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Vishnu shodasanama stotram with meanings 11

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  • Vishnu shodasanama stotram with meanings 11

    (11) कानने नारासिम्हं च, Kaanane Naarasimham Cha,
    When alone in the Forest, Think of Narasimha


    सत्यं विधातुं निज-भृत्य भाषितं
    व्याप्तिं च भूतेष्वखिलेषु चात्मनः |
    अदृश्यतात्यद्भुत रूपं उद्वहन्
    स्तम्भे सभायां न मृगं न मानुषं || - श्रीमद्भागवतं
    "To prove the truth in the words spoken by His servant (Prahlada),
    That in all the living beings and in non-living entities exists His Aatma.
    With a wonderful form that had never been sighted before
    He emerged from the Pillar in the assembly hall, neither man nor animal."
    - Srimad Bhaagavatham



    Ardha Yoga Narasimhar - Art by Deepak Saagar
    The meaning of the word Narasimha is very obvious from the above sloka. Even a child would tell that Narasimha means He who is half man (Naraa) and half lion (Simha). In this incarnation, the Lord combines in Him the Lion, which is superior in physical strength, and the human, who is known for his mental prowess, thus showing that for any undertaking to succeed both Karmaa (action) and Jnaana (knowledge) are needed. He was that wonderful incarnation who showed opposite emotions of anger (to Hiranyakashipu) and compassion (to Prahlada) as Swami Desikan describes Him in "विशम विलोचन केसरी ,Vishama Vilochana Kesari".
    Again, from the overview, it is very clear why we should think of Narasimha when we are in the forest. The lion, of course, is the king of the forest and hence the Lord in His Man-Lion form will lead us to safety and peace. However, there is more to it than appears. The story of Narasimha avataara tells us that the Lord appeared from a pillar, thus proving His omnipresence (as in the naama Vishnu). He killed Hiranyakashipu without falsifying any of the boons that were granted to him (That he should neither die on land nor the sky, neither at day nor night, neither inside nor outside, neither by man nor animal, neither by weapons not anything dead or alive). The lord therefore kills him on His lap, at twilight, seated on the door step with His own nails, showing that He would emerge from anywhere, at any time, exactly meeting the requirements of the solution, be it in a palace or the middle of a forest. And most importantly, the specialty of the Narasimha avataara is that unlike the other eight avataaras which were taken to protect various devotees, this avataara was assumed for just one Prahalada. Wasn't it Prahalada's utter belief that caused the lord to come tearing down the pillar? In a similar way, He would come rushing to us even when we are in the midst of nowhere. Yet another possible explanation is given in Shankara's Sri Lakshmi-Nrusimha Karaavalamba Stotram :


    संसार घोर गहने चरतो मुरारे
    मारोग्र भीकर मृग प्रचुरार्दितस्य
    आर्तस्य मत्सर निदाघ सुदुःखितस्य
    लक्ष्मी-नृसिंह मम देहि करावलम्बम्
    "Oh Lord who killed the Asura called Mura,
    I have been traveling in the dark forests of day to day life,
    Where I have been terrified by the lion called desire,
    And scorched by the heat called competition, and so,
    Oh Lakshmi-Nrusimha, Please give me the protection of your hands."


    Here, Shankara pleads Narasimha to help him from the dark forest of Samsaara, where we are lost, blinded by Maya and obsessed with Kaama. It is only through His help that we would ever be able to cross the darkness of Samsaara and see the light of His lotus-feet.
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