Narsingh was so frightening that the young Prahlaad could not face him and look at him. Prahlaad however recognized that it was God who had come in such a terrifying form. His love for God, his bhagati overpowered his fear, and he begged Narsingh to show him his original form.
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Narasimha or Narsingh, as I know him, is the ferocious man-lion attire of Vishnu ji.
He represents some key qualities of God. Here are three.
2. Resides everywhere
3. Protector of loved ones
Narsingh is known for protecting Prahlada, or Bhagat Prahlaad ji, who was still a child when he was brutally tortured (to the brink of death) for several days because he refused to give up his religion ie his knowledge of God.
Hiranyakashipu or Harnakash wanted his son Prahlaad to rule his kingdom and spread the religion of their ancestors. Prahlaad however had been born outside the kingdom, in the home of and taught by, the enlightened, Narad ji.
So here’s a religious father, a man of faith, a spiritual man, who is desperately trying to keep his dying religion alive, and wants Prahlaad to carry forward the flame.
Prahlaad however had made up his mind and had adopted Narad’s religion. And he had become enlightened through Narad’s methodology. So his faith in this religion was quite strong.
However his desperate father could not see his enlightenment, nor was he enlightened himself. In total ignorance, he released several orders to wipe out the gatherings of the rival religion, from his kingdom. He also took many, many steps to convert Prahlaad back to his own faith, the very last desperate attempt of which, was torture and death.
Fast forward to the torture – Prahlaad was given poisons, thrown off cliffs and burned in bonfires. Having survived all methods of execution, made Harnakash very angry. He had broken all ties with his son at this point. He was no longer his son… maybe still 1% left?
This was the final moment, he was going to kill Prahlaad with his own hands.
Prahlaad’s main point was that God is everywhere if one looks for him. Harnakash did not see this but at least was honest about it. Still he was desperate, he really did not want to see his son die so gave him one final chance.
A heated argument took place!
Fast forward to the throne room – He screamed again and again, “where is your God?”. Prahlaad said, “here and here and there, everywhere really”.
He broke everything that Prahlaad pointed towards but Harnakash did not see God.
Now completely fed up by his son’s nonsense and enraged to the point where he had destroyed half his throne room, he pointed one last time.
Harnakash pointed towards one of the giant pillars in the throne room, which was so big it could house a being larger than man. He thought if God is anywhere, he must be in this giant pillar. So he asked, “is your God in this pillar?”
Prahlaad could see that God was there also. So obviously he said, “yes”.
Harnakash broke the pillar…
… and no God appeared. This was the last straw…
“That’s it” Harnakash again screamed and rushed towards Prahlaad to kill him.
A pillar behind Prahlaad exploded and Narsingh burst forth!
He battled with Harnakash and then ripped him apart with his claws, thus liberating him from his human body.
Narsingh was so scary that Prahlaad could not face him and look at him. Prahlaad however recognized that it was God who had come in such a terrifying form. His love for God, his bhagati overpowered his fear, and he begged Narsingh to show him his original form.
After Prahlaad passed all tests and then the final test of fear, Vishnu ji removed his man-lion attire and there he was…