Monday July 23, 2018

Happy Narasimha Jayanti

Narasimha Jayanti is the day when Lord Vishnu appeared in his 4th incarnation in the form of Lord Narasimha, half-lion and half-man, to kill Hiranyakashipu.

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Narasimha Jayanti is celebrated as the day when Lord Vishnu appeared in his 4th incarnation in the form of Lord Narasimha, half-lion and half-man, to kill the demon Hiranyakashipu. Occurring on Chaturdashi, Shukla Paksh in the Hindu month of Vaishakha, in 2016 Narasimha Jayanti falls on May 20.

Lord Narasimha Idol, Wikimedia Commons
Lord Narasimha Idol, Wikimedia Commons

• According to Hindu mythology, in ancient times there was a Sage named Kashyap who had two sons known as Harinyaksha and Hiranyakashipu.

• After Harinyaksha was killed by the 3rd avatar of Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Varaha, his brother Hiranyakashipu sought revenge and undertook severe penances to please Lord Brahma.

Related article: Learn about Parshuraama Jayanti

• When Lord Brahma appeared to Hiranyakashipu and blessed him with a boon, Hiranyakashipu asked for immortality. Lord Brahma refused to grant immortality, then Hiranyakashipu asked for a series of circumstances: that he may not die indoors or outdoors, during day or night, on the ground or the sky, not by any weapon, not by any human nor any animal, not by any living or non-living entity and not by any demigod or demon.

Lord Narasimha depiction in stone, Wikimedia Commons
Lord Narasimha depiction in stone, Wikimedia Commons

• Hiranyakashipu was granted his desire, and empowered, thinking he had no rival, he established his rule on the world, even insisting that his name be offered in prayers.

The atrocities of Hiranyakashipu continued and were turned upon his son Prahalad as well, who was devoted to Lord Vishnu.

• Following multiple attempts to kill Prahalad, by poisoning him, drowning him, trampling him with elephants and having him sit in fire on the lap of Holika his sister who was blessed with a boon preventing her from being burnt by fire, Prahalad survived, his faith in Lord Vishnu intact.

Lord Narasimha appears from Pillar, Wikimedia Commons
Lord Narasimha appears from Pillar, Wikimedia Commons

• One day, Hiranyakashipu faced Prahalad and asked him about his God. Prahalad responded that his God was present everywhere and resided in everything. Hiranyakashipu then asked if his Lord Vishnu was in the pillar at the threshold of his palace. Prahalad answer yes, and an enraged Hiranyakashipu attacked the pillar, from where stepped forth Lord Vishnu in his Narasimha avtar, in the shape of half-lion, half-man.

On the threshold of the palace which was neither indoors nor outdoors, at the time of dusk which was neither day nor night, on his lap which was not the ground nor sky, Lord Narasimha who was neither human nor animal, killed Hiranyakashipu without a weapon using his nails.

Lord Narasimha, also known as Narasimhadeva and as the ‘Great Protector’ is said to defend his devotees in times of need.

Narsimha Jayanti, the day when Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Lord Narasimha, is observed by fasting, prayers, and donations to the poor.

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  • Pritam Go Green

    History depicts the fact that god listens to those who are pure. There is so much divine power in being spiritual. We all should learn a lesson from Bhakt Prahlaad.

  • Archita aggarwal

    Go spiritual,go in the divine power…..

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Shankaracharya: A remarkable genius that Hinduism produced (Book Review)

The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara's philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.

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He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita
He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita.

Title: Adi Shankaracharya: Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker; Author: Pavan K. Varma; Publisher: Tranquebar Press; Pages: 364; Price: Rs 699

This must be one of the greatest tributes ever paid to Shankaracharya, the quintessential “paramarthachintakh”, who wished to search for the ultimate truths behind the mysteries of the universe. His genius lay in building a complete and original philosophical edifice upon the foundational wisdom of the Upanishads.

A gifted writer, Pavan Varma, diplomat-turned-politician and author of several books including one on Lord Krishna, takes us through Shankara’s short but eventful span of life during which, from having been born in what is present-day Kerala, he made unparalleled contributions to Hindu religion that encompassed the entire country. Hinduism has not seen a thinker of his calibre and one with such indefatigable energy, before or since.

Shankara’s real contribution was to cull out a rigorous system of philosophy that was based on the essential thrust of Upanishadic thought but without being constrained by its unstructured presentation and contradictory meanderings.

He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita. He wrote extensive and definitive commentaries on each of them. Of course, the importance he gave to the Mother Goddess, in the form of Shakti or Devi, can be traced to his own attachment to his mother whom he left when he set off, at a young age, in search of a guru and higher learning.

The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara's philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.
Shankara wrote hymns in praise of many deities but his personal preference was the worship of the Mother Goddess.

Against all odds, Shankara created institutions for the preservation and propagation of Vedantic philosophy. He established “mathas” with the specific aim of creating institutions that would develop and project the Advaita doctrine. He spoke against both caste discriminations and social inequality, at a time when large sections of conservative Hindu opinion thought otherwise.

Shankara was both the absolutist Vedantin, uncompromising in his belief in the non-dual Brahman, and a great synthesiser, willing to assimilate within his theoretical canvas several key elements of other schools of philosophy. He revived and restored Hinduism both as a philosophy and a religion that appealed to its followers.

Also Read: Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know

Varma rightly says that it must have required great courage of conviction as well as deep spiritual and philosophical insight for Shankaracharya to build on the insights of the Upanishads a structure of thought, over a millennium ago, that saw the universe and our own lives within it with a clairvoyance that is being so amazingly endorsed by science today. The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara’s philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.

Shankara wrote hymns in praise of many deities but his personal preference was the worship of the Mother Goddess. The added value of the book is that it has, in English, a great deal of Shankara’s writings. Unfortunately, most Hindus today are often largely uninformed about the remarkable philosophical foundations of their religion. They are, the author points out, deliberately choosing the shell for the great treasure that lies within. This is indeed a rich book. (IANS)