1. Nrsimha-deva: blood everywhere

    From a BTG article By Yadurani Devi Dasi

    IN NEW YORK CITY, 1967, in Srila Prabhupada's Second Avenue apartment, he asked me to paint a picture of Lord Nrsimha-deva, the half-man, half-lion incarnation of Lord Krsna who appeared many millennia ago. In a print Prabhupada's disciple Hayagriva Dasa had brought from India, Lord Nrsimha-deva had about ten arms, and He was ripping apart the demon Hiranyakasipu in His lap, tearing out the demon's intestines. Prabhupada told me to paint only four arms, and he told me the story of Lord Nrsimha-deva. I was already somewhat familiar with the story because Prabhupada had been giving lectures on Lord Nrsimha-deva and Prahlada, the Lord's pure devotee, whom the Lord had come to protect. Prabhupada asked me to do a big painting of the killing scene. In fact, he posed for me to demonstrate the proper postures for the action. Imitating Lord Nrsimha-deva, Prabhupada stretched out his hands and then drew them back, spreading his fingers straight a little apart from one another, like delicate claws. I could almost see long lotus nails protruding from his hands. As Prabhupada drew back his hands in a mock menacing way, he glorified Nrsimha-deva: "Your lotus hands have lotus nails with which You rip apart the demon Hiranyakasipu." As Prabhupada was pulling his arms back, he opened his eyes wide and crossed them in an inimitable way. I could feel Nrsimha-deva manifesting through His pure devotee. Srila Prabhupada then dropped his arms, and his face at once gained its former composure. In order to remember his expression for the painting, I asked Prabhupada, "Could you do that again?" He did it again, exactly as before. Prabhupada then had Gargamuni (the temple treasure) and Brahmananda (the temple president) act out the death scene to show me the essence of the composition. Prabhupada was the director. He had one of them lie across the other's lap to mimic the way Hiranyakasipu was pulled into the Lord's lap and torn apart. I studied the scene and then set about to paint it. I painted the blood sparingly, applying only a little on the floor and on Hiranyakasipu's body. Prabhupada looked at the painting and told me, "Paint blood everywhere." He saw the look of surprise on my face and posed a hypothetical question: "If God is not ferocious, then from where does ferocity come?"