Padmapada, eager to get darshan of Lord Narasimha, performed austere penance, standing on one foot, with fire burning high around the place he stood. A shepherd boy passing by, witnessed Padmapada’s severe austerities, and asked him, ‘Swami, for what purpose are you putting in such painstaking efforts?’ Padmapada replied, ‘I want to get the vision of the Lord Narasimha that has been unavailable to anyone after the Lord appeared for the sake of Prahalada.’ Well! The shepherd had no idea of what Padmapada was saying, and he innocently asked, ‘How does this Narasimha look?’ to which the sage replied, ‘Lion Face, Human body’. The boy assured him, ‘I am going deep into the forest and I will definitely search for the person you want to see’.

Without any expectation, and out of compassion that someone was subjecting himself to austere penance, the shepherd boy diligently sought the Being with ‘Lion Face, Human body’. Overcome by love for this innocence, Narasimha appeared resting under a tree, in the vicinity of that shepherd, who, happy that he had got what he sought, tied Narasimha up with leaves and dragged Him to where Padmapada was in penance.

The amazed Padmapada exclaimed ‘Ah Narasimha! You have come’, to which the Lord replied, ‘I did not present myself to fulfill your foolish ambition, fuelled by your arrogance for accomplishing something that others could not do after Prahalada. Even if you had performed penance for several million years, I would not have manifested Myself. This shepherd boy was looking out for me so selflessly, out of compassion for you, and his innocent love drew Me to him’.

This may be a true story or an analogy to explain that God responds to innocent love only.