Why Lord Vishnu Appeared as Narasimha Dev?
is the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Hindus revere this form of Lord as the protector of his devotees from all demoniac powers. The story of appearance of Narasimha dev is described in 7th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam Chapters 5 to 7. This article briefly describes why Lord Vishnu appeared as Narasimha dev.
Demon King Hiranyakasipu
There was a demon king by name Hiranyakasipu. He became enemy of Lord Vishnu from the moment Lord killed his brother Hiranyaksha. To avenge this, Hiranyakasipu took up austerities to please Lord Brahma. He went to forests and did such severe austerities that Lord Brahma appeared before him. Hiranyakasipu asked for immortality. But when Lord Brahma refused to give he went on keeping conditions so that he could not meet death.
Hiranyakshipu asked Lord Brahma that he should not be killed by animal or human being, no weapons should kill him; he should not be killed in day or night; he should be killed on ground or in the sky; he should not be killed by demons or demigod or by snakes…and so on. Lord Brahma had no choice but to grant. In this way Hiranyakashipu thought that he will not be killed by anyone.
Prahlad: Five year old son of Hiranyakashipu
Getting the boon from Brahmadev Hiranyakasipu began to torture the devotees of Lord Vishnu. He declared himself as God. But he had son Prahlad who refused to accept him to God. He was pure devotee of Lord Vishnu. This enraged Hiranyakashipu and he gave orders to the teacher of Prahlad to teach him about his greatness.
Nothing stopped Prahlad from worsipping Lord Vishnu. He was so determined in his devotion. Then Hiranyakashipu asked his servants to kill Prahlad. There were many attempts to kill Prahlad but somehow he was saved. Hiranyakashipu thought he himself should kill Prahlad. He asked his servants to bring Prahlad before him.
Appearance of Lord Narasimhadev
When Prahlad came before he was immersed in Lord’s devotion. Hiranyakashipu asked Prahlad where is Lord Vishnu. Prahlad confidently answered Lord Vishnu is all pervading so He is everywhere, even in every atom. This angered Hiranyakasipu infinitely and he asked wheather Vishnu is present in this pillar. Prahlad again answered confidently that Lord Vishnu is present in the pillar as well. Then Hiranyakasipu hit the pillar to prove it wrong. But Prahlad was right. From the pillar Narasimha dev emerged with great sound. Everyone were awe-struck to see this wonderful form of Lord Vishnu. Narasimhadev’s form was tailor-made to kill Hiranyakasipu. Soon Narasimhadev killed Hiranyakashipu and established that He is all-pervading Lord and the Supreme object of worship.
Thus Narasimhadev took this extra-ordinary form to protect his devotee Prahlad and kill the demon king Hiranyakasipu. Lord Narasimhadev appeared to substantiate the words of His devotee Prahlad. This appearance of Lord is celebrated as Narasimha jayanti festival by Vaishnavas, the devotees of Lord.