Lord Nrsimhadeva Comes to Mayapur

Lord Nrsimhadeva Comes to Mayapur by Atma-tattva Dasa May 1, 1996

ON MARCH 24, 1984, at 12:20 A.M., thirty-five men armed with weapons and bombs attacked Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir, ISKCON’s center in Mayapur, West Bengal. When the dacoits tried to steal the Deities of Srila Prabhupada and Srimati Radharani, the devotees fearlessly challenged the attackers. How could the devotees see Srila Prabhupada and Srimati Radharani carried away? Both sides fired shots, and people on both sides were injured. Srila Prabhupada was rescued, but the Deity of Radharani was not. The incident greatly disturbed the devotees. They had faced violence and harassment before, and now the management wanted a permanent solution. One manager suggested installing a Deity of Lord Nrsimhadeva, Krsna’s ferocious incarnation as half-man, half-lion, worshiped especially as the protector of His devotees. The manager cited a precedent: When dacoits had threatened the devotees at the Yoga-Pitha, the nearby birth site of Lord Chaitanya, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and his son Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura had promptly installed Sri Sri Laksmi-Nrsimhadeva (the Lord and His consort). There were no further disturbances. Other devotees in Mayapur were not so keen to follow that example. According to scriptural rules, Lord Nrsimhadeva’s pujari, or priest, must have been celibate from birth, and the worship must be strict and regulated. Who would be prepared to worship Him? Despite such hesitancy, the managers asked me and an artist, Bhaktisiddhanta Dasa, to draw some sketches. They said the Deity’s legs should be bent, as if He were ready to jump, He should be looking around ferociously, His fingers should be curled, and flames should be coming from His head. We sketched a Deity in this mood, in which He is known as Ugra Nrsimha, “Fierce Nrsimha.” The devotees liked it, and Pankajanghri dasa agreed to worship Him. Radhapada dasa, a devotee from Calcutta, offered to sponsor the carving and installation of the Deity. It seemed Lord Nrsimhadeva’s


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