Lord Nrsimhadeva Comes to Mayapur

appearance in ISKCON Mayapur would be a simple, straightforward affair. Radhapada promptly gave 130,000 rupees, and we planned to have the Deity ready for installation in three months. I left for South India to get the work started. By Krsna’s grace I soon found a famous sthapati, or Deity sculptor. The man was obliging until I mentioned that the Deity we wanted carved was Ugra Nrsimha. He emphatically refused to make such a Deity. I then approached many other Deity sculptors, but the answer was always the same: No. After six months and several trips to South India, Lord Nrsimhadeva had not yet manifested in His Deity form. Radhapada was anxious to see Lord Nrsimhadeva installed in Mayapur, and he asked me to visit the first sthapati and once again plead our case. This time the sculptor was a little more congenial and offered to read me a chapter from the Silpa-sastra, the Vedic scriptures on sculpture and temple architecture and engineering. He read aloud some verses describing Lord Nrsimhadeva, His flamelike mane, His searching glance, and His posture, knees bent, one foot forward ready to jump out of a pillar. I was amazed. This was exactly what we wanted. I showed him the sketch I had done. He was impressed and offered to draw an outline based on the scriptural description. We could use the outline as a guide for carving the Deity. He reminded me, though, that he would not carve the form himself. The sthapati took a week to do the sketch, and it was impressive. I returned to Mayapur and showed the sketch to the temple authorities. Everyone wanted this same sthapati to carve the Deity. Once again, I was sent back to South India to convince him. I went straight to the sthapati’s house. I felt anxious. What could I do but pray to Lord Nrsimhadeva to be merciful and agree to manifest Himself in our temple in Sridham Mayapur? I had hardly said two sentences when the man matter-of-factly said he would carve the Deity. The sthapati had approached his guru, the Sankaracarya of Kanchipuram, about our request. His guru had at once replied, “Don’t do it. Your family will be destroyed.” But then, after a moment’s reflection, the guru asked, “Who has asked you to carve


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