A lecture delivered by Srila Gour Govinda Swami in Bhubaneswar 14 May, 1995 on Lord Nrsimhadeva’s appearance day.
It was appearing like a flower garland on the chest of Nrsimhadeva. It seems as if a lion had killed an elephant. So many of Hiranyakasipu’s soldiers came out to fight against the Lord, but the Lord, with His sharp nails, tore them apart and all were killed. There are many descriptions.
“Lord Nrsimhadeva’s mouth and mane were sprinkled with drops of blood, and His fierce eyes, full of anger, were impossible to look at. Licking the edge of His mouth with His tongue, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nrsimhadeva, decorated with a garland of intestines taken from Hiranyakasipu’s abdomen, resembled a lion that has just killed an elephant.” (SB 7.8.30 )
” The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had many, many arms, first uprooted Hiranyakasipu’s heart and then threw him aside and turned toward the demon’s soldiers. These soldiers had come in thousands to fight with Him with raised weapons and were very faithful followers of Hiranyakasipu, but Lord Nrsimhadeva killed all of them merely with the ends of His nails.” (SB 7.8.31 )
“The hair on Nrsimhadeva’s head shook the clouds and scattered them here and there, His glaring eyes stole the effulgence of the luminaries in the sky, and His breathing agitated the seas and oceans. Because of His roaring, all the elephants in the world began to cry in fear.” (SB 7.8.32 )
“Airplanes were thrown into outer space and the upper planetary system by the hair on Nrsimhadeva’s head. Because of the pressure of the Lord’s lotus feet, the earth appeared to slip from its position, and all the hills and mountains sprang up due to His intolerable force. Because of the Lord’s bodily effulgence, both the sky and all directions diminished in their natural illumination.” (SB7.8.33 )
“Manifesting a full effulgence and a fearsome countenance, Lord Nrsimha, being very angry and finding no contestant to face His power and opulence, then sat down in the assembly hall on the excellent throne of the king. Because of fear and obedience, no one could come forward to serve the Lord directly.” (SB 7.8.34 )
“Hiranyakasipu had been exactly like a fever of meningitis in the head of the three worlds. Thus when the wives of the demigods in the heavenly planets saw that the great demon had been killed by the personal hands of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, their faces blossomed in great joy. The wives of the demigods again and again showered flowers from heaven upon Lord Nrsimhadeva like rain.” (SB 7.8.35 )
“At that time, the airplanes of the demigods, who desired to see the activities of the Supreme Lord, Narayana, crowded the sky. The demigods began beating drums and kettledrums, and upon hearing them the angelic women began to dance, while the chiefs of the Gandharvas sang sweetly.” (SB 7.8.36 )
“My dear King Yudhisthira, the demigods then approached the Lord. They were headed by Lord Brahma, King Indra and Lord Siva and included great saintly persons and the residents of Pitrloka, Siddhaloka, Vidyadhara-loka and the planet of the snakes. The Manus approached, and so did the chiefs of various other planets. The angelic dancers approached, as did the Gandharvas, the Caranas, the Yaksas, the inhabitants of Kinnaraloka, the Vetalas, the inhabitants of Kimpurusa-loka, and the personal servants of Visnu like Sunanda and Kumuda. All of them came near the Lord, who glowed with intense light. They individually offered their obeisances and prayers, their hands folded at their heads.” (SB 7.8.37-38 )
“Lord Brahma prayed: My Lord, You are unlimited, and You possess unending potencies. No one can estimate or calculate Your prowess and wonderful influence, for Your actions are never polluted by the material energy. Through the material qualities, You very easily create the universe, maintain it and again annihilate it, yet You remain the same, without deterioration. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You.” (SB 7.8.39 )
Prahlada Maharaja Offers Prayers
Nrsimhadeva was so angry nobody dared approach Him. Even Laksmidevi couldn’t approach. At last Brahma persuaded Prahlada Maharaja to go and pacify Him. Then Prahlada Maharaja went there fearlessly. All were afraid but Prahlada was not at all afraid of the Lord because he is a dear devotee. He fell flat at the lotus feet of Nrsimhadeva, and Nrsimhadeva put His lotus-like arm on the head of Prahlada Maharaja. Immediately Prahlada Maharaja received the mercy of transcendental knowledge and offered many prayers. We will read some of those prayers of Prahlada, from the 7th canto, 9th chapter of Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Prahlada Maharaja prayed: “How is it possible for me, who has been born in a family of asuras, to offer suitable prayers to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Even until now, all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, and all the saintly persons could not satisfy the Lord by streams of excellent words, although such persons are very qualified, being in the mode of goodness. Then what is to be said of me? I am not at all qualified.” (SB 7.9.8)
Prahlada Maharaja continued: “One may possess wealth, an aristocratic family, beauty, austerity, education, sensory expertise, luster, influence, physical strength, diligence, intelligence and mystic yogic power, but I think that even by all these qualifications one cannot satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, one can satisfy the Lord simply by devotional service. Gajendra did this, and thus the Lord was satisfied with him.” (SB 7.9.9)
“If a brahmana has all twelve of the brahminical qualifications [as they are stated in the book called Sanat-sujata] but is not a devotee and is averse to the lotus feet of the Lord, he is certainly lower than a devotee who is a dog-eater but who has dedicated everything—mind, words, activities, wealth and life—to the Supreme Lord. Such a devotee is better than such a brahmana because the devotee can purify his whole family, whereas the so-called brahmana in a position of false prestige cannot purify even himself.” (SB 7.9.10)
“The Supreme Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is always fully satisfied in Himself. Therefore when something is offered to Him, the offering, by the Lord’s mercy, is for the benefit of the devotee, for the Lord does not need service from anyone. To give an example, if one’s face is decorated, the reflection of one’s face in a mirror is also seen to be decorated.” (SB 7.9.11)
“Therefore, although I was born in a demoniac family, I may without a doubt offer prayers to the Lord with full endeavor, as far as my intelligence allows. Anyone who has been forced by ignorance to enter the material world may be purified of material life if he offers prayers to the Lord and hears the Lord’s glories.” (SB 7.9.12)
Laksmidevi who is sitting on the chest of the Lord, cannot get it. It is very difficult on the part of Laksmi, but a dear devotee of the Lord very easily gets such mercy of the Lord. The Lord has equal vision samah sarvesu bhutesu—‘He is equally disposed toward every living entity. na me dvesyo ’sti na priyah—I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all, but a bhakta is very dear to Him. Ye bhajanti tu mam bhaktya—one who does My bhajana with bhakti, they are in Me, I am in them.” Though He is impartial, but He is very partial towards His devotees.
These are all prayers by Prahlada Maharaja. There is one specific prayer, Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.14:
tad yaccha manyum asuras ca hatas tvayadya
modeta sadhur api vrscika-sarpa-hatya
lokas ca nirvrtim itah pratiyanti sarve
rupam nrsimha vibhayaya janah smaranti
“My Lord Nrsimhadeva, please, therefore, cease Your anger now that my father, the great demon Hiranyakasipu, has been killed. Since even saintly persons take pleasure in the killing of a scorpion or a snake all the worlds have achieved great satisfaction because of the death of this demon. Now they are confident of their happiness, and they will always remember Your auspicious incarnation in order to be free from fear.”
Yes, scorpions and snakes should be killed. Saintly persons kill them and get pleasure. Sadhus never kill other living entities. This verse says. Therefore we should always offer this prayer, namaste narasimhaya, to be free from fear. Nrsimhadeva kills all inauspiciousness that comes in the path of devotion, therefore we offer Nrsimha-pranama. When we start a journey we also offer Nrsimha-pranama, so no fear, no obstruction, no fearful conditions will be there. Nrsimhadeva comes, kills it. You understand? Therefore we always offer Nrsimha-pranama and this verse says devotees will always remember You, offer You prayer and are free from all sorts of fear.
