Chapter 5: Prahlâda Mahârâja, the Saintly Son of Hiranyakas'ipu
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    Welcome, Guest · RSS 2018-11-17, 1:32 AM

    Chapter 5: Prahlâda Mahârâja, the Saintly Son of Hiranyakas'ipu

    (1) S'rî Nârada said: 'The powerful sage S'ukrâcârya ['the teacher of purity'], who by the Asuras was chosen to serve as their priest, had two sons named Shanda and Amarka who lived near the residence of the daitya king. (2) The king sent the boy Prahlâda, who was skilled in reasoning, to them in order to be instructed in different subjects of knowledge, together with other asura children. (3) Hearing and repeating what the teachers all said there he considered it a bad way of thinking because it was based upon the notion of foes and allies. (4) One day the asura ruler placed his son on his lap, oh son of Pându, and asked: 'Now tell me my son, what do you think yourself would be the best?'

    (5) S'rî Prahlâda ['the joy of understanding'] said: 'Fine oh King of the Asuras, I think that every embodied soul always has a mind full of worries because he thus is imprisoned in the material world. When one wants to get rid of that covering of the soul, that worldly concern which is nothing but a blind well, one better heads for the forest and seeks refuge with the Lord.' 

    (6) S'rî Nârada said: 'When the Daitya heard how his son in full possession of his faculties with these words sided with the enemy, he laughed about the intelligence of the small boy and assumed he was misinformed: (7) 'This boy will be better off in school where his mind is free from the influence of brahmins in favor of Vishnu who [possibly] dress up differently.'

    (8) Taken back to school, the daitya priests called for Prahlâda and questioned him, while comforting him with a soft voice and pleasant words. (9) 'Dear child, Prahlâda, we wish you all the best, tell us the truth and do not lie. What has given you this wrong way of thinking we do not find with the other children? (10) Tell us, did this opposing vision originate from evildoers or was it something of yourself? We, your teachers are eager to hear about this, oh best one of the family.'

    (11) S'rî Prahlâda said: 'This reasoning about others in terms of foes and allies is something that belongs to people adhering to a material conception of life. Such people, reasoning from what they can see, are bewildered about the external affair that is created by Him, the Supreme Lord whom I prove my respect [see also B.G. 5: 18]. (12) When a person is devoted to Him, the animal notion of this time bound way of discriminating between the 'I' of someone else and the 'I' of himself is destroyed. (13) For those whose intelligence and service was spoiled by this notion of friends and foes, it is most difficult to be of devotional service to Him, the Supersoul. Even others who are spiritual and follow the Vedic path, are confounded about how to serve Him who has transformed my intelligence. (14) Oh brahmins, just like iron all by itself moves in the direction of a magnet, my consciousness spontaneously separated itself from [that of the other boys] because of the cakra in His hand [the natural order of Time, see e.g. 5.14: 29].'

    (15) S'rî Nârada said: 'After saying all this to the brahmins the great mind fell silent and was harshly chastised by the servants of the king who, considering it obnoxious, were very angry: (16) 'Oh get me a stick for him, this cinder of the dynasty who with his corrupted intelligence is discrediting us. This calls for the solution of the fourth diplomatic option of the danda [the rod, after sâma, pacification; dâna, legally settled charity; and bheda, dividing posts]. (17) In the sandalwood forest of the Daityas this boy was born as a thorn tree that serves as a handle to the ax of Vishnu for cutting us by the roots!'

    (18) Thus in different ways threatening him with punishments and such, they taught Prahlâda what the scriptures said about the [first] three goals of life [the purusârthas of dharma, artha and kâma]. (19) After his teachers were convinced that he knew all there was to  be known about the four principles of diplomacy he, being bathed and nicely decorated by his mother, was taken to the daitya ruler. (20) The boy fallen at his feet was encouraged with blessings by the Asura who derived great joy from closing him for a long time in his two arms. (21) Putting him on his lap he smelled his head and wetted him with the water of his tears. Then he with a smile on his face said the following oh Yudhishthhira.

