Spirtual Awareness

Prahlad

An ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu

Posted On: July 09, 2014

Bhakt Prahlad was a small ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Though his father Hiranyakashipu was an atheist, Prahlad was greatly devoted to Lord Vishnu. His love for God made him fearless that he could happily face the atrocities inflicted upon him by his father due to his firm belief in God.

History – Birth of Hiranyakashipu

Jai and Vijay were the two gatekeepers at Vaikunth, the abode of Lord Vishnu. When the four manas putra of Brahma ji {Sanak, Sanandan, Sanak Kumar and Sanakadi} came to meet Lord Vishnu, they were not allowed to enter the gate. Therefore, the four manas putras cursed Jai and Vijay for being egoistic. The curse was that they had to take birth on the earth plane and in three lives they would keep enemity with Lord Vishnu and when the curse was over they would return back to the Lord. Thus in Satyug, Jai and Vijay become Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksh, the demon brothers who considered Lord Vishnu as their enemy. When Hiranyaksh was killed by Lord Vishnu in His Varahavtar, Hiranyakashipu became furious and wanted to take revenge for his brother’s death.

 

Hiranyakashipu’s tapasya –

Hiranyakashipu wished, “I want to be ever young, unconquerable and the ruler of the whole world, so that nobody can stand in front of me.” Therefore, he went to the mountains of Mandarachal and conducted severe penance (tapasya) for thousands of years. Lord Brahma was very pleased with his tapasya. One day, he appeared in front of Hiranyakashipu and asked him to make a wish. Hiranyakashipu said, “Oh Lord! Grant me a wish that I may not die by any animal or human, deity or demon, neither inside nor outside, neither daytime nor nighttime, neither by any organism made by God nor by any weapon, not on earth or in the sky. During a war, no one should be able to stay in front of me. I want to become the ruler of the whole world. I want to attain the name and fame of God.” Lord Brahma granted him his wish.

 

Birth of Bhakt Prahlad –

While the powerful demon Hiranyakashipu had gone for tapasya, the opportunistic devtas and Indra dev decided to fight the demons. The demons lost their confidence when they saw the heavy preparation of devtas to fight them. Indra devta abducted Kayadhu, wife of Hiranyakashipu. She was pregnant at that time. On the way, Narad muni saw fearful Kayadhu and asked Indra devta to leave her. Indra devta said that he would first kill Hiranyakashipu’s progeny after its birth and then leave Kayadhu. Narad Muni said to Indra devta that he did not possess the powers to kill this child ‘a loving devotee of Lord Vishnu’, whom she was carrying in her womb. Indra devta surrendered Kayadhu to Narad Muni. Narad muni took her to his ashram. She stayed there till the time her husband Hiranyakashipu returned. Kayadhu served Narad muni with great devotion. Narad muni gave the Bhagwat dharm and the spiritual knowledge to Kayadhu and the unborn baby in her womb. The baby in the womb received all the gyan told by Narad Muni. Kayadhu had the powers to give birth to the baby at her own will. Therefore, Prahlad stayed in his mother’s womb for a long time and was given birth at the time when Hiranyakashipu returned from Mandarachal Parwat.

 

Prahlad’s Love for God –

Unlike other kids, the little boy Prahlad used to be engrossed in the thoughts of God so much so that he even forgot to play. His attraction towards God was such that he had no consciousness of the worldly affairs. He always used to feel that the Lord is carrying him in his lap. Sometimes he used to cry out loud out of the feeling that God has left him, sometimes he used to laugh loudly feeling that God is next to him. At times he used to sing loudly, dance in joy and sometimes he used to sit in complete silence. At times tears would roll down his eyes when he felt the love for God and bliss within. Whoever used to sit in his company used to feel peace.

Prahlad at Gurukul –

As Prahlad grew up, he was sent to Gurukul to learn about politics and finance under the guidance of two teachers – Shand and Amark. Though Prahlad used to memorize and recite as it is the teachings taught by his Guru, he never liked these subjects taught at the Gurukul. One day Hiranyakashipu called his son Prahlad and asked him to recite the lesson he liked the most at Gurukul. Prahlad ji said, “People of the world are suffering due to the feeling of me and mine. Such thoughts are animal instincts. Everyone should take refuge in the holy feet of Lord Shri Hari. Only by His grace can such animalistic mind be destroyed.”

Upon hearing the praise of his enemy Shri Hari, Hiranyakashipu became furious and asked the teachers to take him back to Gurukul and give him proper education on the topics of Arth (money), dharma (one’s duty) and kama (worldly desires). After sometime, Prahlad was called again by his father to see what new lessons he had learnt at Gurukul.
Prahlad said,

“It is easy to please God but it is very difficult to please the world. So, we should put all our efforts to please God rather than to please the world.

