Narasimha Jayanti (28th April, 2018 Saturday) on Vaishakha Shukla Chaturdashi marks the birth of Lord Narasimha, the Fourth or Avatar or Incarnation of Lord Vishnu as half-man and half-lion who descended to vanquish the demonic King Hiranyakashapu. On this day, people fast and engage in devotional service to Lord Narasimha. The Vaishakha Shukla Chaturdashi starts at 07:12 AM on April 28 (Saturday) and ends at 06:37 AM on April 29.
Puja Vidhi: What to do on Narasimha Jayanti?
Vaishakha Shukla Chaturdashi with Swati Nakshatra is extremely auspicious to observe Narasimha Jayanti Vratam. Just like on Ekadashi, one should have a single meal on the day prior to Narasimha Jayanti. One should not eat anything of grains and cereals. Breaking of the fast is to be done on the next day of the Jayanti.
- Vedic scriptures mention that Lord Narasimha was born when the sun was setting during Chaturdashi. One may take a sankalpa on this Jayanti in the afternoon and execute Narasimha Puja before sunset. Also one should have ‘jagaran’ (night vigil) and perform a visarjan puja the next day in the morning. Once the puja is done, one can break the fast.
- Also one can perform Pratyangira Devi Puja, Mantra Japa and Yajna (Homa) on this day. Goddess Pratyangira Devi immerged from Lord Shiva’s third eye and calmed down Lord Narasimha after the death of Hiranyakashapu. She defends a house against black magic, witch craft, diseases and misfortune.
- The most powerful and effective spiritual practice is the installation of Narsimha Yantra. It is to be kept in the East portion of the house facing west. East is the governing direction of solar deity- Sun and Mahalaxmi, the Goddess of Abundance. It is considered the most auspicious of all directions from where positive energy enters your house. When Yantra is placed here, its energy spreads in the entire home to ward away malefic and purify all negativities and usher in good luck, peace, prosperity, harmony and health. More about Narsimha Yantra and Pratyangira Devi Puja.
Story of Narsimha Jayanti: Vedic and Historical Significance
Shrimad Bhagavatam or the Bhagavata Purana describes the pastimes of Lord Narasimha, and Prahlada Maharaja, son of the demonic King Hiranyakashipu of Multan, a region of the present-day Punjab. Prahlada was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. The King had always held grudge against Lord Vishnu who had killed his brother, Hiranyaksha. Therefore the King also despised his son Prahlada. It is not that the King always hated him since beginning. He wanted to have his son receive the best of education under proficient teachers Sanda and Amarka.
The teachers tried their best to educate him in the field of politics, economics, architecture and other sciences but Prahlada was absorbed in the Hari Bhakti, devotion to the Lord Hari (Vishnu or Krishna). Despite many attempts when the teachers failed, the King chastised them. When they informed him about other students listening to him, the King go angry. He keeping his anger under controlled affectionately asked Prahlada who was in his lap: ‘Son, where did you learn this Vishnu Bhakti?’ To which the son said: “those who are attached to family life do not develop prema (love) for Lord Vishnu, either personally or collectively. Instead, they suffer repeated birth and death in this material world and continue simply chewing the chewed. The duty of every man is to take shelter of a pure devotee and thus become eligible to understand the Lord”.
The King who wanted to be worshiped as God despised his son Prahlada, the ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. He tried to get him killed in many ways but failed. Finally he told his evil sister Holika to kill Prahlada by setting him on a pyre. Holika who tried to burn Prahlada was herself devoured by fire burning her to ashes. Later the King asked his son that if God is great, where is He? Does He living in these columns of my palace? Prahlada said: Yes He lives everywhere. The King then laughed at his reply. And then all of a sudden there was a tumultuous sound as Lord Vishnu in His Narasimha avatar emerged out of the columns and killed the self-proclaimed King!