The legend of Narasimha Avatar - symbolic of victory of the good over the evil forces!!

 In the Hindu Mythology, if you go to the bottom of the legend and interpolate, a clear and transparent picture will emerge. This is with respect to human psychology, human behavior and morality.  Almost all legends carry a  simple message,  how important for a man  to lead a moral and ethical life, irrespective of his circumstances  and how the all-pervading God or Goddess will  help His or Her true devotees when they are in distress . The gist of most of these stories is:  At last, the good comes out victorious over the evil.
The mythological story of Narasimha Avatar is an interesting one and has a similar Puranic story line. The Hindu God Vishnu took the avatar to put an end to chaos, calamity and religious persecution experienced by his devotees on earth caused by a demonic force and to establish Dharma which is essential for peaceful coexistence. 

Narasimha, (Sanskrit: Naran means man; Simham means lion; “Man-Lion”) one of the 10 avatars (incarnations) of the Hindu god Vishnu, one of the Trinity Gods in the Hindu Pantheon. He is the preceptor and also  protector of his true devotees. If occasion demands, he never fails to give them solace and guard them from troubles. 

The underlying aspect  of  Narasimha is:  He an iconic symbol of intensive resistance to unjust things, hope against odds, triumph of the good over persecution, and evil. He is the annihilator  of any  external evil, and also one's own  enemies inside the  "body - speech, and mind". He is an embodiment of everything that produces  positive energy.
Narasimha, Chennakesava temple.  
 Legend has it that  the demon Hiranyakashipu —twin brother of Hiranyaksha, wanted to avenge Lord Vishnu who killed his  brother  in his previous Avatar (incarnation) as Varaha (boar). Both were Daityas, a clan of Asuras (who were jealous of Devas). To get extraordinary mystical power equal almost to immortality for challenging lord Vishnu, Hiranyakashipu  received a special boon from God Brahma (creator) after a long, strenuous  penance. The gist of his boon was: that "he could not be killed by humans or animals or Devas; from inside or outside, by day or by night and that no weapon or force could harm him either in space or on earth".
God Brhma giving boon to Hiranyakashipu.
Above image: God Brahma, the creator is one of the Trinity gods. He is father of Prajapathis and his consort  is  Saraswati (goddess of wisdom). After prolonged penance, Hiranyakashipu received the boon from Brahma..........................

To Hiranyakshipu lord Vishnu  was his sworn enemy and so, he  troubled Vishnu's devotees. Having got special boons from God Brahma, the demon-king misused his mystical power and  grew cruel and tyrannical. Driven by over confidence,  pride and presumption, he troubled rishis (sages) and Devas (Celestial).
Vishnu as Narasimha. Dolls of India
Vishnu as Narashimha killing the demon.
 Above image: God Vishnu as Narasimha(half-man and lion) kills demon Hiranyakashipu who is on his lap; stone sculpture from Halebidu, Karnataka.............................

Feeling secure, he began to trouble heaven and 
earth. His atrocities that caused untold miseries, having gone far beyond tolerance, Devas sought the help of Vishnu. The demon king  did not spare his own son   Prahlada, an ardent disciple of Vishnu and tried to kill him because he was worshiping Lord Vishnu. One day while  the demon- king  had a heated argument with  his son over Lord Vishnu, he kicked the near-by pillar and asked  his son  whether he could see his God Vishnu in the pillar. Prahlada said, ''He is omnipresent and you can find him in everything" -  in Tamil "Thoonilum erruppar, Thurumbilum erruppar"meaning he is in the pillar and also in the dust. At that point of time Hiranyakashipu was ready to slay his own son who uttered the name of Vishnu - Om Namo Narayana.
Hiranyakasihipu ready to kill his son.
In a jiff, the pillar which the demon kicked cleaved into two and out came a fierce-looking strange form with a human body and a lion's head - 
Narasimha coming out of the pillar to kill the
Narashimha Avatar (neither human nor an animal nor Deva. The time of his appearance was neither late evening nor early night, it was twilight. Narashimha dragged the demon to the outer most entrance of the building, sat right below the entrance (neither indoors nor outdoors) put the Asura right across his lap (neither earth nor space) and tore him apart with his long nails (no weapon was used). That was the end of demon-king Hiranyakashipu. It was the victory of the good over the evil.  Lord Narashimha knew that  it was the only way to kill this fearsome Asura.  The lord took the avatar of a strange creature, chose right time, right place and finally used his long nails and lap.  After killing the demon, Narashima was in an uncontrollable  ferocious mood  and was roaming around the near-by forest aggressively and there was no sign of the lord getting back to his normal mood. At the request of Devas,  Narasimha  was subdued by his consort Lakshmi, taking the form of Senchulaksmi.  According to another version his devotee Prahlada himself subdued him.


01. It is to be borne in mind that Vishnu is widely worshiped as Narasimha and there are countless  Narasimha temples in Peninsular India. 

02. Narasimha iconography is an interesting one and has been around for several centuries. The earliest known iconography of Narasimha is variously dated to between the 2nd and the 4th-century CE,

03. The image of Narasimha is always shown with a lion face, clawed fingers fused with a human body. In some images, he is emerging out of a pillar signifying that he is  in everything and  in everyone (both inanimate and animate things). 

04. At a few temples such as at Ahobilam, Andhra Pradesh, the iconography is more elaborate, and includes nine other icons of Narasimha in various moods
Lakshmi narasimhar
and posture: Prahladavarada: blessing Prahlada; Yogānanda-narasiṃha: serene, peaceful Narasimha teaching yoga; Vira-narasimha: warrior Narasimha and  Malola-narasiṃha: with Lakshmi his wife may be worthy to mention.