(from Sri Dasavatara-stotra, p. 97)
keshava dhrta-narahari-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
"The fourth incarnation is Nrisimhadeva. Nrisimhadeva appeared to save Prahlada Maharaja, who was five-years-old boy and he was being tortured by his atheistic father. So He appeared from the pillar of the palace as a half-man, half-lion. Because this Hiranyakasipu took benediction from Brahma that he’ll not be killed by any man or any animal. So the Lord appeared neither man nor animal. This is the difference between the Lord’s intelligence and our intelligence. We are thinking that we can cheat the Lord by our intelligence, but the Lord is more intelligent than us. This Hiranyakasipu wanted to cheat Brahma by indirect definition. First of all he wanted to become immortal. Brahma said, “That is not possible because even I am not immortal. Nobody in this material world is immortal. That is not possible.” So Hiranyakasipu, the demon... The demons are very intelligent. He thought that “Round about way I shall become immortal.” He prayed to Brahma that “Please give me the benediction that I shall not be killed by any man or any animal.” Brahma said, “Yes, that is all right.” “I shall not be killed in the sky, on the water or on land.” Brahma said, “Oh yes.” “I shall not be killed by any man-made weapons.” “That’s all right.” In this way he utilized his intelligence in so many ways just to come to the conclusion of being immortal. But the Lord is so cunning that He kept intact all the benediction given by Brahma, still he was killed. He said that “I’ll not be killed either during daytime or night.” Brahma said “Yes.” So he was killed just in the evening, just in the junction of day and night. You cannot say it is day or night. He took the benediction that “I shall not be killed in the sky, on the water, on the land.” So he was killed on His lap. He took the benediction that “I shall not be killed by any man-made or any God-made weapons.” That was given, “All right.” So he was killed by the nails. In this way, all the benedictions were kept intact, still he was killed. Similarly, we may make plan, we may make very advancement in scientific knowledge, but the killing process of nature will be there. Nobody can escape. By our intelligence we cannot escape. The four principles of material existence means birth, death, old age and disease. We can manufacture many medicines, many weapons, many means, many methods, but you cannot escape these four principles of material existence, however great you may be. That was proved by Hiranyakasipu. Hiranyakasipu was one of the stalwart materialistic and he wanted to live forever, enjoy, but he also could not live. Everything was finished" (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 18th February 1970. Class on Sri Varaha-dwadasi purporting the Dasavatar-stotra - Ten main incarnations of the Lor. Los Angeles.)
Lord Nrisimhadeva’s Appearance Day
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.22-34. Los Angeles, May 27, 1972,
So one day, Hiranyakasipu... After all, he was his son. Affection was there. So one day, Hiranyakasipu asked the boy,
svadhitam kincid uttamam
yad asikshad guror bhavan
So he asked his son, “My dear son, what you have learned? The best thing, what you have learned from your teachers, so you kindly let me know.” So Prahlada Maharaja informed that “I have learned like this.” What is that?
arcanam vandanam dasyam
iti pumsarpita vishnau
bhaktis cen nava-lakshana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha
tan manye ’dhitam uttamam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
So Prahlada Maharaja says, iti pumsarpita vishnau bhaktis cen nava-lakshana. All these items means hearing. Hearing about Vishnu, chanting about Krishna, giving everything to Vishnu, offering prayers to Vishnu, offering arcana, temple worship, Vishnu. In this way Prahlada Maharaja summarizes that “Anyone who is doing like this, everything about Vishnu...” iti pumsarpita vishnau bhaktis cen nava-lakshana, “this nine kinds of different devotional services,” kriyeta bhagavatay addha, “directly to the Supreme Personality of Godhead,” tan manye ’dhitam uttamam, “I think he is the best learned man in the world. He is the most learned.” Tan manye ’dhitam. “He has studied everything very nicely.” Actually, that is the fact. Jnana, knowledge Knowledge means to know Krishna, God, and the Vedic injunction is, yasmin vijnate sarvam evam vijnatam bhavanti. If you understand the Supreme Lord, then you understand everything. You haven’t got to study differently different subject matters. Just like we sometimes talk of science, of astronomy, economics, politics. We talk sometimes. But we are not going to, or we didn’t study all the subject matter separately. But in course of our studying Krishna consciousness, we know something of everything. So Prahlada Maharaja says, tan manye adhitam uttamam: “One who is engaged in these nine kinds of devotional services directly...” So Prahlada Maharaja recommends, kriyeta bhagavaty addha tan manye ’dhitam uttamam.
guru-putram cedam rusha
te vipaksham srayatasata
asaram grahito balo
mam anadritya durmate
asaram grahito balo
mam anadritya durmate
So here the teachers are addressed here brahma-bandho. Brahma-bandho means a person who is born by a brahmana father but is not acting as a brahmana. He’s called brahma-bandho, dvija-bandhu. Dvija-bandhu, one who is born of a, actually born of a brahmana father, but he’s not acting as a brahmana. So Hiranyakasipu addressed the teachers brahma-bandho, not brahmana. “Because you are untrustworthy. I gave you, I entrusted you with my son to be taught, and you have taught him this Krishna consciousness. So against my will...” He says practically, brahma-bandho kim etat te vipaksham srayatasata: “I entrusted my child for being educated by you, and you have instigated him to speak in favor of my enemy, Vishnu? Vishnu is my enemy. How is that?” Asaram grahito balo mam anadritya durmate. “This rascal boy, he does not care for me, and he has learned this Krishna consciousness, and you have taught him. How is that?”
tesham udety agham kale
rogah patakinam iva
suto vadaty esha tavendra-satro
naisargikiyam matir asya rajan
niyaccha manyum kad adah sma ma nah
bhuya ahasurah sutam
na ced guru-mukhiyam te
kuto ’bhadrasati matih
mitho ’bhipadyeta griha-vratanam
adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram
punah punas carvita-carvananam
“My dear father, don’t be afraid. It is not a thing to be taught.” Matir na krishne. “Nobody can become Krishna conscious,” matir na krishne parato, “being taught by others,” matir na krishne paratah svato va, “or by mental speculation or thinking oneself,” mitho ’bhipadyeta, “or by making conference meeting, religious meeting, conference.” No. Three things. One thing is to learn Krishna consciousness by speculative method, self-realization. Just like so many people are very much interested that “Why shall I go to a guru? I can realize myself. I shall meditate.” So that is called svatah. And paratah means by others’ instruction. And mitho, mitho means by assembly. So who? Now, griha-vratanam. If one is griha-vrata... There are two things: grihastha and griha-vrata, or grihamedhi. “So those who are griha-vrata...” because he is pointing out his father’s position, that he’s griha-vrata. He has no other business. He simply wants to get money, hiranya. Hiranya means gold, and kasipu, a nice apartment. That’s all. So he says that griha-vratanam, “If one makes it his point to remain in a comfortable home life, for him, either by speculation or by teaching or by meeting, he’ll never develop Krishna consciousness.” Griha-vratanam. Then what is their position? Now, adanta-gobhir visatam tamishram: “They are unable to control their senses, and as such, they are entering into the darkest region of material existence.” Punah punas carvita-carvananam: [SB 7.5.30] “Their only business is chewing the chewed.” They have no other ways. Griha-vratanam, those who want to be happy materially, actually they are chewing the chewed. Material happiness means sex life, ultimate, utmost, topmost happiness. So people are simply trying to, how to utilize this sex life in so many ways, in pictures and in... I do not wish to discuss. In dancing, in club, in so many ways. Because they cannot control the senses. The same thing, same thing, the same sex life in different way. Sometimes a naked dance, sometimes in this way, sometimes in that way. Therefore it is called punah punas carvita-carvananam [SB 7.5.30]. I have heard that some people go to Florida and they spend fifty thousand dollars per week for organizing naked dance. So naked woman he has seen so many times, but still he spends more money to see it in a different way. That is called punah punas carvita-carvananam [SB 7.5.30], “chewing the chewed.” So persons who are too much attached to sense gratification, and they have made it their conclusion that “We shall be happy within our family life or this social life...” Vidyapati sings, tatala saikate vari-bindu sama suto-mita-ramani-samaj(?). Our society means... Society, friendship, and love. There must be woman, must be children, suto-mita-ramani-samaje. So there is some pleasure, undoubtedly. Otherwise, why people are working so hard to stick to this position? Vidyapati sings that tatala saikate vari-bindu sama suto-mita-ramani-samaj(?). There is undoubtedly some pleasure, but that pleasure is so insignificant that it can be compared: a drop of water on the desert. Desert, if you want to utilize desert to make it a garden or productive field, you have to pour water. The whole ocean water you have to pour there. Now, if somebody says, “All right, you want water. Now take this one drop water,” then what it will do? Similarly, our heart is hankering after so many things. We are hankering... Actually we are hankering after Krishna, but we do not know. We are trying to satisfy our hankering in so many ways in material life. Actually we are hankering after Krishna. Just like a small child, it is crying. It cannot express, but it is wanting the mother’s breast feeding. So you cannot stop him crying unless it is transferred to the mother. Similarly, actually we love Krishna. That is a fact. Because we love Krishna... Therefore you, who did not hear even the name of Krishna, say, four or five years ago, why you after so much Krishna? This is the proof, that actually we are after Krishna. This Krishna consciousness movement is being accepted in Western countries by the younger generation. Why? Because every one of us, we love Krishna. But it is now covered by maya. We have to simply take out the covering, maya; then we are Krishna conscious.
That is explained in the Caitanya-caritamrita,
sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya
Therefore Prahlada Maharaja says, sravanam. If we hear about Krishna constantly, through realized souls, not professional—if we hear, satam prasangan mama virya-samvido [SB 3.25.25]—then automatically, our dormant Krishna consciousness come out. So Prahlada Maharaja says, therefore, that “Those who are determined to become happy within this material world, they cannot be raised to Krishna consciousness either by personal teaching or by making conference or by mental speculation.” That is not possible, because he is determined. So our duty is that we should know that in the materialistic way of life we shall never be happy. This is called knowledge. And vairagya. So this vairagya and knowledge is not so easy. Prahlada Maharaja says, adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram: it is not possible. That means he assures his father, “Don’t be worried. You will never be Krishna conscious. (laughter) Because your only aim is to stick to home and money and women. Therefore rest assured, you’ll not be ... It is not that a person like you will be raised to Krishna consciousness.” Then? How you have done? The next question should be: Why they are sticking to this materialistic way of life? That is answered by Prahlada, na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum [SB 7.5.31]. “These persons, those who are so much materially attached, they do not know the ultimate goal of life is Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu.” That is actually the ultimate goal of life. We are here in this material world, forgetting Krishna, to enjoy, to lord it over the material nature. Everyone is trying to become the lord, master of material... That is struggle. Nobody can become lord or master of this material world. But that struggle to become master, they are taking it happiness. They are taking it happiness. That is the nature of persons who are influenced by the modes of passion. They’ll work hard, and that will, they will take it is very good, pleasing. Because they do not know that the... Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah [SB 7.5.31]. They are hoping against hope to become happy within this material world. That is the whole history. Take the history, any history, modern history. There are so many empires: the Roman Empire, the Carthaginian Empire, the Greek Empire, the British Empire recently, Hitler’s Nazism, and so many. For some time they become very powerful. Just like Hiranyakasipu, he’s now very powerful. He’s thinking, “Nobody can...” Now today he’ll be killed. Kesava-dhrita narahari rupa is coming. So this demonic civilization will never be successful. That’s a fact. But they are so fool, they do not see even historical evidences. So many empires failed. The Roman Empire failed, the British Empire failed. Still, somebody is trying to create another empire, another, different empire. Just like your President Nixon, he’s trying to influence all other nations under his control. Why? Of course, I should not speak all these things. There may be criticism. But that is the way, going on. That is the way. We can understand. We can understand politics, economics, everything, but we do not bother about. But our aim is that this way of life, to increase materially happiness, it will never be successful. That is our conclusion. We are not fools that we have given up everything for advance in Krishna consciousness. Because we know that this, this way we shall never be happy. It is not possible. That is explained by Prahlada Maharaja. These rascal people who are so much materially attached... Krishna also says in the Bhagavad-gita,
samadhau na nigacchati
Those who are too much attached, bhoga, material enjoyment, aisvarya, material opulence ... Bhogaisvarya-prasaktanam tayapahrita-cetasam. Persons whose heart has been misled by this kind of civilization, they cannot take to Krishna consciousness. Therefore to become too much materially opulent is a disqualification for attaining Krishna consciousness. It is a disqualification. Because they don’t care. Just like in our temple, not very rich men, they are coming, because they (say,) “What is this nonsense, Krishna consciousness? We have got everything. These boys, they haven’t got to eat anything; therefore they are chanting Hare Krishna on the street. That’s all.” They think like that. “They’re needy. All right, they are needy. Give them some money.” That’s all. They don’t like to take anything from us because the same business, matir na krishne paratah svato va. They’ll never understand, because their aim is grha-vratanam. They want to be happy... Although they are seeing there is no happiness, they never can be happy, still... This is called punah punas carvita-carvananam [SB 7.5.30], chewing the chewed. One, the sugarcane, is chewed by somebody. It is thrown away. And if somebody else comes and chew it again, what juice he will have it? So punah punas carvita... Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum [SB 7.5.31]. Durasaya ye durasaya vishaya vasi (reads Sanskrit commentary) tantraya karanam te hi vishnum na viduh. Tatra hetu svasminn eva arthe purushartha yesham tesham gatim gramyam. Na tu te ’pi guru pati syat vishnu jnasyasi tatra bhak bahir vishaye bahavo yesham te bahir arthas tann eva guru tena mantra silam yesham te.
So one who is fixed up in this conclusion, that “We shall become happy with this materialistic way of life,” they cannot take to Krishna consciousness. And they do not know also that our ultimate goal of life is Krishna, Vishnu. Then why it is so? Now, andha yathandhair upaniyamanas te ’pisa-tantryam uru-damni baddhah. They have become blind. They are blind themselves, and they are also led by blind leaders. The leaders, at the present moment, leaders, they say that “Why you are going to church? Why you are going to temple? If you want your bread...” Just like in Christian religion you go to church, “O God, give us our daily bread.” But the atheist class, they are propagating, “For bread, why you are going to church? You make industry, you make business, and you get bread.” But actually... We were just talking that there are so many unemployment. Our Karandhara prabhu was... No. Who was talking? Syamasundara. Syamasundara said that the computer... What is called, computer? It can do thousands of men’s business. So they have discovered this machine. That means thousands of men will be unemployed. That is actually happening in your country due to so many machines. Now, take for example, formerly... You have seen the picture, Krishna, Vrindavana picture, Krishna’s father transferring Krishna. They were going on bullock carts, no motorcar. You have seen the picture. So formerly, transport was bullock carts. The cows and the bulls, the bulls were employed for agricultural purpose, for drawing the carts. So there was no necessity of motorcar. Now you have got motor, motor-tractor. You don’t want the bullocks. Therefore kill them. How you can utilize them? Therefore you must have slaughterhouse to kill them. And as soon as you kill them, then you have to eat them. So this is the, I mean to say, entanglement. If you kill, then you become responsible for being killed. The subtle laws...
