Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Happy Narasimha Jayanti

Vaishakha Shukla Chaturdashi is celebrated as Narasimha Jayanti. Lord Narasimha was the 4th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. On Narasimha Jayanti day Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Narasimha, a half lion and half man, to kill Demon Hiranyakashipu.

The combination of Vaishakha Shukla Chaturdashi with Swati Nakshatra and weekday Saturday is considered highly auspicious to observer Narasimha Jayanti Vratam.

The rules and guidelines to observer Narasimha Jayanti fasting are similar to those of Ekadashi fasting. Devotees eat only single meal one day before Narasimha Jayanti. All type of grains and cereals are prohibited during Narasimha Jayanti fasting. Parana, which means breaking the fast, is done next day at an appropriate time.

On Narasimha Jayanti day devotees take Sankalp during Madhyana (Hindu afternoon period) and perform Lord Narasimha Pujan during Sanyakal before sunset. It is believed that Lord Narasimha was appeared during sunset while Chaturdashi was prevailing. It is advised to keep night vigil and perform Visarjan Puja next day morning. The fast should be broken on next day after performing Visarjan Puja and giving Dana to Brahmin.

Narasimha Jayanti fast is broken next day after sunrise when Chaturdashi Tithi is over. If Chaturdashi Tithi gets over before sunrise then fast is broken any time after sunrise after finishing Jayanti rituals. If Chaturdashi gets over very late i.e. if Chaturdashi prevails beyond three-fourth of Dinamana then fast can be broken in first half of Dinamana. Dinamana is time window between sunrise and sunset.

Story (Katha)
Hiranyakashyap was the king of the asuras. He ordered his soldiers to punish all those who worship lord Vishnu. To conquer the 3 worlds he began to perform tapasya.At that time the wife of Hiranyakashyap was expecting a child. She moved herself to Sage Narada's ashram. She lived there and learned about religion and the glory of Vishnu from him. The child within her, Prahlad, too, absorbed all this knowledge. Meanwhile, Lord Brahama was pleased with the tapasya of Hiranyakashyap and granted him a boon that he would not die from either man or beast, with a weapon or without a weapon, during day or night, indoors or outdoors, on earth or in the sky. This boon made him invincible.

During that time his wife delivered a boy whose name was Prahlad. As the time progresses Hiranyakashyap noticed that Prahlad devotion toward Lord Vishnu increases day by day. It was all due to effect of learnings during his stay in mother’s womb. When all the attempts to persuade Prahalad failed his father decided to kill him. Hiranyakashyap then got Prahlad thrown amidst venomous snakes. But, biting by the snakes had no effect on Prahlad because his mind was contemplating in Lord Vishnu. Then Hiranyakashyap got Prahlad crushed by big elephants. But even elephants could not harm Prahlad. Instead their tusks were broken as soon as they touched Prahlad. Later he was pushed off a cliff but Prahlad was unharmed.

In another attempt Hiranyakashyap asked his sister,Holika to kill Prahlad.Holika had a magic cloth, on wearing that the fire could not burn her. She took Prahlad in her lap and wore the cloth on her head and jumped in the fire. Then a miracle happen. A strong wind blew which pushed the cloth from holika to Prahlad.Thus Prahlad escapes unhurt.

Ultimately Hiranyakashyap decided to kill Prahlad himself. He tied Prahlad to a pillar and hit the pillar. As soon as he hit the pillar, it broke and Lord appeared from it in Narsimha incarnation. His appearance was extremely scary with half human and half lion form. His look was neither beast nor man. It was the twilight hour, the junction of day and night. He dragged Hiranyakashyap to the threshold. Significally it was neither indoor nor outdoor. He hold Hiranyakashyap in his lap and He killed him with his powerful nails. After the death of Hiranyakashyap, Prahlad continued his lineage. Prahlad had a son, Virochan. Virochan in his turn had Bali as his son. The king Bali was sent to the nether world by Vaaman incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Om Shree Narsimhayeh Namah

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