H.H. Sacinandana Swami greeted me while the murti of Lord Narasimha, the half-man half-lion form, was carried on a palanquin during the festival's opening ceremony. Maharaja asked me, „So Krishna Prema, did you also come to get some tailwind from Lord Narasimhadeva?“ I nodded: „Yes, Maharaja, I need Lord Narasimhadava's support!“ I had just faced a lot of challenges and truly required higher intervention. That was May 13, 2022 and little did I know, Lord Narasimhadeva was just about to enter my life in a twofold and powerful way. I am now again here at Simhacalam, for the upcoming Narasimha Caturdasi Festival, so I thought I should share this story with others. Here we go:
May 26th 2022 — Mahaprabhu Dasa, ISKCON Europe Communications Director and Head of the MOSA, the Museum of Sacred Art in Radhadesha, sent me a message: „Prabhu, could MOSA keep these Deities of Lord Narasimha in the Temple in Zurich for a few months until someone comes to Radhadesha or until I pick them up at the end of September? Maybe in the TP’s office?“
As I looked at the picture that was attached to the message, I was stunned! Four most beautiful wooden Narasimha Murtis! A couple of days later, Dhruva Prabhu, a staunch Narasimha Bhakta, who authored the Book „Narasimha: The Lost Temples“ got in touch with me and introduced me to the Murtis: „Here they are: Sudarshan Narasimha, Jwala Narasimha, Yoga Bhoga Narasimha and then just Yoga Narasimha!“ It turned out that these Murtis were meant to go to Radhadesa for an exhibition that MOSA will launch in May 2023. (Opening will be on the 6th of May 2023) Somehow they were shipped from South India to Zurich and now came to our temple before going to Radhadesha.
The Murtis arrived on the 10th of June. Damodar Prasad, our Temple President, decided that two Murtis would stay in his office, Yoga Narasimha in his room, and the Jwala Narasimha should be kept in mine. I blissfully accepted the proposal and felt blessed that the Lord had come for a visit. Just for a visit? After only four days, Damodar and I knew that we both wanted keep these Murtis. They were just too awesome! Jwala Narasimha has 16 arms, which means 80 sharp nails, using some of them to tear open the chest of the demon Hiranyakasipu. He is angry but simultaneously smiles with great satisfaction as He just delivered this demon and protected His devotee. That's the form I want to worship; there is no way that I can let Him go!
But what about the MOSA exhibition? Somehow we made an arrangement with Dhruva and he agreed to keep the two Murtis (Yoga Narasimha for Damodar and Jwala Narasimha for me) — there was still time to order new Murtis for the exhibition! Now I just had to collect the Laxmi. I somehow managed to do so by selling stuff, giving online courses and receiving donations.
Now I had my own Narasimha for worship, but I had no idea that this was not yet the end of the story. Dhruva dropped me another WhatsApp message: „I have a very special gift for you that I want to give you along with the Murti. I will give it to you when I come to Zurich this summer“. I thought, maybe Dhruva would bring me some nice necklace or puja paraphernalia. But no, Dhurva was about to give me a Jwala Narasimha shalagram shila!
In September 2022, after his visit at Simhacalam for the 40th anniversary of Prahlad Nrsimha, Dhruva came for a one-day visit to Zurich. It was around 9 am, after the morning program, when he came together with Damodar to my room and in front of the Jwala Narasimha Murti, he opened a box and took out a shila. Dhruva told us the story of how one of his friends went to the Himalayas to search for shilas at the Damodar Kunda. The Damodar Kunda, a lake that lies at an altitude of almost 5000 m, is a well-known place to find red or tawny shilas, rakta shilas. He was up there searching for a long time but could not find any shilas and almost gave up. As he was about to leave, he found one, then one more and finally came back with fifteen shilas.
Dhruva explained that the shila he was holding in his hand is one of those shilas from Damodar Kunda. „This one is a Jwala Narasimha shila, non-different from the murti you are already worshipping, and now He will come to you!“ Dhruva showed me the shila, pointed to the big mouth, and explained how the shila has two chakras inside the mouth, representing the aspect of ugra, the remover of all obstacles.
„You can worship Him, because you are a renunciate, and you are very serious on the path where you are going. He only likes to be worshipped by those. So today, on Ekadashi…He is yours! Jay Nrsimhadeva!“
I was so overwhelmed with gratitude! The Lord has beautifully entered my life, as an amazing wooden murti and a powerful shila. And as mentioned in the beginning, it was perfect timing, I really felt that Lord Narasimhadava was telling me: „Everything is alright, just continue on your path, and you will be successful. I am here to protect you, I am here to destroy all obstacles, do not worry!“
I leave you with two prayers that express the mood of worship that I try to cultivate and I wish everyone a wonderful Narasimha Caturdasi — May the Lord appear in our hearts and remove all darkness!
„I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Narasimha, the source of all power. O my Lord, who possesses nails and teeth just like thunderbolts, kindly vanquish our demon-like fruitive activity in this material world. Please appear in our hearts and drive away our ignorance so that by Your mercy we may become fearless in the struggle for existence in this material world.“
Or in the words of Bhaktivinoda Thakur: „In this wicked heart, the six enemies — lust, anger, and so forth — as well as fault-finding, desire for prestige, and deceit, always remain. My prayer at the feet of Narasimha is that my heart will be purified and my desire will be only for Krishna!“