Narasimha, the unique Lord
Narasimha is an amazing incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the supreme God of protection and sustenance. ‘Nara’ is a human being and ‘Simha’ is a lion, and ‘Nara-Simha’ is thus a Man-Lion. Lord Vishnu had to take this unbelievably strange form, for overcoming the mighty demon Hiranyakashipu, who was very well protected by a series of boons, and for slaying him, so as to protect his devotee and also, to save the universe and its inhabitants from the Asura’s tyranny.
As per legends, Narasimha appeared at dusk on the Vaishak Shukla Paksha Chaturdashi, that is, the 14th day of the bright fortnight, in the month of Vishaka (April–May). This day of his advent is hence celebrated with fervor as Narasimha Jayanthi.
Legend of Narasimha
The cruel demon Hiranyakashipu, who was well protected by many phenomenal boons that he had obtained, let loose a reign of terror on the entire universe, inflicting untold atrocities on the living beings. However, he was blessed with a noble son Prahalada, who grew into a great devotee of none other than his father’s archenemy, Lord Vishnu. As the demon started harassing his own son along with all others, Vishnu had to appear in this human-animal form and destroy the heinous demon with his own claws.
Forms of Narasimha
Narasimha himself is a remarkable form. He, however, is also worshipped in as many as 74 slightly different forms, which are generally defined and named as per the postures the Lord holds and the weapons he wields. Out of these, the following 9 are considered important and are together known as the Nava-Narasimhas, the 9 significant forms of the Lord:
Lord Lakshmi Narasimha is regarded as the most benign of these, as here he is in the divine company of his highly compassionate consort, Maha Lakshmi.
Many hymns sing the praise of this Lord to get his immense blessings for the devotees. Let us go through some such important mantras here, which may prove highly beneficial for the chanting devotees.
Narasimha Maha Mantra
Narasimha Pranama Prayer
‘Namaste narasimhaya, prahladahlada-dayine, hiranyakasiporvaksah, sila-tankanakhalaye’
Narasimha Gayatri Mantra
‘Om Nrisimhayevidmahe vajranakhayadhimahi tan no simhahPrachodayat
Vajranakhayavidmahe tikshnadamstrayadhimahi tan no narasimhahPrachodayat’
Sri Narasimha Maha Mantra
‘Mata narasimha, pita narasimha
Swami narasimha, sakalamnarasimha
Benefits of Narasimha Mantras
Narasimha was an incarnation taken mainly for protecting the ardent devotee, Prahalada. Narasimha Mantras too remain principally as Kavacha mantras, the protective shields. Like armors protecting the body of the soldiers from enemy weapons, these hymns offer devotees immense protection from all dangers and safeguards their welfare when chanted with faith.
In addition, though ferocious in appearance, this Lord is essentially a very compassionate one, who will listen to sincere prayers and rush to relieve devotees of their sufferings. He can also bless them with courage, tranquility, wealth and prosperity.
With respect to the mantra recitations, devotees may start the chanting on a Thursday. Then, they can face north, wear yellow clothes, light a ghee lamp in front of the Lord’s image and offer him incense and flowers. These can add to the effectiveness of the mantras and bestow the devotees with equanimity, peace, joy and even, the ultimate liberation.