From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
By Swami Harshananda
Girija-Narasimha literally means ‘Man-lion incarnation emerging out of a mountain cave’.
Nṛsimha or Narasimha is the fourth in the series of the ten incarnations of Viṣṇu generally known as ‘Daśāvatāras’. His head is that of a lion whereas the rest of the body is that of a human being.
As per the stories of the Bhāgavata and the Visnupurāna, he emerged out of a pillar in the court-hall of the demon-king Hiraṇyakaśipu. However in some iconographical works, he is described as having emerged out of cave in a hill like an infuriated lion in a flash of blinding light.
- In this form he is alone shown without Lakṣmī or Prahlāda.
- He may have two or four arms.
- The upper two hands are holding the usual emblems of Viṣṇu, the conch and the discus.
- The two lower hands are thrown forward to seize Hiraṇyakaśipu.
- The complexion of this form is described as white and the garments red.
- The crown on the head is of the karaṇḍa-makuta (honeycomb) type.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore