gods could only watch his atrocities helplessly. Meanwhile, his wife Kayadhu delivered a son called Prahalada who grew up to become an ardent devotee of Lord Narayana.
Hiranyakashipu tried to wean his son away from Lord Narayana and to make him behave like a demon. However, nothing worked. Lord Vishnu always intervened to save Prahalada from Hiranyakashipu’s abuses.
On one occasion, Hiranyakashipu even tried to burn Prahalada. He made Prahalada sit on his sister’s (Holika) lap while she sat in the fire. Holika had been given a boon that fire would not harm her. However, in the event, Holika was burnt to death, and nothing happened to Prahalada.
Seeing this, Hiranyakashipu was enraged as his subjects too started to worship Lord Vishnu. He thundered at Prahalada to make his God appear before him. Prahalada replied that the Lord was present everywhere. Hiranyakashipu asked Prahalada if his Lord could be found in a pillar and Prahalada replied in the affirmative.
When the furious Hiranyakashipu attacked the pillar, Lord Narasimha emerged from it. Lord Narasimha killed him by cutting open his chest with his bare nails. Then he blessed Prahalada by saying that those who observed fast on this day would be blessed and be freed from all problems. This day came to be celebrated as Narasimha Jayanthi.
How to worship Lord Narasimha
Devotees rise early and take a bath. Then they wear clean clothes worship Lord Narasimha, along with Lord Narasimha. Fruits, flowers, Kum-Kum, five sweets, Kesar, river Ganga water, coconut, rice, etc. are used in the worship.
Many people choose to recite the Narasimha mantra with a Rudraksha mala. A person who is fasting donates gold, sesame seeds, clothes, etc.