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Indian Mythology

Ashta Mukha Ganda Bherunda- The most special and unknown form of Lord Nrsimha

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ugram viram maha-vishnum
jvalantam sarvato mukham
nrisimham bhishanam bhadram
mrityur mrityum namamy aham


“I bow down to Lord Nrsimha who is ferocious and heroic like Lord Vishnu.
He is burning from every side. He is terrific, auspicious and
the death of death personified.”


“ॐ नमो भगवते अष्ट मुख गनड बेरुड़ा महोग्रोलको ज्वल ज्वाला सुदर्शन वाराह श्री लक्ष्मी न्रुसिम्हाया नमः “


“Om Namo Bhavathey Ashta Mukha Ganda berunda Mahogrolko Jwala Jwaala sudarshana vaaraha sree lakshmi nrsimhaya namaha”


We all know the great battle of Lord Nrsimha the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and great demon Hiranyakashyipu, the incarnation that appeared to save his devotee Prahalad, but there is more to the story, Lord Nrsimha took a very special form of Ganda Bherunda and Asta Mukha Ganda Bherunda.


After Nrsimha had slain demon Hiranyakashipu, through the taste of blood, Narasimha did not let go of his dreadful form. no one could control his anger, Brahma and other Demigods gods were afraid of his rage.


Brahma, accompanied by other Demigods gods, approached Siva and described the Narasimha Avatar. Siva took it lightly and said this is a tiny issue and he can sort it out with ease in no time; he instructed Ganesha to subdue Nrsimha; when Ganesha approached Nrsimha, Nrsimha severely warned and drove him away; Nandi, Kala Bhairava, Veerabhadra were sent to subdue Nrsimha, one after the other, after Ganesha failed in his attempts, Nandi, Kala Bhairava, Veerabhadra were severely attacked by Nrsimha.


Then Shiva had to take the form of Sharabeswara a part-lion and part-bird, a form with 5 heads, 16 arms, 8 legs, Kali and Durga as his wings and to cool Nrsimha. In the effort, Lord Shiva lost his cool and Lord Nrsimha had to take the form of Gandaberunda, having two heads, fearful rows of teeth, black in complexion and with wide blazing wings fought with Shiva-Sharabha for eighteen days and finally held it between his two beaks and killed Sharabha,

Nrsimha’s blazing fury reached peak, he took the form of Ashtamukha Gandabherunda Nrsimha – The 8 faces are: 1] Twin headed Ganda Bherunda facing East, 2] Adi Jvala Narasimha facing South East, 3] Maha Vyaghra facing South, 4] Hayagriva facing South West, 5] Adi Varaha facing West, 6] Aghora Vaanarendra facing North West, 7] Maha Garuda facing North and 8] Bhalluka facing North East.

Let us try to briefly look at each of the faces of Ashtamukha Ganda Bherunda Nrsimha


1] The twin-headed Ganda Bherunda – A powerful two-headed bird with, fearful rows of teeth, black in complexion and with wide blazing wings that killed the mighty Sharaba.

2] Adi Jwala Nrsimha – A lion-like face with powerful claws, He is known primarily as the ‘Great Protector’ who specifically defends and protects his devotees in times of need.


4] Hayagriva – Hayagriva is an avatar of Vishnu. He is worshiped as the God of knowledge and wisdom, with a human body and a horse’s head, brilliant white in color, with white garments and seated on a white lotus. Symbolically, the story represents the triumph of pure knowledge, guided by the hand of God, over the demonic forces of passion and darkness.

5] Adi Varaha –  Varaha is the avatar of Vishnu in the form of a boar. Varaha is listed as third in the Dashavatara, the ten principal avatars of Vishnu. When the demon
Hiranyaksha stole the earth (personified as the goddess Bhudevi) and hid her in the primordial waters, Vishnu appeared as Varaha to rescue her. Varaha slew the demon and retrieved the Earth from the ocean, lifting it on his tusks, and restored Bhudevi to her place in the universe.

 6] Aghora Vaanarendra – This is the monkey face of the Lord, some people refer this face to be of Hanuman. while interpreting I will also consider this face to be of Hanuman’s. Hanuman is Lord Shiva’s Rudra avatar and A ardent devotee of Lord Rama ( Incarnation of Vishnu), Hanuman is said to be the mightiest and most powerful warrior. Also, he is referred to as one of the immortals.


7] Maha Garuda– or the great Eagle, is the mount or vahana of the Lord Vishnu. Garuda is depicted as having the golden body of a strong man with a white face, red wings, and an eagle’s beak and with a crown on his head or it is also portrayed as a giant eagle. This ancient deity was said to be massive, large enough to block out the sun.


The 3rd face Maha Vyagra and the 8th face of Bhalluka (the bear face) are unidentifiable, as not much is mentioned about this special avatar of Ashta Mukha Ganda Nrsimha. this form of lord also has the 9th face according to some sources and this 9th Hidden ninth face of the Lord sometimes referred to as Badabanala Mukha, refers to Adi Narayana and is visible to a realized ardent devotee of the lord.


My interpretation.


This special form of the lord has all the combined power of all anthropomorphic incarnations of Lord Vishnu such as Varaha, Nrsimha, Ganda Bherunda, Nrsimha, and if considering the 9th hidden face then Narayana. along with incarnations that serve Lord Vishnu in some manner, ( His ardent devotees) such as Hanuman ( devotee of Rama) Garuda (The mount of Lord Vishnu), if I take the 8th face, that is the bear face to be Jambavan of Ramayana then he is also an ardent devotee of Lord Rama, and he is the mightiest and most learned bear. However, the third face of Vygra is unidentifiable at all. but considering all other forms the form of Ashta Mukha Ganda Bherunda Nrsimha is really special and posses every aspect of the universe, just like the universal form displayed in the battle of Kurukshetra to Arjuna. this special form of Nrsimha is really unexplored and also does not have many textual mentions.




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