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Sri Ahobilam Yatra

Sri Nava Narasimha Ksetra

Place where Lord Nrsimhadeva emerged from the pillar of Hiranyakasipu’s palace,

killed the demon and saved Prahlada

 

Ahobilam (Ahobalam) is the place where Supreme Personality of Godhead incarnated Himself as Lord Nrsimhadeva to killed the demon Hiranyakasipu and save His dear-most devotee Prahlada. Here at Ahobilam, Lord Nrsimhadeva emerged from the pillar of Hiranyakasipu’s palace, killed him after a fierce fight, simultaneously honouring the boons that Hiranyakasipu received from Lord Brahma. The pillar from where Lord Nrsimhadeva appeared, the ruins of the palace of Hiranyakasipu, the exact spot where Lord Nrsimhadeva killed Hiranyakasipu, the pond where Lord Nrsimhadeva washed His lotus hands after killing Hiranyakasipu and the school where Prahlada studied still exist at Ahobilam. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited Ahobilam during His south India pilgrimage as mentioned in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya-lila chapter 9 verses 16-17 and Madhya-lila chapter 1 verse 106. Lord Ramacandra also came here and sung five verses named “Narasimha Panchamritam”. Ahobilam is located in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh amidst the majestic hills of the Eastern Ghats range. It is 256 km from Tirupati, 110 km from Cuddapah, 68 km from Nandyal and 24 km from Allagadda. To visit Ahobilam, the best is to travel from Tirupati. It is approximately 5 hours drive from Tirupati to Ahobilam (256 km).

 

Ahobilam - The Great Strength

Ahobalam means: “Aho Balam (what great strength!)”

When Lord Nrsimhadeva, the half-lion and half-man incarnation of Supreme Lord, emerged out of pillar in His fierce and effulgent form, all the devatas (demigods) exclaimed “Aho Balam (what great strength!)”. Sthala purana mentions this wonderful pastime an additional note to Lord Narasimha Lila mentioned in 7th canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

“aho viryam aho shauryam aho bahuparakramah

narasimham param daivam ahobilam aho balam”

 

On the plea of Prahlada, Lord Nrsimhadeva continues to reside at Ahobilam on the peak “Garudachala”. Since this place was contaminated by blood of Hiranyakasipu and his army, Lord invoked River Mandakini to clean it. Since the river cleansed the dirt (sins) that causes birth (bhava), she came to be called as River “Bhavanashini”. Laxmi Devi appeared and sat on the folded leg of the lord. The forest grove thus got their name as Laxmivan. Seeing this beautiful sight of Lord and her consort, all great sages assembled and sang praises and hymns from Vedas. The mountain from where they chanted came to be called as “Vedadri”. Ahobilam also got its name because of bila (cave). Long, long ago (even before Lord Nrsimhadeva’s appearance to kill Hiranyakasipu), Garuda once performed severe penance with a desire to see the darshan of Lord in Narasimha form. Pleased with him, Lord guided Garuda to see His Narasimha avatar form in a nearby huge cave. Garuda proceeded and was benedicted to see this beautiful form in this cave. Hence this area also got its name place of beautiful cave “Ahobilam”. The mountain on which Garuda performed austerities came to be known as Garudachala, Garudadri and Garudashailam.

 

It is very popularly known that the Nallamalai range of mountain (Eastern Ghats) is the manifestation of Sri Adi Sesha - the great serpent bed of Lord Vishnu. On His seven hoods lays Tirupati, on stomach Ahobilam and on the tail lays Sri Shailam. The Brahmanda Purana states that Ahobilam was the dwelling of the demon king Hiranyakasipu who was killed by the Lord. Mention of legends connected with Ahobalam can be found in Kurma Purana, Padma Purana and Vishnu Purana. This place is known by many names: Ahobalam, Nava Narasimha Kshetra, Singavel Kundram, Pancha krosa Kshetra, Garudachala and Vedachala.

 

Many great devotees like Sripad Ramanujacarya, Vedanta Desika also rendered services here and many of them composed beautiful prayers and songs at feet of Lord Nrsimhadeva. Ramanujacarya visited here in 11th Century A.D and Vedanta Desika in 1268-1379 A.D. The great king, Vikramaditya (1076-1106 A.D) of the western Chalukyas, also worshipped the main deity of the temple. “Sri Laxmi Nrsimha pancaratna stotra” and “Karaavalamba stotra” are two very famous hymns composed by Adi Sankaracharya when he came here. “Angan naalam” - was sung by the great Thirumanghai Alwar.

 

Sri Nava Narasimha Temples in Ahobilam

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Ahobilam consists of two parts: Lower Ahobilam (also known as Chinna Ahobilam or Diguva Tirupati) and Upper Ahobilam (also known as Pedda Ahobilam and Eguva Tirupati; which is 8 km from Lower Ahobilam). The place is surrounded by beautiful dense forests of Eastern ghats, and several wild animals like bears and tigers are said to be living there. Within these forests, on mountaintops, are located nine temples of Lord Nrsimhadeva (Nava Narasimha Ksetra), which house the self-manifested Deities of the Lord, all having different forms and moods that the Lord manifested in order to please His devotees. There are many places, where Lord Vishnu in the form of Narasimha is worshipped, but it is only at Ahobilam that all the nine forms of Lord Nrsimhadeva are worshipped.

 

jwala ahobila malola kroda karanja bhargava

yogananda kshatravata pavana nava murthayaha

 

The nine Deities are Sri Jwala Narasimha, Sri Ahobila Narasimha, Sri Malola Narasimha, Sri Kroda Narasimha, Sri Karanja Narasimha, Sri Bhargava Narasimha, Sri Yogananda Narasimha, Sri Chatravata Narasimha and Sri Pavana Narasimha.

 

Temples in Lower Ahobilam:

·         Sri Bhargava Narasimha Temple

·         Sri Yogananda Narasimha Temple

·         Sri Chatravata Narasimha Temple

·         Sri Karanja Narasimha Temple

·         Sri Prahlada Varada Narasimha Temple

 

Temples in Upper Ahobilam:

·         Ugra Stambha (Pillar from where Lord Nrsimhadeva emerged)

·         Sri Jwala Narasimha Temple

·         Sri Ahobila Narasimha Temple

·         Sri Malola Narasimha Temple

·         Sri Krodha (Varaha) Narasimha Temple

·         Prahlada Mettu (School where Prahlada studied)

·         Sri Pavana Narasimha Temple

·         Sri Prahlada Varada Narasimha Temple

 

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Route Map of Sri Nava Tirupati Temple in Nallamalla Hills

Ahobilam is 256 km from Tirupati, 110 km from Cuddapah, 68 km from Nandyal and 24 km from Allagadda. To visit Ahobilam, the best is to travel from Tirupati. It is approximately 5 hours drive from Tirupati to Ahobilam (256 km).

 

Useful information:

·         Hiring Guide: If you are visiting Ahobilam for the first time, it is highly recommended to hire a Guide for a fee to take you around all the temples.

·         Visiting Pavana Narasimha temple: The starting point for Pavana Narasimha temple is also Ahobila Nrisimha temple in Upper Ahobilam, but the route is on the opposite side of Jwala Temple. First, one has to climb some 250 very steep steps, and then walk for about 4 km on fairly plain ground. The round trip may take about 3 hours. Recently, a path has been made for Jeeps to go to Pavana. It is a very rough 2 hour drive from Lower Ahobilam.

·         One can cover eight out of nine Lord Nrsimhadeva temples at Ahobilam in one day. It is highly recommended that Sri Pavana Narasimha temple be covered on the second day since it is on another side and it will take at least 3-4 hours to cover this temple.

·         Prasadam: Sri Ahobila Mutt has established a trust called Annamacharya Nitya Annadanam Trust which provides free prasadam to devotees. Free prasadam is offered three time a day. Dadiyannam (Curd rice) is offered morning and evening. At noon time Tadiyaradhanam (full course meals) is offered.

·         Accommodation: There are a few Guest House accommodations available at Lower Ahobilam.

·         To visit Ahobilam, the best is to travel from Tirupati. It is approximately 5 hours drive from Tirupati to Ahobilam (256 km).

 

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Ahobilam Temples - Route Map

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Ugra Stambha

Pillar from which Lord Nrsimhadeva emerged

satyam vidhathum nijabruthya bhaashitham

vyaaptham swabhutheshu swachirey swachaathmanaha

adhrushyathaam adhbutharoopam udhvaham

sthamba sabhamam na mrugam na manusham

na bhootho na ambharey mruthyuhu na

naraih na mugrairapi surasura

mahorakhai

 

At a distance of 8 km from the Upper Ahobilam is Ugra Stambha, the pillar from which Lord Nrsimhadeva emerged after Hiranyakasipu angrily struck the pillar. This a cleft of the mountain dividing itself into two visible parts. When Lord Nrsimhadeva emerged out of the pillar, the whole pillar was shattered to pieces. His first step produced 172 sounds which are the first basic tenets of 172 classical ragas. One can climb up the Ugra Stambha, however the path way to this place is very steep and arduous. When Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to Ahobilam, He climbed up the Ugra Stambha. Atop Ugra Stambha there is an impression of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and a flag. From near Sri Jwala Narasimha temple there is a steep climb towards Ugra Stambha.

