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Lord Narsimha - The Man Lion Incarnation of Vishnu

The beautiful brass figure shows Nrasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, killing Hiranyakashipu on His lap. Narasimha (‘man-lion’) is described as an incarnation (avatara) of Vishnu within the Puranic texts of Hinduism who takes the form of half-man / half-lion He has a human torso and lower body, but with a lion-like face and claws.

He is worshipped in deity form by a significant number of Vaishnava groups throughout India (especially in the South) and is primarily known as the 'Great Protector', being a form of Vishnu who specifically defends and protects his devotees in times of need. According to Puranic traditions, in his previous avatar of (Varaha), Vishnu killed a rakshasa known as Hiranyaksha. Hiranyaksha's brother Hiranyakashipu, greatly angered by this, started to abhor Lord Vishnu and His followers. After years of great austerity and penance, he could please Brahma and the latter offers him a special boon.

The boon was that neither man, nor beast nor weapon could kill him; nor would he die indoors or outdoors. Endowed with this boon, he assumed total invincibility and conquered the earth and the nether worlds. Intoxicated by his victory, he declared himself as the lord of the universe, and directed his subjects to worship none other than himself. The only one of his subjects to defy his orders was his own son Prahlada, a staunch devotee of Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu tried his level best to convince Prahlad, and then to kill him indirectly. However, none worked. Finally he challenged him to show him Narayana, whom he worshipped so fervently. Prahlada insisted that Vishnu was omnipresent and that there was no need to show him.

An enraged Hiranyakashipu broke open a pillar in front of him, to disprove his son's assertion, and out of this pillar sprang out Narasimha, the man-lion form of Vishnu, who killed him on his doorstep, placing him on his lap.



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