Lord Nrsimhadeva Comes to Mayapur

This is the miraculous and dramatic history of the making and arrival of Lord Nrsimhadeva’s sthanu-ugra deity in Sridham Mayapur, narrated by Atma-tattva das (ACBSP). Accompanying this wonderful story are many never-before-seen photos of Prahlad-Nrsimhadeva in the workshop of the South Indian sthapati (Diety-carver) and Their glorious arrival in ISKCON Mayapur in the summer of 1986.

Lord Nrsimhadeva Comes to Mayapur As told by Atma-tattva Das Including many rare, never-before-seen photos of the making of Lord Nrsimhadeva and His arrival at ISKCON Mayapur

Presented by the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in 2023 in conjunction with the completion and opening of the World’s Largest Nrsimhadeva Temple A Miracle in the Making ~ Home of Our Divine Protector


Srila Prabhupada Teaches the Nrsimhadeva Prayers to His First Disciples


Introduction nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namin e I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.

namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine nirvisesha-sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-tarine

Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Chaitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism. A Miracle in the Making ~ Home of Our Divine Protector This book has been produced in conjunction with the scheduled opening of Lord Nrsimhadeva’s Wing in the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in the Fall of 2023. It will be the largest Nrsimhadeva Temple in the world with a surrounding square footage of over 10,000 sq. ft., and a gorgeous and opulent granite and marble altar made to suit the Divine Protector of all devotees. It is a miracle in the making, and so was this small book. While developing the idea for this publication, I searched high and low for any photos of Lord Nrsimhadeva being made by the sthapati (Deity carver), and His glorious arrival in Mayapur in July, 1986. I found only one very low-res, poor quality image on Facebook. Several emails to specific devotees that might have access to photos went unanswered. The Bhaktivedanta Archives had nothing. Giving up hope, I went ahead and started a draft of the book’s content and layout when Braja-sevaki dasi in Mayapur told me to contact Bhakta Gana dasi, the wife of Bharat Maharaja das, both of whom lived in Mayapur for several years. Bharat Maharaja was responsible for many architectural wonders built on the ISKCON Mayapur complex over the years, including the original design and models of our beloved Pancha Tattva Deities. By Lord Nrsimhadeva’s arrangement, Bhakta Gana had kept a collection


of almost 40 photos of Lord Nrsimhadeva in the making and His arrival in Mayapur, given to her by Atma-tattva das, the author of the story included herein. With those photos in hand, I could now present the unique history of Mayapur Nrsimhadeva in toto, complete with never-before-seen ecstatic photos of the Lord manifesting. What you have in your hand is a result of that humble effort to archive and glorify those historic moments for generations of devotees, well wishers and Mayapur visitors for hundreds, if not thousands of years to come. The opening of the Nrsimhadeva Temple in the TOVP represents the next milestone and phase of progress of this magnificent project, which Srila Prabhupada foresaw would help change the world and present a guiding light to humanity, as well as unify ISKCON. The TOVP is more than just another temple, place of worship or ISKCON project. Being built in the most holy, sacred land of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s birth, it is practically the embodiment of His unparalleled mercy manifesting in physical form, like a Deity itself, for the benefit of all conditioned souls. And those who have helped to build this transcendental monument to the Lord in Mayapur are the greatest benefactors of all Vaishnavas, as well as the human race in general. “Those who endeavour to keep the flow of services in Mayapura strong, will be counted amongst the main benefactors of the world of Vaishnavas that will appear in the future. There is no doubt that by all these activities, the dharma of Sri Mahaprabhu will be especially propagated throughout the world.” (Bhaktivinoda Thakur from Gata-varsa (The Last Year), Sajjanatoshani, Vol. 12, Issue 1, 1900) It is to Srila Prabhupada’s glory that we as a movement will offer this adbhuta (wondrous) temple to him, which in turn he will offer to his dear Lord and to our parampara. We humbly fall at his feet with great awe and reverence and tears in our eyes as we assist him in his divine mission to make Harinam sankirtan available to all living beings, H ari katha the language of the human race and love of God the reality for the entire universe. Sunanda das TOVP Communications Director


