Sunday, January 14, 2007
Narasimha: Cat God Incarnation
On a trip to Batu Caves outside Kuala Lumpur this week, I saw a statue of Narasimha, a cat headed god. Here he is, complete with claws and fuzzy face.
A bit of online reading revealed Narasimha was the fourth incarnation the Hindu god Lord Vishnu.
During this lifetime, Vishnu/Narasimha confronted Hiranyakashipu, king of the Asuras, a super-human race of beings who lived in the underworld, emerging every now and again to plague mankind and fight with the gods.
Being a sneaky character, Hiranyakashipu acquired magical protection from death.
Hiranyakashipu could not die from natural causes and weapons; expire on land, in space, in fire, or in water; pass over during the day or at night; kick the bucket inside or outside his home, and couldn’t be dispatched by humans, gods, or animals.
Vishnu/Narasimha got round all of these strictures by turning himself into a half god half animal that was neither one nor the other, catching his enemy on teh threshold of his home at twilight, putting him on his lap, and clawing him with his talons!
Scoop loved the story when I told him – or perhaps it was just the petting he was enjoying. Au just yawned. He’s been out supervising our neighbour’s builder’s all morning and is falling asleep on his paws.
Check out more about Vishnu/ Narasimha and Hiranyakashipu with the help of these links: Indolink, Wikipedia's Hiranyakashipu, and Encyclopedia Mythica: Hindu mythology