“O Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of half man, half lion! All glories to You! Just as one can easily crush a wasp between one’s fingernails, so in the same way the body of the wasp Hiranyakasipu has been ripped apart by the wonderfully pointed nails on Your beautiful lotus hands.”
Jayadeva Goswami – Das-avatara Stotra
Today we celebrate the auspicious appearance of Lord Nrsimhadeva, who appeared to give protection to His unalloyed devotee Prahlada. On this occasion we present here an excerpt from a lecture by Srila Prabhupada in February 1970 where he gives a purport to the Jayadeva Goswmai song, Das-avatara Stotra. We have extracted the segment that deals specifically with Lord Nrsimhadeva.
Srila Prabhupada: “The fourth incarnation is Nrisimhadeva. Nrisimhadeva appeared to save Prahlada Maharaja, who was five-years-old boy and he was being tortured by his atheistic father. So He appeared from the pillar of the palace as a half-man, half-lion. Because this Hiranyakasipu took benediction from Brahma that he’ll not be killed by any man or any animal.
So the Lord appeared neither man nor animal. This is the difference between the Lord’s intelligence and our intelligence. We are thinking that we can cheat the Lord by our intelligence, but the Lord is more intelligent than us. This Hiranyakasipu wanted to cheat Brahma by indirect definition. First of all he wanted to become immortal. Brahma said, “That is not possible because even I am not immortal. Nobody in this material world is immortal. That is not possible.”
So Hiranyakasipu, the demon… The demons are very intelligent. He thought that “Round about way I shall become immortal.” He prayed to Brahma that “Please give me the benediction that I shall not be killed by any man or any animal.” Brahma said, “Yes, that is all right.” “I shall not be killed in the sky, on the water or on land.” Brahma said, “Oh yes.” “I shall not be killed by any man-made weapons.” “That’s all right.”
In this way he utilized his intelligence in so many ways just to come to the conclusion of being immortal. But the Lord is so cunning that He kept intact all the benediction given by Brahma, still he was killed. He said that “I’ll not be killed either during daytime or night.” Brahma said “Yes.” So he was killed just in the evening, just in the junction of day and night. You cannot say it is day or night. He took the benediction that “I shall not be killed in the sky, on the water, on the land.” So he was killed on His lap. He took the benediction that “I shall not be killed by any man-made or any God-made weapons.” That was given, “All right.” So he was killed by the nails. In this way, all the benedictions were kept intact, still he was killed.
Similarly, we may make plan, we may make very advancement in scientific knowledge, but the killing process of nature will be there. Nobody can escape. By our intelligence we cannot escape. The four principles of material existence means birth, death, old age and disease. We can manufacture many medicines, many weapons, many means, many methods, but you cannot escape these four principles of material existence, however great you may be. That was proved by Hiranyakasipu.
Hiranyakasipu was one of the stalwart materialistic and he wanted to live forever, enjoy, but he also could not live. Everything was finished”