 

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Ugra Stambha

This is the pillar from which Lord Nrsimhadeva emerged after Hiranyakasipu angrily struck the pillar.

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Ugra Stambha

Climbing the Ugra Stambha

Atop the Ugra Stambha

Atop Ugra Stambha there is an impression of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and a flag.

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This is where Hiranyakasipu’s palace existed

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Lord Nrsimhadeva Battles the King of the Demons

Hiranyakasipu could see that Lord Vishnu was standing before him in the form of a half-man, half-lion, but out of his pride, Hiranyakasipu thought, "Who can fight with me?" Raising his club, he attacked Lord Nrsimhadeva, and appeared just like a small insect who flies forcefully into a fire. Such was the effulgence of the Lord. Lord Nrsimhadeva captured the demon; and then gave him a chance to escape. Foolishly thinking the Lord was afraid of his prowess, Hiranyakasipu attacked again.

 

1. Sri Jwala Narasimha Temple

Exact place where the fierce anger of the Lord Nrsimhadeva reached its culmination when He tore Hiranyakasipu

hiranyashtambha sambhuthiprakhyat paramaatamaney

prahladhaarthimushey jwaala narsimhaya mangalam

 

The temple of Sri Jwala Narasimha Swamy, lies higher up the Sri Malola Narasimha temple, on a hill called 'Achalachaya Meru' and is on the base of Ugra Stambha. This is the exact place where the fierce anger of the Lord Nrsimhadeva reached its culmination when He tore Hiranyakasipu. The spot where Jwala Narasimha is sitting with Hiranyakasipu on His lap, is the threshold of the main entrance door of the spacious palace of Hiranyakasipu. The temple is in a natural cave. There are three deities in the temple: Ashtabuja Narasimha, Chaturbhuji Narasimha and Narasimha chasing Hiranyakasipu. Temple is about 4 kilometres from the Upper Ahobilam temple. One has to go under the waterfall of the Bhavanashini River to reach this temple.

 

In front of the Jwala Narasimha temple is a pond called “Rakta Kunda tirtha”, below a fully open cave, where Lord Nrsimhadeva after killing the demon Hiranyakasipu, washed His blood-stained hands and hence the water of this kunda turned red. One can see the red strains around this tirtha. The water of this kunda is crystal clear and is very sweet.

 

Ashtabuja Narasimha:

The main Deity here has eight hands, and the Lord is seen tearing the demon’s abdomen and garlanding Himself with the demon’s intestine. The Deity manifests massive energy and vigorous action. The first pair of hands catches hold of Hiranyakasipu’s crown and renders him motionless, while the other pair by tightly gripping the sword-carrying hand of Hiranyakasipu completely disarms and overpowers him. The second pair of hands is engaged in tearing open the entrails of the demon lying on the folded right leg of the Lord. The pair of hands holds sankha and chakra and the fourth pair holds the intestine of the demon in the shape of a garland.

 

Chaturbhuji Narasimha:

This Deity is in the standing posture coming out of the pillar (Stambhodbhava-murti). This is said to represent the Kevala Narasimha form. This is very rare form. It has 4 hands, the 2 upper hands holding chakra and sankha and the lower hands are downwards as though He is tearing the demon. Laxmi is seated to the right and Prahlada stands to the left.

 

Narasimha chasing Hiranyakasipu:

The third Deity, Lord Nrsimhadeva is advancing towards Hiranyakasipu from the right, as the latter is approaching in a defiant attitude, with his sword lifted up to strike. Lord Nrsimhadeva is made to take hold of the body of Hiranyakasipu so as to overpower him. The right hand of Lord Nrsimhadeva is held up as if He is going to deal a blow to the enemy with the open palm of the hand.

 

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Way to Sri Jwala Narasimha Swamy temple

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Sri Jwala Narasimha Swamy temple

This place is the exact place where the fierce anger of the Lord Nrsimhadeva reached its culmination when He tore Hiranyakasipu.

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Sri Jwala Narasimha Swamy temple

The spot where Jwala Narasimha is sitting with Hiranyakasipu on His lap, is the threshold of the main entrance door of the spacious palace of Hiranyakasipu.

Lord Sri Jwala Narasimha Swamy

There are three deities in the temple: Ashtabuja Narasimha, Chaturbhuji Narasimha and Narasimha chasing Hiranyakasipu.

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Sri Jwala Narasimha

namas te narasimhaya

prahladahlada-dayine

hiranyakasipor vaksah-

sila-tanka-nakhalaye

 

ito nrsimhah parato nrsimho

yato yato yami tato nrsimhah

bahir nrsimho hrdaye nrsimho

nrsimham adim saranam prapadye

 

tava kara-kamala-vare nakham adbhuta-srngam

dalita-hiranyakasipu-tanu-bhrngam

kesava dhrta-narahari-rupa jaya jagadisa hare

jaya jagadisa hare jaya jagadisa hare

(Lord Nrsimhadeva Prayers)

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Lord Nrsimhadeva Kills Hiranyakasipu

The Supreme Lord laughed loudly and captured the demon again. Hiranyakasipu moved his limbs all around, but the Lord simply placed the demon on His lap and with the sharp nails on His lotus hands, He easily tore into Hiranyakasipu's body.

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Sri Jwala Narasimha Swamy temple

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Rakta Kunda tirtha

In front of the Jwala Narasimha temple is a pond called “Rakta Kunda tirtha”, below a fully open cave, where Lord Nrsimhadeva after killing the demon Hiranyakasipu, washed His blood-stained hands and hence the water of this kunda turned red.

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Rakta Kunda tirtha

The water of this kunda is crystal clear and is very sweet.

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Rakta Kunda tirtha

One can see the red strains around this tirtha.

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Stunning views looking downwards from Sri Jwala Narasimha Temple

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Area of Hiranyakasipu’s palace

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Area of Hiranyakasipu’s palace

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Way to Ugra Stamba from near Jwala Narasimha temple

 

2. Sri Ahobila Narasimha Temple

garudadri guhagehe gajakhundasarittate

hiranyasthaanvahankaarhaari simhaya mangalam

 

Sri Ahobila Narasimha temple, situated on the Upper Ahobilam, at a distance of 8 km from the Lower Ahobilam, is the main temple and the earliest of all the nine temples in Ahobilam. The Lord here appears in his fierce aspect, called Ugra Narasimha, who is the presiding deity of the temple and is known as Ahobila Nrisimha Swamy. Lord is seen tearing apart the chest of Hiranyakasipu. In front of the Lord is Prahlada. Lord’s eternal consort Srimati Chenchu Lakshmi is also giving darshan to the devotees. She is seated in padmasana. The temple is situated in a naturally formed cave.

 

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Sri Ahobila Narasimha temple is on the Upper Ahobilam

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Cave near Sri Ahobila Narasimha temple

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Sri Ahobila Narasimha temple

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Sri Ahobila Narasimha and Sri Chenchu Lakshmi

The Lord here appears in his fierce aspect, called Ugra Narasimha, who is the presiding deity of the temple and is known as Ahobila Nrisimha Swamy. Lord is seen tearing apart the chest of Hiranyakasipu. In front of the Lord is Prahlada. Lord’s eternal consort Srimati Chenchu Lakshmi is also giving darshan to the devotees.

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Sri Ahobila Narasimha

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Sri Ahobila Narasimha temple

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After killing Hiranyakasipu, Lord Nrsimhadeva's mouth and mane was sprinkled with drops of blood. Lord Nrsimhadeva pierced Hiranyakasipu's abdomen with His nails and wore his intestines as a garland, which enhanced the Lord's beauty. He then uprooted Hiranyakasipu's heart and threw his body aside. The faithful soldiers of Hiranyakasipu came in thousands to fight with Him, raising their weapons, but Lord Nrsimhadeva killed all of them merely with the ends of His nails.

 

3. Sri Malola Narasimha Temple

vaarijaavaaritha bhayay vaneepathi mukhaiswarai

mahithaaya mahodhaara malolyasthu mangalam

 

Sri Malola Narasimha temple is 2 km from the main temple of Upper Ahobilam. Lord Nrsimhadeva here appears in 'Soumya' (peaceful) form. Ma means Mother Lakshmi and lola means beloved. Lord Nrsimhadeva is the beloved of mother Lakshmi and hence is glorified as Malola Narasimha. This place is also known as Markonda Lakshmi ksetra. The temple is on a level surface of a peak of the Vedadri Mountain. Lord Nrsimhadeva is seated here in Sukhasana posture with His left leg folded while the right leg is dangling at an angle. The goddess Laxmi is seated on the left thigh of the Lord with Kataka and Parisaritya vamahasta. The feet of the Laxmi rest on padma which appears to have sprouted from the earth. The Lord’s two upper hands hold chakra and sankha, His lower right hand is in abhaya pose and the lower left hand is embracing His consort. The utsava murti of Sri Malola Narasimha travels with the Jeeyar of Ahobila Mutt.

 

Pastime:

There was a young devotee named Srinivasacharya at Melkote. One day Lord Lakshmi Narasimha appeared in his dream and ordered him to come to Ahobilam, take sannyasa and carry on his future mission from Ahobilam. Young Srinivasacharya could not believe his dream and rushed to his guru, Sri Ghatikasatam Ammal who was also known as Varada Vishnuvarcharya and sought his instructions. He immediately told Srinivasacharya to follow the order of the Lord without any delay.

 

Blessed by his guru, Srinivasacharya rushed to Ahobilam. There he was received by Mukundaraya, a local chieftain, who also had an order from the Lord to receive Srinivasacharya at Ahobilam. Lord Narasimha appeared before Srinivasacharya in the form of a saint and initiated him into the sannyasa asrama and also formed the Ahobilam Mutt. The Lord awarded him the name - Sathakopa Jeeyar. He instructed him to go door to door to preach the message of Vaishnavism, and take along with him the utsava murti of the Lord. The Lord also wanted him to be the spiritual master of the disciples.

 

Sri Sathakopa Jeeyar was confused as to which utsava murti he has to carry with him. The Lord had instructed him to take utsava murti but had not told which utsava murti. He started meditating on the Lord requesting Him to choose the utsava murti. Immediately the utsava murti of Sri Malola Narasimha came from the temple flying to his hands. The utsava murti of Sri Malola Narasimha is adorned with a Paduka indicating that the Lord is ready to proceed on a tour. Since then the utsava murti of Sri Malola Narasimha has been travelling with the Jeeyars of Ahobilam Mutt and has been blessing devotees with the mercy and devotional service. Right from the founder, i.e., the first Jeeyar of Ahobila Mutt down to the 44th pontiff, Srivan Satakopa Sri Vedanta Desika Yatheendra Mahadesika, the present jeeyar, the utsava murthi of Malola Narasirnha Swamy is worshipped and it is taken by them whenever they are on religious tours, visiting the villages every year.

 

About 1 km away from this temple, on the same mountain, there is Prahlada-mettu, or the school where Prahlada Maharaja is said to have taken education. There is a small temple of Nrsimhadeva inside a cave.

 

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Sri Malola Narasimha temple

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Sri Malola Narasimha temple

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Sri Malola Narasimha temple

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Lord Sri Malola Narasimha

Lord Nrsimhadeva here appears in 'Soumya' (peaceful) form. Ma means Mother Lakshmi and lola means beloved. Lord Nrsimhadeva is the beloved of mother Lakshmi and hence is glorified as Malola Narasimha.

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Sri Malola Narasimha temple

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Prahlada Approaches the Angry Lord Nrsimhadeva

After Lord Nrsimhadeva (the half-man, half-lion incarnation of the Lord) killed the demon Hiranyakasipu, He continued to be very angry. All the saintly persons and demigods offered Him prayers of glorification and praise, but no one could pacify Him. Lord Brahma then requested Prahlada to go forward and appease Lord Nrsimhadeva. Prahlada gradually walked toward the Lord and fell down to offer his respectful obeisances with folded hands. "When Lord Nrsimhadeva saw the small boy Prahlada Maharaja prostrated at the soles of His lotus feet, He became most ecstatic in affection toward His devotee. Raising Prahlada, the Lord placed His lotus hand upon the boy's head because His hand is always ready to create fearlessness in all of His devotees." [Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.5]

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Lord Nrsimhadeva benedicts Prahlada Maharaja

"When Lord Nrsimhadeva saw the small boy Prahlada Maharaja prostrated at the soles of His lotus feet, He became most ecstatic in affection toward His devotee. Raising Prahlada, the Lord placed His lotus hand upon the boy's head because His hand is always ready to create fearlessness in all of His devotees." [Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.5]

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The Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His form of Lord Nrsimhadeva, ordered Prahlada to accept the kingdom of his father and rule over the demons. He instructed Prahlada to perform the proper ritualistic ceremonies and then take charge of the kingdom, keeping his mind always fixed on Him. After the Supreme Lord disappeared from that place, Lord Brahma, along with other great saints assembled there, made Prahlada king.

 

4. Sri Krodha (Varaha) Narasimha Temple

varahkundey medhinyai varaahaarthapradhaayiney

dhanthalagna hiranyaksh dhamshtra simhaaya mangalam

 

Sri Krodha (Varaha) Narasimha temple is 1 km from the main temple of Ahobila Narasimha Swamy on the Upper Ahobilam. Sri Kroda Narasimha also glorified by devotees as Varaha Narasimha is a very special form of the Lord with the face of a boar. After killing Hiranyakasipu, Lord Nrsimhadeva was very upset with Lord Brahma because of the boon he had awarded to Hiranyakasipu. He summoned Lord Brahma but Brahma was afraid to come near the Lord. At that time Vedas slipped from his hands and fell down. When the Vedas were falling, Bhumi personified held them and took the Vedas with her to Patala in order to protect them. Due to the absence of the Vedas, demigods approached Lord Nrsimhadeva who took the form of Kroda (an animal with a single front horn) and went to Patala to bring back the Vedas. He then emerged out with Bhumi-devi sitting above His horn. After bringing out Vedas Lord sat at this kshetra and took the form of Sri Kroda Narasimha. In the meantime His anger also subsided. Brahma then came near the Lord begging for forgiveness and requesting the Vedas. Lord Nrsimhadeva rejected Brahma’s request and said that you have already lost the Vedas and hence they have to be given only to a responsible person. To which Brahma suggested that they can be given to Lakshmi-devi. Lord agreed and gave darshan to Brahma as Sri Malola Narasimha.

 

Along with Sri Kroda Narasimha, one can also have darshan of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha in this temple. Lord Nrsimhadeva is seen as though He is trying to gently pacify Lakshmidevi. Lord Nrsimhadeva had developed attachment to Chenchu Lakshmi, which annoyed Lakshmidevi, hence the Lord is pacifying Her. Here one can also have darshan of Sri Varaha Tirtha.

 

Walking alongside the Bhavanasini river and Kalakshepa Mandapa, we arrive at the cave shrine of Krodha (Varaha). Surrounded by attractive natural scenery all around; the lofty mountains over-grown with tall trees are awe inspiring. In the narrow valley between Vedari and Garudadadri, the silver stream of Bhavanasini glides on beautifully.

 

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Sri Krodha Narasimha temple

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Sri Krodha Narasimha temple

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Lord Sri Krodha Narasimha

Sri Kroda Narasimha also glorified by devotees as Varaha Narasimha is a very special form of the Lord with the face of a boar.

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Way to Sri Krodha Narasimha temple from Sri Ahobila Narasimha temple

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Way to Sri Krodha Narasimha temple

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This is where Sripad Ramanujacarya held his devotional discourses when he visited Ahobilam. This place is on the way to Sri Krodha Narasimha temple from Sri Ahobila Narasimha temple

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Terrain at Sri Nava Narasimha ksetra

 

5. Sri Karanja Narasimha Temple

karanjamoole maatharaste yathra

saarangaschakra dhrutham

gobhoo hiranya nirvinna gobila

gnyanadhayiney prabanjan sunaaseera

kaaranchaayasthu mangalam

 

Sri Karanja Narasimha temple is at a distance of 1 km from Upper Ahobilam and one furlong from the road leading to Lower Ahobilam. Lord Nrsimhadeva here is under the Karanja Tree, hence He is known as Karanja Narasimha. Karanja Tree is also called as Honge Mara in the local language. He is also known as Saranga Narasimha because He is holding the bow named Saranga. Lord Nrsimhadeva is sitting in meditation, with a hooded cobra over the head. The upper right hand holds a Chakra and upper left hand has Saranga bow. The lower hands are in Dhyana mudra. The Bhavanasini river glides on at the left of the road.

 

Once Hanuman was performing austerities in Ahobilam and was continuously chanting the holy name of Lord Rama. Immediately Lord Nrsimhadeva appeared before him and asked, “Yes you called Me?” Hanuman was surprised and said to Nrsimhadeva, “You are disturbing me. Please go away.” Nrsimhadeva replied, “I am Ramacandra. Because you called Me, I have come.” Hanuman was again surprised and asked, “How can you be Rama? You don’t have a form like that of Rama.” Immediately Lord Nrsimhadeva manifested Himself like Rama with bow in one hand and Sudarsana in the other hand. Hanuman got convinced and from then on started to worship the form of Sri Karanja Narasimha. There is a small altar of Hanuman in the temple.

 

Sage Gobila had been cursed by Durvasa Muni and had become a dullard. He worshipped the Lord by reciting the Narasimha Mantra. The Lord was pleased and blessed the sage that as before he would become very learned and that in due course he would attain liberation. Since then devotees who seek knowledge come and worship the Lord here.

 

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Sri Karanja Narasimha temple

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Sri Karanja Narasimha temple

Lord Nrsimhadeva here is under the Karanja Tree, hence He is known as Karanja Narasimha.

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Sri Karanja Narasimha temple

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Lord Sri Karanja Narasimha

Lord Nrsimhadeva is sitting in meditation, with a hooded cobra over the head. The upper right hand holds a Chakra and upper left hand has Saranga bow.

