tava kara-kamala-vare nakham adbhuta-śṛṅgam
keśava dhṛta-narahari-rūpa jaya jagadīśa hare (4)
O Jagadīśvara! O Hari! O Keśava! You have assumed the form of Nṛsiṁha, part man and part lion. With the wonderful sharp tips of the nails of Your excellent lotus hands You rip apart the body of Hiraṇyakaśipu just as a bumblebee tears a flower. May You be victorious!
Srila Gurudeva’s Commentary from Sri Gita Govinda:
Here Śrī Jayadeva has praised Bhagavān in the form of Nṛsiṁha-avatāra. Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa is distressed by the sorrow of others. He can accept any difficulty for Himself, but He cannot tolerate the suffering of others. Hiraṇyakaśipu, the son of Diti, committed atrocities against his own son, the great devotee Prahlāda. Therefore, Bhagavān, in the form of Nṛsiṁha, protected Prahlāda Mahārāja by tearing apart the chest of that powerful demon with His nails.
O Keśava! You have assumed a form which is part man and part lion. The extremely sharp nails of Your excellent lotus hands are like the tips of the best of lotus flowers. Those nails inspire wonder because they also resemble the pinnacles of a mountain. The specific significance of Your nails being like the tips of lotus flowers is that bumblebees tear apart the tips of other lotus flowers but the tips of Your lotus hands have torn apart the bee-like body of the demon Hiraṇyakaśipu. This is an example of virodhābhāsa alaṅkāra, reverse analogy. Rūpaka alaṅkāra has been employed by comparing the demon with a bumblebee to convey his blackness. In the Viśvakoṣa Sanskrit dictionary, the word śṛṅga can refer to a musical horn, excellence or the extreme tip. Śrī Nṛsiṁha is considered to be the presiding deity of vātsalya-rasa, parental affection.
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Sri Radha-Kunja Commentary
durdaiva sevaka jadi jaya anya sthana
sei prabhu dhanya tule ane diya
That Lord is glorious who pulls back His sevaka who has left Him and gone far away.
Mahaprabhu said: “My sevaka Kala-Krsnadasa left Me and went to the gypsies. I will go and bring him back.”
Mahaprabhu went and took Kala-Krsnadasa back from the gypsy girls by force, and then later sent him to take care of his mother in Navadvipa-dhama. He knew that he would become qualified by the vatsalya love of mother Saci, and then he could stay with Him with love and not be attracted towards maya.
So, the Lord was very sad to see His dear sevakas Jaya and Vijaya arrested by the curse of the four kumaras. And because Jaya and Vijaya were suffering so much, they began to disturb all others. Those who are happy do not torment others, but those who are always disturbed will try their best to disturb others. Because Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa were suffering so much, they tormented jivas all over the universe.
Lord Nrsimhadeva appeared to remove the pain and suffering of Hiranyakasipu in his separation from the Lord. The Lord’s nails on His lotus-like hands are very sharp, like swords. To pierce through the curse and anarthas, the Lord’s sharp nails were necessary. His hands are very sweet, very soft and merciful, like a beautiful lotus. But His nails are very sharp to destroy anarthas.
Guru-pada-padma and Bhagavan are not dangerous and ferocious, but what could be done here? If there is a big boil, the pus and bad blood must be removed. Just externally treating the boil will not cure it and release the poison, and free one from pain.
Nrsimhadeva took Hiranyakasipu on His lap, and seeing all the anarthas and poison that had covered his true nature, He lovingly performed surgery on His dear devotee.
When the Lord desired to give a boon to Prahlada Maharaja, Prahlada asked the Lord, “Please liberate my father.”
“Don’t be worried, he has already been liberated. Indeed, 21 generations of your family have been liberated.”
Hiranyakasipu performed tapasya for 60,000 years. The curse was disturbing him, so he performed tapasya. When sadhus curse someone, this has great power. It will always disturb one. But still, it engaged him in tapasya.
Kesava took the form of a half-man half-lion—Narahari. He thought, “I am Lord Hari. I cannot remove the curse of sadhus directly.” So therefore He became Narahari, half-man, half-lion. Why did He come in these two svarupas together? Sakti and saktiman are non-different. They came together. Before coming, They sent Prahlada, saying, “Go and help him. By meeting with you, he will give you his anarthas. He will chastise you and try to kill you in so many ways. In this way, he will take out his anarthas upon you. You can accept these. Sadhus cursed him, so sadhus can remove the curse. When a thorn is in the foot, it can be removed by another thorn.”
The Lord sent Prahlada to help Hiranyakasipu. Hiranyakasipu vented all his anger and the disturbance that came from the curse upon Prahlada, and then finally Nrsimhadeva appeared and freed him from that body, made by the curse of the four kumaras.
They took birth three more times, and then appeared in Gaura-mandala, as Jagai-Madhai. They were ready to kill Nityananda Prabhu and Haridas Thakura when they met them and were implored to take to the holy names. Still, there was some trace of the curse of the four kumaras upon them. Before, Haridasa Thakura was not afraid when he was beaten in the 22 marketplaces, but when Jagai-Madhai chased him, he ran away. Was he afraid? He thought, “Before, for a slight mistake, they lost four lives and were away from the Lord for so long. If they beat the devotees now, they will lose so much more time because the Lord will be very upset with them.” By Nityananda Prabhu’s mercy, Jagai and Madhai were finally delivered and regained their service.