The original drawing of Ugra-Nrsimhadeva by the South Indian sthapati (Deity carver), 1984


The sthapati standing next to the partially completed Ugra-Nrsimhadeva murti


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


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


this Deity?” When he heard that it was the Hare Krsna people from Mayapur, he became very concerned. “They want Ugra Nrsimha? Are they aware of the implications of carving and installing Ugra Nrsimha? Such Deities were carved over three thousand years ago by elevated sthapatis. There is a place on the way to Mysore where a very ferocious Ugra Nrsimha is installed. The demon Hiranyakasipu is torn open on His lap, and the demon’s intestines are spilling out all over the altar. Once the standard of worship there was very high, with an elephant procession and a festival every day. But gradually the worship declined. Today that place is like a ghost town. The whole village is deserted. No one can live there peacefully. Is that what they want for their project?” The sthapati replied, “They are insistent. They are constantly coming to talk to me about the Deity. Apparently, they have some problem with dacoits.” Handing his guru a sketch of the Deity, he said, “This is the Deity they want.” His guru took the sketch and looked at it knowingly. “Ah, this is ugra category,” he said. “But a Deity in this particular mood is called Sthanu Nrsimha. He doesn’t exist on this planet. Even the demigods in the heavenly planets don’t worship a form like this. Yes, this Deity belongs to the ugra category. Ugra means ‘ferocious, very angry.’ There are nine forms within this category. They are all very fierce. The one they want is Sthanu Nrsimha: stepping out of the pillar. No. Don’t carve this Deity. It will not be auspicious for you. I will talk with you about this later.” A few nights later the sthapati had a dream in which his guru came to him and said, “For them you can carve Sthanu Nrsimha.” The next morning the sthapati received a hand-delivered letter from Kanchipuram. The letter, from the Sankaracarya, gave some instructions regarding temple renovations. There was a footnote. It read, “For ISKCON you can carve Sthanu Nrsimha.” The sthapati showed me the letter and said, “I have my guru’s blessings. I will carve your Deity.” I was overjoyed. I gave him an advance payment and asked him how long carving the Deity would take. He said the Deity would be ready for installation within six


months. I returned to Mayapur. After four peaceful months in Mayapur, I decided to go to South India to buy the heavy brass paraphernalia required for Nrsimhadeva worship and then collect the Deity. The trip was well organized and trouble-free until I visited the sthapati. I explained to him that I had bought all the paraphernalia for the worship and had come to collect the Deity. He looked at me as if I’d lost my senses. “What Deity?” he exclaimed. “I haven’t even found the suitable stone!” I couldn’t believe my ears. “But you told me He would be ready in six months.” “I will keep my promise,” he said. “Six months after I find the stone, the Deity will be ready for installation,” His reply was emphatic, but I just could not understand or accept the delay. In frustration I challenged him, “There are big slabs of stone all over South India. What’s the problem?” He looked at me the way a teacher would view a slow student and said deliberately, “I’m not making a grinding mortar. I’m making a Deity. The scriptures tell us that only a stone that has life can be used to make a Visnu Deity. When you hit seven points of the stone slab and each makes the sound mentioned in the scriptures, then that stone may be suitable. But there is a second test to indicate whether the stone is living stone. There is a bug that eats granite. If it eats from one side of the stone to the other and leaves a complete trail visible behind it, then the second test of living stone has been passed. That stone is living stone, and expression can manifest from it. Only from such a slab can I carve your Nrsimhadeva. Such stone speaks poetry. All features of a Deity carved from such stone will be fully expressive and beautiful. Please be patient. I’ve been searching sincerely for your six-foot slab.” I was amazed and a little anxious. The devotees in Mayapur were expecting the arrival of the Deity soon. How was I going to explain the “living stone” search to them? Maybe they would decide to make Nrsimhadeva from marble. I turned to what I thought would be an easy subject: “Please forgive me, but I forgot to tell you last time I


