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Whenever the earth is plagued by the evil deeds of Asuras, the Holy Trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva jumps to action. In one such dramatic and power-packed myth from Bhagavata Purana, we see Lord Vishnu incarnating himself in the Narasimha avatar. Known for his ferocious stance, Narasimha does everything to protect his ardent believer, Prahlada.
The news was out in the air that Lord Vishnu, in his third avatar, Varaha, had slain the evil asura, Hiranayaksha, who committed the grave sin of kidnapping the Earth goddess. As soon as the demon king, Hiranyakashipu knows about his brother's death, he bursts into flames of rage. This incident then sowed the seeds of hatred in the demon king's mind.
In order to seek revenge, Hiranyakashipu undertook years of penance, invoking Lord Brahma. The demon king was no fool and asked for a very tricky boon from the benevolent God.
According to it, Hiranyakashipu couldn't be killed within or outside any residence. Adding on to the conditions, no Deva, Asura or human could kill him on land or in the sky. Furthermore, no weapon could end him during the daytime or at night.
After receiving this invincible boon, Hiranyakashipu put his revenge plan into action. He ordered all the devotees of Lord Vishnu to be persecuted left and right. But when it came to taming his son, Prahlada, things didn't go as planned.
Prahlada was a firm believer of Lord Vishnu and refused to acknowledge his father as the supreme God of the universe. Numerous assassination conspiracies to kill Prahlada were constantly failing, adding to the frustration of his father. The mystic powers of Lord Vishnu always sheltered his true bhakt.
The situation worsened when Prahlada claimed that Lord Vishnu was omnipresent and all-pervading.
Enraged by this claim, Hiranyakashipu pointed out to the nearest pillar questioning Prahlada if his Lord existed in it or not. Prahalada's positive answer prompted Hiranyakashipu to smash the pillar instantly. Suddenly, the roaring half-lion, the half-human form of Narasimha, appeared on the scene.
This avatar of Lord Vishnu dragged Hiranyakashipu to the threshold of his household in the hours of twilight. He then poised Hiranyakashipu onto his lap, disembowelling the demon with his nails. And that's how Narasimha met all the conditions of Lord Brahma's boon while slaying the evil asura.
On seeing the perpetual anger of Narasimha, Lord Brahma then sent Prahlada to pacify the Lord. This classic myth of victory of good over evil is today immortalised through the celebration of Narasimha Jayanti.
Narasimha Jayanti is observed on the auspicious date of Vaishakha Shukla Chaturdashi. The devotees offer their prayers in the evening hours when Narasimha Deva was believed to have appeared to save Prahlada. Following the rituals of worshipping, devotees break their fast.
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