இந்த வலைப்பதிவினை தமிழில் படிக்க இங்கே சொடுக்கவும் நன்றி
We have seen in our earlier post , about dasaavathaaram in Vibhavam, one of the five states of Paramathma. In this weblog we will discuss about the glories of Narasimha Avatharam , the fourth incarnation in Dasaavatharam , and the perspectives of Azhwaars on this Narasimha Avathaaram .
Pradosham represents the dusk time when the day and night meets. It happens, twice a month, generally three days before every Full moon day and before every New moon day. Pradosham falling on a Monday, is considered special for Lord Siva and the pradosham falling on a Saturday, is considered special for Lord Vishnu.
All of us, the human beings are expected to lead our life as per what is told in The Vedas to get rid off all our karmas. Brahmam, the Utimate God, who has been creating, protecting and finally granting us the Mukthi, has come down to the earth many times, to demonstrate how to follow the Vedas as the way of life, simply for the benefit of us. These incarnations are called Avathars. Ten of these prominent Avathars of Sri Vishnu or Sriman Narayanan or Paramathmaa or The Brahmam, is grouped and often referred as “Dasaavathaaram”.
The fourth out of the ten incarnations (Dasaavathaaram) of Vishnu, the Universal preserver or protector, is Lord Narasimha, the Man-Lion Avathar. This incarnation took place on the Pradhosham day before the full moon in the Tamil month Vaikaasi, (generally between May 16 to June 15) in star Swathi. Why is this incarnation ? Is it to protect Prahlad or punish the demon Hiranyakashipu ? No. It is not for both. If the intention is to protect Prahlad, He had already done that, when Prahlad was
So this incarnation is only to make the words of Prahlad come true.
In Vishnu Sahasranamam, the holy names of Narasimha come at the beginning, middle and at the end. The 21st and 22nd holy names (Thirunaamams) are “Naarasimha vapu” and “Sreemaan” and from 200 (Amruthyu) to 210(Suraarihaa) the Narasimha avathaaram is reffered. The benefits of incarnations are mentioned from 946 to 970, “Aadhaara nilaya” is mentioned as the 950th holy name. The meaning associated with that is Vishnu is the base or support to those who support this world through their good deeds and who lead their lives as per Vedas, like Prahlad, who is the reason for Narasimha incarnation. Adhi Sankarar, who also wrote the explanation for Vishnu Sahasranaamam, took the last holy name, “sarva praharanaayuda” to refer to Narasimha. He explained that Vishnu as Narasimha capable of converting anything into a weapon used his nails as weapon to kill Hiranyakashipu
Hiranyakashipu, with a hidden and evil wish that he should never die, did penance to Brahma, son of Vishnu and who is mandated with the creation in the Universe. He requested a boon from Brahma that he shall not die or be killed by any of the following conditions
Once his boon was granted, Hiranyakashipu became a tyrant and forced the people to pray to him instead of God. All followed, except his own son, Prahlad, who was a staunch devotee of Vishnu. In fact, Prahlad preached people that they should worship Vishnu or Sriman Narayanan.
Hiranyakashipu tortured Prahlad and tried to even kill him in many ways and Vishnu protected him in every single incident. When Hiranyakashipu asked Prahlad where his God Vishnu was, Prahlad replied that He is everywhere in the Universe. Prahlad said that Vishnu would be there in a pillar or in small dust. (In Tamil Thoonilum iruppar thurumbilum iruppaar) Hiranyakashipu asked whether Vishnu would be there in one of the pillars. Prahlad asserted that he would be there in any of the pillars in the hall. In addition, Prahalad said that He is even present in the words that were put as a question to him, such as “where is He ?” Prahalad continued that there is no place where He is not present. He is inside Prahalad himself, as well as He is inside Hiranyakashipu. (Kamba Ramayanam 6.3.124). Thus Prahalad explained the all pervasive glory of Paramathma to Hiranyyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu hit one of the pillars angrily and Lord Narasimha appeared furiously from the same pillar, with a Lion Head and Human Body, at the Pradosham time, Narasimha sat at the entrance steps placed Hiranyakashipu on His lap , tore him with his finger nails. By doing so, Narasimha made sure that the promises given by Brahma were kept and proved that He is everywhere as asserted by Prahlad.
Narasimha’s anger towards Hiranyakashipu even after killing him did not taper down. Many Devas and other Gods came down to the earth to pacify Narasimha and could not pacify Him. Only, when Mahalakshmi came down, and pacified Sri Narasimha and He started giving His blessings to all of those who assembled there, including Prahlad.
This Avathar represents The Speedy Action of the God and existed for a very short time in this world compared to the other Avathars, like Rama, which had accounted for more than ten thousand years or Krishna, which took place approximately for one hundred years. In Narasimha incarnation, Narasimha appeared as soon as Hiranyakashipu hit the pillar and the purpose of the incarnation fulfilled within a very short time (with the same evening), to demonstrate that this incarnation is a quick and speedy act of Mahavishnu.