came that we also want a deity of Prahlada. We want to worship Prahlada-Nrsimhadeva. What do you think?” “I don’t think that will be possible,” the sthapati replied matter-of- factly. I looked at him incredulously, not sure what to say. He smiled and continued. “You want everything done exactly according to the scriptures. Your Nrsimhadeva will be four feet high. Comparatively speaking, that will make Prahlada Maharaja the size of an amoeba.” “But we want Prahlada Maharaja one foot high,” I interrupted. “Fine,” the sthapati replied. “But that means your Nrsimhadeva will have to be about 120 feet high.” We began to argue about Prahlada Maharaja’s form. Finally, the sthapati sighed in resignation and agreed to make Prahlada Maharaja one foot tall. At least now I had something positive to report when I returned to Mayapur. After two months I returned to South India. There had been no developments. I shuttled back and forth between Mayapur and South India every thirty or forty days. Finally, our stone was found, and the sthapati became a transformed man. For more than a week he hardly spent any time at home. Hour after hour, day after day, he just sat staring at the slab. He had chalk in hand but didn’t draw anything. He refused to allow his laborers to do anything besides remove the excess stone to make the slab rectangular. The next time I visited him, he had made a sketch on the stone. That was all. I was worried. The Mayapur managers were becoming impatient. “Are you sure this Deity will be finished in six months?” I asked in desperation. “Don’t worry. The work will be done,” he replied. I returned to Mayapur, only to be sent back to South India to check on some details of the Deity. I found the sthapati carving the form with intense care and dedication. The stone had gone and the shape had come. The sthapati had just started on the armlets. He took two weeks to carve them. All the features were so refined and delicate. I was impressed and happy. The sthapati took a little more than twelve months to finish the Deity. When he completed the work, he didn’t inform me at


once but decided to visit some friends for a few days. It was the monsoon season, there were few visitors, and he felt it safe to lock up Lord Nrsimhadeva securely in a thatched shed. Two days later his neighbors ran to tell him that the shed was on fire. Despite heavy rain, the coconut-tree roof had caught ablaze. The sthapati ran to the scene to find the shed burned to ashes but Nrsimhadeva untouched. He phoned me at once. “Please come and take your Deity. He’s burning everything. He’s made it clear He wants to go now!” I traveled enthusiastically to South India, hired a truck, and half- filled it with sand. I arrived at the sthapati’s studio thinking this final stage would be relatively simple. I had foolishly forgotten that Lord Nrsimhadeva is a very heavy personality. He weighed one ton! After two or three hours we managed to lift the Deity safely from the shed onto the truck. To travel across the Tamil Nadu state border safely, we needed police permission, along with signed papers from the Central Sales Tax Department, the Archeological Director, and the Art Emporium Directorate. All the officers demanded to see the Deity before signing the papers. Once they saw Lord Nrsimhadeva, they all became obliging and efficient. We had the papers in hand within twenty-four hours—a miracle given the usual quagmire of bureaucracy found in Indian government offices. The trip back to Mayapur was also amazingly trouble-free and peaceful. Our protector was certainly present with us. Usually, the sthapati comes on the day of the installation ceremony, goes into the Deity room, and carves the eyes of the Deity. This is called netra-nimilanam, “opening the eyes.” But our sthapati had already carved the eyes. He had also done the prana-pratistha (installing the life force) and worshiped the Deity. I’m sure that is why all the papers were prepared so obligingly and transporting the Supreme Lord was so easy. The Lord was already present. And who would dare say no to Lord Nrsimhadeva? The installation of Lord Nrsimhadeva lasted three days: July 28–30, 1986. I remember feeling apprehensive that perhaps the installation was too simple. The grave warnings of the Sankaracarya


of Kanchipuram had deeply impressed me. But my mind was soon appeased by the loud, dynamic kirtana. Sankirtana-yajna, the chanting of Hare Krsna, the only true opulence of Kali-yuga, was dominating the scene. I felt enlivened and satisfied. Lord Nrsimhadeva, the protector of the sankirtana mission, had finally decided to manifest at Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir.


