Narsimha- Half Man Half Lion
Narsimha is the 4th of ten primary incarnations of Lord Vishnu. It literally means (Nar: Man) and (Simha: Lion) thus meaning ‘lion man’. It is one of the popular deities of Hindu mythology. It is exactly opposite in structure of Egyptian sphinx, which has body of lion & face of a man. The Narsimha is depicted as a half-lion &a half man. It has the face of a lion and body of man, while claws intact as a lion. Narsimha is worshipped in an idol form by group of Vaisnavas. Narsimha is known as “Protector God” who is believed to protect & defend his devotees all the time.
Narasiṁhashows omnipresence of God and teaches the message is that Almightyis everywhere. Vaishnav Theology has complete & detailed explanation about this. Narasiṁhavalidates God's readiness and capability to come to the assistance of His believers, no matter how tough or intolerable the situations may look to be.The example of Pralhada’s undying belief in Lord testifies this. Prahlada'sreligious zealspecifies that truepiousness is not one of inheritance. It requires some character. Although Prahlādawas born as asura, demonstrated the supreme devotion to God, and borne tough times but he never lost faith. Narasiṁha is known by the appellation “Mṛga-Śarīra” in which literally means to Animal-Man. From a metaphysical perception, Narasiṁha is the very representation of Vaiṣṇavism, where gyaan (knowledge) and devotion are important as opposed to Advaita, which leaves no space for devotion, as the object to be venerated and the venerator do not exist.
The most important temple dedicated to Narsimha is located in Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh in India. This is the place where Narsimha killed the demon Hiranyakashyap and Pralhad was blessed at this place only. The Vaisnavasrever this place as one of the 108 DivyaDesams, regarded as important places of worships. There are Narsimha temple all over India. Narsimha temples are located in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Rajasthan, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, & Odisha. There are two Narsimha temples in Madhya Pradesh, viz. Narsinghpur and Indore. Two in Gujarat at Vadodara &Junagadh, and one each in Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand in Mathura and Bageshwar districts respectively. There are many Narsimha temples in Sri Lanka, the country symbolizing itself as lion.
Narsimha is been mentioned in old ancient texts such as Vedas and Puranas. Many Vedas and Upanishads had his mention. The oldest book in the world, Rig Veda has a description about Narsimha as half-lion and half-man roaming in the mountains, like some prowling wild beast. Narsimha has the stories related to Pralhadas well as sage AdiShankaracharya. A number of prayers have been written in devotion to Vishnu avatar of Narsiṁha. Some of the prayers for Narsimha are:- The NarasiṁhaMahā-Mantra, NarasiṁhaPraṇāma Prayer, DaśāvatāraStotra by Jaydev, KāmaśikhaAṣṭakam, DivyaPrabandham 2954. All the shlokas are written below, and they are in Sanskrit or Pali language. • NarsimhaMaha-mantra “oṁhrīṁkṣauṁ ugraṁviraṁmahāviṣṇuṁ jvalantaṁsarvatomukham nṛsiṁhaṁbhīṣaṇaṁbhadraṁ mṛtyormṛtyuṁnamāmyaham” • NarsimhaPranama Prayer “namastenarasiṁhāya, prahlādahlāda-dāyine, hiraṇyakaśiporvakṣaḥ, śilā-ṭaṅkanakhālaye” “itonṛsiṁhaḥparatonṛsiṁho, yatoyatoyāmitatonṛsiṁhaḥ, bahirnṛsiṁhohṛdayenṛsiṁho, nṛsiṁhaṁādiṁśaraṇaṁprapadye” • Dasavatarstotra by Jaydev “tavakara-kamala-varenakhamadbhuta-śrṅgaṁ, dalita-hiraṇyakaśipu-tanu-bhṛṅgam, keśavadhṛta-narahari-rūpajayajagadiśa hare” • KamasikaAsthakam tvayirakṣatirakṣakaiḥkimanyaiḥ, tvayicārakṣātirakṣākaiḥkimanyaiḥ itiniścitadhīḥśrayāminityaṁ, nṛharevegavatītaṭāśrayaṁtvam • DivyaPrabandham 2594 “āḍiāḍiagamkaraindhuisai pāḍippāḍikkaṇṇīrmalgiengum nāḍināḍinarasingāendru, vāḍivāḍumivvālnuthale!”