Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy at Yadagirigutta

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BY: SUN STAFF - 23.1 2020

Jan 22, 2020 — CANADA (SUN) — Yadagirigutta lies near Bhuvanagiri (Bhongir), approximately 70 km. from Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the most important holy places in the Nalgonda District. Yadagirigutta is especially famous for the Sri Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple.

In Tretayugam there lived a sage by the name of Yadarishi, who was the son of the great sage Rishyasrunga and Santa Devi. With the blessings of Anjaneya, Yadarishi did penance inside a cave on a hill between Bhongir and Raigiri. Pleased with Yadarishi's deep devotion, Lord Narasimha appeared before him in five different forms as Jwala, Yogananda, Gandabherunda, Ugra and Lakshminarasimha. These inconceivable Forms of the Lord later manifested Themselves into finely sculpted forms that later came to be worshipped as the Pancha Narasimha Kshetram.

There are Puranic and traditional accounts of this shrine at Yadagirigutta, which is a highly desirable place of pilgrimage for devotees of Lord Nrsimhadev. Accounts in the Skanda Purana, one of the most famous of the 18 Puranas, mention the origin of this temple.

The sanctum is a natural cave on the Yadagiri hill. Jwala Narasimha (the Lord of flame), Ghandabheranda Narasimha (without an image) and Yoga Narasimha are all worshipped here, in addition to a silver Deity of Lakshmi-Narasimha and a shrine to Aandaalamma. the Jwala Narasimha, or Flame/Fire Form, is somewhat difficult to see.

Two rock formations in the sanctum wall are revered as Jwala Narasimha and Yoga Narasimha respectively. The Jwala Narasimha resembles a serpent, while the Yoga Narasimha image is Lord Narasimha's Form in meditation. In His form of Yoga Narasimha, it is understood that the Lord grants healing, both physical and of spiritual benefit, to His sincere aspirants.

The temple is at a height of 300 feet on Yadagiri hill. It is said that the sacred Vedas took the form this hill so as to bear upon its head the Yogananda Narasimhaswamy. On the foothill there is Vaikuntha Dwara entrance, which features a shrine to Sri Hanuman. There is also a gap in the rock representing Ghandabheranda Narasimha. Also on Yadagiri hill is a temple dedicated to worship of Lord Shiva.

Known as the Pancha Narasimha Kshetra, this holy dhama lies on the bank of the River Krishna. There are several independent temples existing at different places, the principal one of which is the shrine of Yogananda Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy. There are two separate mandirs for Rajyalakshmidevi and Godadevi, both elegantly built. There is another shrine for Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy, the second of the five dedicated to the Lord. The third one, an ant-hill is found on the top of the hill and is called Jwalanarasimhaswamy. The fourth one is said to be a Salagram From in the River Krishna, which only gives Darshan when the river recedes backwards. The fifth one is found on the hill called Garudachalam, which lies a short distance away. The deity is called by two names - Vugranarasimhaswamy and Viranarasimhaswamy. All these places are exercising a great pull on the hearts of the Nrsimha-bhaktas.

At Yadagiri hill, the Lord appeared first as Jwala Narasimha. When Yadarishi was unable to face the intensity of this manifestation, the Lord appeared in a peaceful form as Yoganarasimha (in a padmasana posture with open palms on His knees). Not satisfied with the Lord appearing alone, Yadarishi desired to see Him with His consort, so the Lord is said to have appeared with Lakshmi on his lap, thus He is known as Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy.

To see these three forms, pilgrims go through an entrance that narrows down into a dark cave. The cave is under a large rock which forms a sloping roof, about five feet high in the middle. Pilgrims must duck their heads to get through the formation, thus involuntarily bowing to the Lord.

At the end of the cave are the actual images of the Lord. Two rocks are fastened to each other and form a vertical cup. On the other side of the rock is found an image in the shape of a serpent head, ending like its tail. This is said to be the aspect of God known as Jwala Narasimha. It is said that a divine serpent still moves about the temple image.