Therefore, without knowing our ultimate goal of life is Vishnu, na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum... [SB 7.5.31]. That is our interest. The human form of life is offered by nature after so much evolutionary process. Just to understand Vishnu, God, this is the only business. But instead of attending our real business, we are trying to be happy in other ways. Then you can say that “If we are engaged in real business, then how the economic question will be solved? We have to work.” That’s all right, you work. But work simple. Why you have invented so much botheration? Work is there. If you have cows and if you have got land, then you till the land, get grains, and there is milk, there is fruit, there is flower. Anywhere, you can live peacefully. Whole economic question is solved. And because we have forgotten, we have missed the real point, that our life is meant for God-realization. We are simply increasing botheration. Punah punas carvita. Adanta-gobhir vishatam tamisram. Andha yathandhair upaniyamanah. The leaders are blind; we are also blind. So they are advising that “If you want to solve your economic problem, why you are going to church? Why you are going to temple? Come here, increase business, industry. Take loan and start business.” That’s all. This is going on. But actually, the more we are trying to mislead this people... Because they are thinking it is all right. They are... That the social condition is becoming more and more grave. That’s a fact. We are trying to solve one problem, but many other problems are coming because we do not know what is the ultimate goal of life. Because we are missing the real point.
Therefore Prahlada Maharaja said, na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah [SB 7.5.31]. These rascals, they are thinking that by so-called economic development, by exploiting material resources, we shall be happy. That is not possible. The best example your country has given. You have exploited the material resources, and other countries are also following, but where is the happiness? Instead of happiness, there is “hippyness.” (laughter) So still, they have no eyes to see that “Where we are going?” Adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram punah punas carvita-carvananam [SB 7.5.30]. Because we cannot control our senses, we are driving, we are being pushed towards the darkest region of material existence, very hard to leave. Darkest region means that we are going to become animals next life. Because this is animalistic civilization. Nature gave us the opportunity to realize God, but God-realization is meant for human being. The human being, if he does not realize God, he’s simply engaged in animalistic way of life—eating, sleeping, mating—then nature will call, “All right, sir, again become animal.” Punar mushiko bhava: “Again become a mouse.” You know this story? Punar mushiko bhava. There is a story. There is a very nice story. One rat, mouse, he came to a saintly person. Everyone comes to saintly person for some blessing, you see. Real blessing they don’t want. Some material blessing. Real blessing, Krishna, they don’t want. If you give him some blessing that “You become very rich man and...” These are all very well, this. So this mouse also came and begged the saintly person, “Sir, I am in difficulty. If you give me some blessing?”
“The cat chases after me always. I’m very unhappy.”
“So what do you want?”
“Now, if you make me a cat, then I can get relief from this thing.”
“All right, you become cat.” So he became cat.
So after few days, again he comes. “Sir, again I am in trouble.”
“What is that?”
“The dog is chasing me.” (laughter) Don’t laugh, hear seriously. “Dog is chasing me.”
“All right, then, what do you want?”
“Now, make me a tiger.”
“All right, you become a tiger.”
So when he became a tiger he was staring on the saintly person like this.
So he asked, “Why you are staring upon me? You want to eat me?”
So he again curses, punar mushiko bhava: “Again you become mouse. Again you become mouse.”
