Lord Vishnu – Narasimha Avatar
Lord Vishnu is known to have taken ten incarnations to destroy evil and stop their reign over the earth. Collectively, the avatars of Vishnu are known as dasavatara (10 avatars).
Lord Vishnu is considered as the preserver and protector with his primary goal to bring peace and prosperity everywhere.
These avatars can be classified according to the different yugas he was born in:
Satya Yuga: Kurma avatar, Matsya avatar, Varaha avatar, Narasimha avatar
Treta Yuga: Rama avatar, Parashurama avatar, Vamana avatar
Dvapara Yuga: Krishna avatar
Kali Yuga: Buddha avatar, Kalki avatar (Yet to be born)
Of these avatars, Narasimha avatar is considered to be Lord Vishnu’s fourth avatar. Lord Vishnu had taken this form consisting of half-man half-lion to guard and protect his devotee Prahalad.
Story of Lord Narasimha
Sage Kashyap and his wife Diti had two sons, Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakshipu. The two brothers were evil by nature, known to enjoy creating destruction and chaos. Hiranyakshipu however, received a unique boon from Lord Brahma, which was that he could not be killed by any man, god or animal which was created by Brahma. Secondly, he couldn’t be killed at day or night or on heaven or earth. Third, he couldn’t be killed by a weapon nor could he be killed inside or outside his house.
Prahlada was born to demon king Hiranyakashipu and his wife Kayadu. While he was in his mother’s womb, he heard about the greatness of Lord Vishnu through Saga Narada and was instantly a deep devotee of Lord Vishnu. As Prahalad grew older, his devotion grew stronger and multiplied which often left his father angry and frustrated.
Unable to take his prayers and song of Lord Vishnu, Hiranyakashipu ordered his guards to kill his son Prahalad. The guards unwillingly agreed to complete the task. However, with each blow, their swords disintegrated to pieces and Prahlada remained unscathed. Hiranyakashipu was startled and asked for a poisonous snake. Even that left Prahlada unharmed. He tried to let mad elephants attack him but they remained calm on seeing Prahalada.
Hiranyakshipu was stumped and baffled by these events. He approached Prahlada, dragged him and asked him if his Lord Vishnu was present in the room with them. Prahlada, an ardent devotee immediately told him that the Lord was everywhere. This further angered his father who asked Prahlad if his Lord was existing in a pillar next to them. Prahlada confidently responded that He was. An outraged Hiranyakshipu kicked the pillar and out of the pillar, came a fierce being which was in the form of half man and half lion.
He screamed in a loud voice, that he was Narasimha, one among the ten avatars of Vishnu. He announced that he had taken this form to come down to earth to kill Hiranyakshipu. He held Hiranyakshipu and lugged him to the door, neither outside nor inside his house. He then positioned him on his lap, which was neither sky nor the earth and killed him with his claws at twilight, without using any weapons. Hence, he was able to comply with all the restrictions of the boon granted to him by Lord Brahma and still destroy the evil King and restore peace and security.
Ahobilam or Ahobalam is a significant pilgrimage centre located in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. Located at a distance of 66 km from Nandyal, 137 km from Kurnool, it is also one of the most well-known temples in Andhra Pradesh.
Ahobilam is the holy abode of Lord Narasimha, the half human-half lion form of Lord Vishnu. This is the sacred place where Lord Narasimha killed Hiranyakasipu to protect his devotee Prahalada. It is believed that Lord Narasimha after killing the evil king rinsed his hands at this place and hence, the water is till date reddish in appearance.
The initial temple structure was built by Chalukyas in 8th century and the current were made and it was rebuilt by Vijayanagara kings during the 15th century.
The temple is set amidst the dense Nallamala Forest and it is one of the 108 powerful Divya Desams. Ahobilam temple is also called as Nava Narasimha Kshetra as Lord Narasimha is worshipped in nine different forms with each form having its own temple within the location (in that area).
The Nine Narasimhasthalas:
1. Jwala Narasimha
2. Ahobila Narasimha
3. Malola Narasimha
4. Kroda Narasimha
5. Karanja Narasimha
6. Bhargava Narasimha
7. Yogananda Narasimha
8. Kshatravata Narasimha and
9. Pavana Narasimha
Sri Prahalada Varada Temple
The temple of Sri Prahlada Varada is situated in the Lower area of Ahobilam. At this temple, we can see Lord Narasimha blessing Prahlada Maharaja. The family Deity of Sri Srinivasa situated in Tirupati is Lord Narasimha in Ahobilam. As the Lord is in the fierce form, Srinivasa installed the Deity of the Lord in the “shanti”. (peaceful) form and worshiped Him before His marriage with Goddess Padmavati Devi. This place is also known as Chinna Ahobilam.
Praying to Lord Narasimha
This form of Narasimha shows us that good always triumphs over evil. Individuals who practice or support malevolence will be destroyed by the Lord. This story goes on to prove that God is everywhere, listening to us and our prayers and in the end, will always protect us from every evil or negative force.
Narasimha Gayatri Mantra
Om Narasimhaya Vidmahe Vajranakhaya Dhimahi Tanno Simha Prachodayat
Narisimha Maha Mantra
“Om hrim ksaumugram viram mahavivnumjvalantam sarvatomukham।
Nrsimham bhisanam bhadrammrtyormrtyum namamyaham ॥”
“I adore and bow down to the Lord who is ferocious and heroic and the embodiment of Lord Vishnu. His entire form is resplendent as that of fire. He has a terrific and auspicious appearance. He is the death of death.”
It is firmly believed that offering sincere prayers to Lord Narasimha can bestow one with a variety of benefits like mitigating sins, curing diseases, warding off negative planetary effects or influences and also evil forces, fulfillment of righteous desires in respect of longevity, wealth, success, etc. and uplifting the soul towards liberation.
Every devotee should visit Ahobilam Temple (Nava Narsimha Temples) at least once in their lifetime to receive Lord Sri Narasimha’s exclusive Blessings.
Listen to Sri Narsimha Kavacham: