Tuesday, May 1, 2012



(I-Discourse by N.R.Srinivasan, May 2012)


We are all familiar with the purpose with which Vishnu incarnated as Narasimha (The Man-Lion) in his fourth incarnation amongst the celebrated Dasaavataaras. Being a combination of Man (the best among higher creatures) and lion (the best among lower creatures) Narasimha represents the best of both creations. This is also indicative of his omnipresence in all creatures. He is embodiment of valor and knowledge. His Mantra is said to be very powerful, capable of destroying enemies and exorcising evil. Vishnu-dharmottara Puraana identifies Narasimha with Sankarshana form of Vishnu (Haris sankarshanaamsena narasimha-vapur-dharah). This Puraana elaborates that the demon Hiranya-kasipu actually represents Ignorance (hiranyakasipur daityah tam ajnaanam vidur budhaah) and that Narasimha destroys ignorance (Sankarshanaatmaa bhagavaan ajnaanasya vinaasanah).

Narasimha is widely worshipped in North India as well as in the South. He is worshiped in several Vishnu shrines in the North including at the famous Saivite shrine at Bhuvaneshwar of Lord Tribhuvaneswara. There is a sanctum for Narasimha here though a Siva temple. In Puree worships are offered to Narasimha along with Jagannaatha, Subhadra, Balabhadra and Sudarsana. Narasimha is the fierce deity of Vaishnavites in appearance like Bhairava for Saivites. It is believed due to the strong Vaishnava influence of Ramanuja, Jayadeva and Chitanya in Orissa and Bengal Bhairava idols were replaced by Narasimha idols in many temples of Orissa. Initially Ratnavedi in Puri also included Bhirava idol according to some before the British arrived in India.

In Narasimha Tapaneeya Upanishad Narasimha is praised as "Easaanah sarvavidyaanaam" meaning Lord of all branches of knowledge. This is the epithet addressed by Saivites for Lord Mahadeva. Mahaa Naaraayana Upanishad contains five mantras called Panchabrahma in which Brahman is addressed as Rudra (rudaat traayarte, one who dispels sufferings) with five epithets, Sadyojaata, Vaamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Easaana. Sadyojaata means one who is born at the moment of his will. Narasimha was born out of the pillar at the prayer of Prahlaada; Vamadeva means one who is auspicious (yoga Narasimha); Aghora, ghora, ghoraghora means one who is not terrible, terrible terribly terrible (Laksmee Narasimha, Narasimha, Ugraa Narasimha); Tatpurusha means that One Purusha, who is Brahman; and Easaana one who is Supreme Lord (Narasimha an avatar of Vishnu who is Sriman Narayana). According to one Puraana Narasimha turns into the twin role of Nara and Naraayana (Arjuna and Krsihna of Dwaapara Yuga. These epithets equally describe Lord Siva who is described as Panchanana, the five faced-- Sadyojaata, Vaamana, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Easaana. Narasimha is considered as the Vaishanva equivalent of Siva's terrifying form of Bhairava and in Puri the two concepts are closely tied together. It is therefore no wonder why the Vaishnavites removed Bhirava from Ratnavedi and started worshipping Narasimha and Soorya (Brahman is sometimes addressed as Aaditya) in Puri while Saivites consecrated a sanctum for Narasimha in Tribhuvaneswara Temple in Bhuvanesvar, an unique compromising feature amongst ever-quarrelling Saivites and Vaishnavites for supremacy! Narasimha is extremely important in the worship of Jagannath in the long rituals of Nava-kalevara. In Kerala Lord Aiyappan is such a compromising deity.

Easwara Samhita describes a form of Narasimha with five heads (similar to Panchaanana form of Siva), but ten arms also. There is a head facing each of the four directions, and the fifth head is on top, and is brilliant like blazing fire (Oordhvamagninibham mukham). The heads facing east, west, south and north are said to shine like moon (white), collyrium (black), gold (yellow) and Indra-gopa (red colored insect) respectively. The hands carry rosary, mace, lotus, conch, bow, ploughshare, discus, arrow, gesture of boon-bestowal (varada hasta) and sword. This form of Narasimha is called Meru. He is worshipped to get rid of all diseases.

The presiding deity of the famous pilgrim center Simhachalam in Andhra Pradesh is known as Varaaha-Narasimha. The sanctum houses a natural rock the top portion of which resembles the head of a boar and the rest of the boulder suggests a human torso with two arms. Varaaha-Narasimha is a composite form involving the Varaaha (Boar) and Narasimha (Man-Lion) incarnations of Vishnu assumed in order to free the world from the terror caused by two demon brothers Hiranyaaksha and Hiranyakasipu (Sesha Samhita). In his joint form he is invoked for victory and for securing kingdom. His worship is popular with warriors and kings. If this concept of Varaaha-Narasimha is accepted as a single Avataara then both Balarama and Buddha can be accommodated in the celebrated list of Dasaavataara of Jayadeva and Vedantadesika in their Stotras (prayer hymns) to complete ten incarnations. Of course Hinduism is quite open to all such changes being very accommodative in nature seen from the past history.

Sarabhamoorti, an avataara of Siva pictures Siva as Sarabha (a mythological animal more ferocious than lion and stronger than elephant) destroying the Narasimha form of Vishnu, a mythological story obviously to assert the supremacy conceived by Saivites to assert the superiority of Siva over Vishnu! But clever Vaishnavites have made Sarabha, a mount of Vishnu called Yaali which is included as a mount for Vishnu in Brahmotsava celebrations. Yaali is also known as Vyaalam or Sarabam in Sanskrit. Icons of Yaali can be found in all Siva and Vishnu temple pillars in the South. A Vaishnava version says that Narasimha took the form of Gandabherunda (another mythological bird which is the regional symbol of Karnataka State) to subdue the Saraba.

In Badrinath in the North the icons of Nara and Naaraayana are worshipped being an incarnation of Vishnu. When after the purpose of Narasimha incarnation was over, Vishnu resolved to give up his man-lion body and sought the help of Siva for this purpose according to Kaalikaa Puraana. Siva assumed the form of Sarabha and tore the body of Narasimha into two halves. From the human half of the body arose immediately a human form of divine glory and that was Nara, a great sage. From the lion-half of the body came forth another ascetic of great luster Naaraayana.

The two of them became responsible for creation. Naaraayana means abiding in watery mass (Naara=watery mass). Naaraayanaa consists of two words naara meaning watery mass and ayanam meaning abode (aapo naaro iti prokta; ayanam sthaanam asya).

Durgaa Saptasatee mentions of Varaahee and Naarasimhee, two female deities amongst Sapta-Maatrikaas (seven little mothers) indicating the Saktis (Energy) of Varaaha and Narasimha. But invariably Vaishnavites worship Narasimha with Lakshmi as Laksmee-Narasimha, where Goddess Lakshmi is seen sitting on the left lap of God Narasimha.

There are numerous forms of Narasimha being worshipped. Some of these are: Neelakantha Narasimha, Vidaarana Narasimha, Panchaanana Narasimha, Shodasa-hasta(sixteen armed) Narasimha, Shadvimsa-hasta Narasimha (Twenty-six armed), Ghora Narasimha, Garudaasana Narasimha, Jwaala-Maali Narasimha, Lakshmee Narasimha, Mahaa Narasimha, Sudarsana Narasimha, Abhaya Narasimha, Aghora Narasimha, Ugraa-Narasimha; Jwaalaa-Narasimha; Yogaa-Narasimha; Chakraa-Narasimha; Rudraa-Narasimha; Vaayu-Narasimha; Prithvee-Narasimha; Aakaasa-Narasimha; Amrita Narasimha; Nava-Vyooha-Narasimha (nine constellations); Prahlaada-Varada-Narasimha, Ashtamukha-gandhaberunda-jwaalaa Narasimha and others.

Although all forms of Narasimha are fierce for the purpose of that incarnation, after the asura (demon) was killed, the Man-Lion became pacific, benevolent to his youthful devotee Prahlaada. He is therefore called Prahlaada-Varada.

Narasiṁha and Ādi Śaṅkara
Narasiṁha is also a protector of his devotees in times of danger. Near Śrī Śailaṁ, there is a forest called Hatakeśvanam, that no man enters. Śaṅkarācārya entered this place and did penance for many days. During this time, a Kāpālika, by name Kirakashan appeared before him.
He told Śrī Śaṅkara that he should give his body as a human-sacrifice to Kālī. Śaṅkara happily agreed. His disciples were shocked to hear this and pleaded with Śaṅkara to change his mind, but he refused to do so saying that it was an honor to give up his body as a sacrifice for Kālī and one must not lament such things. The Kāpālika arranged a fire for the sacrifice and Śaṅkara sat beside it. Just as he lifted his axe to severe the head of Śaṅkara, Viṣṇuas Narasiṁha entered the body of the disciple of Śaṅkarācārya and Narasiṁha devotee, Padmapada. He then fought the Kāpālika, slayed him and freed the forest of Kapalikas. Ādi Śaṅkara composed the very powerful Lakṣmī-Narasiṁha Karāvalambaṁ Stotram at the very spot in front of Lord Narasiṁha.

Mantra for Narasimha—Sage--Brahma: meter—Anushtup; Deity—Srinrisimha.

Na nrisimhaat-paroe devoe naitanmantraat-paroe manuh |
Na tad–dhyaanaat-param dhyaanam samsaara-bhaya naasanam |
Aneka mantra-koeteenaam choodaamanir ayam manuh |
Yathaa nrisimhoe bhagavaan devaanaam siroemanih ||

Three lettered Mantra

Tryaksharah samputah proektoe maayayaa pranavena cha |
Hreem Kshraum Hreem ||


Paschimaamnaayah Jaalandhara Peetha Mantram

Om kshraum eem ham ugram veeram mahaavishnum jwalantam sarvastoe mukham |
Nrisimham bheeshanam bhadram mrityu-mrityum namaamyaham ||
Ham imkshraum om | mantraraaja-nrisimha-sree-padukam poojayaami namah ||

[Aamnaaya strictly means scripture, sacred text, tradition or instruction handed down in a lineage. They are four directional. The above one is from West]

There are number of stotras (hymns) on Narasimha of which Sankara's Lakshmee-Nrisimha Karaavalamba stotram and Prahlaadakrita Narasimha Stotram are popular and chanted regularly.

Narasimha Gaayatri

Vajranakhaaya vidmahe teekshna-damshtraaya dheemahi tannoe Naarasimhah prachoedayaat ||

We meditate on the One with Diamond-hard nails; for that we me meditate on One with sharp canines; May Lord Narasimhah invigorate us in that act of meditation!

Narasimha Jayanti (Birthday of Narasimha) is celebrated on Vaisaakha Sukla Chaturdasi in all temples of Narasimha and at home whose ishta-devata(chosen deity) is Narasimha. Exclusive temples for Narasimha are quite common in the South while in North Indian Temples there are shrines included in all Vaishnava and even in Siva temples.


  1. Dr. S.K. Ramachndra Rao, Vishnu Kosha, Kalpataru Research Academy, Sarada Peetham, Sankar Math, Banglore, India.
  2. Swami Harshanada, Hindu Gods and Goddesses, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylpore, Chennai, India.
  3. Devdutt Pattanaik, Vishnu, Vakils, Feffer and Simons Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, India.
  4. N.R.Srinivasan, Discourses on Divine Incarnations, Selected Mantras from Maha Narayana Upanishad, Pilgrim Centers Visited in India, Lord Jagannath and RathaYatra, Sri Ganesha Temple, Nashville, TN, USA.



(Through Courtesy IndiaDivine.Org)

1. Sri Narada-uvaca
indr-adi deva vrndesa
pateshvara jagat-pate
maha vishnor nrisimhasya
kavacho bruhi me prabho
yasya prana thanad vidvan
trilokya vijayi bhavet

Sri Narada Muni said: "My dear father and lord, master of the Universe, lord of the multitude of demigods headed by Indra, kindly tell me the kavacha mantra of Lord Nrisimha, the incarnation of Vishnu. O master, reading this kavacha aloud, a learned man will become victorious throughout the three worlds."

2. Sri brahmovaca
Srinu narada vaksyami
putra shrestha tapodhana
kavacham narasimhasya
trailokya vijaya bhavet

"Lord Brahma said: My dear Narada, please hear me. O best of my sons, who are rich in austerity, I shall speak this kavaca of Lord Narasimha, which gives victory over the three worlds."

3. Yasya prapathanad vayami
trailokya vijayi bhavet
shresthaham jagatam vatsa
pathanat dharanat yataha

"My dear boy, by recitation of this kavacha an eloquent person will become victorious throughout the three worlds. It is by reciting this and meditating deeply on it that I (lord Brahma) am the creator of all these planetary systems."

4. Laksmir jagat-trayam pati
samharta cha maheshvaraha
pathanad dharanad deva
babhuvush cha digishvarah

"It is by reciting and meditating upon this that Lakshmi maintains the three worlds, and Lord Siva destroys them. Also the demigods in this way became controllers of the different directions."

5. Brahma mantra nayam vakshye
bhutadi vinvakaram
yasya prasadad durvasa
trailokya vijayi munih
pathanad dharanad yasya
shasta cha krodha bhairavaha

"I shall speak this essence of all Vedic mantras, which wards off all kinds of ghosts and hobgoblins. By its grace the sage Durvasa became victorious throughout the three worlds, commanding respect and most fearful in his anger."

6. Trailokya-vijayasyasa
kavachasya prajapatih
rshish chandash cha gayatri
nrisimho devata vibhuhu

"For this kavacha, which is directly perceived as giving victory over the three worlds, I (Brahma) am the Rsi, Gayatri is the meter, and the all-powerful Nrisimhadev is the Deity."

7-8. Ksraum bijam me shirah pati
chandra-varno maha-manuhu
"ugram viram maha-visnum
jvalantam sarvatomukham
nrisimham bhishanam bhadram
mrtyu-mrtyum namamy aham"
dva-trimshad aksharo mantro
mantra-rajah sura drumaha

"One should place Lord Nrisimha's mantra bija, ksraum, on one's head, thinking, 'May my head be protected by the moon-colored one, who is the greatest among humans. My obeisance unto the ferocious and powerful, the great Vishnu, the fiery one, who's faces are on all sides, the fearful one, Nrisimha, who causes the death of even death personified, or the one who can overcome death.' One should place this mantra, composed of thirty two syllables upon his head. It is the king of all mantras. It is like a wish fulfilling tree for the demigods and devotees."

9. Kantham patu dhruvam ksraum hrid
bhagavato chakshusha mama
narasimhaya cha jvala
maline patu mastakam

"One should also place ksraum firmly upon his neck for protection. Placing the word bhagavate upon his heart, narasimhaya upon his two eyes, and jvala maline on the top of his head, one meditates upon the different parts of this narasimha mantra protecting the different parts of his body."

10. Dipta-damshtraya cha tatha
agni netraya cha nasikam
sarva-raksho-ghnaya sarva
bhuta-vinashanaya cha

"One should place on his nose the syllables dipta damstraya agni netraya sarva rakso ghnaya sarva bhuta vinasanaya. (Obeisance unto Him, whose teeth are blazing, whose eyes are fire, and who destroys all ghosts and rakshasas.)"

11. Sarva-jvara-vinashaya
daha daha pacha dvayam
raksha raksha sarva-mantra
svaha patu mukham mam

"Meditating on the protection of one's face, one should place there the syllables "sarva jvara vinasaya daha daha paca paca raksa raksa. ksraum ugram viram maha visnum jvalanatam sarvatomukham nrsimham bhisanam bhadram mrtyu mrtyum namamy aham. ksraum bhagavate narasimhya jvalamaline dipta damstrayagni netraya sarva rakso ghnaya sarva bhuta vinasanaya svaha". (This means: Unto He who vanquishes all fevers, oblations. Burn and burn, cook and cook, protect and  protect. My obeisance  unto the ferocious and powerful, the great Visnu, the fiery one whose faces are on all sides, the fearful one, Nrisimha, who causes the death of even death personified, or who can overcome even death. Unto the Personality of Godhead Narasimha, garlanded with blazing energy, whose teeth are glowing and whose eyes are fiery, who kills all raksasas and demons and annihilates the ghosts, to You my oblations)"

12. Taradi ramachandraya
namah payad gudam mama
klim payat pani-yugmam cha
taram namah padam tataha
narayanaya parshvam cha
am hrim kraum kshraum cha hum phat

"Meditating on the protection of one's rectum, one should first sip water for purification and chant om Ramacandra namah. Sipping water again one should place the bija mantra klim on both of his hands together. Thereafter one should place om namah on his feet and narayanaya on his side, as well as the bija mantras am hrim kraum ksraum hum phat."

13. Varaksarah katim patu
om namah bhagavate padam
vasudevaya cha prishtham
klim krishnaya uru-dvayam

"Praying for the protection of one's waist, one should place there the
varaksara Om. One should place the syllables om namo bhagavate upon his feet, vasudevaya on his back, and klim krsnaya upon his two thighs."

14. Klim krishnaya sada patu
januni cha manuttamaha
klim glaum klim syamalangaya
namah payat pada dvayam

"Upon his knees, one should place the mantra klim krsnaya, thinking that the Lord may always protect me in His form as the best of human beings. Then one should sip water for purification and place the mantra klim glaum klim syamalangaya namah upon his feet."

15. Kshraum narasimhaya kshraum cha
sarvangam me sadavatu

"One should meditate upon the constant protection of the body, placing the mantra kshraum narasimhaya kshraum upon all his limbs."

16. Iti te kathitam vatsa
tava snehan mayakhyatam
pravaktavyam na kasyachit

"Lord Brahma continued: My dear boy, thus I have told you the embodiment of the potencies of all mantras. Because of your great affection I have explained it to you, although it is not to be spoken to just anyone."

17. Guru-pujam vidhayatha
grihniyat kavacham tataha
sarva-punya-yuto bhutva
sarva-siddhi-yuto bhavet

"Having performed worship of the spiritual master, one may accept this kavaca. Having become enriched in his pious activities he will attain all perfections."

18. Shatam ashtottaram chaiva
purashcharya vidhih smritaha
havanadin dashamshena
kritva sadhaka-sattamaha

"Performing the ritualistic ceremonies of purification (purashcharya) one hundred and eight times is equal to one tenth the effect received by that best of devotees who chants this kavacha."

19.  Tatas tu siddha-kavacaha
punyatma madanopaman
sparddham uddhuya bhavana
lakshmir vani vaset tataha

"Lakshmi, the Goddess of fortune, and Sarasvati, the Goddess of speech and learning, reside in the home of that fortunate soul who has become perfected by this kavaca, giving up the intoxication of competing with others for supremacy."

20. Pushpanjalyashtakam dattva
mulenaiva pathet sakrit
api varsa sahasranam
pujayah phalam apnuyat

"Simply offering eight times pushpanjali and reading only once the original version, one attains the result of even a thousand years of worship."

21. Burje vilikhya gutikam
svarnastham dharayed yadi
kanthe va dakshine bahau
narasimho bhavet svayam

"If one write this down on a leaf or bark of a tree and keeps it within a golden capsule on his neck or right arm, Lord Nrisimhadev will be personally present.

22. Yoshid vama-bhuje chaiva
purusho dakshine kare
vibhryat kavacham punyam
sarva-siddhi-yuto bhavam

"A woman may keep it on her left arm, a man on the right hand. Certainly this most auspicious kavacha brings all perfection to the bearer."

23. Kaka-vandhya cha ya nari
mrita-vatsa cha ya bhavet
janma-vandhya nashta putra
bahu-putravati bhavet

"A woman, who is totally barren, or who bears only one child, or whose sons are lost or dead, may become possessed of many sons!"

24. Kavachasya prasadena
jivan mukta bhaven-naraha
trilokyam kshobhayasyeva
trailokya vijayi bhavet

"By the grace of this kavacha, a man becomes jivan mukta, liberated soul even within this life time. He is able to move the whole universe, and certainly becomes victorious throughout the three worlds."

25. Bhuta-preta-pishachash cha
rakshasa danavash cha ye
tam drishtva prapalayante
deshad deshantaram dhruvam

"Certainly bhutas, pretas, pisacas, raksasas, and danavas all immediately flee from the country and go to another upon seeing it."

26. Yasmin gehe cha kavacham
grame va yadi tishthati
tam deshantu parityajya
prayanti chatidurantaha

"In the home or even the same village where this kavaca exists, all such demoniac creatures, once having understood its presence, give up that place and go far away."

Thus ends the Sri Nrsimha Kavacha, of the Trailokya Vijaya in the   Brahmasamhita.

Sri Nrisimha Panchakam Sri Vishnu Puranam
[K. Muralidharan (kmurali_sg@yahoo.com) ]

The following is a rare hymn on Lord Nrusimha by Prahlada from Vishnu Puranam and Chapter 20. This hymn was recited by Prahlada when he was subjected to extreme tribulation such as being hurled to the bottom of ocean with rocks piled on top by his father Hiranyakashipu for worshipping Lord Vishnu instead of him. Pleased with this hymn, Lord Nrusimha appeared before him and requested Prahlada to seek a boon. Prahalada sought forgiveness for his father which was duly granted along with liberation for Prahlada.

Prahlāda uvāca

om namah paramārthaartha sthūla sūkma karā 'kara |
vyaktaa 'vyakta kalātīta sakaleśa nirañjana || 1 ||
guṇāñjana guṇādhāra nirguṇātman guasthira |
mūrtā 'mūrta mahāmūrte sūkmamūrte sphuṭā 'sphua || 2 ||
karāla saumya rūpātman vidyā vidyālayā 'cyuta |
sadasad-rūpa-sadbhāva sadasad-bhāva-bhāvana || 3 ||
nityā 'nitya prapañcātman niprapañcāmalāśrita |
ekā'neka namastubhya vāsudevādi-kāraa || 4 ||
ya sthūla sūkama prakaa prakāśo ya sarvabhūto na ca sarvabhūta |
viśva yataścaitad viśvahetor namo'stu tasmai puruottamāya || 5 ||

|| iti śrīviṣṇu mahāpurāṇe prathamāṁśe prahlāda kta śrīnsiha pañcaka sampūram ||

In Skanda Purana, Nagara Khanda, Chapter 151, Verses 60-65 Sage Vasishta recommends that in Hatakeshvara Kshetra,Lord Bhairava should be worshiped with Lord Nrisimha  Mantra: naarasimhena mantrena tatah poojaya tam niripa).

We have also seen that the Dhyana Shloka of Lord Nrusimha inherently describes Lord Shiva as well, as explained by Sringeri Acharyas:
satyajnaana sukha-svaroopam amalam ksheeraabdhi-madhya sthitam |
svAaa~ngaaroodham atiprasanna vadanam bhooShaa sahasrojjvalam |
tryaksham chakra pinaaka  saa -abhaya-varaan bibhraanam arkachchavim | 
chatreepoota phaneendram  indu-davalam lakshmee-nrisimham bhaje ||

Lord Nrisimha has three eyes, bears Pinaka Dhanus and bears white complexion resembling moon which are typical descriptions of Lord Shiva.

We have also seen, over the last several years, one of the key teachings of Puranas is Murthy Abheda and this message is repeated innumerable times in Purans of all color - Brahmite, Vaishnavite or Shaivite.  To illustrate this point, there is an exemplary prayer on Lord Shiva by Prahlada in Brahma PuranamSage Narada prays to Lord Shiva as namastubhyam jagannaatha mama naatha mama prabho in Naarada Pancharatram, a Vaishnavite


The following is a rare hymn on Lord Nrusimha taken from Padma Puranam, Srishti
Khanda and Chapter 45 (titled Nrusimha Pradurbhava) recited by Lord Brahma.
śrībrahma uvāca -
bhavān brahmā ca rudraśca mahendro devasattamaḥ |
bhavān karttā vikarttā ca lokānāṁ prabhavo 'vyayaḥ || 1 ||
parāṁ-ca-siddhiṁ ca paraṁ-ca-satvaṁ
paraṁ-rahasyaṁ paramaṁ-haviśca |
paraṁ-ca-dharmaṁ paramaṁ-yaśaśca
tvāṁ-āhuragryaṁ paramaṁ purāṇam || 2 ||
paraṁ-ca-satyaṁ paramaṁ-tapaśca
paraṁ pavitraṁ paramaṁ ca mārgam |
paraṁ-ca-yajñaṁ paramaṁ-ca-hotraṁ
tvāṁ-āhuragryaṁ paramaṁ purāṇam || 3 ||
paraṁ-śarīraṁ paramaṁ-ca-brahma
paraṁ-ca-yogaṁ paramāṁ-ca-vāṇīm |
paraṁ-rahasyaṁ paramāṁ-gatiṁ-ca
tvāṁ-āhuragryaṁ paramaṁ purāṇam || 4 ||
|| iti śrīpādme mahāpurāṇe śrībrahma-kṛta
śrīnṛsiṁha stutiḥ sampūrṇam

--Courtesy Muralidharan  

Sri Laxmi Narasimha Karaavalamba Stotra

Narasimha and Aadi Sankara--Narasiṁha is also a protector of his devotees in times of danger. Near Śrī Śailaṁ, there is a forest called Hatakesavanam, that no man enters. Sankaraachaarya entered this place and did penance for many days. During this time, a Kaapaalika by name Kirakashan appeared before him.
Adi Sankara had once given his consent to the cruel Kapalika to take his head and offer it as a sacrifice to Goddess Kali in order to win favours from her. Kapalikas were followers of a particular Saiva sect (the left-hand order) who always carried human skulls, wore them as garlands around their necks and even ate and drank from these macabre vessels. Lord Siva himself is hailed as Kapali. The Lord of the famous temple in Mylapore in Chennai is worshipped as Kapaliswara.
This Kapalika had been nursing a grievance against Adi Sankara whom he viewed as a potential threat to his faith and sect. He took the Acharya to a nearby cave, made necessary arrangements for the sacrifice-ritual and prepared himself to behead Adi Sankara. The Acharya was all along in a trance.
However, when the Kapalika lifted his sword and readied himself to chop off his head Sankara's disciple Padmapada (also known as Sanandana) envisioned this murderous scheme in his mind. He rushed to the cave in a trice. In an 'avesa' (possessed with divine powers) of Lord Narasimha he, verily, became the man-lion Lord himself temporarily. He had attained Narasimha mantra siddhi and, becoming frightfully ferocious, caught hold of the villainous Kapalika and tore him to pieces.
Sankara Vijaya, published by the Ramakrishna Math in Chennai, describes how Padmapada leapt into the sky, scattering away the clouds with a slash of his mane, and literally flew into the cave, stunning all beholders. It was a re-enactment of the Narasimha incarnation once again when the demon Hiranyakasipu was disembowelled by the Lord with his leonine claws.
Adi Sankara, hearing the thunderous roars of a lion, awoke from his trance and witnessed the gory scene. Padmapada's body was smeared with the blood of the vile Kapalika while his face glowed with divine splendour like a galaxy of suns. The Acharya saw before him the awesome Lord Narasimha himself and pacified him with soothing and overflowing devotion.
On another occasion, Adi Sankara's hands got burnt (the Amaruka episode) but he was cured by extolling Lord Narasimha through the famous hyms, the 17-verse Lakshmi Narasimha Karavalamba Stotram (also known as Lakshmi Narasimha Karunarasa Stotram'). These hymns are so titled because each of these verses ends with the same refrain 'Lakshmi Narasimha, mama dehi karavalambam' (O Lord Narasimha, please lend me your helping hand).
It is believed that fervent recitation of these hymns on Lord Narasimha (one of the two stotras Adi Sankara composed on Him) will always help one smoothly get over difficulties with the Lord's helping hand.
Salagrama, the sacred stone found only in the Kandaki river in Nepal, and worshipped by Vaishnavites in their homes, is used in the puja of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. This is said to be specially sacred to Lord Narasimha and is believed to have been given to Adi Sankara by Lord Narasimha himself.

Sreematpayonidhiniketana chakrapaane
bhogeendrabhogamaniranjitapunyamoorte |
yogeesa saasvata sharanya bhavabdhipota
lakshhmee nrisimha  mama dehi karaavalambam  || 1 ||
O Lakshminrisimha, whose abode is the ocean of milk, who hold the (Sudarsana) discus in your hand, whose pleasing form is adorned by the jewels that are the hoods of Adisesha, who are the Lord of the Yogis, the Eternal One, who provide protection to those who seek it, the boat by which one crosses the ocean of miseries, please lend me your helping hands!
Brahmendra-rudra-marudarka-kireetaakoti -
sanghattitaanghri-kamalaamal-kaantikaanta  |
lakshhmeenrisimha  mama dehi karaavalambam  || 2 ||
Your lotus feet are touched by the tips of the crowns of Brahma, Indra, Rudra, the Maruts and Soorya. The brilliance of Your lotus feet thus adds to Your effulgence, O dear one! You are the King of swans sporting near the beautiful lotus breasts of Lakshmi. O Lakshminrisimha,  Please lend me your helping hands!
 Samsaaraghoragahane- charato muraare
maarogra-bheekara-mriga-pravaraarditasya |
aartasya matsar-nidaagha-nipeeditasya
lakshhmeenrisimha mama dehi karaavalambam  || 3 ||
O Muraari (enemy of Mura)! I have been tormented by the fierce and terrifying lion called desire (kaama) while wandering in the dense forest called samsaaric (worldly pleasure and pains) existence. I have been scorched by the heat of the summer called envy (matsara). To me who have been thus afflicted, O Lakshminrsimha,  Please lend me your helping hands.
sampraapya duhkha satasarpa-samaakulasya |
deenasya deva kripanaapadam-aagatasya
lakshmeenrisimha mama dehi karaavalambam. || 4 ||
Having reached the bottom of the unfathomable and extremely fearful well called samsaaric existence, I have been troubled by the hundreds of serpents called miseries. O Deva! O Lakshmi-nrsimha! To the helpless me and who have reached this wretched condition, do you Lend your helping hands?  
nakragraha-grasana-nigraha-vigrahasya  |
vyagrasya raga-rasanormi-nipeeditasya
lakshhmeenrisimha mama dehi karaavalambam  || 5 ||
In the ocean that is worldly existence, my body has been eaten by large and dreadful crocodiles and whales that are Time. I have been afflicted by the waves called passion and attachment to the organ of taste. O Lakshmi-nrisimha, please lend me your helping hands.
shaakhaa-satam karana-patram-ananga-pushhpam  |
aaruhya duhkha-phalitam patato dayaalo
lakshhmeenrisimha mama dehi karavalambam  || 6 ||
The tree of worldly existence arises from the seed of sin. Its numerous branches are the endless actions (karmas), its leaves are the organs of the body, its flower is passion (kaama), its fruit is sorrow. Having ascended this tree, I am falling down. O compassionate Lakshmi-nrsimha, please lend me your helping  hands.
damshtraa-karaala-vishadagdha-vinashta-moorteh |
naaga-arivaahana sudhaabdhi-nivaasa saure
lakshhmeenrisimha mama dehi karaavalambam  || 7 ||
Worldly existence is a serpent which has opened its gigantic mouth, revealing its most dreadful and sharp fangs filled with terrible venom. This venom has burnt up my body and has destroyed it. O Lord whose vehicle is Garuda! O Lord whose abode is the ocean of milk! O Shauri! O Lakshminrsimha, provide me the support of Your hands.
lakshhme nrisimha mama dehi karaavalambam  || 8 ||
In the forest conflagration of worldly existence (illusion), I have been burned badly. Even every single hair on my body has been burned by large and fearful columns of flames. In this condition I have sought the shelter of the cool lake that is Your lotus feet. O Lakshminrisimha, Please lend me your helping hands!   
Samsaarajaala-patitasya jagannivaasa
sarvendriyaartha-vadisaartha-jhashhopamasya |
lakshhmeenisimha mama dehi karaavalambam  || 9 ||
I am like a fish, caught in the net of worldly existence. My palate and head have been severely torn apart by the fish-hook that is the objects of the senses. O Lord in whom the world resides! O Lakshminrsimha, please lend me your helping hands!
nishhpishta-marmavapushhah sakalaarti-naasa |
lakshhmeenrisimha mama dehi karaavalambam || 10 ||
The fearful rogue elephant of worldly illusion has struck me with its trunk, completely crushing all my vital parts. I have been overcome by the fear of worldy existence and death. O Destroyer of all suffering! O Lakshminrisimha,  please lend me your helping hands!
Andhasya may hrita-viveka-mahaa-dhanasya
choraih prabho balibhir-indriya-naamadheyaih |
moha-andha-koopakuhare vinipaatitasya
lakshhmeenrisimha mama dehi karaavalambam || 11 ||
O Lord! My great wealth called power of discrimination (viveka) has been stolen away by the powerful thieves called senses. I am blind (without the power of discrimination between things eternal and noneternal). In this condition, I have been pushed into the dark well called delusion. O Lakshmi-nrisimha,  please lend me your helping hands!
Baddhvaa gale yamabhataa bahutarjayantah
karshanti yatra bhavapaasa-satairyutam maam |
ekaakinam  paravas am chakitam dayaalo
lakshhmeenisimha mama dehi karaavalambam.  || 12 ||
I have been bound by hundreds of snares of worldly attachments. The soldiers of Yama (Death) have cast their noose around my neck and are dragging me along, threatening me. I am alone, frightened, and without any independence. O compassionate Lakshmi-nrisimha, please lend me your helping hands!
Lakshhmeepate kamalanaa-bha suresa vishhno
vaikuntha krishna madhusoodana pushhkaraaksha |
brahmanya kesava janaardana vaasudeva
lakshhmeenrisimha mama dehi karaavalambam.h || 13 ||
O Lord of Lakshmi, from whose navel emanates a lotus, O Lord of gods, O Vishnu, O Vaikuntha, O Krishna, O Madhusudana (slayer of Madhu), O Lotus-eyed One, O Brahmanya (the most exalted knower of Brahman), O Keshava, O Janardana, O Vasudeva, O Lakshmi -nrisimha,  please lend me your helping hands!
Ekena chakramaparena karena shankha-
manyena sindhutanyaaam avalambya tishthan |
vaame karena varadaabhaya-padma-chihnam
lakshhmeenrisimha mama dehi karaavalambam. || 14 ||
In one hand You hold the (sudarshana) discus; in another You hold the (paanchajanya) conch; another hand rests on (the waist of) the daughter of the ocean, Lakshmi; and the (fourth) hand signifies that You bestow boons and drive away the fear (of the devotees). O Lakshmi-nrisimha please lend me your helping hands!
dieenam vilokaya vibho karunaanidhe maam |
lakshhmeenrisiMha mama dehi karaavalambam  || 15 ||
Being drowned in the ocean of samsaaric existence, I am deluded. O Lord! O Treasure of compassion! Turn your glance toward me who am helpless. (Just as You) assumed the Supreme avatar for the purpose of eradicating the sorrow of Prahlaada, do You, Lakshmi-nrisimha, pleaswe lend me your helping hands!
vyaasaadi-bhaagavata-pungavahrinnivaasa |
lakshhmeenrisimha mama dehi karaavalambam  || 16 ||
You dwell in the hearts of the best of the Bhagavatas, such as Prahlada, Narada, Parashara, Pundarika, and Vyasa. You are like the desire-fulfilling tree in protecting the loyal devotees. O Lakshmi-nrisimha, plese k lend me your helping hands!
stotram kritam shubhakaram bhuvi sankarena |
ye tatpatanti manujaa haribhaktiyuktaa-
ste yaanti tatpada-sarojam-akhandaroopam || 17 ||
This auspicious hymn has been composed by Sankara who is the bee engaged in drinking the nectar of the lotus feet of Shri Lakshmi-nrsimha. In this world, anyone who recites it will be filled with devotion to Hari and will attain the undivided lotus feet of Brahman.
|| Sree Lakshhmeenrsimhaarpanamastu ||

 --Translation courtesy IndiaDivine.org


This place has witnessed many   miracles, a place where  it is believed Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy takes a stroll in the night, sometimes even in the day time. Its plush greenery, mountain covered with a green blanket of trees, remains as a visual treat for the eyes, as a display of nature’s magnanimity.
In the place of Ahobilam one can have the darshan of Nava Narasimha’s. The basement has 5 of them:
Prahladha Varadha Lakhmi Narasimha
Bhargava Narasimha
Shri Chatravada Narasimha
Yogananda Narasimha and
Karancha Narasimha

From the basement to the top, it is around 10 kilo meters. The reason why this place is so famous is because of the shrine of Ugra Narasimha who appeared as a Swayambhu (who or that which appeared all by itself) inside a cave, where Bhakta Prahlada, Shri Garuda, Mahalakshmi did penance to whom Lord Narasimha revealed.  .

Here in the top, the other four Narasimha can be seen:
Ugra Narasimha (ugra – ferocious)
Shri Bhaavana Narasimha
Shri Varaaha Narasimha and
Shri Jwaalaa Narasimha

The other important places are: the birth place of Bhava Naasini, Ugra Sthambam, Shri Malola Narasimha and the cave of Bhakta Prahlada.

It is dense with trees and plants, the wild animals were roaming around freely maintaining  the beauty of nature, flora and fauna. So  one needs to carefully proceed further specially during nights.

There is a similarity between Ahobilam and Thirupathi. The head of Adi Shesha (the serpent which Lord Vishnu reclines) being Thirupathi, the tail being Shri Shaila and the torso being Ahobila, why I was ordained to visit Ahobila when I was in Thirupathi, I thought.
The place where Hiyanyakasipu’s stomach was torn apart looks like Adi Shesha. The Jwala Narasimha’s shrine, is the stomach part of the mountain.

Namakkal Bala Narasimha brings all traditions together

(By courtesy Sri Ranga Sri)

Have you heard of Bala Narasimha in a cave?  Aadi Perukku day  is a local holiday in Srirangam and Trichy. People go to Namakkal on this day to worship Lord Narasimha as Parabrahaman and Parasakti westward into the dry Kongu region. We  As you bypass Karur and turn right towards Salem and catch the National Highway the roads are superb. This amazing change in the roadscape in Tamil Nadu, over the last one and half decades never ceases to amaze us. Before you know it you  have reached your destination.
At Nammakal Mother Namagiri with  Narasimha can be witnessed in this ancient cave temple. The 65 meters high single rock is Namagiri. The name came about because, Mahalakshmi did nama japa there.   The legend behind it is as follows:  Aanjaneya flies to the Himalayas to get the herbs to rejuvenate Rama and Lakshmana. He uproots the very mountain and takes it back once the mission is over. On his way back to Lanka, he gets the Narasimha saligrama moorthy and when he reaches this spot he spots the pond Kamalalaya on whose banks Kamala-Mahalakshmi is doing nama japa to have darshan (exposition) of Nrisimhaavatara. He requests Devi to hold the saligrama so that he can finish his nityakarma (daily durties). She issues the caveat that if he is late she will place the saligrama and leave. By divine intentions Anjaneya   is delayed and when he returns the saligrama is placed near the edge of the pond.  Are you reminded of the Ramaeswara episode in the same manner? In spite of using all his humongous strength Hanuman is unable to lift the small saligrama. It suddenly becomes the huge rock and an awesome Narasimha manifests and tells Aanjaneya that He wants to stay and so asks him to leave it   there. He tells His devotee to go to Lanka and then to Ayodhya with Sri Rama finish all his duties in that avatar and then come here, worship Him forever and also bless and show the way to devotees.  Namagiri Thayar  (Divine Mother) was the muse of the famous mathematician Ramanujan and showed the way to him through the complex mazes of higher mathematics.
According to authentic history learnt learnt through the media of popular  Internet http://www.heritageonline.in/wpcontent/uploads/2013/12/Namakkal: there are two cave temples cut into this massive single rock. On the west at the foot of the rock is the Namagiri Narasimha temple. Midway to the top on the east face is a Ranganatha cave temple. Though showing influences of Pallava and Pandya styles these actually belong to the Adiyamaan kings who belong to the Tamil Sangam Era, and one of them Neduman Anji was the patron of Auvaiyar the well -known saint poetess.  As in all temples in Tamil Nadu successive rulers added to the original structure.
 As we proceed eastwards, climbing a   few steps  we can  get  the first view of Lord  Narasimha .   It is said that   Lord Narasimha's foot and the eyes of the 18 feet Aanjaneya outside, are at the same level. He is in the seated posture with the left knee folded and the right foot on the floor. His massive left lower hand is on the left knee and the right hand with very sharp nails (vajranakha), has a reddish hue to it.    Narasimha holds a rod in this hand to drive away malefic spirits. Regarding the red color of the palm of the right lower hand,   it is believed to be the blood of Hiranyakasipu.   Abhisheka to this deity  is done once a year on Vaikasi visakam,  and  it   is believed      Abhisheka (bathing ritual) outpours turn red as they flow over the right hand!  
 Narasimha wears a necklace with Mahalakshmi on it. In the official paintings we can make out a Srivatsa Lakshmi too. Coming to His face, He has eyebrows, moustache, nose and ferocious teeth   made of silver. The eyebrows are bow shaped. He has unique ear ornaments and two sons of Brahma, Sanaka and Sanandana,  whispering news about the world into His ears, as we are told.  Flanking them are Surya to Narasimha’s  right and Chandra to the left.  They have chamara (fly whisks) in their hands. To the right of Surya Lord Narasimha  holds the chakra in His right upper hand.  It is a Prayoga  (action) Chakra.  Rudra stands in the right extreme and the four faced Brahma to the far left.  The conch graces   Narasimha’s  left upper hand between Brahma and his son.  Brahma's sons, Surya and Chandra on either side lean inwards.  Rudra and Brahma list outwards.
The side walls of this cave have four panels with unique images in bas relief - sculptural relief in which forms extend only slightly from the background; no figures are undercut. As we face Lord Narasimha to our right is a floor to ceiling panel that shows the Trivikrama avatar.  Narasimha  has a long crown and His right upper arm and leg are raised. His right lower hand has a baseball bat like mace and He appears to be kicking someone who is shown upside down, upwards.  May be he is Namuchi, one of the sons of Bali who objected to the manner in which Vamana/Trivikrama measured the steps. Quizzically there is a monkey figure nearby, Hanuman? Beneath  Narasimha’s  raised right lower limb Garuda  is seen pummeling someone. To the right   and well below, we have the small Vamana with kamandalu (water jug) and umbrella watching Bali about to sprinkle water from a kettle in his hands, and a figure behind him, who may be his displeased guru. There is an umbrella depicted at the top of his crown.  Another puzzle is the neck and head of a horse at the top right corner, reminding Hayagriva.
On the left wall is another amazing panel. It shows Vaikuntanathan seated on Adisesha in that famous posture called the Maharaja lilaasana (playful seat of a king), with His right knee bent and foot on the serpent bed, shown here in the tip toe pose. His left leg is hanging down with the left heel on Adisesha's coils.    He has four hands; the upper two hands hold the Chakra and Sankha, held a little above his fingers standing in the air and sets them apart from Pallava and Pandya sculpture. The fire tong on the top of each weapon is unique.  This feature is to be seen in all the Nammakal reliefs... Rudra and Brahma flank Him and there are many other minor deities. But the unique feature, not to be seen elsewhere, is down to our right, below is Brahma who is not seen in other temples except on northern wall panels.  The seated Narasimha   is Abhaya Narasimha and which the historical post says is Bala Narasimha. This panel depicts our Lord Vaikuntanathan showing to the other gods the form He is going to adopt to finish off Hiranyakasipu.  The leonine face is very beautifully carved by the sculptor: mane, ears, eyes, and wide open jaws are superimposed by a peaceful expression, indicative perhaps of the deliverance that he will bring about.  His upper left hand holds the Sankha (conch), but his upper right is in Bhuddhasramana, the mudra (like Buddha) of salutation... This mudra(posture) is like the Abhaya mudra hence the name Abhaya Narasimha.
On the eastern wall of the cave on either side of the sanctum sanctorum two panels are seen.  Next to the Vaikuntanatha panel is a panel showing Lord Narasimha in a  ugra (ferocious) form, tearing apart Hiranya who is in a hyperextended pose on His left thigh which is on a pedestal. He is in an ashtabuja - eight armed - form and is bhayankara - frightening to watch. Of the four pairs one pair holds down the asura (Demon) while the nearby pair is finger deep in his abdomen. Narasimha  appears to be looking at us!
The panel on the left of the main deity is that of Varaha uplifting Bhumidevi (Mother Earth) from the mire. His feet cannot be seen. The left lower limb is buried up to the knee and the right up to the lower leg just above the ankle.  It is believed that His feet will be seen only when Kaliyuga  comes to an end! He holds up Bhumidevi in the crook of His bent right elbow with His left hand supporting Her feet. He has an affectionate look on His porcine face, though His left ear bears a kundalam (ear ornament) that has elongated it, human style. She is looking at Him lovingly with folded hands. Down below on the panel's right is   Adisesha, Nagadevata with the left hand pointing to   Lord. On the left is Neela devi.  Above   Lord's flattened head are four figures, which   are the four Vedas   or  they are four sons of  Brahma-- Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumara who are always seen in the form of  youths.
This pilgrim center is considered  a rare Trinity  center  because Rudra, Vishnu and Brahma are seen together and worshiped together.   Surprisingly Nammakal does not have any other Siva temple. All Saivites flock here.  Here I Narasimha avatar is worshiped   invoking three aspects of Brahman--Siva, Vishnu and Brahma—Sa Brahma, sa Vishnu sa Sivah.   Also Narasimha is visualized at once as Ugra Narasimha (ferocious) and Baala Narasimha (innocent) leaving no place for sectarian squabbles.

