Freitag, Juni 01, 2012


One of the best places of Narasimha worship is found in the crowded town of Vishakapatnam, actually 9 km away from it, on top of the mountain range. Those mountain area lead right up to the ocean and it is said from the puranas, that it was here that Hiranyakashipu ordered his men to trow his own son sri Prahlada from this mountain to be crushed. But as we know he was saved by Lord Narayana and Prahlad in great greatitude built a special shrine for this. Its special feature to be a Varaha Narasimha combined Murthy, as his face is a Boar, having human torso and having a tail is so unique nowhere found except here. Also his padas are covered and not seen in his original form. And only once a year this Murthy is giving Darshan in his Nija Rupa, as the rest of the year his is totally covered with Sandelwood powder.
I have visited this shrine the first time in spring 1995 and only 17 years later i had come back here and i was very happy to see not much change has creaped in that holy town of Simhachalam. It is still remote, the temple is faily mantained, every day is a beautiful marriage performed for Him, only the pilgrims have increased dramatically. My main purpose apart of taking Darshan of the Lord was to study and digitalize the 32 forms of Lord Narasimha given in the inner prakaram as carvings for book to come out.
To get the special permits and a proper guidance was due to the blessings of Sri Chinnajeeyar Swamy and his devotees like Narayana Reddy, were i could stay over night and get all the good contacts from.

We started early and had a wonderful darshan, of the egglike sandelwood form of Lord Narasimha, was welcomed by HG Sitaramagalu Swamy one of the oldest and best pancaratric Gurus in south india. Wellknown for his scholarship in agamas i had a wonderful interview with him on different subjects on Narasimha worship in Simhachalam.
He showed me the Simhachalam Mahatmiya which describe the 32 forms of Lord with each special feature. Unfortunate in the years of the 17th century the temple was almost destroyed by the mleecha muslim invaders and some of the carvings are not complete anymore. Still we could make out most of them with the guidance of HG Sitaramagalu Swamy.

Kurma Ksetra with a lot of kurmas!

Outside of the temple compound there is a "gilded cage" were a lot of living Kurmas* are kept for pilgrims and kids to see... how wonderful!

Kurma Ksetra Patala Narasimha

One of the special feature apart from the only one Kurma Deity Temple in this world is the unique bathing tank in front of the Kurma Temple. A huge water tank with a single Mandapa in the middle is visible. But not many people know why it is there.

It is said that a special Ugra Narasimha Murthy by the Name "Patala Narasimha" is placed beneath. Normally that form is only worshipped in the region of Patala (below the Bhu mandala) by great devotees like Bali or Prahlada. It is said that this deity was so furious to handle and the worship was placed in a body of water to keep it cool and pure.
There is only one carving remembering the worship of Lord Patala Narasimha visible in the Kurma Temple, were pilgrims put Sandalwood powder over him, - again to cooool Him down! 

Sri Kurma Ksetra / Andhra Pradesh

Kurma Ksetra is a beautiful place up in the north of Andra Pradesh, not far from the Orissa Border. It is a place of antiquity and has a very special history. Once upon a time this Kurma Deity was worshipped as a Shiva Lingam, as it was in the hands of shaiva pandits for some time after the buddhist tradition had left orissa and the area connected to it (around 3th AD century). It is said also that Sri Sankaracarya (7th century) had come here and established the pujas according to his belief.  
But in the Mahatmiya scripture (ancient writings about the history of the particual place) it is mentioned that on Ekadasi day there was a strong prayer by one of his devotee to save him from breaking its vow of full fast. As Sri Kurma is worshipped to mantain any vow (vrata) and stability in spiritual practise He promissed to protect her. He appeared in front of her in his Murthy Form and was worshipped by all different subtle higher beings of this Bhu Mandala region and later on a special temple was built around Him.   
In the years of the 11th century Sripad Ramanujacharya visited north india and came also to Orissa were the famous Sri Jagannath Puri city is situated. In one book by the name "Prapannamrta" chapter 36 a story of Sri Ramanuja and Lord Jagannatha is given. "When Sri Ramanuja saw the way the pujaris were worshipping the Jagannatha deity, he was thinking that it was not according to Vaishnava tradition, as this God represents Lord Vishnu indeed. He explained to them the rules and regulations according to Pancaratrika Vidhi, and the whole priesthood of the town became upset with the situation. They were doing the puja according to the rules set by Sri Shankaracarya in the mode of pancayatana ritual (5 principal Gods on equal level) and other secret tantras from their line of ancient code of Sarabas (herdsmen of pigs, goats etc.). A mystical story tells that same night after he instructed them, Lord Jagannath appeared to Ramanujacharya in his dream, right there in Puri, and told him, “I am very satisfied with the love and devotion in which my pujaris are worshipping Me. I don’t want you to change it.” Therefore that night Lord Jagannath personally threw Ramanujacharya to Kurmakshetra.

So when Ramanujacharya woke up, here he was in front of the deity of Kurmadev. He thaught it was the divine command of Lord Jagannath that he had come here and began to fast. Then he recognised that there was a head and a tail, little feet and not a Shiva Lingam as it was worshipped. So he could convince the priests to establish the gorgeous worship of Pancaratra here (with a trikala puja ritual). Also Sri Ramanujacharya installed the deities of Sridevi and Bhudevi next to the deity of Kurmadeva and did some good renovation on the temple complex.


 Later in the 14th century Sripad Madhvacharya came here on his pilgrimage to Badrinatha and also did worship personally Sri Kurmadeva here. After some time he ordered to built a special shrine for Sita Rama which is still also worshipped up today. One of his close disciple Sri Narahari Tirtha did stay here and stopped the looting and assault by chandalas to destroy the temple with his personal effort.
And in the famous Chaitanya Caritamrta Volume Madhya Lila 7.chapter Vers 113 -119 it tells about the visit of Lord Chaitanya to Kurma Ksetra in the 15th century.