Sunday, 23 March 2014

Padmapada - The Narasimha Devotee (Part 2)

For Part 1, click here

The previous story of Sanandana and the hunter happened during his Purvashrama. Purvashrama is the life period just before a person enters Sanyasa. Sanyasa is the period in life when someone becomes a complete renunciate.

Sanandana enters Sanyasa with the blessings of his guru, the great Adi Sankara.

Once Adi Sankara called his disciples for help from across the river. The disciples, including Sanandana was on the other side of the river. Adi Sankara wants to cross the river but there was no boat at that time.

So the disciples were not able to help him. But the devoted Sanandana walked towards the river with pure devotion and love towards his Guru. Seeing this, the Goddess Ganga sent lotus flowers towards Sanandana. Sanandana stepped on the lotuses to cross the river and bring his Guru to the other side.

In order to commemorate this incident, Adi Sankara renamed Sanandana as Padmapada. In Sanskrit, Padma is lotus and Pada is foot or step. So Padmapada is he who stepped on the lotuses.

Sanandana then becomes Padmapada.

On one fine day, a Kapalika approaches Adi Sankara. Kapalikas are those who worship Shiva in a very fierce form. They conduct human sacrifices and use the Kapala (human skull) in their rituals.

Now you know how the Malay language got the word Kepala for head? 

Out of jealousy for his fame and debating skills, the Kapalika wanted to kill Adi Sankara. So he hatched a plot.

He told Adi Sankara:

"Oh wise Guru! I seek your help and blessings. I am a Kapalika. I was given a boon by Shiva. If I offer the head of a king or a head of a learned man, Shiva will grant me moksha"

Adi Sankara being the very merciful one could not say no. So he accepted it but with a condition:

"How can I say no to you oh great worshipper of the Lord? I agree to give my head but the sacrifice must be conducted in a secluded place without anyone knowing about it"

The Kapalika agreed.

On the agreed time and date, they both met. Adi Sankara entered the state of Samadhi to prepare for his head to be chopped. The Kapalika, dressed with bones and skulls took his sword, with the intention of killing Adi Sankara.

Nobody knew what was happening but at that time, Padmapada, the dutiful disciple of Adi Sankara saw the whole thing through meditation. He became furious, he was overcome by trance of the Narasimha.

He leaped and ran to the spot. Cought the Kapalika, roared like a lion and tore open his chest with his bare hands.

The loud noise shook Adi Sankara awake from his state of Samadhi. He saw a different Padmapada. He saw  Narasimha in him. With his golden skin, glorous white mane, the flesh of Kapalika and blood smeared all over him.

Padmapada's devotion towards his Guru and sincere worship towards Narasimha saved his Guru, the great Adi Sankara from being sacrificed by the Kapalika. The Kapalika, having being killed by none other than the Lord himself, attains moksha.

Adi Sankara will then go on and compose Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Karavalamba, a hymn dedicated to Lord Narasimha.

I am a Saivite and this article is dedicated to the Vaishnavites who read my blog.

May Lord Narasimha showers his grace on all of us!

Prahlada and Narasimha

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