tasmad amus tanu-bhrtam aham asiso ‘jna
ayuh sriyam vibhavam aindriyam avirincyat
necchami te vilulitan uruvikramena
kalatmanopanaya mam nija-bhrtya-parsvam
“My dear Lord, now I have complete experience concerning the worldly opulence, mystic power, longevity and other material pleasures enjoyed by all living entities, from Lord Brahma down to the ant. As powerful time, You destroy them all. Therefore, because of my experience, I do not wish to possess them. My dear Lord, I request You to place me in touch with Your pure devotee and let me serve him as a sincere servant.”(SB 7.9.25)
A Vaisnava has Love for all Living Entities
When Nrsimhadeva offered Prahlada mukti, he refused. Why he refused is stated in this prayer,
prayena deva munayah sva-vimukti-kama
maunam caranti vijane na parartha-nisthah
naitan vihaya krpanan vimumuksa eko
nanyam tvad asya saranam bhramato ‘nupasye
“My dear Lord Nrsimhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence [mauna-vrata]. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all these poor fools and rascals. I know that without Krsna consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy. Therefore I wish to bring them back to shelter at Your lotus feet.” (SB 7.9.44)
The munis and sages are only interested in their own deliverance. They go to the Himalayan mountains in search of a solitary place to do sadhana, and there they undergo so many severe austerities and penances. So who thinks of delivering the living entities, the mlecchas and yavanas, those who are in the hellish planet? Western countries mean hellish planets. The sadhu thinks of the suffering conditioned souls and goes there to preach and inculcate Krsna consciousness unto the mlecchas, yavanas, demons. Only a Vaisnava like Prahlada Maharaja. Otherwise no one can do it. A Vaisnava, whose heart is so compassionate, so merciful, he has love for all living entities, even the worms in stool, he thinks of their deliverance.
No Better than a Merchant
There is another prayer in Srimad-Bhagavatam:
tat te ‘rhattama namah stuti-karma-pujah
karma smrtis caranayoh sravanam kathayam
samsevaya tvayi vineti sad-angaya kim
bhaktim janah paramahamsa-gatau labheta
“Therefore, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, the best of all persons to whom prayers are offered, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You because without rendering six kinds of devotional service unto You—offering prayers, dedicating all the results of activities, worshiping You, working on Your behalf, always remembering Your lotus feet and hearing about Your glories—who can achieve that which is meant for the paramahamsas?” (SB 7.9.50)
Then, in Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.10.4 Prahlada Maharaja says:
nanyatha te ‘khila-guro
yas ta asisa asaste
na sa bhrtyah sa vai vanik
“Otherwise, O my Lord, O supreme instructor of the entire world, You are so kind to Your devotee that You could not induce him to do something unbeneficial for him. On the other hand, one who desires some material benefit in exchange for devotional service cannot be Your pure devotee. Indeed, he is no better than a merchant who wants profit in exchange for service.”
He is no better than a merchant, yes, who does business with the Lord— “I give you this thing, you give me this thing.” Then Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.10.6:
aham tv akamas tvad-bhaktas
tvam ca svamy anapasrayah
“O my Lord, I am Your unmotivated servant, and You are my eternal master. There is no need of our being anything other than master and servant. You are naturally my master, and I am naturally Your servant. We have no other relationship.”
The Prayer Everyone Should Offer
Then the next verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam is the only prayer that everyone should offer:
yadi dasyasi me kaman
varams tvam varadarsabha
kamanam hrdy asamroham
bhavatas tu vrne varam
“O my Lord, best of the givers of benediction, if You at all want to bestow a desirable benediction upon me, then I pray from Your Lordship that within the core of my heart there be no material desires.” (SB 7.10.7)
Offer this prayer, and if the Lord grants this boon then material desires will be gone. This is the prayer that all should offer. We have so many lusty desires. Who will root them out? So everybody should offer prayers at the lotus feet of the Lord from the core of the heart. “If You want to give me a boon, please take away all lusty desire so that never at any time, in any condition, under any circumstance will material desires crop up in my heart.” When Nrsimhadeva was ready to give him any boon he desired, Prahlada Maharaja asked for this boon.