This incarnation also portrayed that Vishnu would tolerate all the misdeeds towards Him, but He would not tolerate any such misdeeds towards His devotees. Chakravarthy Thirumagan Rama showed the same in Ramayana and He is called Raghava Simmam and Krishna demonstrated the same in Mahabharatha, He is called Yaadhava Simmam by our Achayaars. Among the three Lions (Simmams), this Lion (Narasimmam) is the first.
One of the greatness of Narasimha incarnation is that He showed kindness in one eye to Prahalad and anger in the other eye towards Hiranyakashipu, at the same time. In fact, He is with three eyes, the right eye being the Sun, the left eye the Moon and in the middle of his forehead is Fire (Agni). Swami Desikan, one of the achaaryars, mentioned in Sanskrit “thapana indu agni nayana”, which means that the Sun, Moon and Fire being the eyes.
Narasimhar has been the daily worshipped God (Aaradhana Moorthy) for many of our Achaaryaars. Kamban, who wrote Ramayanam in Tamil, called Kamba Ramayanam, dedicated one chapter containing about 175 hymns exclusively for Narasimha, called “Narasimha vadhai padalam“meaning ‘the killing by Narasimha”.
Since Perumal/Vishnu/Narasimha killed Hiranyakashipu, father of Prahlad, He gave a boon to Prahlad that He would never kill any of Prahlad’s future generation. As it happened, when Mahabali, Prahlad’s grandson, became arrogant, Perumal took the Vamana incarnation and did not kill Mahabali, but He tamed Mahabali and completed the mission for Vamana Incarnation.
Many Azhwaars have written hymns on Narasimha and some of them refer to Perumal in Archai state and some refer to the Vibhavam state. Let us look at some of these in the following sections.
In the fifth hymn of Muthal Thiruvandhaadhi, Poigai Azhwaar mentioned that Lord Narasimha would come and help us like how He gave Himself to Prahlad by killing his enemy Hiranyakashipu, as Prahlad had been constantly thinking about the holy names of Narasimha. (“kaliyil porunthaathavanai poraal utru irunthaan thirunaamam, enn”.)
Next let us consider the hymn 90 in Muthal Thiruvandhadhi, where Poigai Azhwaar explained the fact that Perumal would tolerate all the misdeeds (apachaarangal) to Him, but would never tolerate even a single misdeed to His devotees. “urathinaal, eer ariyaai nervaliyonaaya iraniyanai, orr ariyaai nee idantha oon” are the words of the azhwaar, which form part of the question in the hymn Later it is answered in Sreevachanabhooshanam, as “Eswaran avatharithu paniya aanai thozhilgal ellaam baagavathapachaaram poraamai endru jeeyyar aruli seivar“, meaning all the actions carried out by Vishnu in all his incarnations are due to the fact that He could not tolerate the misdeeds to His devotees, as explained by Jeeyar.
Similar point to express that He would not tolerate the misdeeds to His devotees is taken up in the hymn 93 of Muthal Thiruvandhadhi, where Azhwaar stated “aeiru elaga vaai maduthathtu ean”.
Booththazhwaar praised that only the holy lotus feet of Narasimha, who tore / killed Hiranyakashipu in his “irandaam Thiruvandhaadhi”, is as sweet as holy nectar the whole earth in the hymn 84. “naram kalantha singamaai keenda thiruvan adiyinaiye amkann maa gnalathu amuthu”.
Peiazhwaar highlighted some of the places as the favourites for Perumal in his Moondraam Thiruvanthaadhi, hymn 31, and he referred Narasimha incarnation for that purpose. In the previous hymn (30), Azhwaar mentioned Thiruparkadal, Kumbakonam, Thiruvenkadam, Azhwaar’s heart (antharyaami) and Thiruvaikuntham or Paramapatham, Vedham , Thirupaadagam, a divyadesam in Kancheepuram, and the nithyasoori Aadhiseshan, the multi headed serpant, which is the bed for Perumal as the favourite places for Perumal. “kadal, Kundanthai, Venkadam, nerntha en sinthai, nirai visumbu, vaaintha marai, Paadagam ananthan” (30).
Peiazhwaar in the 42 hymn of Moondraam Thiruvanthaadhi, reminds us about the anger of Narasimha. “mevi ari uruvamagi Iraniyanathu aagam, theri ugiraal keendaan sinam” Periyavaachanpillai, explains the above as “our aim is not about His Grace, but His anger towards the enemies of His devotees; we should offer our prayers to Him after understanding such of His fury moments“. We can also take this opportunity to refresh ourselves with what Thirumangai Azhwaar told in the Srirangam pathigam “konda seetram onru undu uladharindhu, un adiyanenum vanthu adiyinai adainthen ani pozhil thiruvarangathammaane “, meaning that Azhwaar understood the anger that He had, and Azhwaar keeping that in mind, reached the holy feet of Thiruvarangan.
