The temple of Lord Narasimha at Narasimha Palli (a place situated not far from the city of Mayapur)
Sri Narsimha palli is the residence of Lord Narasimha deva, the half man ,half lion incarnation of the Supreme Lord. Located on the southern boundaries of Navadvipa Dham (Godrumadvipa), near the city of Mayapur, this ancient deity of Lord Narasimha deva at Narasimha palli ,is worshipped here since Satya Yuga (since 2,160,000 years atleast). Lord Narasimha deva is the incarnation of the Supreme Lord who mercifully provides protection to His devotees. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ shall be narrating below the beautiful appearance pastime of Lord Narasimha deva and how He had once protected His dear devotee Prahlada, by killing His father Hiranyakashipu, the ferocious demon, who wanted to murder his own child. So it was here at Narasimha Palli, in the waters of the Mandakini river, that Lord Narasimha deva had washed His hands stained with Hiranyakashipu’s blood in the Satya yuga. He also drank some water from this river in order to refresh Himself. The Mandakini river is reduced to a small lake today, and still exists adjacent to this ancient temple. Knowing that Lord Narasimha deva had come to take rest here, all the demigods headed by Brahma, had come over here and set up their residences, and engaged themselves in service of the Lord. Hence this place also came to be known as Devapalli or the neighbourhood of the Devas(demigods). Viswakarma had himself constructed thousands of houses out of stone, which served as the residences of these demigods. In course of time, the Mandakini river shifted its course and the houses were all destroyed. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to often come over here at Narasimha Palli, to discuss the glories of Lord Narasimha deva.The temple had been later reconstructed and restored to its present health by Maharaja Kshitish Candra in 1896 AD.
“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Navadvipa” –
Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya
In the Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya, it is stated that about 500 years ago,Nityananda Prabhu had also come to Narsimha palli and showed this place around to Jiva Goswami. After explaining the significance of this great place, Lord Nityananda pointed out the different tilas (hillocks) which used to once serve as the residences of demigods such as Indra, Ganesha, Surya, etc. He had also predicted that a pious king would later construct a large temple there in the future and reinstall the deity of Lord Narasimha deva.
The divine appearance pastime of Lord Narasimha deva :
In the Satya Yuga, there once lived a ferocious demon named Hiranyakashipu. Performing severe austerities, and standing upon his toes continuously for 100 celestial years (1 celestial day = 6 earthly months), he had become very powerful.His penance was so great that it even disturbed the demigods, who seeked the help of Lord Brahma to desist Hiranyakashipu from continuing with his austerities.Actually Hiranyakashipu’s elder brother Hiranyaksha, an even greater demon, had been killed by Varaha Avatar, the boar incarnation of the Supreme Lord. Hiranyaksha’s misdeeds had caused mother earth to fall down into the depths of the Garbhodaka Ocean, from where Varaha deva later rescued her. So Hiranyakashipu ,being fuelled by revenge ,wanted to become the Lord of the entire creation by killing the Supreme Lord.
On the request of the demigods, Lord Brahma then descended to pacify the demon. On being asked, the demon demanded that he be granted the boon of immortality. Lord Brahma then explained that he himself being mortal, would not be able to grant that wish. Hiranyakashipu then demanded the following –
- He would not be killed in either the day or night
- He would not be killed in either land, air or water
- He would not be killed by any man or beast
- He would not be killed by any weapon
- He would not be killed either inside or outside his residence
So, basically the demon wanted to achieve immortality by cheating death.Lord Brahma granted him all of the above and as a result, a bold Hiranyakashipu created a havoc by conquering all of the three worlds within this material universe. No one could dare stand up against him in any war.The demigods were overthrown from their kingdoms, and he made them all bow down at his feet.
