Narasimha, aka: Nara-simha, Narasiṃha, Nārasiṃha; 9 Definition(s)


Narasimha means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism


1) Narasiṃha (नरसिंह).—The avatār of Hari to kill Hiraṇyakaśipu by the nails neither wet nor dry;1 on Brahmā granting the request of Hiraṇyakaśipu, Narasimha was approached by the gods; Narasimha promised to slay him and left for the sabhā of Hiraṇyakaśipu; Prahlāda alone knew Him to be the Lord; all the Asuras attacked him from all sides; finally Narasimha killed him by tearing him with his teeth.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 5. 26-27; 57. 57; 73. 74; Vāyu-purāṇa 67. 66; 97. 73; 98. 73; 111. 72; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 20. 32.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 53. 50. chh. 161, 162 and 163; 285. 6.

2a) Nārasiṃha (नारसिंह).—(also Narasimha and Nṛsimha) the fourteenth among the avatārs of Viṣṇu; the first among the twelve avatārs; vanquished the Asura king with the help of oṅkāra bearing him like a mat-maker tearing the reeds.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 3. 18; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 1. 128; III. 72, 73 and 76; Matsya-purāṇa 22. 17; 47. 42, 46; 161. 37; Vāyu-purāṇa I. 151; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 14. 47; 15. 4.

2b) The image of; with eight hands, with the Asura below vomitting blood.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 259. 2; 260. 31.

2c) The 16th kalpa.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 290. 7.

2d) A tīrtha sacred to the Pitṛs.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 22. 43.

2e) The upapurāṇa of 18,000 verses belonging to the Pādmam.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 53. 60.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

One of the Daśāvatāra (Hands of the Ten Avatars of Vishnu).—Narasiṃha: left hand–Siṃha-mukha, right hand–Tripatāka.

(Source): The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
context information

Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).

Vāstuśāstra (architecture)

Narasiṃha (नरसिंह).—The Narasiṃha rock-cut shrine is rectangular on plan. An elevated square platform projects from the rear wall. This platform has a pādabandha-adhiṣṭhāna and four pillars. In between the pilasters on the rear wall, the main deity is sculpted. This is a seated figure of Kevala Narasiṃha shown in abhayamudra. The left hand is stretched and rests on the knee.

On the two sides of the main deity, sculptures of Sūrya, Candra, Śiva and Brahmā are carved. There are two celestial figures carved near the ears of Narasiṃha, who are identified as Sanaka and Sanandana.

(Source): Shodhganga: Temples of Salem region Up to 1336 AD
Vāstuśāstra book cover
context information

Vāstuśāstra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vastu-shastra) refers to the knowledge of architecture. It is a branch of ancient Indian science dealing with topics such architecture, construction, sculpture and their relation with the cosmic universe.

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

Nārasiṃha (नारसिंह) refers to one of the many varieties of the Śālagrāma (ammonite fossil stones).—The Nārasiṃha stone has a wide opening like an open mouth (ati-vistṛtāsya); tawny-coloured (kapila); a line above the opening and another in the middle of the stone; two cakras; three or five spots inthe lower portion. Śālagrāma stones are very ancient geological specimens, rendered rounded and smooth by water-currents in a great length of time. They (eg., Nārasiṃha stones) are distinguished by the ammonite (śālā, described as “vajra-kīṭa”, “adamantine worms”) which having entered into them for residence, are fossilized in course of time, leaving discus-like marks inside the stone.

(Source): Pratima Kosa Encyclopedia of Indian Iconography - Vol 6
Śilpaśāstra book cover
context information

Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र, shilpa-shastra) represents the ancient Indian science of creative arts such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vāstuśāstra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

General definition (in Hinduism)

1. Avatar of Viṣnu. Narasimha, the half-man/half-lion appeared in the Satya Yuga. The rakshasa (An evil person) Hiranyakashipu, the elder brother of Hiranyaksha, was granted a powerful boon from Brahma, not allowing him to be killed by man or animal, inside or out, day or night, on earth or the stars, with a weapon either living or inanimate. Vishnu descended as an anthropomorphic incarnation, with the body of a man and head and claws of a lion. He then disembowels the rakshasa at the courtyard threshold of his house, at dusk, with his claws, while he lay on his thighs.

2. Narasimha (Sanskrit: नरसिंह; IAST: Narasiṁha), (Tamil: நரசிம்மர்), (Kannada:ನರಸಿಂಹ) Narasingh, Narsingh and Narasingha-in derviative languages is an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu and one of Hinduism's most popular deities, as evidenced in early epics, iconography, and temple and festival worship for over a millennium.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Narasiṃha (नरसिंह) refers to the fourth of ten avatars (daśāvatāra) of Lord Viṣṇu, as described by Vāsudeva in his Vṛttagajendramokṣa verse 107. All the incarnations have been described with their respective contexts in 10 different verses in 10 different metres; Narasiṃha has been described in the Lalitā metre.

(Source): Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature (h)

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

narasiṃha (नरसिंह).—m (S) corruptly naraśā or naraśiṃyā m viṣṇu in his fourth avatāra or descent; the lionheaded man. 2 By meton. A man of valor, eminence &c.

--- OR ---

nārasiṃha (नारसिंह).—&c. Corr. from narasiṃha &c.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

narasiṃha (नरसिंह).—m (corruptly naraśā or naraśiṃyā m) viṣṇu in his fourth avatāra or descent; the lion-headed man. A man of valour, eminence &c.

--- OR ---

nārasiṃha (नारसिंह).—&c. See narasiṃha &c.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Nārasiṃha (नारसिंह).—a. (- f.) Pertaining to Narasimha.

-haḥ 1 An epithet of Viṣṇu.

2) The 16th period of the world (kalpa).

--- OR ---

Narasiṃha (नरसिंह).—'man-lion', Viṣṇu in his fourth incarnation; cf. तव करकमलवरे नखमद्भुतशृङ्गं दलितहिरण्यकशिपुतनुभृङ्गम् । केशव धृत- नरहरिरूप जय जगदीश हरे (tava karakamalavare nakhamadbhutaśṛṅgaṃ dalitahiraṇyakaśiputanubhṛṅgam | keśava dhṛta- naraharirūpa jaya jagadīśa hare) || Gīt.1.

Derivable forms: narasiṃhaḥ (नरसिंहः).

Narasiṃha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms nara and siṃha (सिंह). See also (synonyms): narahari.

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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