So that is our position. We are advanced in civilization. Now we want to kill God. So we are again going to be uncivilized, to remain in the forest and to remain naked. Actually, they are practicing that: nature’s way. So again they are going to be aborigines. And that is being practiced. They are going to the forest, they remain naked. So actually, punar mushiko bhava: “Again become mouse.” Civilized human being means God conscious, happy life, no trouble, no enviousness, everything happy, no hard labor. Why hard labor? Everything is there. You just employ your little intelligence, you get sufficient food by grains, by fruits, by flowers, milk. There is no difficulty if we remain in our own way. So that is the difficulty, that we do not know that our ultimate goal of life is God-realization. Then God has got all arrangement. You cannot produce fruits and grains in factory. They are given by God. Why? That “You eat them and be Krishna conscious, chant Hare Krishna.” But we don’t want that. We want slaughterhouse, unnecessarily. Actually, if you go to the store... There are so many stores. How many stores are selling only meat? It is not possible. Ninety-nine percent fruits, vegetables, grains you are taking, and maybe a little percentage of meat. So why you cannot give up this little percentage? If you think that meat is very palatable, why don’t you live on meat? Russia is also trying like that. That has become the fashion. In Moscow, it was very difficult to find out nice grains. With great difficulty Syamasundara used to spend two hours daily to secure these things.
So this is the problem. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum durashsaya ye bahir-artha maninah [SB 7.5.31]. They are trying to be happy by the arrangement of these material activities. Andha yathandhair upaniyamanas te ’pisa-tantryam. They do not know that the material nature is so strong that you cannot get out of it unless you are prepared to suffer more and more. If you take to natural life and live peacefully and take to Krishna consciousness, that is your real life. And if you simply increase botheration and problems, then you’ll have to suffer. That is the position of modern civilization. Actually, superficially we see that material advancement of material science, people have got so many machines, so many facilities. But actually, they are in trouble. Just like I gave you one example: the computer machine. It can work for thousands of men. So thousands of men means the thousands of men must be unemployed. And especially in your country, they are taking advantage of this machine because the salary is If you want to pay to the worker, a big, big salary. So they want to save. They are taking machine, and they think they will save money, so many workers. But the workers are becoming unemployed. The government has to give them welfare. The government will tax. That’s all. (laughter.) Government will not give money, welfare, from government’s pocket. The government will increase your taxation. So you are..., you stop payment by importing some machine, now you have to pay that money to the government. This is called entanglement. This is a crude example. I don’t say that you stop all this business, but the material world is like that. You want to solve something; instead of solving, you’ll create so many problems. This is material life. Because our life is not meant for solving problems and creating problems. Our life is meant for understanding God. Then everything is all right. But that you have given up.
durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah
andha yathandhair upaniyamanas
te ’pisa-tantryam uru-damni baddhah
Then the next question is that how... People are not interested in Krishna consciousness, and then, they are misled by blind leaders. So how, what is the solution? That is Prahlada Maharaja saying,
sprisaty anarthapagamo yad-arthah
nishkincananam na vrinita yavat
So in this way Prahlada Maharaja talked with his father, and the father became more angry. Instead of taking the lesson ... Murkhaya upadesa hi prakopaya na santaye. If you teach lesson to a foolish person, he’ll be simply angry. He’ll not take your lesson. How it is so? Payah-panam bhujanganam kevalam visha-vardhanam. If you keep a snake and if you want to make friendly behavior with him, that, “My dear snake, don’t bite any more. I’ll give you milk and banana. You eat here and stay here nicely,” he’ll not... His poison will increase, and one day he will... There is a story in the Hitopadesa: one day, one... The same thing. So payah-panam bhujanganam kevalam visha-vardhanam. So these are lessons, stories. So his father, Hiranyakasipu, became more and more angry. So one day... Because after all, son and father... The son was simple boy. So one day he said, “Prahlada, I shall now kill you. I shall see how your Krishna saves you.” So immediately, Prahlada was seeing to the pillars of the hall. He was king. So Hiranyakasipu asked him, “Is your God, Krishna, in the pillar?” He said, “Yes, sir. Yes, my father, He is there.” So immediately, with anger he broke the pillar and Nrisimhadeva came out.
Now we can honor Him. (end)
(Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.22-34. Los Angeles, May 27, 1972. )
Srila Rupa Goswami mentions some of the benefits of worshipping a Nrsimha shalagram sila in his book, Padyavali:
[ Srila Rupa Goswami: Padyavali, Verse 116]