By Amogha das
A few years ago I presented a photo table at a Sunday feast at one of our temples. One devotee came up to the table and held a photo of Lord Nrsimhadev in his hands. I encouraged him to take Lord Nrsimhadev home, but he said, “If I was qualified to worship Him!” and quickly walked away. He seemed to be afraid of Lord Nrsimhadev.
More recently my daughter and her husband removed the photo of Lord Nrsimhadev from their altar because they heard that some couples had been devastated by worshiping an Ugra Nrsimha Deity in their home. Ugra Nrsimha is the terrifying form of the Lord standing ready to attack the demons and totally destroy them, in order to save His devotee Prahlad. To worship Him in His Deity form one must be strictly celibate, and there are many strict rules and methods of worship. One point is that having a photo of a Deity on an altar is not the same as having a Deity, but more importantly, Lord Nrsimhadev in Mayapur is extremely merciful.
If we read about the appearance and pastimes of Mayapur Lord Nrsimhadev as published by His Grace Pankajanghri Prabhu, we will find that the Deity maker warned devotees of possible devastation if they incorrectly worship Ugra Nrsimha. However, because this Nrsimha Deity would be appearing in the land of Gauranga, He would be different from Ugra Nrsimha because He would adopt the mood of the predominating Deity of that place. That mood, the mood of Nityananda and Gauranga, is to forget the faults of devotees and only see their devotion, and bless them with love for Krishna.
It is written that Lord Nityananda is Lord Balaram plus mercy. He is non-different than Lord Balaram, yet He is different than Lord Balaram because of His unprecedented mercy upon the fallen souls. In fact, the abode of Nitai Gauranga is called “audharya,” which means it manifests mercy upon the devotees regardless of their faults.
In a similar way, Lord Nrsimhadev at ISKCON Mayapur is non-different than Ugra Nrsimha, yet He is very different than Ugra Nrsimha because of His unprecedented mercy. Therefore I have started the narasimhalila.com web site with the title “Merciful Nrsimhadev.”
Careful study of the pastimes here will give us the realization that this Mayapur Nrsimhadev is extremely kind and merciful to all.
After we offered a night set of clothing to Merciful Nrsimhadev a few years ago, Jananivas Prabhu sat down with my wife Mohini Rupa and me in the temple. He told us that Lord Nrsimhadev derives ecstasy from serving Gauranga by helping devotees of His sankirtan movement.
I pondered the idea of one form of the Lord serving another. Isn’t it true that Lord Balaram manifest’s Lord Krishna’s shoes, umbrella and other paraphernelia to serve Him? Isn’t it true that Lord Nityananda serves Gauranga? And Advaita Acarya?”
I had often thought about the photographs I make of Merciful Nrsimhadev, feeling that His face reveals not anger but a huge ecstatic smile. Hearing Jananinvas Prabhu’s words confirmed that feeling. His eyes may reveal a deep ecstasy, on the level of the enjoyment of the the Supreme Lord–an interesting meditation.
As stated in the accounts that are displayed at www.narasimhalila.com, “Although very ferocious, the lioness is very kind to her cubs. Similarly, although very ferocious to non-devotees like Hiranyakasipu, Lord Nrsimhadeva is very, very gentle and kind to His
devotees like Prahlada Maharaja.”
Lord Nrsimhadev appeared to a devotee to say “There is no need to fear Me. Please give up this fear.” We should take this to heart and not fear this most unusual form of Lord Nrsimhadev residing in Gauranga’s abode. Worshiping Him will bring love and protection, not devastation.
[I gratefully received approval of this article by Their Graces Jananivas and Pankajanghri Prabhus today–Varuthini Ekadasi 2009.]