Prahlada Asks for One Benediction
Then Prahlada offered the following three prayers:
varam varaya etat te
yad anindat pita me
tvam avidvams teja aisvaram
tvad-bhakte mayi caghavan
tasmat pita me puyeta
durantad dustarad aghat
putas te ‘panga-samdrstas
Prahlada Maharaja said: “O Supreme Lord, because You are so merciful to the fallen souls, I ask You for only one benediction. I know that my father, at the time of his death, had already been purified by Your glance upon him, but because of his ignorance of Your beautiful power and supremacy, he was unnecessarily angry at You, falsely thinking that You were the killer of his brother. Thus he directly blasphemed Your Lordship, the spiritual master of all living beings, and committed heavily sinful activities directed against me, Your devotee. I wish that he be excused for these sinful activities.(SB 7.10.15-17)
Prahlada prays for his father, therefore his father was excused. Then what did the Lord say?
trih-saptabhih pita putah
pitrbhih saha te ’nagha
yat sadho ’sya kule jato
bhavan vai kula-pavanah
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: “My dear Prahlada, O most pure, O great saintly person, your father has been purified, along with twenty-one forefathers in your family. Because you were born in this family, the entire dynasty has been purified.” (SB 7.10.18)
A Son Like Prahlada Maharaja
If a Vaisnava like Prahlada Maharaja takes birth in some family, twenty-one generations will be delivered. If a son becomes a Vaisnava, what he can do! If you want a son, then procreate a son like Prahlada. Otherwise why will you procreate a child? The hogs procreate hundreds of children, and all eat stool. It is nonsense. If you want to have a son, procreate a son like Prahlada, then his father is glorified and his mother is glorified. He is a real father and she is a real mother. Otherwise they are not a real father and mother, rather they are hog and she-hog, only engaged in sexual enjoyment, nothing else. Then you are procreating all nasty bastard children, hog-like children who eat stool. Hogs produce hundreds of children. Why would you produce such children? There is no need of producing children. If you want to marry, then marry and produce a Vaisnava son like Prahlada. Then the father and mother will be glorified. Otherwise it is condemned.
These are some of the many prayers of Prahlada Maharaja. We should offer such prayers to the Supreme Lord. Especially on this auspicious day we should offer these prayers to Jagannatha, who has assumed the Nrsimha form: “Please give me this boon, on this auspicious day of Your appearance, that no material desire, lusty desire will arise in my heart. Please take out these lusty desires from me.”
vaisakhasya caturdasyam-suklayam sri nrkesari-
jatas tad asyam tatpujot-savam kurvita savratam
This verse is in Hari-bhakti-vilasa, Sanatana Gosvami is quoting from the Padma Purana. This is the tithi, day, today, in the month of Vaisakha. This is the 14th day of the bright fortnight, on this auspicious day, tithi, Nrsimhadeva appears. Therefore, on this auspicious tithi all the devotees observe it by fasting and offering prayers to Nrsimhadeva.
Worship of His Devotee is Superior
prahlada-klesa nasayaya hi punya caturdasi
pujayet tatra yatnena hareh prahladam agratah
On this tithi, this day, before offering worship to Nrsimhadeva, first you should offer worship to Prahlada Maharaja, His dear devotee. His devotee should be worshipped first. Worship of His devotee is superior to the direct worship of the Lord. The Lord appeared in order to protect His dear devotee from the persecution of his demoniac father Hiranyakasipu. So first of all we should offer worship to Prahlada, then we offer worship to Nrsimhadeva. This is the process.