Peiazhwaar takes Narasimha incarnation as an example to state that Perumal takes all the efforts without any limits, to fulfill the wishes of His devotees and to get rid of the pains of His devotees, purely out of His affection towards His devotees. “setrathum sera Iraniyanai” (Moondram Thiruvanthaathi, 49)
In the hymn 65, Moondram Thiruvandhaadhi, Peiazhwaar states that both Narasimha and Kannan incarnations are one and the same as they are taken by Vishnu or Narayanan or Paramathma. “angarku idar indri anthi pozhuthathu, manga Iraniyanathu aagathai, pongi ari urvamaai pilantha amman avane”. The message in this hymn is that Perumal would not tolerate the hardships to His devotees.
Every Azhwaar has their own specialty and Thirumazhisai Azhwaar is special in his hymns about Antharyaami state, one of the five states of Paramathma. In his Nanmugan Thiruvandhaadhi (4), he explains Paramaathma or Narayana, as one who does not have any equivalents or superior (“veru oruvar illaamai ninraanai“) and who is inside every single thing in this universe (“epporutkum sollaanai“, meaning that the sound of the words that denote every single thing to represent Him). In the next hymn (Naanmugan Thiruvandhaadhi, 5), Thirumazhisai azhwaar, mentions ” thoguthaa varathaanaai, tholaathaan maarvam, vagirtha valai ugir thol maale” meaning that Hiranaykasipu who got many boons and who had unconquered wide chest, was torn by Thirumaal using His long, sharp nails. Azhwaar continued to state that Thirumaal or Narasimha is the one who protects jeevaaathmaas, both at the time of Pralayam or when they were reborn by being their inner soul (antharyaami). Azhwaar further stated that being their antharyami, He helps them to achieve their objectives of their lives. Azhwaar also made sure that we understand that the jeevathmaas included all the devas,(those in celestial world), human beings, all of animals and plants.
In Nanmugan Thiruvanthathi, 18th hymn, Thirumazhisai Azhwaar highlights the glories of Narasimha incarnation, “maaru aaya thaanavanai valugiraal maar irandu kooraaga keeriya kolari”, meaning, Narasimha tore the chest of Hiranyakashipu, who was undefeated in the past, into two parts using His long and sharp nails. The hymn also talked about what Narasimha can provide to His devotees. He can either grace us abode (Moksham, devoid of rebirth) or He can make us take rebirth. The hymn also states that those who serve the devotees of Perumal would get only abode or Moksham, a state of non-rebirth.Thus the hymn concludes by stating that it is better to be a servant to the devotees of Perumal, rather than a devotee to Perumal.
Azhwaars and our poorvacharyaars have a general opinion that the most beautiful incarnation is Narasimha compared to all other incarnations. He is also called as Azhagiyasingar. Thirumazhisaiazhwaar explains the beauty of Narasimha incarnation in the 21st and 22nd hymns of Naanmugan Thiruvanthaathi. Even though Narasimha incarnation took place long before Azhwaar’s time period , Azhwaar explained this as though it was happening in front of azhwaar. Azhwaar appreciated the rage shown by Narasimha to those who carried out misdeeds against His devotees. The major point in the hymn 21 is that the perumal’s rage is much better to His devotees than His usual clam posture. According to this hymn, the beauty of this incarnation is about the fire that is coming out of His large mouth, His big, glittering reddish eyes and His bright and flashy body looking like fire. Azhwaar continued the beauty into the next hymn, Naanmugan Thiruvanthaathi, 22, where he stated “azhagiyaan thaane, ari urvam thaane‘, where Azhwaar advised us to reach out to His holy feet, which are protecting us for very many years.
In the 57th hymn of Thiruchandhaviruthaam, the other Prabhandham by Thirumazhisai azhwaar, Azhwaar is astonished that how could He be called as a rough lion, while He is actually very gentle. “thiranda thol iraniyan sinam kol aagam ondraiyum, irandu kooru seithu ugantha singam enba” meaning that Hiranyakashipu, who had big shoulders, was torn into two parts by Narasimha and He was happy doing that.
In the forty sixth hymn of Thiruvirutham, Swami Namazhwaar sent his heart to Perumal as a messenger. referred to Narasimha, as “pon peyaron thada nenjam keenda piraanaar“, meaning “the Perumal who tore the big chest of Hiranyakashipu”. In this hymn, Azhwaar mentioned that Perumal being the great supporter to His devotees, would easily eliminate all the challenges thrown at His devotees, however big they were. Azhwaar chose his heart as his messenger because only everyone’s heart would know everything about a person’s line of thinking. So Azhwaar decided that his heart would communicate his feelings, exactly to Perumal. Azhwaar concluded the hymn by stating that to his surprise, he found that his heart had not only forgotten about Azhwaar, but also went behind Narasimha being captivated by that incarnation. Such is the charm of Narasimha.
