Narayana Kavach- Lord Vishnu’s Protection
May Hari, who is the sacred syllable AUM, give me protection on all sides and in every respect –he whose lotus feet rest upon the back of the golden king of birds, the immortal Garuda; who is the source of the eight great siddhis, anima, mahima and the others; who has eight arms and a different cosmic weapon in every hand of those arms: the conch, disk, shield, sword, mace, arrows, bow and a noose.
May Hari the Matysa guard me from the sharks and whales and crocodiles in water, and from Varuna’s paasa. May Vishnu, the Kuurma, save me from all the narakas. May Vamana protect me on land, and the Trivikrama of the three strides that He became watch over me in the sky.
May Narasimha, the Manticore at who awesome laughter the cardinal points shook and the asuris aborted the embryos in their wombs, protect me in dangerous forests, fields of battle and suchlike. May the Varaha Murti protect me whenever I travel, and the Lord Parasurama upon mountain peaks.
May the matchless Rama and his brother Lakshmana protect me when I journey in foreign lands. May Narayana himself shield me from black magic and save me from committing any rashness or foolishness. May the Lord Nara save me from hubris, Datta, lord of the yagna, from the chasms along the highway of yoga; may Kapila, who controls sattva, rajas and tamas, save me from the bondage of karma.
May Sanatkumara save me from Kama Deva; may the Lord Hayagriva keep me on the path of religion, making sure I worship the Gods every day; may great Narada Muni save me from the thirty-three sins whilst worshipping the Paramatman. May the Lord Dhanvantari ensure that the food I eat is clean and pure.
May the Lord Rishabha, who has conquered his mind, help me transcend the pleasure and pain, happiness and sorrow; may Yagna protect me from the world’s censure; Balabhadra from violence and being murdered: from Yama Deva; may the Lord Anantasesha guard me against the venomous krodhavasas.
May Vyasa Dwaipayana enlighten me, remove my ignorance; the Lord Buddha save me from heretics and the neglect of my dharma. May awesome Kalki, who has come to redeem the earth in the evil kali yuga, save me from its ubiquitous vileness.
May Keshava protect me with his mace during the first sixth part of the day; Krishna during the next muhurta; Narayana in the forenoon; Vishnu at noon; Madhusudana in the afternoon; Madhava, who is Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, in the evening; Hrishikesha during night’s first yaama; Padmanabha during night’s second yaama and at midnight; he that bears the Srivatsa upon his breast during the next yaama of the night; and the Lord Janardhana during the dawn, the fifth yaama of night.
May Mahavishnu, who manifests himself as Kaala, Time, watch over me during the three sandhyas. The Lord Vishnu casts the Sudarshana, which is time’s very wheel, the disk whose edge is made from the fires of the apocalypse. I pray the Sudarshana Chakra immolates my enemies, makes ashes of them as a common fire fanned by a good wind does a pile of dry grass. The Kaumodaki is as dear to me as its Lord. Peerless Mace, the sparks that fly from you, when your master discharges you, are, each one, like Indra’s vajra: to make ashes of all my enemies. O Panchajanya, when Krishna sets you to his perfect lips and blows his enemies’ hearts are convulsed with terror. As the Kaumodaki puts the evil spirits Kusumanda, Vinayaka, and yakshas, rakshasas and grahas that torment children to flight, your clear notes make yatudhanas, pramathas, bhutas, matrikas –the female vampires that come posing as sweet mothers –pisachas and brahmarakshasas flee in dread.
O glittering Nandaka, sharper than every other blade, which shreds any that dare stand before Narayana, and the shield of the Lord, brilliant as a thousand moons, which blinds his enemies’ hosts not for a time, but for ever! You, great spirits, I worship. All the planets and comets, the Ketus, men, reptiles, carnivores, goblins, my own sins that fetched fear to my heart: may all these that prevented my wellbeing be as ashes by the spirit fires of the incomparable astra that is the Lord’s mantra and his subtle form.
May Garuda, who is the Veda embodied, who is extolled in the Brihad, the Rathantara and the Sama hymns and Viwaksena protect us from every peril, because we utter their most sacred names in bhakti, and chant their mantras. May all the names, forms, craft and the thousand arms of Hari watch over us. May his matchless servitors protect and illumine our intellects, our indriyas, our minds and our prana. The glorious Lord is all thing, gross and spiritual, sukshma and sthula.
By realising this truth, and its force, may our sorrows and troubles end. To those that have fathomed their own identity with the Lord, he is always with them. For the rest, by his own maya, he wields power by ornaments, weapons and insignia. He is omnipresent: may he save us from every danger.
May Narasimha, who dispels fear with his roar, who eclipses the brilliance of the suns by the light of his body, watch over us in the ten directions, their corners, in the sky and in patala, upon the earth, from within and from without.
‘O Indra,’ said Viswarupa Muni, ‘this is the Narayana kavacha. Put it on and you will conquer the legions of darkness. Anyone who is touched, even fleetingly, by he that wears this subtle armour is immediately freed from fear. Why, the very sight of a wearer of the Narayana kavacha can liberate a man from terror and he then never feels the slightest twinge of the dark emotion from kings, brigands, evil planets, demons and spirits, or the most savage beasts,’
Suka said to the Pandava king parikshita.
Excerpt from The Bhagavata Purana