There are 9 ways of Lord Vishnu’s bhakti. They are:-

1.  Listening to the qualities and leelas of the Lord,

2.  Singing praises of the Lord,

3.  Remembering the name and form of God,

4.  Serving the lotus feet of the Lord,

5.  Offering prayers (pooja-archa),

6.  Respecting, praying to God (vandana),

7.  Being God’s servant (dasya),

8.  Friendly relation with God (sakhya),

9.  Self surrender (Aatmnivedan).”

Atrocities on Prahlad –

When Hiranyakashipu heard the name of his enemy, he got furious and pushed away his son from his lap on the ground. His anger reached to such a height that he ordered the demons to kill the boy. Demons tried to hurt Prahlad with their sharp weapons but all their efforts went off in vain. There was not a single scratch on his body. Shri Hari protected his loving devotee.

Hiranyakashipu tried to kill his son by all means. Prahlad was exposed to a herd of wild elephants, poisonous snakes, thrown down from the mountain peak, locked up in a dark cell without food and water and was made to drink poison. He was then exposed to chilly winds, made to sit on fire, pushed in to the sea, left alone in the storm. Shri Hari being his protector, no harm could be inflicted on Prahlad. Hiranyakashipu became fearful and he discussed the matter with Guru Shand and Amark. They guided him that Prahlad should be taken to the Gurukul to relearn his lessons.

 

Prahlad’s teachings to the demon children-

One day when Guru ji was out for some work, the other children at Gurukul called Prahlad to play with them. All the demon kids liked Prahlad’s loving and friendly nature. Prahlad ji told them some very important points regarding the human life. Prahlad ji received all these teachings from Narad muni when he was in his mother’s womb. Prahlad ji said,

“1. For a soul it is rare to get a human body. Attaining human body is a golden opportunity through which one can reach God. In this short span of human life, the wise person does not rely upon middle or later years of life, for practicing the means to reach God. Childhood is the best time to do sadhna, for God realization as life is unpredictable, it may come to an end at any stage of life.

2. One should not waste his time, energy and years of his life in running after the pleasures of life because the joys and sorrows are bound to come as written in our destiny. The main aim of human life is to attain love for god. So, all the energy should be channelized towards achieving our aim of life.

3. The average span of human life is 100 years. The initial years of childhood up to the age of 20 years are spent in playing and enjoying life. The last 20 years during the end of life are spent in disease and old age and then there is no energy left to do anything. The remaining years are wasted in chasing unachievable desires and strong attachment towards our home and near and dear ones.

4. The one who is gripped by the fact that this is my family and I have to take care of it, he is actually wasting his precious years of his life and he is ignorant of the fact that his main aim of life is God realization. This is procrastination.

5. The knowledge which helps us to surrender unto God is the actual knowledge which is worthwhile.

6. Connection with the supreme is the no mind state or the thoughtless state. There may be many ways to achieve the no mind state. But the highest way is by developing unconditional love for God. Unconditional love for God blooms by,

  • Serving the Spiritual Master with love and devotion.
  • Surrender unto God whatever we receive.
  • Company of saints who are God loving.
  • Praying to the Almighty (aradhana)
  • Listening to the Lord’s leelas with faith and devotion.
  • Praising the Lord and chanting His holy name.
  • Meditating on his lotus feet.
  • Praying to Lord’s idol in the temple.

 

Lord Vishnu incarnation as Lord Narsingh for Prahlad’s rescue-

When Guruji returned they saw that all the kids along with Prahlad were dancing with joy. All the children were coloured with Lord Vishnu’s bhakti in the company of Bhakt Prahlad. As soon as Shand and Amark tried to stop Prahlad and touched him, they also started dancing with God’s love.

When Guru ji informed Hiranyakashipu about this episode, he became furious and decided to kill Prahlad himself. When Hiranyakashipu took hold of his devotee son, nothing happened to him. This was because of his inflated ego. He said, “You stupid kid! How dare you say that Shri Hari is the all-powerful. I am the ruler of the whole world. Ok! So you say that he is present everywhere. Do you see him in this pillar too? I will kill you and let me see how your Lord comes to save you.”

Hiranyakashipu took hold of his sword and jumped off his throne to kill Prahlad. As soon as Hiranyakashipu hit the pillar with his fist, an extremely loud sound was produced and there appeared Lord Vishnu in a strange fearful form with half body of lion and half body of human (God Narsingh). The angry Lord Vishnu took hold of Hiranyakashipu, carried him to the doorstep of the hall, laid him on his thighs and ripped off his body with his sharp nails. Brahma ji along with all the devtas sang the glory of God. But God Narsingh’s anger could not be calmed by any means. When the innocent little Prahlad joined his hands and praised God Narsingh, His anger dissolved. Lord Narsingh asked Prahlad to make a wish. He said, “My Lord, grant me the wish that from now on my heart should be devoid of all the desires, not even a single desire should develop in my heart.”

Lord Narsingh asked Prahlad to take over his father’s throne and rule the kingdom with the feeling that he was serving God.

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