4. Narashima (man-lion)- 4th stage of sadhana:
Nrusimha (in Sanskrit), popularly called by devotees as
"Narasimha", denotes the divine form of half man and
half lion. The Asura King Hiranyakashibu on the advice of his
guru Shukracharya, undertook severe penance on Lord Bramha and
when the God appeared before him, he requested the following
boons in the hope that he will not die.
1) No human or animal can kill him. 2) Death should not occur
in his palace and outside. and 3) Death should not occur during
day time or night. When he was granted with the boon, he thought
he was immortal and tortured saints not realizing that no human
being is immortal. His thought of immortality made him to pose
himself as God and he forced his subjects to worship him as their
Those who refused to accept him as their God were either
killed or driven out of his country. Meanwhile, his wife was
pregnant and she used to hear the Bhagavatha from Naradha
Maharishi. She gave birth to a male child Prahlada. Since
Prahlada heard Bhagavatha during his pre-natal stage, he was
devoted to Narayana.
Prahlada would always chant 'Om Namo Bhagavathe
Vasudevaya'. Hiranyakashibu tried his best to coerce his
child to worship him but everytime he failed. Even in his
gurukula, Prahlada was forced to worship his father as God.
Nevertheless, Prahlada continued his Narayana Bakthi and made
every child in his Gurukula to adore Him. Hiranyakashibu tried
several horrendous methods like pushing from a mountain but
Prahlada through his strong bakthi came out unscathed.
One day Hiranyakashibu, tired of converting his son, decided
to make it final and asked to show him his God. If he failed, he
will be his God. In Alwar's verses, this scene is beautifully
described as the God waiting in every atom of that palace so that
he can prove his devotee.
Prahlada proclaimed that his God Narayana is everywhere,
present in Pillar and tiny particle. When Hiranyakashibu broke
one of the pillars to check His existence, God came out in the
form of Narasimha (to honour the Boon) with fearsome roaring,
caught hold of Hiranya, sat on the door step of the palace with
Hiranya on His thighs, pulled out the intestine to signal his
Prahlada sung in praise of the Lord and Narasimha with Lakshmi
and got their blessings.
Boon given to Hiranyakashibu
No human or animal can kill him and therefore Vishnu took the
form of half lion and half man (Lion's head & claws and
Death should not occur in his palace and outside and therefore
Vishnu teared the Asura on the Door step of his palace
Death should not occur during day time or night and therefore
Vishnu choose Sandhya Kala i.e., when day and night meets.
4th Stage of sadhana- The seeker now stands well up the stage
of growth, half-God half-man as reflected by Narashima avatar.
God-like qualities like love, compassion and kindness have
developed in the heart and the mind but a few rajasic qualities
like spiritual ego, pride and arrogance of learning still
continue to hold and plague him.