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When in danger, devotees of Lord Krishna naturally turn to His fiercest form for protection.
One of the most awe-inspiring of Lord Krishna’s forms is Sri Nrisimhadeva, His half-man, half-lion incarnation. Lord Nrisimha descended to protect His devotee Sri Prahlada Maharaja from the atheistic king Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada’s father.
Hiranyakashipu’s enmity toward Lord Vishnu had begun when the Lord in His form as a giant boar had slain Hiranyakashipu’s twin brother, Hiranyaksha, who had upset the earth’s equilibrium by greedily mining for gold To take revenge for his brother’s death, the mighty daitya Hiranyakashipu vowed to satisfy his brother’s soul with Vishnu’s blood. In his quest for immortality and the power to defeat Vishnu, he performed humanly impossible penances through which he acquired boons from Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe. Hiranyakashipu thought he could become God by his own austerity and penance.
Hiranyakashipu’s son Prahlada Maharaja was a devotee of Lord Krishna from birth, having acquired knowledge of devotional service in his mother’s womb and became fearless, fully surrendered to the infallible shelter of Lord Krishna. He turned out be become an exalted devotee of Lord Krishna. Enraged at his son’s undeviating devotion to his worst enemy—Lord Vishnu, the four-handed form of Lord Krishna—Hiranyakashipu sentenced Prahlada to death. Hiranyakashipu’s henchmen tried everything to kill Prahlada. He was starved, poisoned, cursed by spells, beaten by fiends, stomped by elephants, encaged among virulent pythons, hurled from mountain peaks, and attacked with stones, fires, and blizzards. Despite all of Hiranyakashipu’s attempts, Prahlada remained untouched, and the evil king’s anger grew.
The arrogant Hiranyakashipu cursed him and inquired, “Where do you obtain the power to defy my supremacy?”
“The source of my strength is Lord Vishnu,” replied the fearless Prahlada. “He is the source of everyone’s strength, including yours.”
To hear that his strength was the grace of Vishnu, his worst enemy, was the greatest insult for Hiranyakashipu, who challenged Prahlada, “O most unfortunate Prahlada, you have always described an all-pervading supreme controller beyond me. If He is everywhere, then why is He not present before me in this pillar? If he does not appear from this pillar, then today your head will be severed with my sword.”
With these words, Hiranyakashipu struck his fist at the pillar, from which emanated a sound that seemed to crack the covering of the universe.
To prove true the statement of His devotee Prahlada, the Supreme Lord appeared from the pillar in a form never seen before, a form neither man nor lion, the form of Sri Nrisimhadeva.
Lord Nrisimha destroyed Hiranyakashipu without violating the boons granted by Lord Brahma, who had blessed Hiranyakashipu to not be killed:
inside or outside any residence (the Lord killed him in the doorway)
during the day or night (the Lord killed him at twilight)
on the ground or in the sky (the Lord killed him on His own lap)
by any human being or animal (Lord Nrisimha is half man, half lion)
by any demigod, demon, or great snake (the Lord is beyond any of these categories)
by any weapon or any entity, living or nonliving (Lord Nrisimha pierced the daitya with his nails, which are not considered weapons and are neither living nor dead)
Narasimhadeva appeared at dusk on the Shukla Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the bright fortnight) in the month of Vaishakha (May). Devotees fast till dusk on this day.
Narsimha Chaturdasi is the day of double joy for us as this auspicious day also happens to be the Inaugral Annivesary day of ISKCON Vapi The presiding deities of Sri Jagannnath, Sri Baldeva and Sri Subhadra were installed at this very day. This day is celebrated with great joy offering ‘Fire Sacrifice” to Lord Narsimha (Narsimha Yagna) in our temple hall with glories of Lord Narsimha and Kirtan followed by a sumptuous feast prasadam for all.