Friday, June 10, 2005

Shri Lakshmi Narasimha Karavalamba Stotram and Advaita Vijaya

Lakshmi Narasimha karavalambam Stotam is an amazing stotra written by Shri Adi Sankara in praise of the Nara-smha form of Shri Vishnu. The avatar is said to be one of the few Paripurna avatars of Vishnu. Rama and Krishna are some of the others.

What amazes me about the Stotra is the way it is structured. In every verse, Sankara as the devotee or Jiva, describes the various perils of Samsara, the world or Maya. Each verse ends with the devotee praying to the Lord in Lakshmi-Nrsmha form to save him from the perils of the world. The resulting rhyme is very beautiful. A shloka at the end requests the Swami to save his (the devotee) jiva the way the swami saved Prahlada and other bhaktas like Narada, Ambarisha, Vyasa and Suka.

It is interesting to look at the story behind the Stotra from an Advaita perspective. These seem to be the equivalents.

Prahlada as jiva/soul: He is in union with Brahma, and in Sat-Chit-Ananda at all times and at all places. He feels the presence of non-duality everywhere. He understands the limitation to the powers of maya.

Hiranya-Kasipu as Maya: It first lures the devotee and later threatens with its powers over the world. The maya of course is inferior to the realized-Jiva and cannot destroy, or even torment it. This is because the realized soul sees no difference between pleasure and pain.

Lakshmi-Nrsmha-Swami as the Iswara which saves the soul from the final confrontation. The avatar/form is symbolic of a unity in form as Man-Lion. The destruction of Hiranya-Kasipu happens in the union of dualities like morning/evening, inside/outside, weapon/hands. These opposites however, do not signify a duality but the absence of it. This is because of the boon the Asura asked from Brahma: "the time should neither be morning nor evening, the location should neither be inside nor outside, the utility should neither be weapon nor hands".

The killing of the demon is symbolic to the victory of non-duality over duality. The manifestation of the avatar itself results in the destruction of the stambha, which is immobile and hence signifies ignorance.
Postscript: Though he did not mean it, Hiranya-kasipu himself asked for non-duality!!!
May Shri Lakshmi Narasimha Swami destroy the ignorance of all of us in the same way!
Lakshmi Narasimha Arpana mastu
Advaita Vijayam


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Unknown said...

By reading this stotram, i really came to know this is the gem of a master piece of sri AAdhi Shankaracharya.I cried all the way by reading this stotram & felt that we have lost so much of our Hindu Culture in this world of ignorance & illusion. I wish that all the devotees read this stotra in Pradosha kala(6- 7 P.M)& get the blessing of the lord.

Mahesh said...

can you please provide mahalakshmi stotram in english?

Archana said...

Sir, my email id is I am interested in receiving your short every day Vedanta notes. Please add my email id. Thanks

RajaRam Chowdary said...

చక్కటి వివరణ ఇచ్చారు రామకృష్ణగారు. భిన్నత్వంలో ఏకత్వాన్ని దర్శించడమే అసలు తత్వం.

Unknown said...

I cry each day when I listen to the sloka.

Venkatesh said...

PL mail me also your vedanta notes
My email ID is

Rajaram Balajee said...

Lakshmi nrsimha karavalambam

Unknown said...

Brother in vayu stuti an idiot writer by name trivikrama pandit has described shankaracharya as a devil by name manimantha in one of his slokas. He also says shankaracharya hates Vishnu..simply stupid fellow the author..

Unknown said...

When did AdiShankara pray Karavalambam.