The Linga Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1951 | 265,005 words | ISBN-10: 812080340X | ISBN-13: 9788120803404

This page describes The Exploits of Nrisimha the Man-lion which is chapter 95 of the English translation of the Linga Purana, traditionally authored by Vyasa in roughly 11,000 Sanskrit verses. It deals with Shaiva pilosophy, the Linga (symbol of Shiva), Cosmology, Yugas, Manvantaras, Creation theories, mythology, Astronomy, Yoga, Geography, Sacred pilgrimage guides (i.e., Tirthas) and Ethics. The Lingapurana is an important text in Shaivism but also contains stories on Vishnu and Brahma.

Chapter 95 - The Exploits of Nṛsiṃha the Man-lion

The sages said:

1. It is heard that Hiraṇyakaśipu the elder brother of Hiraṇyākṣa was formerly killed by Nṛsiṃha. How was he killed by him, kindly tell us.

Sūta said:

2. The son of Hiraṇyakaśipu was known by the name Prahlāda. He was conversant with virtue endowed with truthfulness, asceticism and intelligence.

3-4. Ever since his birth he devoutly worshipped the unchanging omniscient Viṣṇu who is lord of Devas, who is omnipresent, who is the cause of origin of all Devas, who is the primordial Puruṣa, who has the form of Brahman, who is the overlord of Brahmā and who is the cause of creation, sustenance and annihilation.

5-6. The enemy of Devas saw that his son was frequently repeating “O Govinda, Obeisance to Nārāyaṇa.” He observed that his son was devoted to Viṣṇu. The demon of sinful intellect looked at his son as though he would burn, him and said:—“O boy of wicked intellect, you don’t know me the lord of all Daityas as well as Devas.

7-8. O heroic Prahlāda, O my wicked son, I am the cause of agony to the brahmins as well as Devas. Who is Viṣṇu? Who is lotus-born (Brahmā)? Who is Indra, Varuṇa, Vāyu, Soma (Moon), Īśāna or Pāvaka (Fire) to be considered equal to me? Worship me alone with devotion and never the insignificant Nārāyaṇa,

9-12. O Prahlāda, listen to me if you have any desire to be alive.”

Even after hearing the threatening words of Hiraṇyakaśipu, the intelligent boy Prahlāda worshipped Viṣṇu and uttered “O Nārāyaṇa obeisance to you Obeisance to Nārāyaṇa” He taught all the Daitya boys the same excellent Brahmavidyā.

Hiraṇyakaśipu saw that his command had been transgressed by his son, the command that could not be transgressed even by Indra and others. On knowing that his behest had been violated Hiraṇyakaśipu said to Dānavas; “It behoves you to kill this wicked son of mine who is worthy of being put to death in various ways.”

13. Thus ordered by that Daitya of extremely wicked heart, Dānavas hit and struck the undaunted Prahlāda who considered himself a servant of the lord of Devas.

14. O excellent brahmins, what had been evilly perpetrated then by those Asuras on the son of the king of Daityas became futile, thanks to the brilliance of the lord who lies down in the milk ocean.

15- 16. In order to kill Hiraṇyakaśipu who was furious due to his haughtiness, the lord assumed the form of the man-lion and manifested himself there itself. Glancing at the son kindly he hit the father the base Dānava. At the very same moment he split him with his sharp claws.

17. Then, the dispeller of sins killed that Daitya along with his kinsmen. Like a fire of annihilation at the close of yugas he harassed the leading Daitya.

18. O brahmins of good holy rites, the entire universe became terrified due to the terrible roar of Nṛsiṃha. All the worlds beginning with the world of Brahmā trembled.

19-21. On seeing Nṛsiṃha, Devas, Asuras, Nāgas, Siddhas, Sādhyas, Viṣṇu, Brahmā and others left off their courage and strength and went off in different directions in order to protect their lives. When they had gone, the lord Nṛsiṃha who had a thousand shapes, who had all feet and all arms, who had a thousand eyes, whose three eyes were the moon, sun and fire, who was the wielder of Māyā remained there enveloping every thing. The excellent Devas who were stationed on the Lokāloka accompanied by Brahmā, Siddhas, Yama and the Maruts, eulogised him.


22-30. You are the Brahman that is greater than the greatest. You are the greatest of realities. You are the greatest splendour among all luminaries. You are the greatest Atman. You are identical with the universe.

You are gross and subtle; nay the subtlest. You are the auspicious being identical with Śabdabrahman. You are beyond the scope of speech and devoid of support. You are free from Dvandvas (mutually clashing opposites) impediments and calamities.

24. You are the partaker of sacrifices of sacrificers. You are the lord bestowing fruits on those who perform sacrifices. You assume the form of a fish. You are stationed in the universe after assuming the form of a tortoise.[1]

25. You have assumed the forms of the Boar and the lion for saving the kingdom of Devas by killing the lord of Daityas.

26. Under the pretext of the curse of brahmin (i.e. Bhṛgu) you sportingly incarnated on the earth. Nothing is seen as distinctly different from you. You are the whole universe consisting of the mobile and immobile beings.

27. You are Viṣṇu, Rudra, and Brahmā. You are the beginning and the end; O lord, you alone are we.

28. You alone are the universe. O lord, of what avail is mere prattling. O lord, that which is non-dualistic is stationed in manifold ways, due to Māyā.

29-30. How shall we eulogise you? O lord of the paśus! O lord of Devas, how you shine!”

Although the lord was thus eulogised with different hymns, with emotional feelings, O brahmins, the lord did not become calm because he was honouring the species in which he manifested himself (i. e. a lion).

He who reads this hymn pertaining to the Man-lion, or he who ponders over its meaning or he who narrates this to the brahmins, is honoured in the world of Viṣṇu.

31-34. In the meantime, Devas including Indra and Brahmā came to lord Śiva and eulogised him after informing him about the activities of Viṣṇu who assumed the form of a beast (Lion). Then Brahmā and others eulogised Parameśvara. They sought refuge in him who is the great cause, for saving their souls. Accompanied by Devas and extremely afraid, Brahmā eulogised Parameśvara Mahādeva who was staying on the Mandara mountain sporting with Umā and who was served by his Gaṇas, Gandharvas, Siddhas and Apsarses. Brahmā prostrated on the ground and eulogised Parameśvara with words choked in the throat.

Brahmā said:

35. Obeisance unto you the destroyer of death; obeisance unto the wrath of Rudra; obeisance unto Śiva, Rudra; obeisance to you Śiva,[2] Śaṅkara.

36. You are Ugra (Terrible), the retainer of all living beings; you are Śiva (auspicious) unto us; obeisance to Śiva, Śarva, Śaṅkara the dispeller of dejection.

37. Obeisance to Mayaskara,[3] obeisance to Viśva, to Viṣṇu, to Brahmā; obeisance to you the destroyer; obeisance to the lord of Umā.

38. Obeisance to Hiraṇyabāhu (one with golden arms); obeisance to the lord of Hiraṇya (gold); obeisance to Śarva,[4] having all forms; obeisance to Puruṣa.

39. Obeisance unto one devoid of distinction between ‘Sat’ and ‘Asat’; obeisance unto you the cause of ‘mahat’; obeisance to the permanent Being of the form of the universe that is being born.

40. Obeisance unto one born in many ways; obeisance unto the plentiful being; obeisance to Rudra; obeisance to Nīlarudra; to Kadrudra; obeisance to Pracetas.

41. Obeisance to Kāla of dark complexion; obeisance to the destroyer of Kāla; obeisance to lord Mīḍhuṣṭama[5] (bountiful): obeisance to you Śitikaṇṭha (blue-necked).

42. Obeisance to you the great one; to the perpetual destroyer of Daityas; obeisance to Tāra[6] (redeemer) and to Sutāra (the excellent redeemer); obeisance to Tāraṇa (one engaged in redeeming sinners).

43. Obeisance to Harikeśa (one with tawny hair); obeisance to Śambhu the great Ātman; obeisance to you the benefactor of Devas; obeisance to one the benefactor of living beings.

44. Obeisance to the benefactor of Umā, the daughter of Himavān; obeisance to wrath in the form of Rudra; obeisance to Kapardin (one with matted hair). Obeisance to Kalakaṇṭha (the blue-necked).

