Narsingh or Narasimha Jayanti is a propitious festival for Hindus, especially for the devotees of Lord Vishnu. This marks the day when Lord Vishnu came down to earth as half-man and half-lion, which is his 4th incarnation. This festival is celebrated to remove all the negativities from life and help people eschew misdeeds and injustice. Celebrated on the 14th day of Shukla Paksha of Vaisakh Chaturdashi. The message that is shared on this day is the victory of faith and the defeat of evil.
The origin of this felicitous festival dates back to more than a thousand years when the great Rishi Kashyap and Diti (mother of asuras) had 2 sons named Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu. One day, the Varaha Avatar (boar) of Lord Vishnu killed Hiranyaksha as he tampered with nature. To avenge his brother’s death, Hiranyakashipu vowed to defeat Lord Vishnu.
He indulged in hard penance to please Lord Brahma, after which he wished to remain unassailable. He also wished that no god, be it in animal or human form, in the day or at night, not inside or outside, neither on earth nor in space and with no animate or inanimate weapons, could kill him. After this, he grossly misused his power to badger the gods and sages.
A son was born to him and his wife, Kayadhu, who they named Prahlad. Despite being an Asura, he was a devout follower of Lord Vishnu, who he worshipped with superlative love and devotion. Prahlad tried convincing his father that Lord Vishnu is a primordial being and that he should not follow the path of evil. Enraged by this act, he set out to kill his son. Prahlad was always saved by Lord Vishnu’s blessings.
After many failed attempts, Hiranyakashipu told his sister, Holika, to sit in the fire holding Prahlad in her arms. As she was immune to fire, it was a trick to kill Prahlad. As the fire ignited, Holika burnt to ashes and Prahlad came out of the fire unhurt. On seeing this, Hiranyakashipu was stunned. He asked Prahlad, “Where is your god?” and Lord Vishnu, as Narsingh, appeared from a pillar. Since Lord Brahma had granted him many wishes, he was sure that nothing could happen to him.
Narsingh was not in an animal or human form, but an amalgamation of both. It was twilight when he appeared, i.e., neither day nor night, and was in a courtyard, that is not inside or outside. Narsingh kept Hiranyakashipu on his thigh, which is not the earth or space while gralloching the demon with his nails, which is not a weapon that is alive or dead. That day onward, the masses started to celebrate Narsingh Jayanti, marking the victory of faith. The day when Holika was burnt, is celebrated and the next day, we celebrate Holi.
This Narasimha Jayanti, eliminate the Hiranyakashipu within you, to restore Dharma. May only goodness prevail.
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