Sri Narasingha Jayanti

by Kaviraja Goswami dasa from July 1981 issue of the Brijabasi Spirit

I had always heard that New Vrindaban celebrated Lord Narasinghadeva’s Appearance day with a nice festival. I wasn’t fortunate enough to see just how nice this festival is until this year. 

Many devotees were up late the night before finishing a variety of foodstuffs to be offered for the pleasure of the Lord throughout the following day. In addition to the plans for a wonderful feast in the late afternoon, a fire sacrifice with initiations and a bathing ceremony for Sri Sri Lakshmi Narasingha was also scheduled to take place. 

All in all, quite a celebration was planned. Simply because of this anticipation many devotees were awake well past their usual bed time. I came in the afternoon before the festival, having driven all the way from Detroit with the F.A.T.E. devotees. I recall how we were discussing the next day’s festival. Particularly during our long journey, we talked about the bathing ceremony. 

We were not aware of the fact that the altar at New Vrindaban is the home of two beautiful sets of Lakshmi Narasingha Deities. We were thinking that perhaps the abhiseka ceremony would be for the installation of new Deities. Of course we learned of our error upon arriving in the Holy Dhama. One point we were certain of before we reached our sacred destination was the fact that many devotees would be gathered here in order that they might relish the celebration of the Lord’s advent together. 

Indeed, the Lord’s appearance can not be properly appreciated without the association of devotees. Srila Prabhupada has said that “without association there cannot be bliss.” Certainly it’s a fact that the bliss of a festival increases as the number of devotees present grows. With this thought in mind I am anxious for the time to pass quickly between now and this summer’s annual Palace festival. But I was easily pacified, for now, by attending this Sri Narasingha Jayanti festival. There was undoubtedly more devotees present for this festival than any I had attended previously. Many devotees had come from other temples in order to be present on this auspicious occasion, but the majority of course were the residents of New Vrindaban. 

One of the many nice things about this rapidly blossoming spiritual community is that at any given time there’s a wealth of ecstatic Brijabasis with which to increase the bliss of a festival unlimitedly. It is most certainly a great rarity to find so many devotees gathered in one location in this present age of quarrel and hypocrisy. Indeed it is stated in the Garuda Purana that in Kali-yuga a great devotee of the Lord is rarer than a demigod. Considering that there are only three hundred and thirty three million demigods within our universe and the population of India alone is more than twice that, one can appreciate a little bit of how rare it is to find even one of the Lord’s devotees on this tiny little planet… what to speak of encountering three hundred and fifty of them at a festival celebrating the appearance of one of the Supreme Lord’s eternal forms. Assuredly this festival was a very special event 

Sunday morning Bahulaban was buzzing with activity in preparation for the afternoon’s transcendental events. In the kitchen at least a dozen Brijabasi Chefs, accompanied by their assist ants, were working very enthusiastically making a feast for Lord Narasinghadeva. Before noon, certain devotees had begun to set up and nicely decorate the temple room for the day’s festivities. By one o’ clock they had finished transforming the area between Srila Bhaktipada’s and Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasasanas into a transcendental arena of sacrifice, beautifully decorated with a variety of greenery. This was to be the site of Sri Lakshmi Narasingha’s bathing ceremony 

In addition to this transcendental metamorphosis in the temple room decor, a separate area had been designated for the initiation ceremony, complete with fire pit. Devotees began to arrive just after one o’ clock and not long after that the pujaris had finished the final preparations for the Lord’s bathing stand. With the sounding of conchshells, the Supreme Lord Narasinghadeva and His eternal consort Srimate Lakshmidevi made their appearance. Held carefully in the hands of the pujaris, their Lordships were placed gently upon the bathing platform. Simultaneously a group of Brijabasi brahmanas headed by Mahabuddhi began to recite various auspicious prayers, including Purusa Sukta, in praise of the Supreme Lord. They were bathed in a variety of liquids including milk, ghee, yogurt, cow dung, and cow urine, in strict accordance with the Vedic tradition. The ceremony ended with an ecstatic kirtan. Still this was only a preview of what was to come. 

The initiation ceremony followed directly after the abhiseka, including Kirtananda Swami’s stern and sweet lecture. Then Kuladri performed the fire sacrifice at which two brahminical and seven hari nama initiation, were consumated. At the end of the ceremony the devotees proceeded to become blissfully absorbed in another ecstatic kirtan. 

After that, everyone assembled in the prasadam hall to watch Lokamangala and the Brijabasi Players perform “The appearance of Lord Narasinghadeva.” Lokamangala’s Hiranyakasipu was certainly well done, but in the end he was no match for the wrath of Bimbadhara’s Lord Narasinghadeva. The standing room only audience of devotees cheered with ecstasy as Lord Narasinghadeva easily lifted Hiranyakasipu off the floor and onto His lap. Then He proceeded to slay the “King of the Demons.” 

Finally the angry Lord was pacified by a garland from His pure devotee, Prahlad, (Played by ten year old Dharmaraja dasa). Then Lord Narasingha lovingly embraced Prahlad. The play ended with everyone joining in singing the Narasingha prayers. Before anyone could recover from the ecstasy of watching such a captivating performance by the Brijabasi Players, a wonderful feast was served out. A variety of sumptuous preparations including subhjis, sweet rice, malpoura and dahi-vata were honored by the devotees. Without question, this was most assuredly the most ecstatic Sri Narasingha Jayanti festival that I have ever experienced in the six years I have been coming to Krishna’s temple. 

Just as the New Vrindaban Community is always expanding, I have heard that each year the celebration of Lord Narasinghadeva’s appearance becomes more wonderful in the Holy Dhama. Hoping that this is true I can hardly wait until next year’s festivities. Actually, I won’t really have to wait because in New Vrindaban every day is a festival. 

Hari Bol. 




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Reader Comments

I vividly recall the celebration of Lord Nrsmhadeva’s appearance in 1981. At age 12, I was one of the initiates. In the play I performed two minor roles: One of Visnu’s Gate Keepers as well as one of the demons who attempted to attack/torture Prahlad at the behest of Hiranyakashipu. Oh! and the feast…. Yum…. Sri Nrsimhadeva Ki Jaya!