Narsimha Jayanti

Narsimha Jayanti

April-May; 14th day of waxing half of Hindu month of Vaisakha
According to Hindu mythology, this is the day on which Vishnu appeared as the Narsimha, or Man-Lion, to free the world from the demon king, Hiranyakasipu. The king, who had forbidden the worship of anyone but himself, was very annoyed to discover that his own son, Prahlada, was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. He tortured Prahlada in an attempt to convert him, but the child remained unmoved in his devotion. Then the king tried to kill Prahlada by having him trampled by elephants and thrown off precipices, but again without success. Eventually Hiranyakasipu became so enraged that he rushed to kill Prahlada with his own sword, asking the child, "Where is your savior?" It was at this moment that Vishnu stepped from behind a nearby pillar in the form of Narsimha—half-lion, half-man—and tore the king to pieces.
On this day, Hindus fast, meditate, and pray for the spiritual fortitude of Prahlada. Sometimes they demonstrate the depth of their devotion by giving cows, grain, gold, robes, and other goods to the poor and the Brahmans as acts of charity.
SOURCES:
RelHolCal-2004, p. 169