An eight-legged creature of mythical repute, Sharabha is known to have cleared great valleys in a single jump. Stronger than an elephant and more powerful than a lion, He is an avatara (earthly incarnation of the divine) of the great Lord Veerabhadra. His form is a composite of man and beast and bird, as could be seen in this one-of-a-kind bronze made in South Indian Statue.
Lord Shrabha has a fierce, lion-like countenance. He has the torso of the human male flanked by two arms on each side, which makes Him a chaturbhujadhari (the one possessed of four arms). From His back sprouts a pair of powerful wings that bear Him across the three realms of existence (lokas). From His shoulders emerge a pair of legs, in addition to the four beneath Him. Below the navel He has the form of the quadruped beast. From the hindquarters emerges the final pairs of legs, the soles of whose feet are facing skywards. Within the grasp of the forelegs is none other than the now-subdued Lord Narasimha.
The scriptures of Shiva - of whom Veerabhadra is a form - narrate that Sharabha came into being in order to pacify the unflinchingly wrathful Narasimha. While numerous Puranas dispute the finality of this episode, there is no denying the importance of that which pacifies a deity as mercilessly ferocious as Narasimha. Note how the independent iconography of the chaturbhujadhari Narasimha is intact despite the odd stance of the figure in this composition.
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