Narasimha, aka: Narasiṃha, Nārasiṃha, Nara-simha; 21 Definition(s)


Narasimha means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, 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

Natyashastra (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)
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, 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 (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Narasimha in Purana glossary... « previous · [N] · next »

Narasiṃha (नरसिंह).—See under Avatāra.

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

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

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Vastushastra (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
Vastushastra book cover
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Shilpashastra (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

1) Narasiṃha (नरसिंह) or Narasiṃhāvatāra refers to one the “ten incarnations of Lord Viṣṇu”, as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—The hand gestures for the daśāvatāra in dancing and iconography are similar in some cases and dissimilar in most of the cases. In dance, the Narasiṃha-avatāra is depicted when the left hand assumes siṃhamukha-hasta and the right hand assumes tripatāka-hasta. Another way of representing the narasiṃha avatāra is one in which the dancer standing on one leg holding vardhamāna or recita hastas (nṛtta-hastas). Followed by the vardhamāna there is a sequence of hastas following each hasta. The añjali-hasta is held at the head and the face is turned aside. Then the hands hold patāka-hastas and they are thrown out with a shake to denote valour; the body is then extended forward, denoting puruṣamṛga (half man and half beast). In iconography, the image of Viṣṇu is also depicted as a terrible giant with a lion’s head.

2) Narasiṃha (नरसिंह) is the name of a deity depicted at the  Kallazhagar Temple in  Madurai, which represents a sacred place for the worship of Viṣṇu.—Narasiṃha is found in yogāsana posture with four hands. The upper hands are in kartarīmukha-hasta in which the conch and the discus are held. The lower hands are in dolā-hasta. While representing in dance, Narasiṃha is found seated in nāgabhanda posture with four hands. The upper hands are in kartarīmukha-hasta and the other two hands are in dolā.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Narasimha in Chandas glossary... « previous · [N] · next »

Narasiṃha (नरसिंह), alias Nṛsiṃha Bhāgavata, is the author of the Vṛttaratnārṇava. Narasiṃha is the son of Cinna Veṅkaṭasūri and Vīrammā and disciple of Rāmānandayogīndra. He was also the resident of Vepattur village, presently a village of Tanjavur district of Tamilnadu. The Vṛttaratnārṇava is the lone work to his credit. Narasiṃha himself says the name of his parents, preceptor and place in the colophon of this text, from where it is understood that Narasiṃha was a native of Tamilnadu. Narasiṃha praises the lotus feet of his preceptor, which bestow the puruṣārtha to his disciples. As the milk-ocean brings pleasure to Lord Hari, the text Vṛttaratnārṇava composed by Nṛsiṃha would bring to Lord Hari.

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

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Nārasiṃha (नारसिंह) or Nārasiṃhāgama refers to one of the upāgamas (supplementary scriptures) of the Kāmikāgama which is one of the twenty-eight Siddhāntāgama: a classification of the Śaiva division of Śaivāgamas. The Śaivāgamas represent the wisdom that has come down from lord Śiva, received by Pārvatī and accepted by Viṣṇu. The purpose of revealing upāgamas (eg., Nārasiṃha-āgama) is to explain more elaborately than that of mūlāgamas (eg., Kāmika-āgama) and to include any new idea if not dealt in mūlāgamas.

Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva
Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

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Narasiṃha (नरसिंह) or Nṛsiṃha refers to one of the various Vibhava manifestations according to the Īśvarasaṃhitā 24.265-267.—Accordingly, “Lord Nārasiṃha, of a complexion of heated gold, is to be meditated upon. He is surrounded by the sparks of blazing fire rising from His body. He bears the discus and conch. He has a huge body and is very frightful. He is offering, with both hands resplendent with the rows of nails in His good hand, the supreme position with security to those who lead a regulated life”.

These Vibhavas (eg., Narasiṃha) represent the third of the five-fold manifestation of the Supreme Consciousness the Pāñcarātrins believe in. Note: Nṛsiṃha is represented in several forms in the ancient texts like Viṣṇu-purāṇa and Bhāgavata and also in the Pāñcarātra texts like Hayaśīrṣasaṃhitā, Viṣṇutantra XVII.3b (white in complexion), seated or standing with more weapons, with sixteen hands holding several weapons (Padmasaṃhitā Kriyā XVII.22-41a), with a tail (ĪS IV.74b-75a), with three eyes and a Yogic posture (Pārāśara XV.160); seventy-four idols of various descriptions are mentioned (Vihagendrasaṃhitā IV.7-17a). The Vaikhānasa-āgama classifies Narasiṃha as issuing out of the hill and from the pillar. Sudarśana and Narasiṃha are combined in the same idol.

