Thursday, November 26, 2009


The term God can be compete for the most misunderstood, most abused and hardly understood term in the dictionary.

I was thinking about God and what major religions say about God. There are monotheistic religions that believe there is only one way to God - They are so sure about their ideology that everyone else is wrong, and they feel the urge to convert others to their faith. But, there is no concept of conversion in Hinduism because we believe there is more than one way to God.

If anyone can think deeply about God, the first feeling that would come to them is pure AWE. The next feeling is humility. The third feeling would be probably laughter - because, they'll realize that God cannot be constricted to any particular way or thought or idea.

One of my favorite deities is Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Moorthy - This is the grand Lion/Human Form of the Lord that escapes all imagination.

People ask 'Why does God take Form?' - God, being Omnipresent need not take Form. The ONLY reason he takes form is for our limited Human perceptions to enjoy. The common answer to this question is when people quote -
'Parithranaya Sadhunam (To Protect the Saints)
Vinasha ca Dushkrutam (To Destroy the Evil)

This IMHO is not the basic requirement for the Infinite to take Form. God can do both of the above without taking Form. When, the Infinite God takes Form, it is supposed to be condescending! The name given to this is 'Avatar' (or Avataram in Tamizh) - The syllable 'ava' indicates 'to come down' - For e.g., in Carnatic music when the tune comes down, it is called 'Avarohanam'. (opposite of 'aarohanam' when the tone goes up)

When the Infinite God, in all His mercy decides to incarnate (please note the word 'carna' indicating flesh as in carnivorous, carnal pleasures as of things related to flesh) it is ONLY to delight His devotees. Everything else is secondary.

Arjuna asks Lord Sri Krishna in Bhagawat Geeta - 'How can I worship you? Do I worship you in this or any other Wonderful Form? Or should I meditate on you as Formless One'. Sri Krishna replied - 'You can choose either. Both are same. However, it is very difficult for the human mind to meditate on the Formless Infinite. So, meditate on me! I'll take you there!'

Sarva Dharman Parityajya (Give up all your work)
Mam ekam Sharanam Vraja (Take Refuge on me Alone)
Aham Twa Sarva papebhyo Mokshishyami - (I'll remove all your Sins, and provide Salvation)
Ma Shucha: - (Don't worry!)

This Great Shloka was unfortunately named 'Death Shloka' in a popular Tamil Movie - Anniyan!

God takes Form only to thrill His devotees. My friend's mom's eyes glow and well with tears when you mention the name of Baby Krishna. One of my aunts used to cry on remembering Murugan's bewitching Form. My brother-in-law's eyes light up as lightning on just mentioning the name 'Nataraja' (He is my secret friend too!). I cannot tell how much gladness just the mention of the name Nrusimha brings to my heart.

When all Avatar's of Vishnu were planned, this one was unplanned. He was never born in conventional sense, grow up and then take His enemy. He appeared in an instant, finished His Samharam (destruction of evil) in a moment, and then He vanished.

He did not do that to save Prahlada! Who else saved Prahalada when he was rolled down the mountains, fed with poison or thrown into fire? He came to add veracity to Prahlada's words that Sri Vishnu is Everywhere.

Sri Mukkur Lakshmi Narasimhacharyar used to say that this Form of the Lord is His actual Form! Because, He had no time for make-up and had to come as is! It is called 'Avasara Thirukkolam' - A Form take up in Urgency.

Lord Narasimha is also known for His speed! (Aditha kai piditha perumal - One who held the hand that broke the pillar in a trice) - He never asks His devotees to wait. He immediately Grants all their wishes.

Someone was asking a saint why Lord Narasimhar doesn't appear even though there are 1000s of Hiranyakashipus (evil people) - The saint replied that there is not even a single Prahalada!

Mata Nrusimha Pitha Nrusimha
(Nrusimha is mother, So is He our Father)

Bhrata Nrusimha Sakha Nrusimha
(Nrusimha is our Brother, He is our Friend too)

Vidya Nrusimha Dravinam Nrusimha
(He is our Knowledge and Wealth)

Swami Nrisumha Sakalam Nrusimha
(He is our Lord and Everything in this Universe)

Atho Nrusimha Paratho Nrusimha
Yatho Yatho Yami Thatho Nrusimha
(He is of this World - He is beyond too!
Where ever we go, it is all Nrusimha!)

Let's mentally Bow to the Supreme Divine who manifested in this wonderful Form. May He help us understand what being God is all about.

Sri Subrahmanya Rakshitoham!


Priya said...

Nice write up. Interestingly, Lord Nrusimha never gave up his body (conventional "death" or leaving back to Vaikuntham is recorded). The tatvam of Lord Nrusimha so is still very much present here as is Lord Hanuman who also is not recorded to have left the Bhoomi for higher worlds. He is a very relevant avatar for the times we are living in.

BTW, He is my daughter's favorite God :)


Sriram Venkateswaran Iyer said...

Priya, that was an interesting insight. I never thought about that! Your daughter is on the right track already!

Meena Sankaran said...

Awesome Sriram! There you go proving my theory again. How else can you explain the fact that you and I are related? The next time I see you, sneeze on me or something. Because I want to catch a bit of your knowledge cold too. :-))

I have read Prahlada's story a lot of times as a child. It was one of my favorite stories.

Sriram Venkateswaran Iyer said...

Hi Meena:
I know how knowledgeable you are! :-)

There is a lot of stuff about Narasimhar that continues to amaze me! I should write more about this subject :-)

Unknown said...

Neatly done Sriram. Keep it going..


Unknown said...

Very nice.. we are so glad you are around us to provide all this knowledge.

Sriram Venkateswaran Iyer said...

Thanks Anand, Venkat :-) - I am glad that you are enjoying. Gives me a lot of satisfaction and energy to write :-)