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Sri Karanja Narasimha temple

 

6. Sri Bhargava Narasimha Temple

bharagavakhya tapasveesa bhaavanaa bhaavithathmaney

akshaya theera theerthastu bhargavayaasthu mangalam

 

Sri Bhargava Narasimha temple is at a distance of 2 km from the Lower Ahobilam, on a hill, near the sacred pond, known as 'Bhargava Tirtham', where Bhargava Rama performed his penance. Hence the Lord of the temple is known as Bhargava Narasimha Swamy. Here Parasurama, who is also known as Bhargava, performed penances to please Lord Nrsimhadeva. Parasurama wanted to have darshan of the Lord right at the moment when he tore apart the chest of Hiranyakasipu. Pleased by the penances of Parasurama, Lord Nrsimhadeva gave Him the desired darshan. When the Lord was giving darshan, Hiranyakasipu who was lying on the lap of the Lord, looked towards Parasurama. Parasurama then requested Nrsimhadeva to manifest Himself in that form. And from then on the Lord is being worshiped here and is known as Sri Bhargava Narasimha Swamy. This is one of the most ferocious forms of Lord Nrsimhadeva in Ahobilam. This temple is located on the banks of Akshaya Tirtha which is considered on par with the sacred Pushkara Tirtha. Parasurama would bathe in this kunda and use this water for the worship of Lord Bhargava Narasimha. Sage Vasishtha and other sages had performed penances here. One can also have darshan of Prahlada at the lotus feet of the Lord. This temple is surrounded by a thick forest and can be reached only via local jeep or the autos as the route is like a mountainous terrain.

 

Lord Nrsimhadeva here is four-handed. Upper two hands hold the chakra and sankha, the lower two hands as shown tearing the intestine of Hiranyakasipu. Hiranyakasipu is holding a sword in his right hand. Prahlada is on the right in the Sthanaka posture with Anjali hasta.

 

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Way to Sri Bhargava Narasimha temple from Lower Ahobilam

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Way to Sri Bhargava Narasimha temple

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Sacred 'Bhargava Tirtham' in front of the temple where Bhargava Rama performed his penance

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Stairs leading to Sri Bhargava Narasimha temple

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Lord Sri Bhargava Narasimha

Lord Nrsimhadeva here is four-handed. Upper two hands hold the chakra and sankha, the lower two hands as shown tearing the intestine of Hiranyakasipu. Hiranyakasipu is holding a sword in his right hand. Prahlada is on the right in the Sthanaka posture with Anjali hasta.

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Sri Bhargava Narasimha temple

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Lord Sri Bhargava Narasimha

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Sri Bhargava Narasimha temple

 

7. Sri Yogananda Narasimha Temple

chathuranana chetobja chitrabhaanu svaroopine

vedadri gahavarasthaaya yogaanandaaya mangalam

 

Sri Yogananda Narasimha temple is to the south-east of Lower Ahobilam at a distance of 2 km. The popular legend is that after killing Hiranyakasipu, Lord Nrsimhadeva taught Prahlada several yogic postures. Therefore, the Lord in this aspect is called Yogananda Narasimha. Seated on a Garuda pedestal of 1’2” high, the deity of Lord Nrsimhadeva is about 2’8” high in the yogic posture of their legs being crossed and tied with a Yogapatta. The deity is four handed and holds chakra in the upper hand and sankha in the upper left hand. The other two hands rest on the knees. Once Lord Brahma visited this place when he was agitated and he returned after attaining peace by practicing devotion unto Lord Narasimha. The Deity of the Lord was being worshiped in a deep tunnel and for the sake of ease in his worship, He was brought out from the tunnel and installed here. This temple is connected by a good road. This temple is a plain stone structure with a square Garbhagriha and Ardha mandapa.

 

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Sri Yogananda Narasimha temple

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Sri Yogananda Narasimha temple

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Lord Sri Yogananda Narasimha

The deity is four handed and holds chakra in the upper hand and sankha in the upper left hand. The other two hands rest on the knees.

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Sri Yogananda Narasimha temple

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Next to Sri Yogananda Narasimha temple is Sri Bala Yogananda Narasimha temple

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Sri Bala Yogananda Narasimha temple

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Sri Bala Yogananda Narasimha temple

 

8. Sri Chatravata Narasimha Temple

haahaa hoohoo vakya gandharva nrittageetha hritaatmaney

bhavahantritat chathravataimhaya mangalam

 

Sri Chatravata Narasimha temple is 3 km from Lower Ahobilam on the same road leading to Yogananda Narasimha temple. Lord Nrsimhadeva here is very unique as He has got a very beautiful wide smile on His face. Since the Lord is worshiped under a peepal tree, surrounded by the thorny bushes, He is famous as Chatravata Narasimha Swamy.

 

Once two Gandharvas named Haha and Hoohoo came from Meru parvata and pleased Sri Chatravata Narasimha with their melodious singing. The Lord blessed them that they would attain fame as great singers. Even now devotees who visit this temple sing melodiously before the deity to give Him pleasure. Lord Indra and the other demigods worshiped the Lord here and requested Him to kill the demon-king. This temple is also known as Devata-aradhana ksetra.

 

Sri Chatravata Narasimha is seated in the padmasana pose on a low padmapitha. The two upper hands hold the chakra and sankha. The lower right hand is in the abhaya posture, while the lower left hand is a Katihasta, placed on the waist and the left thigh.

 

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Sri Chatravata Narasimha temple

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Sri Chatravata Narasimha temple

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Lord Sri Chatravata Narasimha

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Lord Sri Chatravata Narasimha

Lord Nrsimhadeva here is very unique as He has got a very beautiful wide smile on His face. Since the Lord is worshiped under a peepal tree, surrounded by the thorny bushes, He is famous as Chatravata Narasimha Swamy

 

9. Sri Pavana Narasimha Temple

bharadwaja mahayogi mahapaathaka haariney

thaapaneeya rahasyartha paavanayasthu mangalam

 

Sri Pavana Narasimha temple is on the banks of the river Pavana. This is the most peaceful form of the Lord amongst the nine Nrsimhadeva temples. He is also known as Pamuleti Narasimha Swamy. The Lord here liberates devotees from the all the sins of past lives and the present lives which might have been committed knowingly or unknowingly. Sage Bharadwaja rid himself of the great sin of brahma-hatya at this place.

 

This temple lies quite far in the midst of the forest. It is about 6 km from the Upper Ahobilam temple. One has to walk the entire distance from Upper Ahobilam southwards, a hilly forest track. Devotees climb many steep steps to reach this temple. The steps begin from behind the temple of Sri Ahobilam Narasimha. Alternatively devotees can also visit this temple via local jeeps. This temple is in the middle of a dense forest. The temple is a small rectangular building with a Garuda stambha in front. The presence of Garuda stambha suggests that the temple might have been in great prosperity and annual functions were being regularly conducted. To reach Sri Pavana Narasimha temple one can hire a four-wheel jeep from Lower Ahobilam. It will take approx. 2-3 hours by jeep to reach Sri Pavana Narasimha temple from Lower Ahobilam. At a distanced of about 1 km from this temple, chenchus (tribal people) reside. They, even to this day, sing in their own language the momentous marriage of the Chenchu bride with Nrsimhadeva.

 

The main deity is actually a Lakshmi Nrsimhadeva deity, with four hands. The upper two hands carry Sankha and chakra. The lower right hand is in abhaya pose, while the lower left hand is shown as embracing Lakshmi seated on His left thigh. The Lord is seated in Sukhasana posture on Adi Sesha with His left leg folded while the right leg is bent at the knee. Dangling down over the head of Nrsimhadeva is found a seven-hooded snake (Adisesha) spread like an umbrella. Lakshmi is seated on the thigh of the Lord with right hand embracing Lord.

 

Important information: The starting point for Pavana Narasimha temple is also Ahobila Nrisimha temple, but the route is on the opposite side of Jwala Temple. First, one has to climb some 250 very steep steps, and then walk for about 4 km on fairly plain ground. The round trip may take about three hours. Recently, a path has been made for Jeeps to go to Pavana. It is a very rough 2 hour drive from Lower Ahobilam.

 

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Sri Pavana Narasimha

This is the most peaceful form of the Lord amongst the nine Nrsimhadeva temples. The Lord here liberates devotees from the all the sins of past lives and the present lives.

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To reach Sri Pavana Narasimha temple one has to pass through thickly dense forest. The starting point for Pavana Narasimha temple is also Ahobila Nrisimha temple, but the route is on the opposite side of Jwala Temple. First, one has to climb some 250 very steep steps, and then walk for about 4 km on fairly plain ground. The round trip may take about three hours. Recently, a path has been made for Jeeps to go to Pavana. It is a very rough 2 hour drive from Lower Ahobilam.