Source: Isvara Samhita Vol 1

Narasimha (नरसिम्ह) or Narasimhasaṃhitā is the name of a Vaiṣṇava Āgama scripture, classified as a rājasa type of the Muniprokta group of Pāñcarātra Āgamas. The vaiṣṇavāgamas represent one of the three classes of āgamas (traditionally communicated wisdom).—Texts of the Pāñcara Āgamas are divided in to two sects. It is believed that Lord Vāsudeva revealed the first group of texts which are called Divya and the next group is called Muniprokta which are further divided in to three viz. a. Sāttvika. b. Rājasa (eg., Narasimha-saṃhitā). c. Tāmasa.

Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva (pancaratra)
Pancaratra book cover
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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Katha (narrative stories)

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Narasiṃha (नरसिंह) is the name of an ancient king from Pratiṣṭhāna, and the enemy of Vikramāditya: an ancient king from Pāṭaliputra, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 38. Accordingly, “there was in Pāṭaliputra a king named Vikramāditya; he had two cherished friends, the King Hayapati, and the King Gajapati, who had large armies of horses and elephants. And that proud sovereign had a mighty enemy named Narasiṃha, the lord of Pratiṣṭhāna, a king who had a large force of infantry”.

The story of Narasiṃha and Vikramāditya was narrated by Marubhūti in order to demonstrate that “women are generally fickle, but not always, for even courtesans are seen to be rich in good qualities, much more others”, in other words, that “even courtesans are occasionally of noble character and as faithful to kings as their own wives, much more than matrons of high birth”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Narasiṃha, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

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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: Narasiṃha), (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)

Narasiṃha (नरसिंह).—Lord Viṣṇu took the form of Narasiṃha (half lion and half man) to kill Hiranyakasipu (a king who wanted everyone to worship him). Hiranyakasipu was proud that he was superior to all humankind and neither any human nor any animal could kill him. Neither the day nor the night could end his life, nor could either weapons or fate stop his breath. Hence, Viṣṇu took the form of half human and half lion and, on an afternoon, killed Hiranyakasipu with his nails. He tore the king, garlanded himself with his veins, drank his blood, and was still raging in anger. The Devas ran to Śiva and pleaded with him to bring down the anger of  Viṣṇu. Thereupon, Śiva sent Agora Mūrti, the leader of his bhūta-gaṇas, to bring down the anger. However, the bhūta-gaṇas failed to do the given work. Śiva took the ferocious form of a human, bird, and animal body combined. He grew sharp nails, two wings, eight legs, four hands, long tail like that of a lion, nose like that of a Garuḍ a, teeth protruding like that of Kali. This form was very ferocious and it was called the Śarabheśvara form. Lord Śarabheśvara (Sarabheśvar) tried his best for eighteen days to bring down the anger of Lord Viṣṇu, but Śarabheśvara was unable to do so. Finally, when Śarabheśvara held the legs of Narasiṃha and was about to tear him into two pieces Narasiṃha came to his senses, changed into Mahā Viṣṇu, and recited the eighteen ślokas praising Lord Śarabheśvara.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras

India history and geogprahy

1) Narasiṃha I, son of Anaṅgabhīma III (r. 1211 A.D.) is the name of a king mentioned in the “Asankhali plates of Narasiṃha II” (1302 A.D.). Narasiṃha I is the son of Anaṅgabhīma III from the queen Kasturādevī. As a result of the exploits of Narasiṃha I, the waters of the river Gaṅgā became as black as that of the Yamunā owing to the collyrium in the eyes of the Javana or Yavana women of Rāḍhā and Varēndra being washed by their tears and mixed into the waters. This refers to the success of the Gaṅga king against the Muhammadans of Bengal.

2) Narasiṃha II is the name of an ancient king mentioned in the “Alarpur of Narasiṃha II” (1294 A. D.). Narasiṃha II ascended the throne in Śaka 1200 (1278 A.D.).

Source: What is India: Epigraphia Indica volume XXXI (1955-56)

Narasimha I (AD 1238-1264) is the name of a king from the Eastern Ganga Dynasty (AD 1078).—Narasimha I was the famous builder of the Konark temple. The motif of the wheel and horse added to the vimāna that occurs for the first time at Darasuram and Chidambaram in the 12th century AD is the speciality of the temple.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (history)
India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Narasimha in Marathi glossary... « previous · [N] · next »

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.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Narasimha in Sanskrit glossary... « previous · [N] · next »

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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Relevant definitions

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