What is Narasimha Jayanthi?
The fourteenth day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing moon) in Vishakha (May-June) month is celebrated as Narasimha Jayanthi. Narasimha is Vishnu’s fourth incarnation who has the face of a lion and the body of a man. He slew the demon, Hiranyakashipu, on this day. Narasimha appeared during the twilight time on Chaturdashi, so the Pooja is performed at this time. The message of Narasimha Jayanthi is to establish the rule of dharma.
Legend of Narasimha Jayanti
Lord Narasimha symbolizes power and triumph. He is Lord Vishnu’s incarnation who came to earth to kill the demon Hiranyakashipu and restore dharma. The day of his manifestation is celebrated as Narasimha Jayanthi. Narasimha, the half-human and half-lion form of Lord Vishnu incarnated to kill the evil demon, Hiranyakashipu.
Sage Kashyap and his wife, Diti had two sons, Harinyaksha and Hiranyakashipu. Lord Vishnu killed Harinyaksha to save the earth and Hiranyakashipu wanted to take revenge for the death of his brother. He did severe penance to please Lord Brahma. After receiving boons from Lord Brahma, Hiranyakashipu established his sway over all the three worlds. The Devas were unable to defeat Hiranyakashipu as his boons made him invincible. In the meantime, Hiranyakashipu’s wife Kayadhu gave birth to Prahalada. This child grew up to become a great devotee of Lord Vishnu.
Hiranyakashipu tried to turn Prahalada’s mind away from Lord Vishnu. However, it only served to make Prahalada more devoted to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu too, always saved Prahalada from Hiranyakashipu’s torments. Finally, he decided to burn Prahalada and made the boy sit on his sister Holika’s lap as she sat in the fire. Holika had been bestowed a boon that fire would not harm her.
However, it was Holika who was burnt alive, and nothing happened to Prahalada. Hiranyakashipu then asked Prahalada if Vishnu existed. Prahalada replied that the Lord could be found everywhere. Hiranyakashipu asked if Vishnu could be found inside a pillar and Prahalada replied in the affirmative. Hiranyakashipu began to smash the pillar, and suddenly Lord Narasimha emerged from it.
Lord Narasimha killed him by tearing his chest with his nails. Then Lord Narasimha blessed Prahalada that people who fasted on this day would get relief from all problems.
On this day, special Poojas are performed for Lord Narasimha and Goddess Lakshmi. People rise early in the morning to take a bath and wear new clothes. Devotees perform puja and offer flowers, sweets, saffron, Kum-Kum, coconut, jaggery and gram dal to the deity. Fast begins with sunrise and ends on the next day at sunrise. Cereals or grains should be avoided. Reciting the Narasimha mantra with Rudraksha mala is beneficial. Clothes, sesame seeds, and precious metals can be donated to the needy.