The Glories of Observing Sri Nrisimha-caturdasi-vrata

Bless_You__Prahlada_by_leksbronks

vaisakhasya caturdasyam suklayam sri nrikesari
jatas tad asyam tatpujot-savam kurvita savratam

(Padma Purana)“Sri Nrisimhadeva appeared on the fourteenth lunar day (Caturdasi-tithi) of the bright fortnight of the month of Vaisakha. So, on this day, it is proper to worship and celebrate the appearance of Nrisimhadeva by following the rules of fasting and others.”

prahlada-klesa nasaya ya hi punya caturdasi
pujayet tatra yatnenahareh prahladam agratah

(from the agamas)

“It is proper to first worship Prahlada before worshipping Nrisimha because the holy fourteenth lunar day of the bright fortnight has appeared in order to remove the distress of Prahlada.”

It is written in the Brihan-narasimha Purana as follows: Prahlada Maharaja desired to know from Sri Nrisimhadeva how he had developed devotion to His lotus feet. Nrisimhadeva replied, “In ancient times, there lived a brahmana named Vasu Sarma in the city of Avanti, who was well-versed in the Vedas. His good wife Susila was famous throughout the three worlds for her virtuous conduct and ideal devotion to her husband. Vasu Sarma fathered five sons in Susila’s womb. His first four sons were learned persons of good conduct and devoted to their father. But you, the youngest son, became attracted to a prostitute and lost your character. You were then known as Vasudeva. Your virtuous conduct was destroyed in the company of that prostitute. Due to a quarrel with the prostitute, on the Nrisimha-caturdasi-tithi both of you stayed awake throughout the night and unknowingly observed a fast. Therefore, both of you obtained the fruits of observing Nrisimha-caturdasi-vrata. The prostitute enjoyed as an Apsara in various ways in heaven and then became My favourite. As the son of Hiranyakasipu, you also took birth as My dear devotee. By observing this fast, Brahma has obtained the power of creation and Mahesvara has obtained the power of destruction of the three worlds. Other people also achieve all kinds of power and perform observance of this vow to fulfil all their desired objectives.”

In his Laghu-bhagavatamrita, Srila Rupa Gosvami has written about the pre-eminence of the Lord’s appearance as Sri Nrisimhadeva, quoting the following reference from Sri Padma Purana:

nrisimha-rama-krishneshu sad-gunyam paripuritam
paravasthas tu te tasya dipad utpanna-dipa-vat

(Padma Purana)“Nrisimha, Rama and Krishna possess the pre-eminent presence of the totality of sixty attributes. Just as one lamp lights other lamps and then all lamps follow the same nature, similarly, although Rama and Nrisimha are manifested forms from the Prime Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, all three hold the supreme position with sixty attributes.”

Footnotes

[1] A well without water is known as a dark well. No man goes to such a waterless well, for if someone falls into that well, his rescue is very unlikely. Similarly, the house in which sadhus are not received cordially and in which, being deprived of the association of sadhus, the residents are engaged in sense enjoyment, is like a dark well. There is no possibility of rescue for the residents of such a house. Therefore, such a place of downfall of the corporeal soul (like falling into a dark well) is to be abandoned.

[2] The qualities of a guru:

tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet
samit-panih shrotriyam brahma-nishöham

(Munòaka Upanishad 1.2.12)“To learn transcendental subject matter, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth.”

tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh shreya uttamam
shabde pare ca nishnatam brahmany upashamashrayam

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.3.21)

“Therefore, anyone who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realised the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities who have taken shelter of the Supreme Lord, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.”

[3] Srotriya has two interpretations: (1) well-versed in the Vedas, and (2) ontological divine knowledge received through the preceptorial channel.

[4] Grihavrata: One who moves around the house or property, i.e., one who engages his sense organs and energy for the sake of material property and consequently becomes attached to it.

However, saints also remain in a house, so it is said that the house also signifies the wife and material life. One who moves around the wife or family, or engages the senses and energy for them, is considered a grihavrata.

The real self is the atma (soul), so the gross and subtle bodies are also like houses. One who devotes his energy for the gross and subtle bodies is also a grihavrata.

Since all grihavratas are embodied souls, by the unrestricted use of the sense organs they will all enter into nescience and into the inferno of material life. Six billion such enslaved corporeal souls of the world cannot rescue even a single person from the shackles of worldly bondage. A perfect emancipated realised soul can rescue the whole world or universe — but such realised souls are very rare. If one wants quality, one must sacrifice quantity. It is impossible to get both at the same time.

—from “Dasavatara – The Ten Manifestations of God”

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja

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