About the Book
“The Splendor of Sri Nava Narasimha of Ahobila Kshetram,” presents a brief overview of the various divinities in this holy place. It is believed that Lord Narasimha Swamy, the fourth incarnation of Sri Maha Vishnu, emerged from a pillar (to prove his premier devotee’s words) here to destroy the demon, Hiranyakasipa, and rescue His devotee, Sri Prahlada. Ahobila Kshetram is one of the two (the other being the famous Srinivasa of Tirumala-Tirupati) Divya Tirupaties (of the 108 in the universe) in the State of Andhra Pradesh. Both are located on the same mountainous range, namely, Nallamalai Hills or Sri Parvatha. The famous Ahobila Mutt was originated in Ahobilam. Sri. Satakopa Yati, was the first Jeear and founder of the Ahobila Mutt some six hundred years ago. The Jeear of Ahobilam is the spiritual head of countless Hindus of Srivaishnava faith.
Ahobila Kshetram is a group of temples located on the beautiful Ahobilam Hills (also known as Garudachala and Vedachala), the presiding Deity being Ahobila Narasimha Swamy or Prahladavarada Narasimha Swamy. Ahobilam is unique in that all the nine Narasimha forms are worshipped at one location. Hence is called the Nava (9) Narasimha Kshetram.
Lord Ahobila Narasimha Swamy has been worshipped and praised by countless devotees down the ages. Lord Brahma, Garuda, Bhargava Rama (or Parasurama), Sri Rama, Sri Venkateswara all are believed to have worshipped Lord Narasimha of Ahobilam. Chief among the Alwars and Acharyas who visited and worshipped this holy place are Sri Adi Sankara, Sri Tirumangai Alwar, Sri Ramanuja, Sri Manavalamamuni, Sri Nigamantha Desika, Sri. Chaitanya Prabhu, and St. Tallapaka Annamacharya, to name a few. Many famous kings including Kakatiya King Prataparudra, Vijayanagara King Sri Krishnadevaraya, Kalinga King Mukunda- deva, Gajapathy Rahas of Orissa, and the Rajas of Gadwal Samsthanam visited Ahobilam and worshipped the Nava Narasimhas numerous times.
About the Author
Dr. Ranga Komanduri is Professor and Most Chair in Intelligent Manufacturing in the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, U.S.A. He is married to Srilakshmi and has two children, Sangeetha Padmavathi and Mukund Ranganath. His main research interests are in the areas of advanced manufacturing processes and materials in which fields he published extensively (some 135 papers in international journals and 21 U.S. Patents). His many awards include the F. W. Taylor Medal of CIRP, ASME Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award, and Pi Tau Sigma’s Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award of ASME, Fellow of ASME, Fellow of SME, and Member of ClRP. Of late, he developed a keen interest in the ancient temples of South India, in general, and the 108 Divya Tirupeties, in particular. He was fortunate to have visited some 75 or so, Divya Tirupaties (all of them in the S. India) and the opportunity to pray at the lotus feet of the Lord. His informative publications in this area which will soon be published are the Splendor of Sree Padmanabha Swamy of Thiruvananthapuram (co-author with Her Highness Aswathy Tirunal Gouri Lakshmi Bayi), the Splendor of Sri Bala Krishnam of Tirumala- Tirupati, and the Splendor of Sri Jegannath of Puri.
The Ahobila Kshetram of Sri Nava Narasimha is one of the two Divya Tirupaties in the State of Andhra Pradesh. It may be noted that there are 108 Divya Tirupaties in the universe dedicated to Lord Sriman Narayana and glorified by the Alwar Saints. Incidentally, the two Divya Tirupaties in Andhra Pradesh are located on the same mountainous range, namely, Nallamalai Hills. The famous Ahobila Mutt was originated in Ahobilam some 600 years ago. The Jeear of the Ahobila Mutt is the spiritual head of countless Hindus of Srivaishnava faith.
Ahobila Kshetram is a group of temples located on the beautiful Ahobilam Hills (also known as Garudachala and Vedachala), the presiding Deity of which is Sri Ahobila Narasimha Swamy or Sri Prahladavarada Narasimha Swamy. It is located in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh and is about 210 miles from Hyderabad, the state capital of Andhra Pradesh. Ahobilam is unique in that all the nine Narasimha forms are worshipped at one location, namely, on the Ahobilam Hills. Hence, it is called Sri Nava (9) Narasimha Kshetramm. Lord Narasimha is also the Presiding Deity (Ela Velpu) of countless households in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala as well as in major cities of India. Hence, He has considerable following in the South India as well as in many major cities of India.