45. Obeisance to gold-complexioned Maheśa; obeisance to Śrīkaṇṭha; obeisance to one who is smeared with ashes; obeisance to Daṇḍeśvara (lord with the staff or rod of punishment); obeisance to Muṇḍīśvara (lord with skulls).

46. Obeisance to Hrasva (short one); to Dīrgha (long one); obeisance to Vāmana (dwarf), to the terrible trident-bearing lord; obeisance to the fierce being.

47. Obeisance to Bhīma (the terrible), to one of terrible form; obeisance to you interested in terrible activities; obeisance to one, the foremost among the annihilators; obeisance to one who can kill from far.

48. Obeisance to Dhanvin(one with a bow), to Śūlin (the trident-bearing); obeisance to you the Gadin (one with an iron club), to Halin (one with) ploughshare (as weapon), to Cakrin (one with discus), to Varmin (one with coat of mail), to the perpetual destroyer of the activities of Daityas.

49. Obeisance to you, the Sadya, Sadyarūpa, and Sadyojāta; obeisance to you the Vāma, Vāmarūpa,[7] Vāmanetra;

50-51. Obeisance to you the lord with hideous form and shape; obeisance to Puruṣarūpa; to Tatpuruṣa; to the sole Puruṣa;[8] obeisance to the bestower of Puruṣārthas (aims of life); obeisance to the lord, to Parameṣṭhin; obeisance to you, to Īśāna, to Īśvara.

52-54. Obeisance to Brahmā, to one of the form of Brahman; obeisance to you, to Śiva himself.

O Śarva, Viṣṇu the maker of the universe has assumed the form of Nṛsiṃha. For the welfare of the worlds that lord himself has killed Hiraṇyakaśipu with his sharp claws along with many leading Daityas. But being in the leonine form he is harassing the universe.

O lord of Devas, kindly do what should be done in the matter.

55. You are Ugra (fierce); you are the restrainer of all wicked ones; you are our benefactor. Protect us through your bodies of Kālakūṭa, etc. We have sought refuge in you.

56-58. O lord of the universe, your conduct is spotless; we are but tools of your game. Our dissolution and rise depend upon the closing or opening of your eyes. Even when you are wide awake, O lord, we are distressed by Viṣṇu of unmeasured splendour. O Śiva, our destruction cannot happen when you are wide awake. It behoves you to curb and check Nṛsiṃha, for the welfare of the worlds.

Sūta said:

The lord who was thus addressed by them replied smilingly.

59-63. The lord offered them fearlessness saying “I shall kill him.” Indra bowed to the lord along with Devas. Lord Brahmā and Devas returned to their homes. Soon after Mahādeva assumed the form of a Śarabha and approached the haughty Man-lion. The lord in the form of Śarabha took away his life and was worshipped by Devas. From the form of a lion Viṣṇu assumed his original form and went away gradually. The lord too who was thus eulogised by Devas went away.

He who reads or listens to this excellent hymn of Śiva attains his world and rejoices along with him.

Footnotes and references:


The verses 24-25 of this chapter refer to the fish, tortoise, boar and man-lion incarnations of Viṣṇu. For detail, see H.M. under Avatāra, pp. 33-38.


śivāya—mokṣarūpāya Śivatoṣiṇī. of the form of salvation. Cf. “śivam mokṣe sukhe bhadre.”—Viśva.


mayaskarāya—sukhakara [sukhakarāya] Śivatoṣiṇī. the bestower of happiness.


śarvāya—sṛṇāti jagat hinastīti śarvaḥ Śivatoṣiṇī. the destroyer of the universe.


miḍhuṣṭamāya—sarvavarṣaka [sarva-varṣakāya] Śivatoṣiṇī. the best among those who grant wishes.


tārāya—praṇavarūpa [praṇavarūpāya] Śivatoṣiṇī. of the form of praṇava (om).


Vāmarūpaya—sundararūpa [sundararūpāya] Śivatoṣiṇī. of charming features.


puruṣaika-tatpuruṣāya—[puruṣeṣu ekas tatpuruṣaḥ uttamapuruṣa-rūpa ityarthaḥ] Śivatoṣiṇī. the best among men. Cf. “uttamaḥ puruṣas tvanyaḥ paramātmetyudāhṛtaḥ”—Bhagavad Gītā

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