The Nine forms of Lord Narasimha (Nava Narasimha)
It is believed that Lord Narasimha protects his followers when they are in extreme danger. He also saved Adi Sankara from being sacrificed to the goddess Kali by a Kapalika. As a gesture of gratitude Adi Sankara composed the Laksmi -Narasimha stotra in praise to Lord Narasimha.
Lord Narsimha is recognized in the scriptures by a variety of forms. He is said to have more than 74 forms on the basis of his different postures or weapons. Out of this 9 forms are the most popular. The most popular out of the nine is his Lakshmi Narasimha form. The nine forms of Narasimha (Nava Narasimha) are
1. Ugra Narasimh
2. Krodha Narasimha
3. Malola Narasimha
4. Jwala Narasimha
5. Varaha Narasimha
6. Bhargava Narasimha
7. Karanja Narasimha
8. Yoga Narasimha
9. Lakshmi Narasimha
Narsimha images are generally classified into two broad types:- Girija and Sthunaja.The former expression suggests Narsimha rushing out of a mountains -cave ( giri) to protect his devotee, he is shown as a long figure, seated in easy or yogic posture, which is between Kevala narsimha and Sthunaja narsimha points out that the former is benign, , while in the latter terrific.In the former variety , the diety sits on a lotus -seat , with legs crossed or in the 'utkutikasana' posture.He is bedecked with all ornaments .He has only 4 hands , upper ones holdings discus ans conch , and normal hands streched over the knees .Or he may sit on lion -seat ( simhasana) with the left leg bent and placed across the seat .In this case , the right hand assumes the gestures of protection ( abhaya) and the left hand holds the hip or is placed on the thigh .
The sthuna variety of narsimha is usually in the act of killling demon and therefore in awe-inspiring aspect . the form is frightening for the wicked .His Mouth is wide and open and eyes are round , bloodshot and terrible, narsimha in this forms are many arms 8 or 16 being most usual.The demon is shown as held prostrate on the left thigh of narsimha , secured by two hands of god, another two hands of the god pulling out intestines from the demon's . belly holding them as garlands round his own neck.