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Forest rangers quarter

 

Sri Prahlada Varada Narasimha Temple

Sri Prahlada Varada Narasimha Temple, meaning the Lord whose grace bestows on Prahlada is in Lower Ahobilam. Here Lord Nrsimhadeva is blessing Prahlada Maharaja. Sri Laxmi Narasimha Swamy is the presiding deity at the temple. There are also three smaller shrines for Lakshmi, Andal and Azhwars. On the temple altar are the Utsava deities of Prahlada Varada, Pavana Narasimha and the processional deity of Jwala Narasimha endowed with ten hands and with Sreedevi and Bhoodevi on His either side. A small deity of the first Jeeyar, Sri Adivan Satakopa Swami is also kept before them. A shrine dedicated to Sri Venkateswara exists to the south west of this Narasimha temple and depicts the pastime that Lord Venkateswara obtained the blessings of Narasimha just before His marriage with Padmavathi. The Mukha Mandapa there, is now used as the Kalyana Mandapa of Narasimha Swamy. This temple is not amongst the Nava Narasimha Temple in Ahobilam, but is of utmost significance in Ahobilam.

 

The temple is surrounded by three prakaras. With Vijayanagar style noticeable in the structure, there are a number of mandapas outside the temple. Both in the Upper and Lower Ahobilam, it is a common sight on the pillars of Lord Nrsimhadeva with His consort Chenchu Lakshmi, the Lord chasing Hiranyakasipu in one pillar and bursting forth from another pillar to tear him are very realistic. The 44th Jeeyar's of Sri Abobila Matha and the Endowments Department of A.P. Government have made lot of efforts in temple renovation. The annual uthsava (Brahmothsavam) is performed in February every year.

 

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Sri Prahlada Varada Narasimha is in Lower Ahobilam

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Sri Prahlada Varada Narasimha temple

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Sri Prahlada Varada Narasimha temple

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Sri Prahlada Varada Narasimha temple

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Lord Sri Lakshmi Narasimha at Sri Prahlada Varada Narasimha temple

Here Lord Nrsimhadeva is blessing Prahlada Maharaja. Sri Laxmi Narasimha Swamy is the presiding deity at the temple.

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Sri Pattabhi Ramula Vari Sannidhi

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Sri Pattabhi Ramula Vari Sannidhi

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Flower vendor at Sri Prahlada Varada Narasimha temple

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Chariot that is used in service of Lord Nrsimhadeva during the Festival celebrations

 

Prahlada Mettu - School where Prahlada studied

Prahlada Mettu, the school of Prahalda, situated in a cave on the hill, behind the Malola Narasimha Temple in Upper Ahobilam. This is where Prahlada had his school with teachers Sanda and Amarka. It is a 0.4 km walk from Malola Narasimha temple through the forest and the narrow path of the cliff. There is a cavern in this cave. When demons threw Prahlada from the cliff, Prahlada Maharaja fell through this cavern of the rock and was held by Lord Sri Krishna. Around this cave, Prahlada Maharaja wrote ‘om namo bhagavate vasudevaya’ on the rocks. Devotees can still those transcendental letters. One can also have darshan of Sri Yoga Narasimha, Sri Sudarshana and Sri Narayana deities in this cave.

 

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Prahlada Mettu, the area of school of Prahlada

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Lord Nrsimhadeva at Prahlada Mettu

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“Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya” sculpted by Prahlada on rocks at his school, Prahlada Mettu

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Prahlada Maharaja Instructs His Friends at school

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Prahlada Dances Ecstatically Among His School Friends

When his demoniac teachers were absent, Prahlada taught his classmates the science of Krishna consciousness, beginning with the chanting of the holy names. All the boys took his instructions very seriously and they became attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, rejecting the materialistic instructions given by their teachers.

 

 

Ahobilam Matha Role in Developing Ahobilam:

Majority of the development work in Ahobilam for the pleasure of Lord Nrsimhadeva has been carried out by Ahobilam Matha, who are followers of Sri Vaisnavism of Sripada Ramanujacarya. The 33rd Jeeyar (a member of their disciplic succession) is especially said to have carried monumental work in developing this sacred place.

 

Ahobilam Matha was established 600 years ago at Ahobilam by Srimad Athivan Satakopan. He was originally known as Kidambi Srinivasachar. One day, the Lord of Ahobilam, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha, appeared in Srinivasachar's dream and instructed him to come to the temple town of Ahobilam. After consulting with his acarya, he proceeded to Ahobilam. At Ahobilam, the Lord Nrsimhadeva Himself initiated Srinivasachar into sannyasa and gave him the title, "Satakopa Jeeyar". Then, one of the nine Nrisimha’s of Ahobilam called Malolan jumped into the hands of Athivan Satakopan and ordered him to travel the length and breadth of the country. Thus began the institution called Sri Ahobila Matha and the travels of Lord Malolan to village after village so that devotees get a chance to undertake Panca Samskaram and perform Bhara Nyasam at the lotus feet of the Lord Nrsimhadeva. The travels thus started 600 years ago and the unique tradition of the Lord travelling to the houses of His devotees continues till-date.

 

Sri Ahobila Mutha

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Sri Ahobila Mutta has established a trust called Annamacharya Nitya Annadanam Trust which provides free prasadam to the devotees.

 

Stories from Sthala Purana:

Sthala Purana of Ahobilam, which is part of 10 chapters of Brahmanda Purana described the greatness of ksetra in the 1st chapter. The 2nd chapter of the Purana narrates the performance of the penance of Garuda for the darshan of the Lord. The 3rd chapter gives an account of the sacred ponds of the place. The 4th chapter furnishes an account of the nine temples of Narasimha in His nine forms and performances of the penances by Brahma, Bharadvaja, Gobhila and Bhargava Rama. The 5th chapter relates the traditional story of Jaya and Vijaya and their birth as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu respectively and the assurance given by the Lord to the demigods for their protection. The 6th chapter describes, at length, the childhood of Prahlada and the atrocities perpetrated against him by his father. The 7th chapter narrates the devotion of Prahlada to the Lord, appearance of Lord Nrsimhadeva and the killing of the demon, Hiranyaksha. The 8th chapter mentions the Sarabhavatara and his destruction by Lord Nrsimhadeva. The 9th chapter states the untiring efforts of Bhairava for the river Bhavanasini and his becoming Kshetrapala of the place. The last chapter clearly states that taking up the process of devotional service to the Lord is the only means for crossing the cycle of birth and death (samsara).

 

Laxmidevi as Chenchu Laxmi:

Once upon a time Samudra raja (Ocean god) was cursed to be born in a tribe of name Chenchu. Sri Mahalaxmi manifested herself as his daughter known as Chenchu Laxmi. Being aware of this, Lord came down adorning role as a chenchu. Samudra raja was not aware of this and felt that his aristocratic daughter had fallen in love with an ordinary chenchu man. He decided to kill Him. At that time, Lord Narahari appeared and told him the truth. The Lord’s marriage with Chenchu Laxmi was celebrated and Samudra raja also got released from his curse. Because Lord married a lady belonging to chenchu tribe the Lord became their son in law. Even today during the utsavas the chenchu tribes bring honey, sandal paste, clothes and other forest products and offer them to lord, who is their son in law. They affectionately call him “Obulaesudu” (short version of Ahobalesudu Lord of Ahobalam). A Sanskrit drama “Vasantika Parinaya” written by the 7th Jeeyar of the Ahobala matha describes the marriage of the Lord with Chenchu Laxmi.

 

33rd Jeeyar of Ahobilam Matha and the dacoits: 
One day the Jeeyar was going through dense forest accompanied by his disciples, journeying from Ahobilam to Mysore. On the way, the Jeeyar decided to halt at a spot near a small rivulet to perform his evening puja to his Lord. As he was settling down to offer prayers, there was a commotion and his disciples rushed to him saying that dacoits had come to loot their property. The unperturbed Jeeyar went to meet the leader of the dacoit gang, told him that they had nothing which belonged to them, that everything they possessed belonged to Lord and requested him to take it after he finished his puja to the Lord. The leader agreed. The Jeeyar commenced his puja. He offered “Chakkarai Pongal, a sweet prepared out of rice and jaggery” to the Lord. He did Mangala arati to the deity 3 times and at the end of third round, all dacoits suddenly fell at the feet of Jeeyar and asked him to protect them saying that a large number of lions were attacking them. The Jeeyar could not see the lions but he realized that his Lord Nrsimhadeva had come to rescue him. He requested the lions to disappear. The dacoits who had come to rob fell at his feet begging forgiveness and then escorted the Jeeyar safely out of the forest.

 

Lord Nrsimhadeva Prayers:

namas te narasimhaya

prahladahlada-dayine

hiranyakasipor vaksah-

sila-tanka-nakhalaye

 

ito nrsimhah parato nrsimho

yato yato yami tato nrsimhah

bahir nrsimho hrdaye nrsimho

nrsimham adim saranam prapadye

 

tava kara-kamala-vare nakham adbhuta-srngam

dalita-hiranyakasipu-tanu-bhrngam

kesava dhrta-narahari-rupa jaya jagadisa hare

jaya jagadisa hare jaya jagadisa hare

 

Lord Nrsimhadeva Pastimes

[ref. Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 7, chapters 2 to 10]

Hiranyakasipu, King of the Demons

When the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna appeared as the boar and killed Hiranyakasipu’s brother Hiranyaksa, Hiranyakasipu was very much aggrieved. In anger, he accused the Supreme Personality of Godhead of being partial to His devotees and derided the Lord’s appearance as Varaha to kill his brother. He began to agitate all the demons and Raksasas and disturb the ritualistic ceremonies of the peaceful sages and other inhabitants of earth. For want of the performance of yajna, sacrifice, the demigods began wandering unseen on earth.