The upper Ahobilam temple is about 2800 ft above sea level and is located in a beautiful valley between two hills, Garudadri and Vedadri, near the sacred river Papanasini. These two hills are conceptualized as the separation of the pillar from where the ferocious Lord Narasimha Swamy emerged to destroy the demon, Hiranyakasipa. There are three caverns in the Southern side, the central one is the main one containing Ugra Narasimha or Ahobila Narasimha depicted as though ripping open the abdomen of Hiranyakasipa. On the Eastern side, at a distance of about half a mile, there is a shrine dedicated to Sri Kroda (or Sri Varaha) Narasimha. About half a mile from there, on a steep incline there is a shrine dedicated to Lord Prahlada Narasimha. Inside the cave, the lord is depicted in a “soumye” or graceful form, Malola (or Ramalola) Narasimha with Lakshmi on His lap. The Utsava Murthy is believed to have appeared in the dream of Sri Satagopa Yati, the first Jeear and founder of the Ahobila Mutt some six hundred years ago and since then this idol has been in the custody of the Jeear’s of Ahobila Mutt who carry it with them to various places they travel and worships It regularly. Also, Prataparudra of Kakatiya dynasty presented to this Jeear Swami, a golden idol (Swarna Narasimha) of Lord Narasimha which is also in the custody of the Jeears and receiving similar daily worship. Close by, there is a shrine dedicated to Yogananda Narasimha, where Lord Narasimha is in Yogasana pose. Close to this Deity is a stone slab called Prahlada Banda where Prahlada is said to have sat for his Yoga lessons from Lord Yogananda Narasimha Himself. Higher up, about 2 miles from there is the Ukku Stambha (steel pillar) where Lord Ugra Narasimha has emerged to destroy the evil demon, Hiranyakasipa. A mire and a haft from there is the Jwala Narasimhashrine. This place is said to be the actual spot where the fierce anger of the Lord reached its culmination when He tore open Hiranyakasipa. The Lord with ten hands is seated on the Garuda Peetam. Prahlada is in Anjali Hasta pose to the right of the Lord. A shrine to the right shows Lord Narasimha chasing the Chenchu maiden, namely, Goddess Chenchu Lakshmi, who is carrying a sword and a shied. To the left is seen the shrine of Lord Narasimha emerging from the pillar ready to kill the demon, Hiranyakasipa. These three shrines comprise the main sanctum in the Jwala Narasimha Swamy Temple.
Lord Sri Ahobila Narasimha Swamy has been worshipped and praised by countless devotees [numerous Gods, celestials, Rishies (sages), Alwars, Acharyas, Kings, and all the way down to the common people-at-large down the ages. Lord Brahma, Garuda, Bhargava Rama (or Parasurama), Sri Rama, Sri Venkateswara all are believed to have worshipped Lord Narasimha of Ahobilam. Lord Sri Rama, when he was passing through this forest towards Sri Lanka, prayed and glorified Lord Narasimha with Panchamrita Stothra. Lord Venkateswara prior to His wedding with Sri Padmavathi, was believed to have worshipped Lord Narasimha first. Chief among the Alwars and Acharyas who visited this holy place and worshipped the presiding deity, Lord Narasimha, are Sri Adi Sankara, Sri Tirumangai Alwar, Sri Ramanuja, Sri Manavala- mamuni, Sri Nigamantha Desika, Sri. Chaitanya Prabhu, and St. allapaka Annamacharya, to name a few. Many famous kings including Kakatiya King Prataparudra, Vijayanagara King Sri Krishnadevaraya, Kalinga King Mukundade va, Gajapathies of Orissa, the Rajas of Gadwal Samsthanam visited Ahobilam and worshipped Sri Nava Narasimhas numerous times.
The author of this book is fortunate to have visited and worshipped the divinity is nearly 75 Divya Tirupaties in India. Even though, Ahobilam is not far from his hometown, Hyderabad, he had the blessing of the Lord only recently. The hoary antiquity of the temple, the pristine glory of its divinity, and the peaceful surroundings of the Sri Parvatha immediately focused the attention of the author to prepare a small informative booklet on the Glory of Sri Nava Narasimha of Ahobila Kshetramm. Within a few months and countless hours of preparation, the manuscript of the booklet was ready. In a visit to India in early 1998, the author was pleasantly surprised to know that a grand celebration was underway to mark the 600th Anniversary of the Ahobila Mutt under the divine leadership of the H. H. the 45th Jeear of the Ahobila Mutt, Srivan Satagopa Sri Narayana Yateendra Mahadesika Jeear Swami. This includes some renovation of the Nava Narasimha shrines on the Ahobila Hills and worship of the divinity, apart from other important activities, such as Vidvat Sadas, Veda Parayana, and lectures and seminars by scholars. With the anxiety to participate in this auspicious celebration in a small way, the author sought the blessings of the Jeear Swamy. A copy of the manuscript was sent for his consideration and kept at his lotus feet for his blessings. Sri Jeear Swami was gracious to respond in a short time with a Srimukham and his blessings. Even though the author could not be present physically at this grand occasion, his soul was present to receive the grace of Sri Nava Narasimha of Ahobila Kshetram and that of the Jeear Swamy. Subsequently in the late 1998, the author visited Sri Jeear Swamy to seek his blessings.
Srimukham from H. H. the 45th Jeear Swamy of the Ahobila Mutt
A Challenge for the Millennium! !!
Sri Nava Narasimha of Ahobilam
Sri Prahladavarada of the Lower Ahobilam
Worship of the Deity
The Jeears and the Ahobila Mutt
The Sixth Centennial Celebrations of the Ahoila Mutt
Appendix A: Srivaishnava 108 Divya Thirupaties
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