The Appearance Day of the Half Lion, Half Man Avatar

by Rukmini Walker

In this world there’s a tension between those who act to uplift the world, and those who exploit others thinking they will rise by pushing others down.

The Appearance of the Half Man/Half Lion avatar Nara (man) Simha (lion) is a drama showing the universal dichotomy between those who try to exploit and subjugate others; and those who act for universal harmony and the welfare of all.

Spiritual vision means to see that the same individual quality of soul within me is present in all other living beings also. If I cause pain to others, that pain will revert back to me.

This great tale unfolds in the seventh book (or canto) of the Srimad Bhagavatam, or the Bhagavat Purana.

The King Hiranyakasipu (his name means gold and soft beds-nothing wrong with having cash and soft cushions, but when that’s our only concern, it becomes a problem…) has usurped the kingdoms of earth and the heavenly planets. Even the demigods, the universal controllers, bowed to him.

But while he was away performing yogic austerities with evil intentions, his pregnant wife was taken by the saint, Narada Muni to his ashram. Narada instructed Kaiyadu, the mother, and Prahlada Maharaj, the child in her womb, in the wisdom of Bhakti Yoga.

Little Prahlada Maharaj—having heard from a great sadhu even before his birth—is born saintly and peaceful. He only aspires to hear, chant and remember the glories of the Lord. By the age of five, Prahlada is the antithesis of everything his father lives and believes.

His father, the original child abuser, forces his wife to attempt to poison their son, so domestic abuse raises an ugly head here as well.

The culmination of the story is when the Lord appears to vanquish the evil father, and rescue his saintly son.

When Lord Nrisimhadev asks Prahlada Maharaj what benediction he would like, the child bhakta replies, “For myself, I want nothing, but please give liberation to my father”.

It’s a long and fascinating history, which I hope you will read in Srimad Bhagavatam Canto Seven, Chapters Two through Ten.

The sublime consciousness of Prahlada Maharaj is revealed in his prayer in Srimad Bhagavatam. Here’s a paraphrase:

May the entire universe be blessed with peace and good hope. May everyone driven by envy and enmity be pacified and reconciled. May all living beings develop abiding concern for the welfare of others. May our own hearts and minds be filled with purity and serenity. May all these blessings flow naturally from this supreme benediction: May our attention become spontaneously absorbed in the rapture of pure love unto the transcendent Lord. (SB 5.18.9)

Today—be safe, be well, and be blessed to imbibe this pure consciousness,

Rukmini Walker