 

After finishing the ritualistic funeral ceremonies of his brother, Hiranyakasipu began speaking to his nephews, quoting from the sastras about the truth of life. To pacify them, he spoke as follows: “My dear nephews, for heroes to die before the enemy is glorious. According to their different fruitive activities, living entities come together within this material world and are again separated by the laws of nature. We should always know, however, that the spirit soul, which is different from the body, is eternal, inadjustable, pure, all-pervading and aware of everything. When bound by the material energy, the soul takes birth in higher or lower species of life according to varying association and in this way receives various types of bodies in which to suffer or enjoy. One’s affliction by the conditions of material existence is the cause of happiness and distress; there are no other causes, and one should not be aggrieved upon seeing the superficial actions of karma.”

 

Hiranyakasipu then related a historical incident concerning a King Suyajna who resided in the country named Usinara. When the King was killed, his queens, overwhelmed with grief, received instructions, which Hiranyakasipu quoted to his nephews. Hiranyakasipu related an account of a kulinga bird pierced by the arrow of a hunter while lamenting for his wife, who had also been shot by the same hunter. By narrating these stories, Hiranyakasipu pacified his nephews and other relatives and relieved them of lamentation. Thus having been pacified, Diti and Rusabhanu, Hiranyakasipu’s mother and sister-in-law, engaged their minds in spiritual understanding.

 

Hiranyakasipu’s Plan to Become Immortal

Hiranyakasipu wanted to become immortal. He wanted not to be conquered by anyone, not to be attacked by old age and disease, and not to be harassed by any opponent. Thus he wanted to become the absolute ruler of the entire universe. With this desire, he entered the valley of Mandara Mountain and began practicing a severe type of austerity and meditation. Seeing Hiranyakasipu engaged in this austerity, the demigods returned to their respective homes, but while Hiranyakasipu was thus engaged, a kind of fire began blazing from his head, disturbing the entire universe and its inhabitants, including the birds, beasts and demigods. When all the higher and lower planets became too hot to live on, the demigods, being disturbed, left their abodes in the higher planets and went to see Lord Brahma, praying to him that he curtail this unnecessary heat. The demigods disclosed to Lord Brahma Hiranyakasipu’s ambition to become immortal, overcoming his short duration of life, and to be the master of all the planetary systems, even Dhruvaloka.

 

Upon hearing about the purpose of Hiranyakasipu’s austere meditation, Lord Brahma, accompanied by the great sage Bhrgu and great personalities like Daksa, went to see Hiranyakasipu. He then sprinkled water from his kamandalu, a type of waterpot, upon Hiranyakasipu’s head. Hiranyakasipu, the King of the Daityas, bowed down before Lord Brahma, the creator of this universe, offering respectful obeisances again and again and offering prayers. When Lord Brahma agreed to give him benedictions, he prayed not be killed by any living entity, not to be killed in any place, covered or uncovered, not to die in the daytime or at night, not to be killed by any weapon, on land or in the air, and not to be killed by any human being, animal, demigod or any other entity, living or nonliving. He further prayed for supremacy over the entire universe and requested the eight yogic perfections, such as anima and laghima.

 

Hiranyakasipu Terrorizes the Universe

By severe austerities, Hiranyakasipu satisfied Lord Brahma and obtained the benedictions he desired. After he received these benedictions, his body, which had been almost entirely consumed, was revived with full beauty and a luster like gold. Nonetheless, he continued to be envious of Lord Visnu, unable to forget Lord Visnu’s having killed his brother. Hiranyakasipu conquered everyone in the ten directions and the three worlds and brought all living entities, both demigods and asuras, under his control. Becoming the master of all places, including the residence of Indra, whom he had driven out, he began enjoying life in great luxury and thus became mad. All the demigods but Lord Visnu, Lord Brahma and Lord Siva came under his control and began serving him, but despite all his material power he was dissatisfied because he was always puffed up, proud of transgressing the Vedic regulations. All the brahmanas were dissatisfied with him, and they cursed him with determination. Eventually, all the living entities within the universe, represented by the demigods and sages, prayed to the Supreme Lord for relief from Hiranyakasipu’s rule.

 

Lord Visnu informed the demigods that they and the other living entities would be saved from the fearful conditions created by Hiranyakasipu. Since Hiranyakasipu was the oppressor of all the demigods, the followers of the Vedas, the cows, the brahmanas and the religious, saintly persons, and since he was envious of the Supreme Lord, he would naturally be killed very soon. Hiranyakasipu’s last exploit would be to torment his own son Prahlada, who was a maha-bhagavata, an exalted Vaisnava. Then his life would end. When the demigods were thus reassured by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, everyone was satisfied, knowing that the miseries inflicted upon them by Hiranyakasipu would come to an end.

 

Prahlada Maharaja, the Saintly Son of Hiranyakasipu

Hiranyakasipu’s spiritual master, Sukracarya, had two sons named Sanda and Amarka, to whom Prahlada Maharaja was entrusted for education. Although the teachers tried to educate the boy Prahlada in politics, economics and other material activities, he did not care for their instructions. Instead, he continued to be a pure devotee. Prahlada Maharaja never liked the idea of discriminating between one’s friends and enemies. Because he was spiritually inclined, he was equal toward everyone.

 

Once upon a time, Hiranyakasipu inquired from his son what the best thing was that he had learned from his teachers. Prahlada Maharaja replied that a man engrossed in the material consciousness of duality, thinking, “This is mine, and that belongs to my enemy,” should give up his householder life and go to the forest to worship the Supreme Lord.

 

When Hiranyakasipu heard from his son about devotional service, he decided that this small boy had been polluted by some friend in school. Thus he advised the teachers to take care of the boy so that he would not become a Krishna conscious devotee. However, when the teachers inquired from Prahlada Maharaja why he was going against their teachings, Prahlada Maharaja taught the teachers that the mentality of ownership is false and that he was therefore trying to become an unalloyed devotee of Lord Visnu. The teachers, being very angry at this answer, chastised and threatened the boy with many fearful conditions. They taught him to the best of their ability and then brought him before his father.

 

Hiranyakasipu affectionately took his son Prahlada on his lap and then inquired from him what the best thing was that he had learned from his teachers. As usual, Prahlada Maharaja began praising the nine processes of devotional service, such as sravanam and kirtanam. Thus the King of the demons, Hiranyakasipu, being extremely angry, chastised the teachers, Sanda and Amarka, for having wrongly trained Prahlada Maharaja. The so-called teachers informed the King that Prahlada Maharaja was automatically a devotee and did not listen to their instructions. When they proved themselves innocent, Hiranyakasipu inquired from Prahlada where he had learned visnu-bhakti. Prahlada Maharaja replied that those who are attached to family life do not develop Krishna consciousness, either personally or collectively. Instead, they suffer repeated birth and death in this material world and continue simply chewing the chewed. Prahlada explained that the duty of every man is to take shelter of a pure devotee and thus become eligible to understand Krishna consciousness.

 

Enraged at this answer, Hiranyakasipu threw Prahlada Maharaja from his lap. Since Prahlada was so treacherous that he had become a devotee of Visnu, who had killed his uncle Hiranyaksa, Hiranyakasipu asked his assistants to kill him. The assistants of Hiranyakasipu struck Prahlada with sharp weapons, threw him under the feet of elephants, subjected him to hellish conditions, threw him from the peak of a mountain and tried to kill him in thousands of other ways, but they were unsuccessful. Hiranyakasipu therefore became increasingly afraid of his son Prahlada Maharaja and arrested him. The sons of Hiranyakasipu’s spiritual master, Sukracarya, began teaching Prahlada in their own way, but Prahlada Maharaja did not accept their instructions. While the teachers were absent from the classroom, Prahlada Maharaja began to preach Krishna consciousness in the school, and by his instructions all his class friends, the sons of the demons, became devotees like him.

 

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Hiranyakasipu Throws Prahlada Off His Lap

Prahlada, although born in a family of demons, was devoted to the service of Lord Vishnu. When Prahlada was a young boy, his father, the great demon Hiranyakasipu, took Prahlada on his lap and affectionately asked him what was the best subject that he had learned from his teachers. Prahlada replied that this material existence only provides suffering and one should take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Hiranyakasipu laughed, and thought that his son's intelligence must have been spoiled by the words of the enemy. Demons like Hiranyakasipu consider Lord Vishnu and His devotees to be the enemy. He called Prahlada's teachers and told them to make sure he learned properly. The two teachers chastised and threatened Prahlada out of fear of losing their good name, and taught him of economic development and sense gratification. After some time, they brought him before his father again, thinking that he had been sufficiently educated. At that time, Hiranyakasipu took Prahlada on his lap and again asked him, "My dear Prahlada, my dear son, O long-lived one, for so much time you have heard many things from your teachers. Now please repeat to me whatever you think is the best of that knowledge." Prahlada told his father that one who has dedicated his life to the service of Lord Krishna through the nine processes of devotional service, dedicating his body, mind and words to Him, has complete knowledge. Hiranyakasipu was infuriated, and he threw Prahlada off his lap, onto the ground. [Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 7, Chapter 5, Excerpt from 7.5.22]

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Prahlada silently meditates as Rakshashas try to pierce him

Prahlada, although born in a family of demons, was devoted to the service of Lord Vishnu. Demons like his father, Hiranyakasipu, consider Lord Vishnu and His devotees to be the enemy. When Hiranyakasipu understood that Prahlada would not give up the worship of Lord Vishnu, Hiranyakasipu told the rakshashas (his demon servants) that Prahlada must be killed, by all means. The rakshashas began striking Prahlada with tridents and shouting, "Chop him up! Pierce him!" Prahlada, due to his complete faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was fearless, and he sat silently, meditating on the Lord.

