SRI UGRA NARASIMHA
It is a very small, yet beautiful sannidhi. Since Thirumangai Alawr was born here, the Lord here is famous as the One, Who gave Alwar to this world. Alwar is called Kuraiyalpiran [குறையல் பிரான்]. Having born as Neelan, he later became the Chief of Aalinadu; became King of Mangai;he resorted to robbery as his requirement for money increased; Monarch of the place under whom Neelan was a King, demanded payment of dues and imprisoned Neelan for default. Once, in prison he was called to collect wealth on the banks of river Vegavathi in Kanchi, by Lord Varadaraja, and after lot of searches, he got the money to repay the Monarch. Finally, as we saw earlier, he was preached the Thirumantram [Ashtaksharam] in Thirumanagkollai, by the Lord Sri Vayalali Manavalan, and became Thirumangai Alwar. He composed Six prabhandams [compilations]. Thus this place is the seed for the history of Alwar. The Lord is a large Idol with lower right arm in abhaya mudra and left lower arm in ahvahana pose. He is welcoming us, as we should not be scared of His image and move away. No doubt He was very angry with Hiranyakasipu, but that should not cause fear in us. How merciful was He with Prahalada? If we carefully see, we can notice anger in one eye and mercy in the other. He has no hatred nor love for anyone. Devotees come near Him. If we are devoted to Him, then we should have no fear to go near Him. The Lord is in Ugra roopam and is seated. As long as we are with Thirumangai Alwar, we need have no fear to go near Him. Why was He angry with Hiranyakasipu? His devotee was tortured by pushing off from a cliff; tried to be crushed by an elephant; tried to be killed by poison; and, poisonous snakes were directed to bite the devotee. Swami Koorathalwan says that the Lord showed the maximum anger to Hiranyakasipu, much more than other demons. Why? Because Hiranyakasipu ill treated His devotee. He shows restraint to those who abuse Him; those who commit unpardonable evils to the Lord. But He can never bear any ill treatment meted out to His devotees. Though He is impartial to all, when it is His devotees, He seems to be greatly inclined to them. From the story of Prahalada, we derive that the Lord has love for some and hatred for others. But sloka 29 might appear to show the exact opposite. He is going to tell that He is impartial to all. That means we have to carefully understand this sloka:
samo ’ham sarva-bhutesu
na me dvesyo ’sti na priyah
ye bhajanti tu mam bhaktya
mayi te tesu capy aham
"I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him."
Sarva bhutesu = to all living beings, samoham = I [Sri Krishna] am equal or impartial. Na me dvesyo asti = no hatred is there [to anyone], na priya = nor any dear [to Sri Krishna]. The Lord says that he harbours no hatred for any nor shows love to any; He is the same to all. Ye = they, who, bhaktya bhajanti = worship with bhakti or love, mam = Me [Sri Krishna], mayi te = they are in Me [Sri Krishna], ca = and, aham =I [Sri Krishna], tesu = in them. Those who worship the Lord with love and do not expect anything in return, are with the Lord and He is with them, always. First half of sloka syas the Lord is equal to all and He has no special hatred or love f or anyone. Buy Lord Sri Narasimha exhibited hatred for Hiranyakasipu and love for Prahalada. So the word samoham does not mean that He is same for both Hiranyakasipu and Prahalada. So, the Lord implies that He is same to all devotees and those who come to worship Him. Those who surrender to Him are not ditinguished, be he a man or animal or god or asura. He does not imply that He is same for those who worship Him or not. For Him, Prahalada, Vibheeshana, Sugreeva, Hanuman, Guha, Vasishta, Sandeepa or Gopika are all equal, as all of them are His devotees. Among those who worship Him, He does not show partiality to any because of education or wealth or birth or body. Earlier He has said that Gyani are dear to Him, So, there are persons dear to Him. So here the Lord implies that one can not claim His love because of one's birth or status, or anything else, but bhakti alone. He does not hate any just because he belonged to an inferior community or he was poor or he was uneducated. Similarly, He does not show love based on his birth or status. He is impartial to all the devotees. Arjuna then asks the Lord as to whether He showed love to anyone. This is replied in the second half of the sloka. Those who worship Him with bhakti for the sake of bhakti are very intimate to Him. Alwar exhibited this intimacy. Five year old Sri Andal could order that He shall not leave Her unprotected [குற்றேவல் எங்களை கொள்ளாமல் போகாது]. That is intimacy. Prahalada, an asura child, could dare to go near the Ugra Sri Narasimha, when all gods and even Sri MahaLakshmi were scared. The Lord also reciprocates their love as we see His love for Gopikas. Sage Sukha was so overwhelmed that he wanted to be born as the dust under the feet of Gopikas. Did He not show love to Gajendra, an animal or Jatayu, a vulture? We will take leave of this Kshetram.