It is required that you fast on this day. This is the vrata—fasting. You may take a little prasadam, anukalpa, as on ekadasi. It is mentioned in the Nrsimha Purana that Prahlada Maharaja asked Nrsimhadeva how he could develop bhakti towards Him.In answer Nrsimhadeva said: “In ancient days, in Avanti, there was a brahmana named Vasu Sharma, a pandit. He knew Veda very well. He had a devoted and chaste wife named Sushila who was endowed with all good qualities. She was celebrated for her devotion towards her husband. Vasu Sharma and Sushila gave birth to five sons. Four sons were naturally well behaved, learned, and obedient to their father, but the youngest son named Vasudeva, was an exception.” Nrsimhadeva pointed to Prahlada, “Your name was Vasudeva. You had a bad character and were addicted to associating with prostitutes. One day you quarreled and fought with a prostitute. That night both of you fasted because of quarrelling and fighting. Fortunately, the day that you both fasted was My appearance day. Therefore both of you received the auspicious result of fasting on My appearance day.” Therefore we should fast today. “You were born as the son of Hiranyakasipu, my dear devotee Prahlada, and that prostitute took birth as a heavenly prostitute, an apsara, an angel in a heavenly planet, and she got so much material enjoyment there. After that she became My devotee, and now, you are a very dear devotee of Mine also, though born in a demoniac family. Observing My vrata, Brahma is endowed with creative potency. Brahma observes this vrata, nrsimha-caturdasi-vrata, and Siva also observes this vrata, nrsimha-caturdasi-vrata. Observing this vrata, on My appearance day, Sivaji obtained such strength and potency that he was able to kill the demon Tripurasura. Those who observe My vrata on My appearance day, whatever desire they have, they offer to Me, I immediately grant it to them.”
Never Let Material Desires Arise
Nrsimhadeva is very merciful today so offer this prayer: “Please give me this boon, O all-merciful Nrsimhadeva, on this auspicious day of Your appearance, that not at any time, in any condition, under any circumstance will material desire arise in my heart. Please grant me this boon. I ask only this boon. As I develop pure devotion towards You, please grant me this.” This is the only prayer you offer. All of you should offer this prayer. So much lusty desire you have. Nrsimhadeva is very merciful today so He will definitely grant that boon to you. The Lord is unlimited and His katha is unlimited. I hope all of you develop pure devotion to the Lord, and let all obstacles and inauspiciousness on the path of devotion be annihilated by Lord Nrsimhadeva.
Bhagavan Nrsimhadeva ki jaya!
Bhakta Prahlada Maharaja ki jaya!
Goura-premanande Hari haribol!
Questions & Answers
Devotee 1: Gurudeva, in the Caitanya-caritamrta there is the pastime of cleansing the Gundica-mandira, and that has an analogy of cleansing the heart. So, is there an analogy of the pastimes of Nrsimhadeva killing Hiranyakasipu, for the sadhaka?
Gour Govinda Swami: Yes. Killing Hiranyakasipu means killing demoniac attitude. Yes, that is the analogy.
Devotee 1: All the avataras are within Krsna, so what is the need for a separate meditation on the form of Nrsimhadeva?
Gour Govinda Swami: Because the Nrsimha form specifically kills all demoniac attitudes. Therefore, specifically we offer pranama to Nrsimhadeva. Because we have so many lusty desires. We are not devotees at all, we are really demons. So let Him kill all demoniac attitude in us. And also, the material world means it is full of demons; so much enviousness is here. Demons are envious. Devotees are not envious at all. Nrsimhadeva will kill all these things and make your path of devotion free from inauspiciousness, free from obstacles, yes, free from all these hindrances. He will make it clear, then you can very easily tread the path. This is the special characteristic of Nrsimhadeva, therefore we offer prayer.
Devotee 2: Gurudeva, in today’s class it has been told that Lord Nrsimhadeva first killed the adidaitya Hiranyakasipu. While preaching to Prahlada Maharaja, Lord Nrsimhadeva first stated that in his previous birth, though unconsciously, he remained fasting while quarrelling with the prostitute, because that is the auspicious appearance day of Lord Nrsimhadeva.
Gour Govinda Swami: it was a strange coincidence.
Devotee 2: yes, a strange coincidence, Gurudeva, and that is why he got the benefit and was born as Prahlada Maharaja. So does that mean that Lord Nrsimhadeva had appeared before also?
Gour Govinda Swami: Yes, He is kalpa-avatara, in every kalpa He comes.
