The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes the rise of nrisimha which is chapter 174 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the one hundred seventy-fourth chapter of the Uttara-Khanda (Concluding Section) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 174 - The Rise of Nṛsiṃha

Mahādeva said:

1-4. O goddess, listen to a vow difficult to be had in the three worlds, having heard about which men are free from sins like the murder of a brāhmaṇa. The becoming visible of the self-manifested one is for the happiness of the devotees. A day or a group of days has become meritorious. O goddess, he, by uttering whose name a man gets eternal salvation, is the highest soul, and the cause of causes. He is the universal soul; has the form of the universe; the revered one is the lord of all. That Nṛsiṃha, the noble one, who has held twelve suns, has become manifest with a desire for the good of (his) devotees.

Pārvatī said:

5. O best god, innumerable incarnations are enumerated. O master, O lord of the universe, tell me about the greatest abode called Nṛsiṃha, by merely knowing which one would obtain a world (full) of happiness.

Mahādeva said:

6-7. Prahlāda, the best among the wise, spoke (these) words to the best one who had killed his father, and who, after killing Hiraṇyakaśipu, was seated comfortably, and on the lap of whom, the god of gods and the lord of world, Prahlāda was seated.

Prahlāda said:

8-9. Salutation to you, O revered Viṣṇuhaving the wonderful form of Nṛsiṃha. O greatest god, I am your devotee; and am really asking you. O lord, in me unbroken devotion is produced in many ways. Tell me, O lord, how (i.e. why) I have become dear to you. (Tell me) its cause.

Nṛsiṃha said:

10-13a. O very wise one, I shall tell it to you. Listen with a concentrated mind, the cause of your devotion and of your being dear (to me). In olden times you were born (as the son) of a brāhmaṇa. You did not study. You, Vasudeva by name, were addicted to prostitutes. Greedy for the company of prostitutes, you enjoyed honey and ghee, and did not do any good deed in that existence. Due to the power of my vow, devotion (for me) in you was produced, O sinless one.

Prahlāda said:

13b-14. O lord of gods, tell me in detail, what was the vow and of whose son? What bad deeds did I, addicted to a prostitute, do? Favouring me, now tell all that (to me).

Nṛsiṃha said:

15-27. Formerly Brahma observed this excellent (vow) for the sake of creation. Due to the power of my vow he created the mobile and the immobile. God (Śiva) observed this vow for killing Tripura. Due to the power of this vow Tripura was knocked down. Many other ancient deities, sages, and very wise kings practised this excellent vow. Due to the efficacy of this vow all got success. They became dear to me. Having enjoyed many pleasures in heaven, they merged in me. O Prahlāda, enter me: since for (some) mission you had a form separate from my body. Even after hundreds of kalpas, they will not be reborn. A poor man obtains wealth like that of a rich man. One desiring an object will get it; one desiring a kingdom will obtain an excellent kingdom; one desiring a (long) life will get it (as long) as that of Śiva. It makes women free from widowhood; gives sons and prosperity. It brings about wealth, grains, and destroys grief. To those women or men who practise this excellent vow I give happiness, and the fruit of enjoyment and salvation. What is the use of talking much about the fruit of this vow? Neither I nor Śaṅkara is able to tell the fruit of my vow.

Prahlāda said:

O revered one, by your favour I have heard (about) this excellent vow; have heard about the fruit of this vow. Now I desire to hear about the cause of my devotion for you, and the excellent manner of this vow. O lord, in which month and on what day would it take place? O god, please tell it in detail, (tell also about) the manner, having performed in which, one would obtain its fruit.

Nṛsiṃha said:

28-33. O child Prahlāda, listen attentively to the vow. One should observe it on the Caturdaśī of the bright half of Vaiśākha. It should be observed with my manifestation, giving me pleasure. O son, listen to my becoming visible for the happiness of my devotees. For (some) other reason, this pure holy place, destroying sins and known as Maulistāna, came up in the Western direction. In that holy place (lived) a well-known brāhmaṇa, master of the Vedas, Hārīta by name, and highly devoted to knowledge and meditation. O lord, his wife was very meritorious and always of virtuous nature. Her name was Lilāvatī and she was always under the control of her husband. O son, for a long time they practised a severe vow. Surely twenty-one yugas passed (while they were practising penance). Then at that holy place the lord appeared in person before the two.

Nṛsiṃha said:

34-46. O brāhmaṇa, I shall undoubtedly give you whatever you desire.

Then the two said to him: “If a boon is to be given to me, then let a son like you be (born) to me now only. “O son”, I had then said, “I am certainly your son. But as I am eternal, I shall not remain in the womb. I am the Creator of all beings; I am actually the Supreme Spirit, and greater than the great; since I am eternal, I shall not stay in the womb.” Then Hārīta said: “Let it certainly be so.” Since then I have stayed at (this) holy place for my devotee. The best devotee, after coming here, should see me. I shall always destroy his entire suffering. And for this reason to those best men who observe this vow in the proper manner, there is no fear. A man who meditates on and worships him in a child’s form especially along with the two, at night, would become Viṣṇu. He should always worship him, having four arms, large fangs, of the nature of Death, and unassailable, resembling a crore of suns, and unconquerable for a crore of Yamas; (he should always worship him who has a face like that of a lion, and has the body of a man, who is Nṛsiṃha, a divine lion, and of the nature of Death. Knowing this in particular, he would go to my place, and would observe the vow which is very pure, which gives a large mass of wealth, which undoubtedly gives the devotees salvation in the end, and which, being practised gives the fruit of a thousand Dvādaśī (vows). My vow should be observed on a Saturday when the Sun is in conjunction with the Svātī constellation, when there is the siddhiyoga[1] of Planets and in a division of the day[2] (a karaṇa) known as Vaṇija. Knowing that this my day destroys crores of Hatyās, is associated with all auspicious conjunctions of stars, destroys sins (he should observe the vow). He who would pass my day (without the vow) is a sinner.

47-61. He who does not observe it goes to hell (and lives there) as long as the Moon and the Sun are (in the sky). When the day of (i.e. sacred to) me has arrived, O child, my devotee, after brushing his teeth and having subdued his senses, should (declare) before me the intention to observe this vow: “Today I shall practise your vow. Make it free from difficulties.” He who observes the vow should not talk wicked words etc. Then at mid-day, with the accompaniment of a Vedic hymn, the wise one should bathe in pure water in a river etc., at home or in a natural pond or an auspicious lake. For the appeasement of all sins, he should bathe in the proper manner (after smearing his body) with clay, cowdung and dhātrī-fruit, so also with sesamum seeds. After putting on two auspicious garments, he should begin the daily rite. Then having smeared his house, he should draw an auspicious octagon. Having placed on it a pitcher with jewels, he should put on it a vessel full of rice. Then having fashioned, according to his (financial) capacity, my golden image along with that of Lakṣmī, he should install them there. Then having bathed them with (the collection of five sweet things called) pañcāmṛta[3], he should invite a brāhmaṇa preceptor, not very greedy, and knowing the holy texts; keeping him in front (i.e. in his presence) he should worship the deity. He should erect there a pavilion adorned with bunches of flowers. And with flowers of the season, I should be worshipped in the proper manner. Then I should be worshipped in the sixteen ways of doing homage to a deity, with hymns and restraints. Then I should be especially worshipped with the Purāṇic hymns. He who would then offer sandal with camphor, mixed with thick saffron and flowers of the seasons, so also Tulasī-leaves to Nṛsiṃha, becomes free. There is no doubt about this. He should offer incense of kṛṣṇa agaru, always dear to Viṣṇu, to the preceptor and to Viṣṇu for accomplishing all his desired objects. A great lamp, destroying the darkness of ignorance should be offered. Then he should wave the great light with the sound of bells. “O lord of Lakṣmī, I am offering you eatables, sugar along with articles of food and meal. Destroy all (my) sins.” This is the hymn for offering of eatables:

62-73. “O Nṛsiṃha, Acyuta, Deveśa, on this auspicious day of your birth, I, giving up all enjoyments, will observe a fast. O lord, be pleased with that. Keep away (from me) a sinful existence.” With the sounds of songs and musical instruments, he should keep awake during the night. Everyday a Purāṇa containing stories about Śrī Nṛsiṃha should be read. Then, in the morning after having bathed he should, gratifying me, worship me in the manner told before. With his mind steady, he should make an offering to Viṣṇu before me. Then gifts, to be told hereafter, should be given to worthy brāhmaṇas for winning (i.e. enjoying) both the worlds. The golden (image of) the deity pleases me. He (also) gives a cow, land, sesamum-seeds, gold etc. to a brāhmaṇa. A bed along with a mattress filled with cotton and with seven (kinds of) grains should be given. Other (articles) also should be given to his capacity. He should not indulge in dishonesty with regard to wealth, with the desire for the fruit as mentioned (before). Then he should feed brāhmaṇas, and give them good presents. Even the poor should observe (this vow) according to their capacity. All the castes are entitled to (observing) my vow. It should be especially observed by my devotees highly devoted to me. Then (follows) the hymn containing the prayer: “O lord of gods, emancipate from the painful ocean of the mundane existence those men who are born in my family and also those men who will be born therein. O you lord of the world lying on Śeṣa, give the support of your hand to me who am plunged in the ocean of sins, overcome by diseases and beings moving in water, and who am in a great misery. O lord of gods, by means of this vow, give me enjoyment and salvation.”

74-97. Having thus appealed to the deity, and having dismissed the deity in the proper manner, he should offer all the presents etc. to the preceptor. Having pleased the brāhmaṇas with presents etc. he should dismiss them. Engaged in meditation upon me, he should eat with his relatives. He who, though poor, certainly fasts (on) the Caturdaśī, certainly gets freed from sin committed during (the previous) seven existences. He who would devoutly listen to (the account of) this vow, would remove the sin (even) of the murder of a brāhmaṇa by merely hearing it. A man who would narrate this pure, great secret, would obtain all his desired objects. That is always the fruit of this vow. He who, according to his capacity, observes this vow at the time called madhyāhna (mid-day) and would, with great devotion, worship Līlāvatī along with the sage (Hārīta) and Śrī Nṛsiṃha also, would obtain eternal salvation. He who, having gone to that holy place, would worship Śrī Nṛsiṃha, obtains his desired fruit due to the grace of Śrī Nṛsiṃha. “O Śrī Nṛsiṃha, O you of a great form, O you unconquerable for a crore of Deaths, O Bhairaveśa, O Hara, O you destroyer of misery, O you of the form of a child, salutation to you. Salutation to Śrī Nṛsiṃha of the form of a child, and to the child, to the all-pervading, to Sunanda, to him manifesting his own form, of the nature of all beings, to the lord of all, of the nature of the heaven. Salutation to you, O ocean of pity, dwelling in the orb of the Sun, of the form of twenty-four, and of terrible fire at the time of the deluge, to Nṛsiṃha, fully of the form of the world. That god Nṛsiṃha, conqueror of Vīrabhadra, held the very much heated orbs of twelve Suns on his forhead.” There is especially very auspicious and charming Sindhu river. O beautiful lady, near her even now there is a city, always known as Maulistāna, and fashioned by gods. There is the residence of the noble Hārīta. Līlāvatī also certainly stays there only. There would be an echo near the river Sindhu. But when Kali age has arrived, many sinful mlecchas certainly live there. If a man loudly utters the word ‘Nṛsiṃha, Nṛsiṃha’, like the word ‘Nṛsiṃha’ which, great and wonderful, came up at the time of the birth of Nṛsiṃha, then, O you daughter of the (Himālaya) Mountain, a similar echo is produced. Those men—a killer of a brāhmaṇa, one who has stolen gold, a drunkard, or one who has violated one’s preceptor’s bed (i.e. his wife)—after having gone to Sindhu, and bathed in her (water), are undoubtedly liberated by the grace of Śrī Nṛsiṃha. Those men who stay there for ten nights, should be known to be of meritorious acts. (These) my words are not false. Those castes, led by brāhmaṇas, that stay there in the Kali age, should be known to be like the mlecchas, cast out of the fold of the Vedas by the best gods. They ate flesh there, and always drank liquor; therefore, they are certainly irreligious and most sinful. O chief goddess, like brāhmaṇas not performing sandhya, they, outside the fold of the Vedas, live there in the West. Only one sacred place called Nṛsiṃha, is very extensive, having heard about which a man is undoubtedly free from sins.

Footnotes and references:


Siddhiyoga—A particular auspicious conjunction of Planets.


Karaṇa—A division of the day. These Karaṇas are eleven.


Pañcāmṛta—A collection of five sweet things used in worshipping deities. They are: milk, sugar, ghee, curd and honey.

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