श्रीमत्कण्ठीरवास्य प्रततसुनखरा दारितारातिदूर
प्रध्वस्तध्वान्तशान्त प्रविततमनसा भाविता भूरिभागैः || 1 ||
When Sri Trivikrama Panditacharya composed the Vayu Stuti and offered it at the lotus feet of Srimadanandatirtha Bhagavatpada, Srimadacharya gave his approval in a special way. While appreciating the composition, he insisted that a prayer that extols the greatness of Sri Mahavishnu must act as a golden cover for the stuti. It must be Sri Narasimha who must be praised before and after any stotra.
He blessed the Vayu Stuti by composing a short stuti on Narasimha and instructed all his followers that this stuti be chanted before and after the composition of Sri Trivikrama Panditacharya. This short stuti, comprising 2 shlokas, is in praise of the Narasimha avatara of Sri Mahavishnu.
Let us look at the first of the two shlokas in this post.
The most significant act performed by the Lord in his avatara as Narasimha was to destroy the Daitya Hiranyakashipu with his nails. It was a ferocious, yet easy, act for Narasimha. With just his fingernails he ripped apart the demon and ended his tyranny. He then blessed Prahlada and all the Devatas!
Hiranyakashipu was a propagator of false knowledge. He kept insisting that there is no greater God than himself. By killing him, Narasimha ended this personification of ignorance and false knowledge and blessed all Sajjanas with jnana.
Narasimha is thus the remover of enemies (and fear) and the one who also removes ignorance and grants knowledge. It is these two aspects of this special avatara that Srimadacharya highlights in his own unique way in this shloka.
Sri Narayana is not bound by Prakriti. He is beyond nature. Therefore, unlike mere mortals who have a jeeva inside and a material body that is distinct from the jeeva, Sri Vishnu’s body is not a different entity. He and his “body” are one and the same. He is jnana and ananda personified. His body, his head, feet, eyes, ears – all of them are no different from his very essence! It is only for gracing his devotees that he “appears” in various forms that resemble sentient beings who have a material body.
To highlight this unique attribute of Narasimha, Srimadacharya praises the fingernails of the Lord as having the power to protect us. Narasimha’s fingernails are nothing but Narasimha himself. A prayer to Narasimha’s nails is thus a prayer to Narasimha.
Srimadacharya pleads with the large and auspicious nails of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha to protect us!
May the wide प्रतत and auspicious nails सुनखराः of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha, the one with the face of a lion, श्रीमत् कण्ठीरव protect पान्तु all of us अस्मान्!
He then gives a beautiful description of the power of Sri Narasimha’s nails.
Each nail प्रत्येक are like the Vajrayudha वज्रायिताः and each nail is extremely deft अधिक पटु in tearing apart विपाटन tall mountain like उच्छाद्रि foreheads कुम्भः of the cluster घटा of powerful elephants बलवन् मातङ्ग that are nothing but the enemies of Indra पुरुहूत वैरि.
Indra’s enemies are the Daityas/Danavas. Their army is like a cluster of powerful elephants which have foreheads that appear like large mountains. But each nail of Sri Narasimha is so powerful, just like Indra’s Vajrayudha, that they tear apart the foreheads of these elephants (Daityas) with no effort and with great deftness!
Since Sri Narasimha possesses the head of a Lion, it is very appropriate to compare the sea of Daityas, Danavas and Rakshasas to a cluster of elephants. It is well known that Lions climb on to elephants and kill them by tearing apart their kumbha-sthala. It is this example that Srimadacharya uses here to describe how the nails of Sri Narasimha destroys the enemies of Devendra.
He then describes the knowledge-bestowing ability of Sri Narasimha(‘s nails) in yet another unique way.
He says that Sri Narasimha’s nails are always worshipped भाविताः by the most-blessed ones (Devatas) भूरि भागैः with a large प्रवितत and calm शान्त mind मनसा who have destroyed दारित their enemies अराति and whose darkness (ignorance of the mind) ध्वान्त has been removed प्रध्वस्त from far itself दूर.
The Devatas are the ones who have destroyed their enemies. Their ignorance or darkness of the mind has been removed from far itself. In other words, ignorance stays very distant from their minds (due to Narsimha’s grace). With such a calm and all-encompassing mind, they worship Sri Narasimha!
Thus, we can summarize the shloka in the following manner:
Each nail of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha is powerful like a Vajrayudha. His nails destroy all the Daityas just like the Lion which climbs on to the forehead of powerful elephants and tears them apart. His nails are worshipped with a calm mind by groups of Devatas, who have destroyed their enemies and have had their darkness of the mind dispelled. May such auspicious nails of Sri Narasimha always protect us!