In the thirty fifth hymn of Periya Thiruvandhaadhi, Swami Namazhwaar praised the affection shown by Narasimha to His devotees, as “andru am kai, van pudaiyaal pon peyaron vaai thagarthu maarvidanthaan anbu udaiyan” meaning that in the past, with His beautiful hands, slapped fiercly on the mouth of Hiranyakashipu, which had threatened Prahlad . He tore the chest out of sheer love towards His devotee, Prahlad. Azhwaar continued stating that Perumal was sitting, standing, lying down and wandering, in Azhwaar’s heart without leaving Azhwaar. Perumal kept thinking that He had not done anything to Azhwaar, such was His love towards His devotees.
In the 57th hymn of Periya Thiruvandhaadhi, Azhwaar talked about the currents and extensive flow of blood, which ran into the nearby valleys, from the chest of Hiranyan, when He tore the same. “thazhi ee kondu por avunan thannai, suzhithengum thaazhvidangal patri pulaal vellam” are the words of azhwaar and he concluded the hymn by assuing us that such Perumal would protect us from all the sins.
“Adi Adi agam karainthu isai paadi paadi kanneer malgi, engum naadi naadi narasingaa endru vaadi vaadum is a hymn by Swami Namazhwaar in his Thiruvaaimozhi (2.4.1), where he had assumed himself to be a woman and sung this hymn. Namazhwaar alone had written hymns, where he had assumed himself as three different types of women when he wrote his hymns. One as the sweetheart or partner of Perumal, called Parangusanayaki, the second as the mother of the sweetheart and the third as the friend of the sweetheart. The above hymn is written as Namazhwaar was the mother of Parangusanayaki. In this hymn, the mother said that her daughter was sad after expecting Perumal to appear from somewhere and help her like how He helped Prahlad by appearing out of the pillar, as soon as he called for Narayan.
Namazhwaar explained the reasons for Perumal to punish us, in the hymn “unnai sindhaiyinaal igazhntha Iraniyan agal maarvam keenda, en munnai kolariye” (Thiruvaaimozhi, 2.6.6). “sindhaiyinaal igazhntha” means that ‘wholeheartedly condemned’. Here Azhwaar stated that Perumal initially touched the heart to see whether Hiranyan did all the misdeeds to Prahlad accidentally and not wholeheartedly. Then Perumal opened Hiranyan’s heart and then found that the hatred was existing in the inner heart of Hiranyan that deserved the punishment according to Azhwaar. The meaning of the hymn is that Perumal would never give punishment, without examining completely, even if they show hatred. But when it comes to praising Him, He would never examine whether it is done wholeheartedly or not, as He always wishes to shower His blessings on jeevathmaas like us.
In Thiruvaaimozhi (2.8.9), Namazhwaar, “engum ulan Kannan endra maganai kaainthu, ingu illaiyaal, endru thoon pudaippa, angu appozhuthey avan veeya thondriya, en Singa piraan perumai”, meaning that Prahlad, the son of Hiranyan, said that Kannan was everywhere, and Hiranyan got furious and banged at a particular pillar, and shouted that had He not been there. Before He could complete the sentence, Narasimha incarnation appeared, from the same pillar to prove the words of Prahlad, such was the kindness of Perumal.
In Thiruvaaimozhi (4.8.7), Azhwaar again referred to Narasimha incarnation, as “kilaroliyaal kuraivilla ari uruvaai kilarnthu ezhunthu kilaroliya iraniyanathu agal maarbam kizhinthu ugantha“, meaning Narasimha,bright, without any shortcomings, came out of the pillar thundered and killed Hiranayakashipu by splitting his wide chest and being happy about His act. This hymn was written by Azhwaar, as sung by Parangusanayaki. In the final part of the hymn, Azhwaar beautifully highlighted that Perumal’s holy weapons, like Conch and Discus felt sad that they could not take part in this holy act, as Perumal used His finger nails as the weapon, in this Narasimha Incarnation.
The hymn in Thiruvaaimozhi (7.2.5), “Anthipothu avunan udal idanthaane “, meaning that He killed Hiranyakashipu in the evening, is part of the hymns which were sung in praise of Srirangam Perumal, and these hymns are sung by the mother of Parangusanayaki. These words appreciated Narasimha incarnation of Perumal.
When Parangusanayaki was down with very low motivation, as she could not get what she wanted from Perumal, He elaborated His success stories to motivate Parangusanayaki (and all of us) in a subsection (pathigam consisting of 10 hymns) called Aazhi yezha and the following hymn is the one which highlights the success of Narasimha. “pozhthu melintha pun chekkaril, vaan thisai soozhum ezhunthu uthirap punalaa, malai keezhnthu pilantha singam oththadhaal, appan aazh thuyar seithu asurarai kollumaare” (Thiruvaaimozhi 7.4.6). Azhwaar stated in this hymn that the killing of Hiranyakashipu by Narasimha was like a mountain from the top, crushing another mountain on the bottom. Azhwaar completed the hymn by stating that blood flew all over the places, in all directions including the sky, and such was the pain afflicted by Narasimha to Hiranyan
Perumal’s extraordinary kindness towards His devotees was explained by Azhwaar in Thiruvaaimozhi, where Azhwaar took Narasimha Incarnation to show as a representation. Hiranyan after conducting many yagnas (Yagams) got many boons from those in the celestial world, and thereafter he became powerful and started giving them difficulties. But Narasimha by splitting him into two pieces killed him. Azhwaar wondered whether anyone would choose to read any other thing after hearing about such a glorious history of Perumal. “sella unarnthavar selvan than seer andri karparo, ellai illaatha perum thavathaal, pala sei mirai, allal amarai seiyum Iraniyan aagathai, mallal ari uruvaai seitha maayam arinthume? (Thiruvaaimozhi 7.5.8). Here Azhwaar refered to ‘sella unarnthavar‘, as those who were able to get towards the spiritual experience which was way beyond the normal worldly experience.