Devotee 2: Then, when Hiranyakasipu was called adidaitya, what are the lilas of Lord Nrsimhadeva when He appeared before this?
Gour Govinda Swami: Because in all kalpas the Lord manifests this lila. As the two demons, Jaya and Vijaya come and the Lord appears to kill them. It is in all kalpas, not only one kalpa.
Another point is there also. In the lila of Nrsimhadeva Prahlada Maharaja is His eternal associate. How is it that he was born the younger son of Vasu Sharma and was addicted to a prostitute, and he became Prahlada, who is an eternal associate? This is a most important question. When this lila comes to any universe, Prahlada is there, His eternal associate who takes part in His lila. Otherwise how the lila will be manifested without His devotee? That Prahlada comes as His eternal associate. What is this? This is a most important question and nobody is thinking of this thing. This is mentioned in the Nrsimha Purana, when Nrsimhadeva told this thing, ‘you are this and that and did this and that, what you got, you developed bhakti so you were born as My devotee as the son of Hiranyakasipu.’ That is a fact. This son of Vasu Sharma entered into the body of eternal Prahlada. Because he fasted and did vrata palana, observance of vrata, though unconsciously he did it, by a strange coincidence. . .
Devotee 2: Also, Prahlada Maharaja was existing in that body.
Gour Govinda Swami: Prahlada Maharaja is an external associate.
Devotee 2: and so Prahlada Maharaja entered that body?
Gour Govinda Swami: Yes, entered. That happens. Therefore Raya Ramananda came— three are there in him, not one— Visakha Sakhi, Arjuniya Sakhi, and Arjuna. Three are there.
Devotee 1: How is that possible?
Gour Govinda Swami: Yes, baba. There is nothing impossible for the Lord. He can do and undo things. You cannot conceive of it, therefore it is inconceivable. How can you conceive of it?
Devotee 3: How often does Lord Nrsimhadeva appear.
Gour Govinda Swami: Once in a kalpa.
Devotee 3: Once every kalpa?
Gour Govinda Swami: Yes, every kalpa.
Devotee 3: It doesn’t seem like it would happen in every kalpa considering the reason He appears?
Gour Govinda Swami: Yes! He is kalpa-avatara.
Devotee 4: So every kalpa Hiranyakasipu becomes. . .
Gour Govinda Swami: Yes.
Devotee 3: What about Jaya and Vijaya, are they descending every kalpa in this way?
Gour Govinda Swami: Yes, because how will Lord Rama appear? So in one kalpa, in one Treta the Lord may appear, so rama-lila will appear, so nrsimha-lila will also appear. He is kalpa-avatara, in every kalpa He comes.
Devotee 3: It is inconceivable how . . .
Gour Govinda Swami: yes, it is all inconceivable, we cannot conceive of it with a material mind. How can you conceive of it? The Lord’s lila is inconceivable.
Devotee 4: Does that mean the four Kumaras go to Vaikuntha every kalpa, and first Jaya and Vijaya, every kalpa they are going?
Gour Govinda Swami: Yes, yes, every kalpa. He is kalpa-avatara. Nrsimhadeva is kalpa-avatara like Rama, so these are sad-guna-paravastha-avataras, Rama, Nrsimha. In Laghu-bhagavatamrta, Rupa Gosvami has mentioned this. I quoted. Yes, they are kalpa-avatara.
Devotee 1: How is it that in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, in the stories, the different names of the personalities like Prahlada, Hiranyakasipu, the names have a meaning that fit the story. How is that? Like Hiranyakasipu, demoniac qualities, soft bed, gold.
Gour Govinda Swami: hiranya and kasipu; hiranya means gold; kasipu means soft bed. Yes. That means he wants to enjoy everything here. He thinks he is the enjoyer. Krsna is the only enjoyer. He says, “I am bhagavan. Who is your bhagavan?” The name is Hiranyakasipu.
Devotee 1: and Prahlada, what does that mean?
Gour Govinda Swami: Prahlada, ahlada means gives pleasure to the Lord, that is ahlada, prahladahlada-dayine.