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Hiranyakasipu has Prahlada thrown from a cliff

The great demon Hiranyakasipu tried to have his son, Prahlada, killed in many ways. Prahlada was thrown beneath the feet of big elephants, he was thrown among snakes, fed poison, exposed to severe cold, winds, and fire, and forced to sit in boiling oil. Nothing could harm Prahlada, who was completely sinless. Prahlada was even thrown from a cliff, but he was completely protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Hiranyakasipu saw that he could not hurt Prahlada in any way, he felt great anxiety about what to do next.

 

Prahlada Instructs His Demoniac Schoolmates

In speaking to his friends, who were all sons of demons, Prahlada Maharaja stressed that every living entity, especially in human society, must be interested in spiritual realization from the very beginning of life. When human beings are children, they should be taught that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the worshipable Deity for everyone. One should not be very much interested in material enjoyment; instead, one should be satisfied with whatever material profits are easily obtainable, and because the duration of one’s life is very short, one should utilize every moment for spiritual advancement. One may wrongly think, “In the beginning of our lives let us enjoy material facilities, and in old age we may become Krishna conscious.” Such materialistic thoughts are always useless because in old age one cannot be trained in the spiritual way of life. Therefore, from the very beginning of life, one should engage in devotional service (sravanam kirtanam visnoh). This is the duty of all living entities. Material education is infected by the three modes of nature, but spiritual education, for which there is a great need in human society, is transcendental. Prahlada Maharaja disclosed the secret of how he had received instructions from Narada Muni. By accepting the lotus feet of Prahlada Maharaja, who is in the parampara succession, one will be able to understand the mode of spiritual life. In accepting this mode of activity, there is no need for material qualifications. After Prahlada Maharaja’s class friends had listened to Prahlada Maharaja, they inquired how he had become so learned and advanced.

 

What Prahlada Learned in the Womb

When Hiranyakasipu left his kingdom and went to the mountain known as Mandaracala to execute severe austerities, all the demons scattered. Hiranyakasipu’s wife, Kayadhu, was pregnant at that time, and the demigods, mistakenly thinking that she carried another demon in her womb, arrested her. Their plan was that as soon as the child took birth they would kill him. While they were taking Kayadhu to the heavenly planets, they met Narada Muni, who stopped them from taking her away and took her to his asrama until Hiranyakasipu’s return. In Narada Muni’s asrama, Kayadhu prayed for the protection of the baby in her womb, and Narada Muni reassured her and gave her instructions on spiritual knowledge. Taking advantage of those instructions, Prahlada Maharaja, although a small baby within the womb, listened very carefully. The spirit soul is always apart from the material body. There is no change in the spiritual form of the living entity. Any person above the bodily conception of life is pure and can receive transcendental knowledge. This transcendental knowledge is devotional service, and Prahlada Maharaja, while living in the womb of his mother, received instructions in devotional service from Narada Muni. Any person engaged in the service of the Lord through the instructions of a bona fide spiritual master is immediately liberated, and being free from the clutches of maya, he is relieved of all ignorance and material desires. The duty of everyone is to take shelter of the Supreme Lord and thus become free from all material desires. Regardless of the material condition in which one is situated, one can achieve this perfection. Devotional service is not dependent on the material activities of austerity, penance, mystic yoga or piety. Even without such assets, one can achieve devotional service through the mercy of a pure devotee.

 

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Narada Muni instructs the demigods to release Hiranyakasipu's pregnant wife

"Narada Muni said: O Indra, King of the demigods, this woman is certainly sinless. You should not drag her off in this merciless way. O greatly fortunate one, this chaste woman is the wife of another. You must immediately release her. King Indra said: In the womb of this woman, the wife of the demon Hiranyakasipu, is the seed of that great demon. Therefore, let her remain in out custody until her child is delivered, and then we shall release her. Narada Muni replied: The child within this woman's womb is faultless and sinless. Indeed, he is a great devotee, a powerful servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore you will not be able to kill him." [Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.7.8-10]

 

Lord Nrsimhadeva Slays the King of the Demons

Following the instructions of Prahlada Maharaja, all the sons of the demons became attached to Lord Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When this attachment became pronounced, their teachers, Sanda and Amarka, were very much afraid that the boys would become more and more devoted to the Lord. In a helpless condition, they approached Hiranyakasipu and described in detail the effect of Prahlada’s preaching. After hearing of this, Hiranyakasipu decided to kill his son Prahlada. Hiranyakasipu was so angry that Prahlada Maharaja fell down at his feet and said many things just to pacify him, but he was unsuccessful in satisfying his demoniac father. Hiranyakasipu, as a typical demon, began to advertise himself as being greater than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Prahlada Maharaja challenged him, saying that Hiranyakasipu was not God, and began to glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead, declaring that the Lord is all-pervading, that everything is under Him, and that no one is equal to or greater than Him. Thus he requested his father to be submissive to the omnipotent Supreme Lord.

 

The more Prahlada Maharaja glorified the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the more angry and agitated the demon became. Hiranyakasipu asked his Vaisnava son whether his God existed within the columns of the palace, and Prahlada Maharaja immediately accepted that since the Lord is present everywhere, He was also present within the columns. When Hiranyakasipu heard this philosophy from his young son, he derided the boy’s statement as just the talk of a child and forcefully struck the pillar with his fist.

 

As soon as Hiranyakasipu struck the column, there issued forth a tumultuous sound. At first Hiranyakasipu, the King of the demons, could not see anything but the pillar, but to substantiate Prahlada’s statements, the Lord came out of the pillar in His wonderful incarnation as Narasimha, half lion and half man. Hiranyakasipu could immediately understand that the extraordinarily wonderful form of the Lord was surely meant for his death, and thus he prepared to fight with the form of half lion and half man. The Lord performed His pastimes by fighting with the demon for some time, and in the evening, on the border between day and night, the Lord captured the demon, threw him on His lap, and killed him by piercing his abdomen with His nails. The Lord not only killed Hiranyakasipu, the King of the demons, but also killed many of his followers. When there was no one else to fight, the Lord, roaring with anger, sat down on Hiranyakasipu’s throne.

 

The entire universe was thus relieved of the rule of Hiranyakasipu, and everyone was jubilant in transcendental bliss. Then all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, approached the Lord. These included the great saintly persons, the Pitas, the Siddhas, the Vidyadharas, the Nagas, the Manus, the prajapatis, the Gandharvas, the Caranas, the Yaksas, the Kimpurusas, the Vaitalikas, the Kinnaras and also many other varieties of beings in human form. All of them stood not far from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and began offering their prayers unto the Lord, whose spiritual effulgence was brilliant as He sat on the throne.

 

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Lord Nrsimhadeva

Half-lion, Half-man incarnation of Supreme Personality of Godhead

 

Prahlada Pacifies Lord Nrsimhadeva with Prayers

After Hiranyakasipu was killed, the Lord continued to be very angry, and the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, could not pacify Him. Even mother Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, the constant companion of Narayana, could not dare come before Lord Nrsimhadeva. Then Lord Brahma asked Prahlada Maharaja to go forward and pacify the Lord’s anger. Prahlada Maharaja, being confident of the affection of his master, Lord Nrsimhadeva, was not afraid at all. He very gravely appeared before the Lord’s lotus feet and offered Him respectful obeisances. Lord Nrsimhadeva, being very much affectionate toward Prahlada Maharaja, put His hand on Prahlada’s head, and because of being personally touched by the Lord, Prahlada Maharaja immediately achieved brahma-jnana, spiritual knowledge. Thus he offered his prayers to the Lord in full spiritual knowledge and full devotional ecstasy. The instructions given by Prahlada Maharaja in the form of his prayers are as follows.

 

Prahlada said, “I am not proud of being able to offer prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I simply take shelter of the mercy of the Lord, for without devotion one cannot appease Him. One cannot please the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by dint of high parentage or great opulence, learning, austerity, penance or mystic power. Indeed, these are never pleasing to the Supreme Lord, for nothing can please Him but pure devotional service. Even if a non-devotee is a brahmana qualified with the twelve brahminical symptoms, he cannot be very dear to the Lord, whereas if a person born in a family of dog-eaters is a devotee, the Lord can accept his prayers. The Lord does not need anyone’s prayers, but if a devotee offers his prayers to the Lord, the devotee benefits greatly. Ignorant persons born in low families, therefore, can sincerely offer heartfelt prayers to the Lord, and the Lord will accept them. As soon as one offers his prayers to the Lord, he is immediately situated on the Brahman platform.”