In another hymn of Thiruvaaimozhi (7.6.10), Azhwaar highlighted that those jeevathmas who had happily sung and praised Narasimha incarnation, would receive best reception in abode (Srivaikuntham or moksham), as “Pukka ari uruvai avunan udal keendu ugantha, Chakkara selvan thannai” (Thiruvaaimozhi, 7.6.10). Here azhwaar called Him as Chakkara selvan mainly because, our Acharyaars say that the power of Sudharsan Discus was there in the nails of Narasimha. In fact, in every incarnation, the presence and the power of Sudharsana Discuss was seen by our Acharyaars, like the bows of Rama, the canine teeth (of the pig), in Varaha and the axe in Parasurama and the nails in Narasimha.
Azhwaar narrated in one of the hymns of Thiruvaaimozhi, that having shown him that Perumal was simple to approach, He did not come to help azhwaar. “kadutha avunan udal iru pilavaaga kai ugir aanda ven kadale” (Thiruvaaimozhi, 8.1.3) meaning that Hiranyakashipu was very strong and was capable of fighting big wars, and Perumal had torn his body into two pieces using His finger nails and that Perumal is a like a big ocean to us”. Azhwaar continued to state that when Perumal could take such an unforeseen form to fulfill the wishes of a child (Prahlad), why can’t He take any form to bless Azhwaar.
In the hymn 9.4.7 of Thiruvaaimozhi, Azhwaar requested Narasimha that He should fulfill his desire too, like how He fulfilled the wishes of Prahlad. Infact Azhwaar highlighted the urgency with which Perumal appeared in the case of Prahlad, like He appeared as soon as Hiranyan touched the pillar and Azhwaar yearned a similar urgency in his case also. “mirum thaanavan maarbu agalam iru kooraa, nangathaai Narasingam athu aaya urve” (Thiruvaaimozhi 9.4.7).
In Thirupallandu (6), Periyazhwaar glorified Narasimha’s gallantary, by “anthiyam pothil ari uruvaagi ariyai azhithavanai” meaning, that He killed Hiranyakashipu in the evening time, by forming the incarnation.
In his Periyazhwaar Thirumozhi, Azwaar was enjoying the playful acts of Sri Krishna. When he saw His beautiful thighs, Azhwaar invited all others to come and have a dharsan of His holy thighs, in the hymn “marankol iraniyan maarbai mun keendaan, kurangugalai vanthu kaaneere” (Periyazhwaar Thirumozhi, 1.3.5), where Azhwaar referred to Narasimha Incarnation to sing about the beauty of His thighs.
Krishna is the God who protects all of us. Azhwaar found that in the early days of Krishna, and he sang, Kon ariyin urvam kondu avunan udalam kuruthi kuzhambi ezha koor ukiraal kudai vaai” , (Perumal Thirumozhi, 1.6.2) meaning that the body of Hiranyakashipu was torn by the sharp nails of Narasimha, who took a very strong figure and the blood was flowing fiercely. Here azhwaar highlighted the rage of Narasimha.
Babies play by clapping both their hands when they are in cradle and enjoy the sound out of this act and this is called “sappani kottuthal” in Tamil. Azhwaar requested Krishna when he was a baby to do this, by “alanthitta thoonai avan thata aange, valarnthittu vaan ukir singa uruvaai, ulam thottu Hiraniyan onn maarbu akalam, pilanthitta kaikalaal” (Periyazhwaar Thirumozhi 1.7.9) by referring to Narasimha’s hands. The meaning of the above is that Hiranyan pointed a specific pillar and hit that pillar, from where Narasimha grew to a big lion, to reach out towards the sky, and torn the strong and wide chest of Hiranyakashipu with His holy hands.
Periyazhwaar called out to Krishna with many different flowers and he sang a pathigam (subsection) called Poochootal. In (2.7.7), Azhwaar invited Narasimha to have a flower called “kurukathi”, by “idanthittu Iraniyan nenjai iru pilavaaga mun keendaai’ (Periyazhwaar Thirumozhi 2.7.7).