In due course of time, his wife kayadhu bore him a son whom he named Prahlada. Prahlada was a great devotee of the Supreme lord and he had learnt of the transcendental science of Krishna consciousness from Narada Muni while he was still in his mother’s womb. Inspite of his father’s repeated attempts to educate him in the vices of the demons, Prahlada remained fixed in his determination to serve Lord Hari. Time and again Hiranyakashipu got frustrated when he heard his own son sing praises of Lord Vishnu, his sworn enemy and the killer of his brother Hiranyaksha. Explaining the science of devotion unto the Supreme Lord, Prahlada Maharaja enunciated the nine processes of devotional service ,namely – sravanam (hearing the Lord’s glories) , kirtanam (chanting His holy name), smaranam (Remembering the Lord), pada-sevanam (serving His lotus feet), arcanam (offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia), vandanam (offering Him prayers), dasyam (becoming His servant), sakhyam (becoming His friend), atma-nivedanam (surrendering unto Him). The teachings of Prahlada Maharaja is one of the pillars upon which this Krishna consciousness movement is founded.
Being fed up with his son’s behaviour, and being blinded by anger, Hiranyakashipu ordered his servants to kill Prahlada. But no matter how hard they tried, they could not kill him, as Prahlada was being protected by the Supreme Lord. They threw him from a hilltop, trampled him beneath an elephant’s feet, tried to burn him, threw him into a dungeon of poisonous snakes, starved him, poisoned him,cursed him with destructive spells,hurled heavy stones at him,etc. But none of the above actions could as much as produce even a small scratch on Prahlada’s body, who kept incessantly chanting the holy name and remembering the Lord. This pastime is very instructive for all of us. All of us go through different phases in our lives when we are threatened by other living entities or external forces. As Prahlada Maharaja teaches us, that in these kinds of situations instead of becoming alarmed, we should seek the shelter of the Supreme Lord. A devotee should always keep his faith upon the Lord’s protection (abashya rakshibe krishna -visvasa palana).As soon as one takes shelter of the Supreme ,he automatically becomes fearless. That is why the lotus feet of the Lord is also known as ‘Abhaya-Carana’ (abhaya – fearless , carana – feet).
When none of his attempts to kill Prahlada worked, Hiranyakashipu became very astonished and enquired from his son as to from where he had received his superhuman powers. Prahlada gently replied that he had received his strength from the same place that his father had received his – from Sri Hari. On hearing his reply,Hiranyakashipu became even more enraged and asked Prahlada, as to where his God was. Prahlada answered that God was everywhere. In a fit of rage, the demon then started pointing to different things in the palace and asked his son whether God existed in them as well. Finally pointing to a pillar nearby, he asked whether Prahlada’s God was existent in it. When Prahlada answered in the affirmative, Hiranyakashipu took up his sword and smashed the pillar, as if in an attempt to kill the Supreme Lord.
As soon as Hiranyakashipu smashed the pillar, Lord Narasimha deva appeared from within it.The wonderful fearsome half man-half lion form of the Supreme Lord terrified all present. The angry eyes of the Lord resembled molten gold and struck fear in the hearts of the demons. His shining mane, deadly teeth and razor sharp tongue further extended His frightening appearance. His entire body seemed to touch the sky and the hairs on His body was as white as the rays of moon. With His disc, club,lotus ,conch shell and other natural weapons He began killing the demons, rogues and atheists in large numbers.Laughing loudly the Lord began to play with Hiranyakashipu just as Garuda would play with a snake. Sometimes catching him with His divine fists and sometimes releasing him, the Lord displayed His Supremacy and Hiranyakashipu now appeared to be just like a small insect.
