(The following is an excerpt from an informal talk by Srila Sridhara Maharaja given on the occasion of Sri Narasimha Caturdasi on May 24th, 1983)
Today is the advent of Sri Nrsinghadeva. Of course, He is eternal and He is in Vaikuntha, but He came down here on this particular day to relieve Prahlada, His devotee, and save him from trouble. We all look up to Him if there is any obstacles or hindrances on the path of devotion.
“O Lord, You saved Prahlada, so we also file a petition to You to do away with all the obstacles that may come in our way when we try with our small capacity towards the Supreme. Naturally, there may be many difficulties on the path, and You were gracious enough to remove the great difficulties in the case of Prahlada Maharaja, so we also expect hope that You will also remove all the thorns that may fall on our path towards our object of our aspiration – Krsna. In my past history, I must have done many things which will come against me, and the illusory energy in general – that also won’t allow me without clearing the debts incurred in so many previous lives under her control. You are the only savior. If You come to our help, then easily all these things may be banished and we may pass over to our desired end. Be especially gracious on us, Nrsinghadeva. We pray to You to do away with the difficulties that may come in the way of our progress. So, particularly with this idea that my belated capital brings some success by Your grace. I am nothing. So many difficulties are sure to stand in my way. Please protect my progress so that I may reach my goal.”
He generally helps the devotees in that way and with that sort of prayer we are to pass this day and observe fasting. After the advent in the evening, we offer puja and bhoga to Him and then we shall take some anukalpa. That is our arrangement. The sick or those who are too old may take according to the measure of the occasion – some sweet, liquid or a little milk to keep up the body...otherwise fasting.
In the south, Nrsingha temples are found more in number. Andhra-desha is fond of worshiping Nrsinghadeva. There is one temple in Simhacalam, near Waltair, then again in Mangalagiri near Viyayawada and another Nrsinghadeva in Ahobilam. That is in a forest. Once we went there within that forest, near Warangal in Andhra-desha. These three temples are all within the boundary of Andhra. One is near Waltair, one near Vijaywada and Ahobilam is far from Warangal, the nearest city. These three temples of Nrsinghadeva are there.
It is mentioned in Caitanya-caritamrta that Mahaprabhu visited them. Our Guru Maharaja also visited those places and constructed the pada-pitha temple of Mahaprabhu in two places – Mangalagiri and Simhacalam. We were in that party – Vana Maharaja, myself, Madhava Maharaja (who was at that time Hayagriva Brahmacari) and two others. We went on installing the pada-pitha of Mahaprabhu there. About twelve hundred steps in Simhacalam, six hundred steps to Mangalagiri and Ahobilam also. But that was within the forest and rocks, and it was unapproachable. Tigers and other animals are in that forest. Only at daytime one priest comes and offers something in the temple and flies away. That was the position there we saw. Now, I don’t know – that was in the 30's.
ito nrsimhah parato nrsimho yato yato yami yato nrsimhah
bahir nrsimho hrdaye nrsimho nrsimham adim saranam prapadyaye
With this sloka Mahaprabhu climbed up the hill. When we find it is necessary to secure the help of Nrsimhadeva for our benefit, we are to absorb our thoughts wholesale in Him, to remove the difficulties. ‘Here is Nrsingha, there is Nrsingha, Nrsingha is within, Nrsingha is outside, Nrsingha is all-in-all.’ With this spirit we have to approach.
sri nrsingha jaya nrsingha jaya jaya nrsingha
prahladasa jaya padma mukha padma-brngam
You are full of all resources, let victory be with You, then everythong will be peaceful. Jaya, jaya Nrsingha – victory after victory may spontaneously come through Your will, and that will be beneficial for us fallen souls. Prahladesa – You are exclusively sought after by Prahlada Maharaja; his connection we can't severe from you. Jaya Padma-mukha-padma – at the same time we must not forget that You are the object of divine service for Sri Laksmi-devi herself. You have come to take such a hard jungle figure to save Your devotee, but really You are in such a position that Laksmi-devi always serves You with her whole heart and energy. Your position is such, but to save Your devotee, You have come in the figure of a half-jungle animal, half human figure, but we won't forget that Your position is such.
vag-isa yasya vadane laksmir yasya ca vaksasi
yasyaste hrdaye samvit tam nrsimham aham bhaje
Vag-isa means Sarasvati, the goddess of learning. She is residing in Your face. Laksmir yasya ca vaksasi – and Laksmi-devi, the goddess of resources, is always in Your heart. Yasya ca vaksasi yapyaste hrdaye samvit - and within Your heart the seat of real knowledge, real consciousness of the Absolute is there. Samvit means knowledge, the higher consciousness of Your heart. There is consciousness of the Absolute. Even Krsna consciousness is also there. I bow down to You repeatedly. In this way so many hints in praise of Nrsimhadeva we find.
ugro 'py anugra evayam sva-bhaktanam nr-kesari
kesariva svapotanam anyesam ugra vikramah
Ugro 'py anugra evayam - apparently we think Your figure to be a fierce, dreadful form, but really You are very affectionate to the devotee - sva-bhaktanam, anugra. Kesariva sva-potanam – a lioness is fearful to others, but to her own cubs, she is very affectionate. That is Your position.
namas te narasimhaya prahladahlada-dayine
hiranyakasipor vaksah sila-tankanakhalaye
I show my obedience to the Lord who is half-human, half-lion, and whose very appearance and necessity is to please His devotee like Prahlada. For that purpose, to save the devotees, He does not hesitate if necessary to tear up the body of the enemies of the devotee. Hiranyakasipor vaksah sila-tanka-nakhalaye – the enemy of devotion was Hiranyakasipu and his chest was just like stone. But You tore it to pieces – sila-tanka-nakhalaye. In this way we find so many hymns in praise of His grace.
We are devotees, or rather we want to be devotees, so our great need is for the grace of Nrsimhadeva, so that the obstacles will be removed and we can go on smoothly in our way towards our desired Krsna consciousness.