In the fourth ten (Naangaam pathu), when Azhwaar was asked where to search Rama, Azhwaar responded “athirum kazhar poru thol Hiraniyan aagam pilanthu ariyaai, uthiram alaintha kaiyodu irunthavanai kandaar ular” (Periyazhwaar Thirumozhi 4.1.1) meaning that there were people who saw Narasimha, who had blood all over His hands because of splitting the huge body of Hiranyan. The purpose of this response is to bring in the unity of the incarnations.
Periyazhwaar when he sang about Srirangam temple, he explained in detail on how Narasimha killed Hiranyakashipu and how happily He is in Srirangam temple, as He had killed the enemy of Prahlad. “uram patri, Iraniyanai, ugir nuthiyaal olliya marbu uraikka oondri, siram patri, mudi idiya kann pithunga vaai alara thezhithaan koil’. (Periyazhwaar Thirumozhi, 4.9.8). Each and every word speaks a lot about this grand act of Narasimha.
Periazhwaar said that his body was the temple where Narasimha was residing and hence threatened all the diseases to go away from him. In Periyazhwaar Thirumozhi 5.2.5, he sang “Singa Piran avan emman serum thiru koil kandeer” is the way Periyazhwaar highlighted the Antharyaami, one of the five states of Paramathma in himself.
Aandaal mentioned about Narasimha Incarnation indirectly in Thirupaavai, hymn 23 (Mari malai muzhanichil).
In Naachiyaar Thirumozhi (8.5), Aandal mentioned that Narasimha, “oon konda valugiraal IranIyanai udal idanthaan” , meaning that Narasimha who had torn the body of Hiranyakashipu with His sharp and strong nails, is the deity in Thiruvenkadam. If He had plans to return the bangles that He took from Aandal, she was requesting the clouds to inform the deity in Thiruvenkadam that she was suffering mentally due to their separation.
Thirupaanazhwaar, in his prabantham, Amalanaathipiraan, mentioned “Pariyanaagi vandha avunan udal keenda amararku ariya aadhi piraan” (8) meaning that
Azhwaar tells us that the eyes of Narasimha were seen by him in Srirangam and they made Azhwaar crazy.
“Am kan Gnalam anja, angu or aal ariyaai avunan, ponga aagam val ugiraal pozhndha punidhanidam, painganaanai kombu kondu pathimaaiyaal, adikeezh, sem kann aali ittu iranichum singa vel kundrame “ (Periya Thirumozhi 1.7.1)
The meaning of the above hymn is that Narasimha appeared suddenly to this beautiful large world which was terrified to witness the tearing the body of Hiranyakashipu with His sharp nails. He is pure and He is in Singavelkundram, which is called Ahobilam today, where the lions with reddish eyes, submitted the tusks of elephants, when they worshiped Narasimha.
In this subsection (pathigam) containing ten hymns, in Periya Thirumozhi, Thirumangai Azhwaar, explains beautifully and elaborately about Singavelkundram, (Ahobilam), and the nine Narasimhas, called Nava Narasimhas, therein. He explains both the difficulties for the devotees to reach Ahobilam and the glories of Narasimha simultaneously. But today, with the help of Jeeyars of Ahobila Mutt and the administrators of the mutt, it has become much easier to visit and have dharsan at Ahobilam. Following are some of the examples of the words by Thirumangai Azhwaar in this pathigam.
“Mikkaanai maraiaai virindha vilakkai ennul, Pukkaanai puhazh ser poliginra ponmalaiyai, Thakkanai Kadigai thadam Kunrin misai irundha, Akkara kaniyai adaindhuindhu ponene “, Peryia Thirumozhi (8.9.4)
Narasimha is the transcendent one, the body of light Who manifested as the Vedas. He is the Lord in my heart. He is the celebrated resplendent golden mountain. He is benevolent. He is the sweet fruit who resides on the hill of kadigai, which is called Sholingar, the divyadesam about 100 KM from Chennai. I have attained Him and found my elevation.
Palliyil othi vandha siruvan vaayil orr ayira naamam, olliya aagi potha aangu adhanuku ondrum orr poruppilan aagi, pillaiyai seeri vegundu thoon pudaippa pirai yeyiru anal vizhi pezh vaai, thelliya singamaagiya devai thiruvallikeni kandane (Periya Thirumozhi 2.3.8)
Prahladan came from school and offered his prayers to Vishnu by reciting thousands of His names (thirunamams). This irritated his father, Hiraynan, and he could not tolerate the same. He got angry with Prahladan and banged the pillar. From there came out Narasimha, with crescent like teeth, eyes glowing as fireballs and with huge cavelike mouth. Thirumangai Azhwaar, saw this form as Thelliya Singa Perumal, in Thiruvallikeni.
Since Azhwaar called Him as ‘Thelliya Singamaga avatharitha devan’, the Narasimha deity in Thiruvallikeni should be with a Thirunamam, Thelliya Singam. It is incorrect to call Him ‘Thulasingaperumal’.
engane uyvar thaanavar ninainthaal, Iraniyan ilangu poon agalam, pongu venkurudhi ponmalai pilanthu pozhi tharum aruvi othu izhiya, venkan vaal yeyitror velli maa vilangal vinnura kanal vizhithu ezhundhadhu, angane okka ari urvaanaan, arangamaa nagar amarnthaane (Periya Thirumozhi 5.7.5)
Thirumangai Azhwaar sings the above hymn in one of the Thiruvaranga pathigams (subsection). Azhwaar talked about Narasimha incarnation and said He is in Srirangam.
