Narasimha Jayanti is a Hindu festival that is celebrated on the fourteenth day (चतुर्दशी) of the Hindu month of Vaisakha (April-May).
Narasimha (नरसिंह, 'man-lion') is the fourth avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. He is regarded to have incarnated in the form of a part-lion, part-man being to slay Hiranyakashipu, to end religious persecution and calamity on earth, thereby restoring dharma.
Narasimha is also known as Kala (time) or Mahakala (great-time), or Parakala (beyond time) in his epithets. There exists a matha (monastery) dedicated to him by the name of Parakala Matha in the Sri Vaishnava tradition.
The Bhagavata Purāṇa describes that Vishnu, in his previous avatar as Varāha, killed the evil asura Hiraṇayakṣa. The older brother of Hirṇayakṣa, demon king Hiraṇyakaśipu, hated Vishnu and wanted revenge.
Hiranyakashipu was the first incarnation of Jaya, one of the two doorkeepers of Vishnu's abode of Vaikuntha. After being cursed by the Four Kumaras, along with his brother, Vijaya, he chose to be born as an enemy of Vishnu thrice, rather than as a devotee of the deity seven times.
After the death of his brother, Hiranyaksha, Hiranyakashipu performed a severe penance to propitiate the creator deity, Brahma, until the latter appeared to grant him a boon. The asura desired the inability to be slain neither inside his house nor outside, by day nor night, by any weapon, neither on the ground nor in the sky, by neither men nor beasts, deva nor asura, nor any being created by Brahma. He also asked for rulership of all living beings and the three worlds. His wish granted, Hiranyakashipu overran the three worlds with his invincibility and his forces, seizing the throne of Indra in Svarga, and subjugating all beings, except the Trimurti, under his rule.
Hiraṇyakaśipu had a son, Prahlāda, who disagreed and rebelled against his father. Prahlāda became a devotee of Vishnu.
This angered Hiraṇyakaśipu, who tried to kill the boy—but with each attempt, Prahlāda was protected by Viṣṇu's mystical power.
Once Hiraṇyakaśipu pointed to a nearby pillar and asked if 'his Viṣṇu' is in it and said to his son Prahlāda, "O most unfortunate Prahlāda, you have always described a supreme being other than me, a supreme being who is above everything, who is the controller of everyone, and who is all-pervading. But where is He? If He is everywhere, then why is He not present before me in this pillar?" Prahlāda then answered, "He was, He is and He will be."
Furious, the king smashed the pillar with his mace, whence Narasimha, part-man, part-lion, appeared before him. The avatara dragged Hiranyakashipu to the doorway of the palace, and ripped him apart with his claws, his form placed upon his lap, during twilight. Thus, circumventing the boon granted to the asura king, Narasimha was able to rescue his devotee, and restore order to the universe.
With Best Regards,
Dr TP Singh
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