On the opposite rock, is the Yogananda Narasimha image of the Lord, along with the third manifestation as Lakshmi Narasimha, which appears on the same rock. The fourth form, Ugra Narasimha, reveals His Fierce Mouth at the wide entrance to the cave, because it was beyond the strength of the sage to see that Form.

Gandabherunda (the garuda pakshi) is the fifth Form of the Lord, which is said to have been found sculpted in rock underneath the Anjaneya, known as 'Kshetrapalaka', or the One Who ruled over that hill). This form is known only by the presence of an eternal lamp that burns within a crevice beneath Sri Anjaneya sannidhi. All these forms are known as swayambhu or self-emanated.

As these rupams of the Lord are sometimes difficult to see in the small crevices inside the cavern that serves as His sannidhi, Lord Narasimha and Lakshmi also stand together as large silver utsava murthis as Sri Lakshmi-Narasimha. It is this Form of the Lord that is best known and most often worshipped by devotees at the temple. The Lord's hand is raised in the abhaya dana mudra, granting fearlessness.

Glowing bright atop the sikharam of garbha griha (the sanctum sanctorum) of this cave temple is the golden Sudarshana Chakra, which measures about 3 ft. x 3 ft.). Sudarshana Chakra is the weapon of Lord Nrsimha, and it is a transcendental symbol by which this temple is identified from as far away as 6 km. It is said that many years ago, the Chakra moved in the direction from which the devotees came, acting like a compass guiding them towards the holy site.

Lord Narasimha is understood to have been worshipped by sages (rishis), and the region of Yadagirigutta is known be a Rushi Aradhana Kshetram, or the place of worship for sages.

Here, Lord Narasimha is believed to have assumed the role of a "doctor", and He is therefore known as Vaidya Narasimha by his devotees. They come to this shrine to be cured of many chronic diseases, of the influence of bad planets, and of black magic. Many instances are cited of the Lord appearing in the dreams of the devotees, administering medicines and operating on the patients, blessing them with good health.

Many devotees tell of vivid dreams in which Lord Narasimha comes to heal them from chronic or terminal illnesses, and even mental or emotional problems. A mandala (40 day) pradakshina is very popular, and is made by many devotees who have been cured of long-standing ailments or chronic disease. Often times, the Lord Himself is said to have imparted Mantropadesham to select devotees in their dreams.

It is also said that Sriman Narayana, pleased with Yadarishi's tapas, sent Sri Anjaneya to direct the rishi to a holy spot, where the Lord appeared to him in the form of Sri Lakshmi-Narasimha. This spot is marked by a temple located at the foot of the Yadagiri hill, located about 5 km from the present temple. There the sage worshipped the Lord for many years.

After Yadarishi attained moksha a number of tribals, hearing of the Lord's presence, came to worship Him at this temple. But not being very learned, these devotees began to engage in improper worship. Because of this, Sri Lakshmi-Narasimha moved into the hills. The tribals searched for many years to find their Lord, to no avail.

After many years had passed, the Lord appeared in the dream of a devout lady among the tribe, directing her to a large cavern wherein He revealed Himself to all as the five majestic Avatharams.

The Aradhanam and Puja in this temple are performed according to Pancharatra Agamam. The puja vidhanam was established by the late Sri Vangeepuram Narasimhacharyulu, who composed Yadagiri Suprabhatam, Prapatti, Stotram, and Mangalashasanam, and served as Sthanacharya of this temple


Temple Activities

The Aradhanam and Puja at this temple are performed according to Pancharatra Agamam. The puja vidhanam (Puja procedure) was set by Late Sri Vangeepuram Narasimhacharyulu, who composed Yadagiri Suprabhatam, Prapatti, Stotram, Mangalashasanam and served as Sthanacharya of this temple. Vaikhanasa agama worship is offered in all the Panchanarasimha kshetras.

The Kalyanotsav falling in the month of Vaisakha Suddha Eakadasi is celebrated on a grand scale. Another annual festival that lures huge crowds of devotees here is Narasimha Jayanthi. Besides the locals, thousands from far off places too visit on account of its antiquity and the ease of accessibility to the Lord.