15 May 2014

Narasimha Chaturthi in London with Sri Swami Vishwananda

On Tuesday the 13th of May, devotees enjoyed an amazing time on the very auspicious day of Narasimha Chaturthi. This very special day venerates the incarnation of the Lord in the form of half man-half lion, Lord Narasimha, who came to the aid of his great devotee Prahlad.

Guruji as usual led the prayer but was helped by a guest Pujari who did the Kalash Puja. The small house which doubles as Sri Bhakti Lakshmi Narasimha Temple was packed to bursting point with more than 150 devotees. But no one noticed the cramped conditions as all eyes were fixed on the Lord in one of his most awesome forms. 

Swamiji was also joined by Satya Narayana Das, affectionately known as 'Babaji'. He gave a fantastic talk full of knowledge, wisdom and humour about the advent of Nrsinga Dev. Babaji drew a comparison between the demon Hiranyakashipur, who terrorised his son Prahlad for his devotion to Vishnu, and the YOLO ('you only live once') materialism of today. Materialistic people are like Hiranyakashipur because they live for things which will ultimately be taken away (money, power etc) and this makes them insecure, whereas the devotee, searching for spiritual wealth is always happy, even willing to sacrifice their body for permanent joy. But Babaji commented that spiritual people can often learn determination from materialistic people, as sometimes people on the spiritual path can quickly lose hope when they face problems. 

During the abishek the room was full of joy, which was elevated by the ecstatic kirtan that everyone put their hearts in to. After the abishek Babaji continued his talk and spoke of the intelligence of the Lord always being '2 inches higher' than everyone else. Hiranyakashipur, in his determination, did awesome penance to Brahma to attain a boon not to be killed during day or night, inside or outside, on the ground or in the sky, nor by human being, animal or weapon. Prahlad had absolute faith in the Lord's omnipresence and declared this to his demon father. Hiranyakashipur asked his son if Vishnu was in a nearby pillar. Prahlad said 'He is'. In anger Hiranyakashipur smashed the pillar. Narasimha emerged from it and he dragged Hiranyakashipur to the doorway (neither inside nor outside) and devoured him on his lap (neither on the ground or in the sky) at twilight (neither day or night) using his claws (not human, animal or a weapon). Here the Lord proved his intelligence to be '2 inches higher' than Hiranyakashipur who thought he was immortal because of the boon granted by Brahma. But ultimately the Lord always wins!

The talk nicely set the context for darshan of Lord Narasimha in his 'Ugra' or fearsome form, at this supreme moment of protection of Prahlad, his great devotee. Many people were dancing and there was a tangible energy in the darkened room. 

Swamiji then sang many bhajans and everyone joyfully sang with him. At the final darshan of Lakshmi Narasimha, Swamiji performed flower abishek and also excitedly threw petals over everyone in the temple! The evening ended around 2am with Prasad.