Lakshminarasimha (Deccan)

This is Lakshminarasimha, an Avatar of Vishnu as Narasimha (Man-lion form) accompanied by his consort Lakshmi. Narsimha is identified by his facial features and the attributes of Chakra and Shankha. Lakshmi is identified by association.

Narsimha came into being in order to vanquish Hiranya who had obtained a boon that he, Hiranya, would not be killed by a human or animal, during the day or in the night, inside or outside a building, on Earth or in the sky and by any weapon. That story is in the blog on Ugra Narasimha.

Narsimha continued his Ugra behaviour even after vanquishing Hiranya. There are two versions of how he was calmed down.

One interpretation is, on other deities’ requests, Shiva took the form of Sarabeshwara and tamed Narasimha. The taming is shown in the picture to the right. See the blog Sarabeshwara. Understandably this version has the backing of Saivites.

According to the Vaishnavite version, as written by the then Head of Srirangam mutt, ” Narasimha was angry at the time of the slaughter of Hiranya and has his Raudra, ‘quality of ire’ did not go down even after the destined function of his avatar ie Hiranya Vadham. He was cooled down when Lakshmi came and sat on his lap or according to another account Prahalada, Narasimha’s devotee appealed to the Lord to get himself appeased”. Hence this iconography. This blog site has a representation of Lakshminarasimha with Prahalad.

The above-quoted text is from the book Sectarian Rivalry in Art and Literature, 1997 edited by Raju Kalidos.

This representation of Narasimha with Lakshmi is one of the Shanta (peaceful) forms of Narasimha. This iconography is widely used in home worship.

This Vigraha is from the Deccan, northern part of South India. It is about 11 cm in height. It may be dated to the eighteenth century.


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