Monday, May 23, 2016

Shodasha-bahu-narasimha

On the aspicious occation of vaishaka-shukla-chaturdashi Sri Narasimha jayanthi on 20 May 2016 came this shodasha bAhu narasimha 

Shodasha-bahu-narasimha
As always sketch was started with prayers to the guruparampara of aacharyas and to lakshmi narasimha.
Listened to Sri Mukkur Swami;s upanyasam  on narasimha avatharam multiple times in the course of this painting.
Also Smt Vishaka Hari's - prahlada charitram - based on Tyagaraja's Geya Nataka Prahlada-Bhakthi-vijayam was an amazing add to anubhava.

Sri Narasimha Swarupa

Here are quotations from vishnu kosha of Prof. S.K. Ramachandra Rao wrt swarupa of narasimha,
Vishnudharmottara purana (3,78(2), 5-7) identifies Narasimha with the Sankarshana form of vishnu   "haris-sankarshanamshena narasimha-vapudharah"
हरिस्सङ्कर्षणांशेन नरसिंहवपुर्धरः
and explains that the demon Hiranyakashipu actually represents ignorance "hiranyakashipurdaityah tam ajnaanam vidur budhaah"
हिरण्यकशिपुर्दैत्यः तम् अज्ञानं विदुर्बुधाः
and that Narasimha destroys it  "sankarshanaatma bhagavaan ajnaanasya vinaashanah" 
          सङ्कर्शणात्मा भगवान् अज्ञानस्य विनाशनः
Sankarshana in the form of Naraismha destroys the sins of the world, arising from speech, mind and body  "vaangamaanasakaayasambhuutam trividham jagataam malam sadaa paatayati" 
          वाङ्मानसकायसंभूतं त्रिविधं जगतां मलं सदा पाटयति 
Naraismha's form in this text has been described as "destructive of all ignorance" "sarvaajnaana-vinaashini" सर्वाज्ञान विनाशिनी  

Shodasha bAhu narasimha rUpa -  Iconography

 Dhayana of shodasha bahu narasimha as mentioned in Mantradevataaprakaashikaa (मन्त्रदेवताप्रकाषिकायाम्) (quoted from vishnunidhi)
.... "When one has to perform big deeds, one should medidate on Lord Narasimha who possesses sixteen hands. He is the master of the three worlds and he is adorned with all ornaments. His two hands are splitting(the body of hiranyakashipu) and the other two hands are extracting the entrails. One pair of hands carries a शङ्ख shanka(conch) and चक्र chakra(discus) while another carries a धनुस् dhanus(bow) and a बाण baana(arrow). Another pair of hands carries a खड्ग sword and a खेट  shield; another pair has a गदा  mace and a पद्म lotus; another pair of hands has a पाश  noose and a अङ्कुश  hook; still another holds in grip the head and knee of the enemy. Lord Narasimha possesses sixteen hands in this manner.".....
Various iconographic detials of Narasimha in various texts quoted in Vishnu kOsha:
  • body is that of a human being, but head is leonine
  • gakAnta nara rUpam mahAsimha atah para;
  • galAd adhastAn nara-rUpa-dhAri parata simhAnana-bhrt svarUpam
pAnaka-priya-naraismha




close up of narasimha


  • surrounded by thick and heavy manes resembling a circle of blame  sa-sATa-skandha-samAyukta, vishnu-dharmottara 3,78(2), 3: jvAlAmAlAkula-mukho jvAlA-kesara mandalah
  • his three eyes, which are large and round (vartule netre) emit sparks of fire (shesha samhita, 23, 19, tryakshair visphurantam) and glow like fire and sun put together (vishvaksena-samhita, 21,60, 'bibharti netrAni hutAShanArka prabhA~nchitAni')
  • body is crystal white, resembling a big mountain (vishvaksena-samhita 21,69, "shveta-parvata-sankAsham"), shuddha-sphatika-sankAsham) and shines like snow, jasmine flower or moon (ishvara samhita, 4,64, 'hima-kundendu-sannibha')
  • But it is inclosed by burning sparks of fire that emanate from the body itself (sAttvata-samhita, 12, 74, 'jvalad-agni=sphulingAbhis svadehotthAbhir Avrtam')
  • his eye-brows are knitted and twisted with fury (hayaShira-samhita 23, 15 'bhruvau hyAkunchitavakre')
  • the tounge is thrust out and is eager to lap up blood (lelihAna-jihvA)
  • A tall tapering and splindid crown (kirIta-mukuTojjvalam) adorns te head; and the form is richly bedecked with all ornaments


References

There were mainly two important references, firstly monolithic sculpture of ashta bhuja naraismha from thirukkurungudi.
Secondly, the aaradhya murthy of sri raghavenda mutt, sri shodasha bAhu narasimha.

Thirukkurungudi -
ashta bahu Narasimha Sculpture



Raghavendra Mutt Shodasha bahu naraismha

Though this shodasha bAhu naraismha of raghavendra mutt looks very similar to one painted, there are a lot of differences. This murthy carries ayudhas in 12 hands, while the one painting carries ayudhas in 10 hands. (two other hands holds in grip the head and knee of hiranyakashipu).

In Vishnu kosha Ramachandra rao mentions various shodasha bahu narasimhas, 
  1. vaikhAnasAgama, pAramEshvara samhitA (kriya, 23, 45-47) - weapons in all 16 hands!
  2. padma samhita (kriyA 17, 22-41) prescribes another set of weapons 
  3. parAshara samhita 25,10 mentions a standing form with 16 hands having three eyes and fierce fangs 

These days often people find it hard to differntiate between varaha and hayagriva, and here we are looking at multiple variants of a shodasha bahu Narasimha!..

Such suttle details amaze me regarding the preciseness of the dhayana shlokas & dhyana murthy, How precise the contemplation would have been!.. No wonder their dhyana was often fruitful.

 Let us conclude with a mangala sloka on jvala narasimha by Sriivanshatakopa Sriisriinivaasa Yatiindra Mahaadeshikan(ahobila-maTam) [www.prapatti.com/slokas/slokasbyname.html : Navanaarasimha Mangalaashaasanam ]

हिरण्यस्तम्भसंभूतिप्रख्यात परमात्मने | 
प्रह्लादार्तिमुषे ज्वाला नारसिंहाय मङ्गळम् ||