Image used with permission.
Basic Description: Vishnu
took the form of Narasimha, which is both man and lion, in order to kill the
evil ruler, Hiranyakashyap. 4th
avatar of Vishnu.
Alternate Names: Narasingh
king Hiranyakashyap was a demonic ruler who was blessed by Brahman. No
man or animal born naturally could kill him. He could not be killed in
the day or in the night or by any weapon. The king was a tyrant and outlawed
worship of any gods. His own son, named Prahlad, was a worshipper of Vishnu.
To turn Prahlad from his ways, the king tried to torture his son. However,
Vishnu protected Prahlad. The king also tried to pursuade his son. One
day he asked his son, "Where is your Vishnu?" Prahlad answered,
"Everywhere." Then the king pointed to a pillar and asked if
Vishnu was in the pillar. Prahlad said he was. So the Hiranyakashyap
kicked the pillar to destroy it, and Vishnu. Vishnu, as Narasimha, came
out of the broken pillar and killed the king. Narasimha was able to kill
Hiranyakashyap because he had not been born normally; he was neither man nor
animal and sprung from a pillar. He did this at twilight which is neither
day nor night.
Other References on the Karma-to-Grace website: Is
there a savior in Hinduism?
The Hindu Pantheon. Los Angeles: Philosophical research society,
Thomas, P. Epics, Myths
and Legends of India. Bombay, India: D. B. Taraporevala Sons &
Co. Private Ltd, 1961.
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