We pray to Nrsimhadeva to remove our hidden and deeply ingrained anarthas. When we commit vaisnava-aparadha, dhama-aparadha, nama-aparadha, seva-aparadha, and so forth, it makes us very hard, like stones. So we pray to Nrsimhadeva, who is very powerful, that He will cut through our stone-like anarthas.
A bumblebee scratches and breaks flowers and takes their nectar, similarly, Lord Nrsimhadeva cuts through anarthas, and accepts the nectar of the love of the jivas. Nrsimhadeva presides over vatsalya-rasa, parental affection. So we should not think He was cruel spirited. He had so much affection for Jaya and Vijaya, in the forms of Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu.
The Lord not only removed the anarthas of Hiranyakasipu, He also gave him love and affection. He said, “I am yours. I have not forgotten you. You are also mine. You yourself do not understand this now. But I am always yours, and have come to save you.”
The four kumaras gave a curse collectively, therefore four lives were lost away from the Lord.
The maha-bhagavata Prahlada came and first removed many of Hiranyakasipu’s anarthas, but there was still something remaining, so Lord Nrsimhadeva came and destroyed this.
Why does Jayadeva Gosvami say tanu-brngam? A bumblebee has very sharp teeth. He goes to the soft lotus to drink nectar, and drinking the nectar, becomes intoxicated and falls asleep in the lotus. The lotus covers over him when it closes at night, and in the morning, the bumblebee wakes, and sees his body is covered in pollen and is very soft and fragrant. The bumblebee does not break the lotus when he is intoxicated, even though it is very soft and gentle and he is very strong. Hiranyakasipu lost all his power in the loving lap of Lord Nrsimhadeva. If we are near Guru and Vaisnavas, our lives will be very sweet and cool.
Srila Svami Prabhupada began the practice of chanting the nrsimha-prayers all over the world, in all his centers. He taught this and had all his disciples follow this.
I once asked Gurudeva why we don’t daily perform nrsimha-prayers in our temples, when they do it in the ISKCON temples.
Gurudeva said, “Many people are here who are not real sadhus. They don’t even offer vancha-kalpa pranamas and respect to other devotees. If I tell them to chant nrsimha-prayers every day, they will only fight. I follow Siva-ratri, and so many became against me. Even when I am following and not taking grains, they do not follow, and cook separately for themselves. I follow Radharani and chant “Radhe Radhe,” and they all become against. What can I do for the conditioned souls? If I were to tell them to chant Nrsimha-prayers, they would say, ‘oh, you are starting new, new things!’ But Gurudeva said, ‘You should follow this and don’t worry about others.’ ”
Srila Svami Prabhupada taught, “Those who take shelter of Nrsimhadeva and pray to Him, will be cured of their anarthas, and all hardness that has developed over millions of lives will be destroyed. Then bhakti will be very easy to follow. He is bhakti-vighna-vinasana-kari-
We therefore pray:
namaste narasimhaya prahlada ahlada dayine
hiranyakasipu vaksaha sila tanka nakalaye
vag isa yasya vadane laksmir yasya ca vaksasi
Our own anarthas and past karma creates so many problems for us in life. There are many Hiranyakasipu demons, not only one. They try to control us and make us their slaves. Everyone wants to control us. From childhood, our parents control us. Then our friends control us. Afterwards, our husbands or wives control us, and finally, our children control us. Gurudeva said, “If there is a bogus guru, his disciples will control him.”
There was a guru in Odisha, who gave diksa to many disciples. But the disciples said, “My guru is bad.” They kicked out their guru and took over his position. In Kali-yuga, everyone tries to control others.
But Nrsimhadeva is very powerful. If any disturbance comes in bhakti, Nrsimhadeva will protect you.
In Mayapura, when Prabhupada was developing his center there, so many people were attacking and disturbing the temple—they stole the Deities and fought so much—but once Lord Narasimha came there and was worshipped, and all the Nrsimha-prayers were chanted daily, nothing could disturb the temple.
Once, in the late 1970’s, with Srila Gurudeva, during Nrsimha–caturdasi in Devananda Gaudiya Matha, a huge storm came in the evening, after we had been performing kirtana and programs, and fasting the whole day. It was such a huge storm, and all around our temple, everything was destroyed. The buildings and trees were all blown over. We were incessantly chanting the Nrsimha-prayers and stutis, and although everything around was destroyed, still, nothing happened to our temple.
My Guru Maharaja, Pujyapada Trivikrama Maharaja, and our Srila Gurudeva came out and saw the condition. They prayed to Lord Nrsimhadeva and everyone was safe.
In our Sri Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha, during the 2005 Navadvipa-parikrama, the huge pandal fell down during the storm, by Lord Nrsimhadeva’s protection, no one was harmed. Srila Gurudeva prayed to Nrsimhadeva, and He protected everyone.
Jayadeva Gosvami teaches that Nrsimhadeva has vatsalya, parental affection for His sevakas and devotees. He will run and come anywhere the devotees are disturbed. Therefore, we pray to Nrsimhadeva even before Guru-puja. We perform Nrsimha-prayers even before mangala-arati. By His mercy, we can understand the svarupa of Guru and Vaisnavas. You then won’t think Gurudeva is an ordinary man or person. You will understand his real form and nature. Without Nrsimhadeva we cannot remove our anarthas, and we will not be able to properly respect and understand Gurudeva.