About 1,200 years ago, there was a Narasimha Upasaka who lived in the Chola kingdom. His name was Sanandana. Upasaka is a word used to describe worshippers or followers of a deity. The word is also used by the Buddhist. Females are known as Upasika.
A Narasimha Upasaka is a person who worships Narasimha as his favourite deity or Ishta Deva. All concentration on Him alone. Narasimha is the 4th Avatar of Vishnu.
For many months, Sanandana was meditating upon Narasimha in a forest. He wished to see his Lord. But it was not easy to live in a forest. Despite all this, Sanandana continued with his meditation in the forest.
On one fine day, a hunter passed by Sanandana. He asked :
Hunter: "Hey you! What are you doing in the forest?"
Sanandana : "I am meditating so that I get to see Narasimha"
Hunter: "Narasimha? What is that?"
Sanandana then describes the physical attributes of Narasimha. Body of a man, head of a lion. The hunter then mentioned that he has hunted in the forest for many years and never seen such being. He swears to return only after capturing the Narasimha.
Sanandana continues with his daily routine.
After a few days, the hunter returns. He helds a long rope. The other end of the rope is tied to something but it is invisible. The rope moved, there were thunderous roars.
Hunter: "Here. I have captured your Narasimha"
Sanandana: "Where? I cannot see it"
Hunter: "Can't you see it? I tied it with this rope"
Sanandana: "No! I see nothing. I hear roars, I realise there are movements but I cannot see it"
Sanandana then cries.
"Oh Lord! I spent many many months in this forest. Meditating upon you. You chose not to reveal yourself to me. But the hunter who did no penance is able to see you. What is this?"
At that moment, Narasimha responds.
"Blessed devotee of mine. You did meditate upon me but your meditation was not continuous. In between, you did your daily chores. You ate, you drank, you slept, you bathed. But this hunter who seeked me for days, did not sleep, did not bathe, did not eat, did not drink. He only had me in his mind and he was continuously thinking about me for the last few days. This is why he saw me first"
It then clicked! Sanandana realised that it is not the duration of worship that matters, it is the intensity of the worship that matters the most.
He fell on the Lord's feet and asked for his blessings.
At this point of time, you would have realised that the title says Padmapada but I kept using the name Sanandana in this article. You will know why in Part 2.
Click below for Part 2