Here Thirumangai Azhwaar describes Narasimha’s posture first, then he describes the intensity of His anger in the whole killing of Hiranyakashipu and then finally he wonders how could the asuras, even if they are from celestial world, could live after seeing such a cruel or horrible punishment of Hiranyan. Narasimha was seen with large, wide eyes like fire balls, with long sharp teeth like a swords, the whole body a very huge silver mountain, touching the sky. Now Azhwaar describes the killing. Hiranyan’s chest with ornaments and jewels was broken and split into two parts. The blood flowing out of his body was hot and flooding like a large waterfall from the Meru mountain. His body was looking like a golden mountain, as he was called as Hiranyan, so Azhwaar called the mountain as golden. Narasimha is white in colour, hence Azhwaar called Him as silver mountain. Thirumangai Azhwaar had mentioned this in his Thirunedunthandagam, “threthai kann valai uruvaai thigazhthaan endrum” (3), meaning that in Krutha Yugam, the incarnations of Paramathma were white in colour like conch.
The above paasuram of Thirumangai Azhwaar on Narasimha as the deity of Srirangam, refreshes our mind on the Jwala Narasimha, one of the nine Narasimhas in Ahobilam and it is a wonderful opportunity for us to melt with the thoughts on Narasimha. We also use this opportunity to recall the basic mantra (moola manthiram) of Narasimha, ‘ukram, veeram, mahavishnum, jwalantham, sarvathomukam, nrusimham, beeshanam, badhram, mruthyum mruthyum namaamyaham”. The meaning of this sloka is “Mahavishnu has Anger, Prowess, Brightness and capable of having His vision around all the directions. He gives a deadly scare to His enemies and is capable of afflicting death to the death itself. I offer my prayers to Him”.
Thirumangai Azhwaar had visited many divya desams and worshipped these Divyadesa Perumals as Narasimha. Those deities have given Azhwaar the dharsan as Narasimhas. He sang many hymns on these divyadesa perumals as Narasimha. Some of these are mentioned below :
Thirumangai Azhwaar in his Prabandham, Siriya Thirumadal, described Narasimha Incarnation as “poraar neduvelon, pon peyaron aagathai, koor aarntha val ugiraal keendu, kudal malai seer aar thiru maarbin mel katti, sem kurudhi sora kidanthaanai kunguma thol kott,i aaraa ezhunthaan ari uru aai’. Here Azhwaar added that Narasimha after killing Hiranyan, took out his intestines and wore as a garland on His chest and the remaining body was hit on His shoulders, which was dressed up with a large quantity of Kungkum paste. (vermilion).
Thirumangai Azhwaar, in Periya Thirumadal, another Prabandham by him, had explained in more detail about Narasimha incarnation. Since Hiranyan had done many atrocities towards His devotee, Prahlad and to those in celestial world, like Indran, who had one thousand eyes, He decided to torture Hiranyan a lot, than to kill Hiranyan as soon as he came out of the pillar, which He could have done with His might and strength. He looked at Hiranyan with His fierce eyes, pulled him by his hair where he had worn a pearl-studded crown, held him on his thighs, and killed him after piercing his chest with His sharp nails and by doing so, He made sure that all the promises / boons that were given to Hiranyan by other gods, were met.
“Aayiram kann mannavan vaanamum, vaanavar tham ponnulagum, thanudaiya thol valiyaal kaikonda thaanavanai, pinoor ari uruvamaagi eri vizhithu, kol navilum vem samathuk kolaadhey, vallaalan, mannum manikunji patri vara eerthu, thanudaiya thaal mel kidaathi, avanudaiya pon agalam valugiraal pozhnthu, pugazh padaitha min ilangum aazhi padai thada kai veeranai (Periya Thirumadal, 99-103).
In our tradition when we say Perumal, it is generally referred to Chakravarthy Thirumagan, Rama. Rama when he was in Ayodhya, He worshiped Ranganatha and therefore it is appropriate to call Ranaganatha Perumal as Periya Perumal (Big Perumal). When Srinivasa Perumal’s wedding took place in Thiruvenkadam, Srinivasa asked the food prepared to be offered to Narasimha in Ahobilam for Nivedanam. Rama when He was in forests looking for Seetha, He prayed to Narasimha with Nrusimha Panchaamrutha Stotram. Since two Perumals, Rama and Srinivasa, worshiped Narasimha, He is called Periya Periya Perumal (Bigger Perumal).
Lord Siva had also done prayers for Narasimha in the slokam called M. It is believed that Narasimha provides blessings to His devotees immediately or very quickly as He had done for Prahlad.