 

Lord Nrsimhadeva appeared for the benefit of all human society, not only for Prahlada’s personal benefit. The fierce form of Lord Nrsimhadeva may appear most awful to a nondevotee, but to the devotee the Lord is always affectionate as He is in other forms. Conditioned life in the material world is actually extremely fearful; indeed, a devotee is not afraid of anything else. Fear of material existence is due to false ego. Therefore the ultimate goal of life for every living entity is to attain the position of being servant of the servant of the Lord. The miserable condition of the living entities in the material world can be remedied only by the mercy of the Lord. Although there are so-called material protectors like Lord Brahma and the other demigods, or even one’s own father, they are unable to do anything if one is neglected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, one who has fully taken shelter of the Lord’s lotus feet can be saved from the onslaught of material nature. Therefore every living entity should be unattracted by material so-called happiness and should take shelter of the Lord by all means. That is the mission of human life. To be attracted by sense gratification is simply foolish. Whether one is a devotee of the Lord or is a nondevotee does not depend upon one’s birth in a high or low family. Even Lord Brahma and the goddess of fortune cannot achieve the full favour of the Lord, whereas a devotee can very easily attain such devotional service. The Lord’s mercy is bestowed equally upon everyone, regardless of whether one is high or low. Because Prahlada Maharaja was blessed by Narada Muni, Prahlada became a great devotee. The Lord always saves the devotee from impersonalists and voidists. The Lord is present in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul to give the living being protection and all benefits. Thus the Lord acts sometimes as the killer and sometimes as the protector. One should not accuse the Lord for any discrepancies. It is His plan that we see varieties of life within this material world. All of them are ultimately His mercy.

 

Although the entire cosmic manifestation is non-different, the material world is nonetheless different from the spiritual world. Only by the mercy of the Supreme Lord can one understand how the wonderful material nature acts. For example, although Lord Brahma appeared from the lotus seat that had grown from the abdomen of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, he could not understand what to do after his appearance. He was attacked by two demons, Madhu and Kaitabha, who took away Vedic knowledge, but the Lord killed them and entrusted to Lord Brahma the Vedic knowledge. Thus the Lord appears in every millennium in the societies of demigods, human beings, animals, saints and aquatics. All such incarnations are meant to protect the devotees and kill the demons, but this killing and protecting does not reflect any sense of partiality on the part of the Supreme Lord. The conditioned soul is always attracted by the external energy. Therefore he is subjected to lust and greed, and he suffers under the conditions of material nature. The Lord’s causeless mercy toward His devotee is the only means by which to get out of material existence. Anyone engaged in glorifying the Lord’s activities is always unafraid of this material world, whereas one who cannot glorify the Lord in that way is subjected to all lamentation.

 

Those interested in silently worshiping the Lord in solitary places may be eligible for liberation themselves, but a pure devotee is always aggrieved to see others suffering. Therefore, not caring for his own liberation, he always engages in preaching by glorifying the Lord. Prahlada Maharaja, therefore, had tried to deliver his class friends by preaching and had never remained silent. Although being silent, observing austerities and penances, learning the Vedic literature, undergoing ritualistic ceremonies, living in a solitary place and performing japa and transcendental meditation are approved means of liberation, they are meant for non-devotees or for cheaters who want to live at the expense of others. A pure devotee, however, being freed from all such deceptive activities, is able to see the Lord face to face.

 

The atomic theory of the composition of the cosmic manifestation is not factual. The Lord is the cause of everything, and therefore He is the cause of this creation. One should therefore always engage in devotional service by offering respectful obeisances to the Lord, offering prayers, working for the Lord, worshiping the Lord in the temple, always remembering the Lord and always hearing about His transcendental activities. Without these six kinds of activity, one cannot attain to devotional service.

 

Prahlada Maharaja thus offered his prayers to the Supreme Lord, begging His mercy at every step. Lord Nrsimhadeva was pacified by Prahlada Maharaja’s prayers and wanted to give him benedictions by which Prahlada could procure all kinds of material facilities. Prahlada Maharaja, however, was not misled by material facilities. Rather, he wanted to remain always a servant of the servant of the Lord.

 

Prahlada, the Best Among Exalted Devotees

Lord Nrsimhadeva wanted to bestow benedictions upon Prahlada Maharaja, one after another, but Prahlada Maharaja, thinking them impediments on the path of spiritual progress, did not accept any of them. Instead, he fully surrendered at the Lord’s lotus feet. He said: “If anyone engaged in the devotional service of the Lord prays for personal sense gratification, he cannot be called a pure devotee or even a devotee. He may be called only a merchant engaged in the business of give and take. Similarly, a master who wants to please his servant after taking service from him is also not a real master.” Prahlada Maharaja, therefore, did not ask anything from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rather, he said that if the Lord wanted to give him a benediction, he wanted the Lord to assure him that he would never be induced to take any benedictions for the sake of material desires. Exchanges of devotional service for lusty desires are always very prominent. As soon as lusty desires awaken, one’s senses, mind, life, soul, religious principles, patience, intelligence, shyness, beauty, strength, memory and truthfulness are all vanquished. One can render unalloyed devotional service only when there are no material desires in one’s mind.

 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead was greatly pleased with Prahlada Maharaja for his unalloyed devotion, yet the Lord provided him one material benediction - that he would be perfectly happy in this world and live his next life in Vaikuntha. The Lord gave him the benediction that he would be the king of this material world until the end of the manvantara millennium and that although in this material world, he would have the facility to hear the glories of the Lord and depend fully on the Lord, performing service to Him in uncontaminated bhakti-yoga. The Lord advised Prahlada to perform sacrifices through bhakti-yoga, for this is the duty of a king.

 

Prahlada Maharaja accepted whatever the Lord had offered him, and he prayed for the Lord to deliver his father. In response to this prayer, the Lord assured him that in the family of such a pure devotee as he, not only the devotee’s father but his forefathers for 21 generations are liberated. The Lord also asked Prahlada to perform the ritualistic ceremonies appropriate after his father’s death.

 

Then Lord Brahma, who was also present, offered many prayers to the Lord, expressing his obligation to the Lord for having offered benedictions to Prahlada Maharaja. The Lord advised Lord Brahma not to offer benedictions to asuras as he had to Hiranyakasipu, for such benedictions indulge them. Then Lord Nrsimhadeva disappeared. On that day, Prahlada Maharaja was installed on the throne of the world by Lord Brahma and Sukracarya.

 

 

Directions to reach Ahobilam:

Ahobilam is located in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh amidst the majestic hills of the Eastern Ghats range. It is 256 km from Tirupati, 110 km from Cuddapah, 68 km from Nandyal and 24 km from Allagadda. To visit Ahobilam, the best is to travel from Tirupati. It is approximately 5 hours drive from Tirupati to Ahobilam (256 km).

 

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Ahobilam Yatra lectures:

His Holiness Radhanath Swami lectures at Ahobilam South India Yatra 1999:

(1)     http://audio.iskcondesiretree.com/02_-_ISKCON_Swamis/ISKCON_Swamis_-_R_to_Y/His_Holiness_Radhanath_Swami/Lectures/02_-_Yatra/1999_South_India_yatra/South_India_Yatra_Radhanath_Swami_1999_Part-05.wma

(2)     http://audio.iskcondesiretree.com/02_-_ISKCON_Swamis/ISKCON_Swamis_-_R_to_Y/His_Holiness_Radhanath_Swami/Lectures/02_-_Yatra/1999_South_India_yatra/South_India_Yatra_Radhanath_Swami_1999_Part-06.wma

(3)     http://audio.iskcondesiretree.com/02_-_ISKCON_Swamis/ISKCON_Swamis_-_R_to_Y/His_Holiness_Radhanath_Swami/Lectures/02_-_Yatra/1999_South_India_yatra/South_India_Yatra_Radhanath_Swami_1999_Part-07.wma

(4)     http://audio.iskcondesiretree.com/02_-_ISKCON_Swamis/ISKCON_Swamis_-_R_to_Y/His_Holiness_Radhanath_Swami/Lectures/02_-_Yatra/1999_South_India_yatra/South_India_Yatra_Radhanath_Swami_1999_Part-08.wma

(5)     http://audio.iskcondesiretree.com/02_-_ISKCON_Swamis/ISKCON_Swamis_-_R_to_Y/His_Holiness_Radhanath_Swami/Lectures/02_-_Yatra/1999_South_India_yatra/South_India_Yatra_Radhanath_Swami_1999_Part-09.wma

 

Pilgrimage to Ahobilam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuCzk6Ad44Q (video)

 

Pilgrimage to Ahobilam: https://touchstonemedia.com/products/pilgrimage-to-ahobilam (DVD)

 

Lord Nrsimhadeva Pastimes (Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 7): www.vedabase.com/sb/7

 

Mayapur TV: http://Mayapur.tv   /  Vrindavana TV: http://Vrindavana.tv  

 

Holy Pilgrimages: www.Holy-Pilgrimages.com

Holy Dham: www.HolyDham.com

 

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