Five Reasons Even Narasimha Was Not A Wrathful Deity

[Narasimha killing]“The great saint Narada Muni continued: The demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and other great demigods, dared not come forward before the Lord, who at that time was extremely angry.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.9.1)

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It’s a commonly held belief. There appears to be justification in ancient works passed on and read to this day, though in translated form. It would help to explain why bad things happen. It stands to reason that category five hurricanes striking land are not a random occurrence, that someone upstairs is upset.

That person in the sky is known as God to most, and in a typical depiction there are signs of aging. It is an old man, who is upset and vengeful. He is looking down disapprovingly at the people below, who are supposed to avoid sin. Instead, they are neck-deep in it, not giving a second to spiritual life in their day.

The Vedas, which are authority passed down in a chain of disciplic succession, and therefore free of the defects of mental speculation, paint the proper picture. God is the oldest person, but He does not age. He has hands and legs, but they are not of the kind we know. He has a form, but it is transcendental. That form is the most attractive, and so one of His names is Krishna.

[Lord Krishna]In that form, which is considered the original, God has nothing to do. He is carefree, at every moment. There are days and months for organizational purposes, but even time is of a different nature. It does not change the body of Krishna, who attracts the residents on the spiritual planet on which they live together.

If God is not angry, then how to explain the incident of the appearance of Narasimhadeva? This is described in works like the Shrimad Bhagavatam and Vishnu Purana. Apparently, the same Krishna incarnated on earth as half-man/half-lion. He didn’t really teach. He didn’t play His flute. He didn’t steal butter from the homes of the neighbors.

He killed, and violently so. He rid the world of Hiranyakashipu, a wicked ruler who was so low that he tried to have his own son killed. Even with this apparently fearful form of the Lord, the truth of the cheerful disposition in ananda, bliss, is not invalidated.

1. He was not angry at everyone

It is not like the hurricane who was Narasimha tore through everyone. His was an intelligent strike. People had done wrong, and at the top of the list was the king. During the encounter these people tried to attack Narasimha, and they paid dearly for it. The most important strike was on Hiranyakashipu himself, who was toyed with in the manner of Garuda capturing a snake.

“O Yudhishthira, O great son of Bharata, when Lord Narasimhadeva gave Hiranyakashipu a chance to slip from His hand, just as Garuda sometimes plays with a snake and lets it slip from his mouth, the demigods, who had lost their abodes and who were hiding behind the clouds for fear of the demon, did not consider that incident very good. Indeed, they were perturbed.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.8.26)

2. So many sinners, but chose only a few

If Krishna were to be looking disapprovingly from above, it stands to reason that if He were to ever descend to earth the entire population would be in line for punishment. In Narasimha’s case, the justice was limited to a certain set of people. Piety and sin are already accounted for through karma and time. These come from God, but they are managed indirectly. Krishna typically does not get involved.

3. Prahlada was not afraid

If God in the form of Narasimhadeva is ultimately mean and angry, why was Prahlada Maharaja not afraid? It was for this boy that the Supreme Lord came. Prahlada did not ask for the direct intervention, but enough was enough. Krishna arrived to do away with the boy’s father, who was the worst aggressor. Prahlada witnessed the targeted attack and understood the intelligence behind it. Therefore despite the demigods being afraid of the anger of Narasimha, Prahlada approached Him without fear.

4. The ultimate benefit for Hiranyakashipu

At first glance, it looks like punishment. The most important thing taken away from you: the kingdom. Then the immunity from death in so many situations worked around, proven to be faulty. At last, the very life taken from you, in the most gruesome way, torn apart at the torso.

[Narasimha killing]Still, this apparent punishment was a great benediction to Hiranyakashipu. The wicked king was originally a devotee, cursed in the spiritual world due to a transgression. By dying directly at the hands of God, he received liberation, or release from the cycle of birth and death. Krishna’s anger was beneficial for everyone affected.

5. The supposed anger was against the sin, not the person

The spirit soul remains intact through death. Spirit represents the identity of the individual, and that identity can never be removed. There is the period of sleeping during the cosmic dissolution and when there is merging into the impersonal Brahman, but never is that identity gone forever.

“Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.12)

The punishment Hiranyakashipu received was for the sins. Even then, the fruit of bad deeds is known to arrive at the appropriate time. That reward is ghastly, as well, to match the original deed.

“Just as a tree starts to blossom during the proper season, so the doer of sinful deeds inevitably reaps the horrible fruit of their actions at the appropriate time.” (Lord Rama speaking to Khara, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 29.8)

For Prahlada’s father, the arrival of Narasimhadeva was specifically to prevent further persecution. Hiranyakashipu had tried to kill the five year old son in so many ways, but every attempt failed. Enough was enough, and it took a special person to stop the train of trouble. Prahlada was always protected, before, during and after Narasimha’s appearance. The supposedly wrathful deity was auspicious for everyone involved, including future generations who would hear of His appearance and remember it fondly thereafter.

In Closing:

To this day joy still deriving,

When to hear of Narasimha arriving.

The wicked king finally to do away,

And palace guards coming in the way.

Though angry even the demigods to fear,

Not for Prahlada happily coming near.

Specific case with a targeted strike,

Benefit to saint and sinner alike.

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2 replies

  1. This picture of Narasimha always brings peace and happiness in my mind…Thanks a lot for sharing…Hare Krishna..!!!

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