The Legend of Glorious Lord Sarabeshwara Shiva
By K. Bharath Kumar | Mar 17, 2017  
Top of Form
Bottom of Form

Lord Shiva has taken many forms to rescue humanity and other Gods from calamities. One significant but lesser known avataar is that of Sri Sarabeshwara. Lord Sarabeshwara incarnated to calm down Lord Narasimha (Man-Lion Avataar of Lord Vishnu) whose wrath was unstoppable even after His work of slaying demon king Hiranyakashipu was completed.

Sarabeshwara is Lord Shiva’s cosmic form with His crescent moon and Ganga on His divine head, face of a Sarabha bird with two wings representing His Shaktis – lion-headed Prathyangira Devi and Trident-holding Shoolini Durga Devi.

Sarabeswara’s middle portion of the body is human-like with four arms holding fire, snake and two weapons. His lower portion (with four legs and a tail) is that of the animal called ‘Yaali’ supposed to be mightier than a lion. Thus one can see this is Lord Shiva’s cosmic hybrid form encompassing man, woman, animal, bird and several inanimate natural elements as well – earning Him the appellations ‘Sarvapakshimrugaaakaaraa’ (single-form manifestation of all birds and beasts) and ‘Sarvapakshimrugaadipaa’ (Lord of all birds and beasts).

Vaishnavaite legend contends that Lord Narasimha was calmed down by child devotee Prahlada himself for whom this avataar was taken by Lord Vishnu. However puranic evidences such as Sarabha Upanishad, numerous Sarabeshwara verses by sages such as Sage Vyasa, Lord Brahma and even a prayer by calmed-down Lord Narasimha Himself point to the existence and greatness of Lord Sarabeshwara Shiva.

He is reputed to calm down negative energies, bestow resoluteness of mind, reduce wild aggression and injustices in society, offers protection from various natural calamities and reduces ill-effects of jealousy and witchcraft (all commonly seen even in this modern dark age – ‘Kaliyuga’).

In this incarnation, Lord Shiva displays His placatory and calm side unlike His reputed wildness and anger – thereby displaying that He simultaneously possesses and transcends all basic ‘gunaas’ (qualities) of ‘Satthva’ (calm, balanced, righteous nature), ‘Rajas’ (aggressive, fighting, restless and conquering nature) and ‘Tamas’ (dull, inert, immobile nature).

This avataar is available to all today – relevant especially in this age of unrests, hidden dangers, enmities, falsehoods and insecurity. Lord Sarabeshwara is worshipped during the ‘pradosha kaalam” that occurs on the twilight hour of the fourteenth day of each fortnight. This was the time when Lord Narasimha emerged out of a pillar long back in an earlier yuga.

His bheejaakshar mantra is “Aum Kaym Kaam Kam”. His Gayatri mantra is as follows:
“Aum Ashtapaadaaya Vidmahe
Pakshiraajaaya Dheemahi
Thanno Sarabeshwara Prachodhayaath”.
A second version is as follows:
“Aum Saaluvesaaya Vidmahe
Pakshiraajaaya Dheemahi
Thanno Sarabeshwara Prachodhayaath”.
(Sarabeshwara was the family deity of the Saalukya kings of South India).