Some of the famous Narasimha Kshetrams in Tamil Nadu are, Thiruvallikeni, Sholingar and the Narasimha sthalams near Villupuram, Parikkal, Poovarasankuppam and Singirikudi, Kaatazhagiya Singar at Srirangam and Yanaamalai near Madurai and Narasimha in Melkote, Karnataka.
We are happy to share a few words from Mukkur Swami with all our due prananams, respects, thanks and regards.
There are many Narasimha Kshethrams in Andhra. Sri Ahobilam, Mangalagiri, Vedhaadhri, Kethavaram, Mattapalli, Vaadapalli, Yadhagirigudda, Sobhanadhri, Simhachalam, Gorugonda, Buttagonda, Sthampathiripuram, Rebala, Pushpagiri, Singaraaya Gonda, Mala Gonda. Among these, the five, Mangalagiri, Vedhadhri, Kethavaram, Mattapalli, Vaadapalli, are on the banks of the holy river Krishna also called Krishnaveni, and known as Pancha Narasimha Kshethrams.
The Narasimhan in Vedhadhri, Yoganandha Narasimhan, has a sword under His belt. He cures all the diseases like a very capable doctor. The Narasimhan in Vaadapalli is called Deepalayan, meaning the one who manages the rhythm of the light. In the altar of this temple, there is absolutely no air and all will sweat for want of breeze. There are two lamps, one at the holy feet of Narasimha and one very close to His nose. The flame of the lamp near His holy feet will be steady and will not move, representing the state of the minds of those who surrendered to His feet, whereas the flame of the other lamp near His nose will be moving here and there representing the troubled minds of the people before entering this temple.
The Lord at Mattapalli, which is in between Vaadapalli and Vedhadhri, is a Swayambhu, meaning that He was there by Himself, who will cure all the troubles in our mind and body. He will cure everything that is bad within us and make us good.
There is a town called Kothaada, on the way from Vijayawaada to Hyderabad. The word Kothada can be spilt as Ko tha tha, meaning who can give everything. If we go for about 40 KM from Kothada, after crossing the Brammananda Vimaanam, where there are many monkeys, the Lord of Mattapalli will be happy to receive us as though “aiya meva tha tha”, meaning “I am the one who can give everything”.
He is residing in the highest of the knowledge (brahma vidhya) and hence He is sitting in this highly secluded and secretive cave. When we can get to Him easily, why should we take all the pains to learn the highest of the knowledge (brahma vidhya), which would teach us on how He will be. We are getting Him easily in this cave temple at Mattapalli, which otherwise would be a very challenging assignment. We get that only because of His blessings. Will that be ever possible, if He did not think about us. He is the only one who is showing Himself to us or who is helping us to have His dharsan.
It is to be noted that this temple is there for many yugams; This place was called as Madupuri in Krutha Yugam; Rathnapuri in Thretha yugam; Ananthapuri in Dwaparayugam; and now in Kaliyugam, it is called Maanruharipuram, which is called as Mattapalli in Telugu. In this holy place, we see the temple amidst the forest, river and mountain. The Kindness of the Lord of Mattapallli is flowing as the river Krishnaveni, which is also referred as river of nectar passionately many times. The glories of this river can never be measured. Even though the Lord is residing in the cave of Mattapalli, He enjoys His presence on the banks of this river. He likes to stroll along the banks of this river, holding the hands of Thayaar. Sometimes, the river Krishnaveni also enters into the cave and enjoys the feeling of His sweet touch. In Mattapalli the sound of Atharvana Vedham is heard. It is felt that the first syllable of A in the sound of Om is the Lakshmi Narasimhan of Mattapalli.
In Mattapalli, the Lord holds Sri Prahalad on his left side of His holy body and this is a living proof to the whole world that He has taken to vow of never letting down any of His true devotees.
His Holy form has to be enjoyed in every detail. His broad forehead, His sharp long eyebrows, the big eyes that could enslave any number of devotees, the sharp and long nose, the lips that are sweetened like honey, the thick moustache, His broad chest. His holy left upper hand is holding the holy Conch which is always making the sound of OM; His holy right upper hand is holding the shining discus; glowing Mahalakshmi’s presence on His holy broad chest; He has both of His holy feet folded in a beautiful sitting posture. All these make Him with a Sweet and Enjoyable Appearance, which called as Madhuraantharupi. This can be experienced and enjoyed during the early morning Thirumanjanam or holy bath. From behind His sitting posture, Aadhi Seshan, is holding his thousands of heads as a roof to this Lord. In this Mattapalli, the Lord is present as a total representation of vedhams and all yagnas (yagams).
We seek your forgiveness as this weblog has become too lengthy. In spite of that, we could have missed many hymns (Paasurams), many divya desams, many more sthothrams . We started this as a small topic, however we were overwhelmed with so much details available on this beautiful, gracious, kind Narasimha Incarnation. We will try to see some other incarnations on a future day. Till then, let us offer our prayers and get the blessings of Narasimha.