Then just as twilight approached, the Lord easily captured the great demon, who couldn’t be previously pierced even by Indra’s thunderbolt. Sitting on the doorway of the assembly hall, Lord Narasimha deva placed Hiranyakashipu on His lap ,and then with His nails (not weapons) tore open his body. As He began ripping the demon’s body into pieces, the Lord’s mouth and mane became sprinkled with drops of blood. He then took out Hiranyakashipu’s intestines and decorated it around His divine neck like a beautiful garland. Thereafter He uprooted the demon’s heart and threw his body aside.Thus the Supreme Lord killed Hiranyakashipu without contradicting any of Lord Brahma’s benedictions..After killing Hiranyakashipu, the Lord then turned His attention towards the demon’s soldiers and killed them all with His nails. The demigods crowded the sky and started beating upon their drums in joy. All the demigods headed by Lord Brahma then offered their respectful obeisances and suitable prayers unto Lord Narasimha deva.But none of them, not even goddess Lakshmi , dared to come forward as all were terrified of Lord Narasimha deva. Then on request of Lord Brahma, little Prahlada approached the Supreme Lord and pacified His transcendental anger. The Lord was very happy to see Prahlada and affectionately placed His lotus hand upon his head, thus purifying him and immersing him in ecstasy.
Actually Lord Narasimha deva did not appear just to kill the demon Hiranyakashipu, as it might seem to be. This insignificant task could have been done by anyone of His innumerable agents. But Vyasadeva reveals in his Narasimha pranama bhajana that the Lord had actually appeared to give His association ,shower His affection and impart joy unto Prahlada Maharaj, His dear devotee (namas te narasimhaya,prahladahlada dayine).Now that the Lord had already appeared, it was a secondary task to kill the demon as well. Likewise, all devotees of the Supreme Lord are under the protection of Lord Narasimha deva. When Chand kazi threatened the devotees at Srivasa angan and obstructed their sankirtana (congregational chanting), Lord Nrsimhadeva appeared in the kazi’s dream that night and taught him a very good lesson. As a result the kazi came back to his senses and surrendered unto the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya the next day.
After the dacoits had attacked Yogpeeth, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati thakura had installed there the deities of Lakshmi-Nrsimha Deva. Since then there had been no such problems (Refer- ‘YogPeeth, Mayapur, Navadvipa – The birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’). Even in Iskcon Mayapur, Sri Ugra Narasimha deva was installed after a band of dacoits had attacked the temple and threatened the devotees. Since His installation and by His grace, however, there has been no further disturbances (Refer – ‘Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Temple – ISKCON, Mayapur , Navadvipa’).‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ offers its humble obeisances unto Lord Narasimha deva. We pray for His shelter,protection and blessings in order to eternally serve and please Sri Guru and Gauranga.
Om namo bhagavate sri maha Nrsimhaya / damstra karala vadanaya/ ghora rupaya vajra nakhaya / jvalamaline mama vighnan paca paca / mama bhayan bhindi bhindi/ mama satrun vidravaya vidravaya mama/ sarva ristan prabhanjaya prabhanjaya/ chata chata, hana hana, chindi chindi / mama sarvabhistan puraya puraya mam/ raksa raksa hum phat svaha
Translation – O Nrsimhadeva, whose terrible form is characterised by sharp and long teeth, who is very fearful to behold being decorated with strong, large nails and who is garlanded by flames – I humbly pray to that Supreme Lord Nrsimhadeva to destroy my obstacles and kick out my fears. Please scatter my enemies and destroy my karma. I pray that You ,merciful Lord , ever fulfill my desires to serve You eternally and pray that You always protect me and my surroundings.
Audio – Sri Narasimha Pranama Mantra
How to Reach Narasimha Palli (near Mayapur):
One travelling from kolkata is advised to board a Krishnanagar local train from the Sealdah station. On reaching Krishnanagar, one can book a cab to directly reach this ancient site at Devapalli. This place is located in the Godruma island of Navadvipa. The localites sometimes refer to this area as ‘De para’.
Accommodation – One can choose to avail the good facilities of Iskcon Mayapur where one can honour nice prasadam as well.Please make sure to book your rooms well in advance.
Nearest major airport – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata)
Nearest major Railway station – Navadvipa
(Please note that we neither necessarily recommend these hotels/accommodation centers mentioned above nor do we guarantee that they will provide the required facilities/services to the visiting pilgrims. We are not in any way related to the governance of these hotels/accommodation centers. The visiting pilgrim is advised to choose an accommodation as per his own discretion)