The sthapati working on Ugra-Nrsimhadeva

The almost completed murti of Ugra-Nrsimhadeva in the sthapati’s workshop


Image of Ugra-Nrsimhadeva’s face



The finished Ugra-Nrsimhadeva murti and Prahlad Maharaja outside the sthapati’s workshop


Performing the “netra-nimilanam” ceremony to open the Deity’s eyes


The sthapati’s assistants preparing Nrsimhadeva for the “prana-pratistha”— life-force giving ceremony


Ugra-Nrsimhadeva after the “prana-pratistha” ceremony


Ugra-Nrsimhadeva and Prahlad Maharaja after the “prana-pratistha” ceremony


Prahlad Maharaja after Ugra-Nrsimhadeva’s “prana pratistha” ceremony



Atma-tattva das and sthapatis preparing to raise Ugra-Nrsimhadeva for transport to Mayapur


Ugra-Nrsimhadeva arrives in Sridham Mayapur


Moving Ugra-Nrsimhadeva for His installation ceremony


Placing Ugra-Nrsimhadeva on His altar for the installation ceremony


Lord Nrsimhadeva on His altar during the first Chandan Yatra Festival, 1987


Final Message In October, 2023 Mayapur Prahlad-Nrsimhadeva’s new home, the world’s largest Nrsimhadeva Temple will be completed and opened during a three-day celebration. The following year during the three-month-long Grand Opening of the TOVP from December, 2024 until Gaura Purnima, 2025, Prahlad-Nrsimhadeva will be relocated. Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of this historic occasion and Give To Nrsimha to help complete His temple. Give To Nrsimha 2023 Fundraiser: https://tovp.org/donate/give-to-nrsimha-2023- fundraiser/

Watch this inspiring video of Mayapur Nrsimhadeva, past, present and future

Nrsimhadeva Wing 360 ° Panoramic View Below is an awesome 360° computer generated view of the Nrsimhadeva Wing. Click on the image to go to the pano. To view properly, hold down your mouse left button to go up or down, left or right, and use the scroll wheel to zoom in or out.

The TOVP Nrsimhadeva Flipbook Collection Below we present our unique collection of online Nrsimhadeva flipbooks. These free publications are downloadable and shareable, and also include links to other videos.

Mayapur Nrsimhadeva Wing Computer generated images of the completed Nrsimhadeva Wing https://online.flippingbook.com/view/533886009/

Lord Nrsimhadeva ISKCON Mayapur Pastimes of Mayapur

Sri Shanaiscara-krta Sri Narasimha Stuti Prayers by Shani (Saturn) to Lord Nrsimhadeva https://online. flippingbook.com/ view/860933722/

Sri Mayapur Nrsimhadeva

108 amazing photos of our beloved Mayapur

Nrsimhadeva https://online.

Nrsimhadeva Currently in production

flippingbook.com/ view/160769164/

Videos about Mayapur Nrsimhadeva Inspiring videos related to Prahlad-Nrsimhadeva

Pankajanghri Das Nrsimha Pastimes Sriman Pankajanghri prabhu narrates pastimes of Mayapur Nrsimhadeva

Give To Nrsimha Song Give To Nrsimha theme song by Nirantara das (ACBSP)

Nrsimhadeva Arrival Drama ISKCON Pune presents a drama of the arrival of Lord Nrsim- hadeva

Nrsimhadeva Wing Update Update by TOVP Vice Chair- man Braja Vilasa das

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