    (22) Hiranyakas'ipu said. 'Now tell me Prahlâda, my son, what you, well taught as you are oh love of my life, consider the best of all that you all this time have learned from your teachers.'

    (23-24) S'rî Prahlâda said: 'To listen, to sing, to remember Vishnu, to attend to the feet, to offer worship and prayers, to become a servant, to be a friend and to surrender one's heart and soul. These are the nine characteristics of the devotional service to Vishnu delivered by the devotee. This is the way one should relate to the Supreme Personality. That I consider the best that one can learn.'

    (25) When Hiranyakas'ipu heard his son say this he, with lips trembling of anger, told the son of the guru [who was Prahlâda's teacher] the following: (26) 'You fake brahmin! You fool! What is this? Are you siding with the enemy now, so mischievously teaching this nonsense without properly taking care of my boy? (27) This just demonstrates how many cheaters there are in this world falsely dressing up as friends. But in due course of time one can see how sin manifests itself, just like a disease does with people with a wrong lifestyle.'

    (28) The son of the guru said: 'This what your son says is not what we taught him, nor has anyone else taught him that oh enemy of Indra. This is his natural inclination oh King. Do not be angry with us, do not put the blame on us.'

    (29) S'rî Nârada said: 'After thus being answered by the teacher the Asura addressed his son for the second time: 'If you have not heard it from the mouth of your teacher, you wretch, then from where came this bad notion?'

    (30) S'rî Prahlâda said: 'Persons swearing by a worldly existence develop a life that leads to hell, because they fail in their sense control and repeatedly chew the chewed. They are never inclined toward Krishna [see B.G. 4: 4-5] because of what others tell them, out of their own understanding or by a combination of the two [see also B.G. 2: 44]. (31) They who think to gain by the external world have in their difficult ambitions really no sense of life's purpose, Lord Vishnu. Even though they follow a lead they, just like blind men led by the blind obeying the dictates of material nature, are bound to the ropes of her strong power [of mâyâ]. (32) To vanquish the unwanted, - which is the purpose of all the great ones [the gurus and devotees] - is out of the reach of these people for as long as their consciousness is not in touch with the Feet of Renown, for as long as they do not accept the consecration by the rule [or dust] of the feet of those living [voluntarily] in poverty who are free from this bondage.'

    (33) Thus having spoken the son stopped. Hiranyakas'ipu blind with anger out of his mind, threw him from his lap on the floor. (34) Overpowered by indignation he furiously with bloodshot eyes said: 'Men, oh sons of Nirriti [a demon], put an end to his life immediately, lead this boy away to be killed! (35) This one here is the murderer of my brother, for he, this lowest one giving up his own well-wishers, is as a servant at the feet of Vishnu, of worship for Him who has killed his own uncle! (36) And to Vishnu he is no good either with his five years of age and his faithless forsaking of the difficult to deny love of his parents. (37) A child even being born from others constitutes a blessing as beneficial as a medicinal herb, but a son born from oneself who is of evil intentions should be cut off like a diseased limb. Because of being deleterious to the well-being of the body its removal can still make a happy life possible. (38) By all means he must be killed who eating, lying down and sitting with us posed as a friend, but is as good an enemy to us as uncontrolled senses are to a sage.'

    (39-40) The sons of Nirriti obeying the command of their leader then with their frightening teeth and faces, their red hairs, mustaches and the sharp tridents in their hands fearfully roared: 'Yeah, let us cut him to pieces!' and with their lances attacked the tender parts of Prahlâda who sat there silently. (41) But the same way as laudable actions have no effect when they are performed the wrong way, their attack had no effect upon him whose mind was absorbed in the Supreme Absolute of the Fortunate One, the Soul of Each who cannot be perceived by the senses. (42) Oh Yudhishthhira, the daitya ruler alarmed upon seeing how the attempts failed, devised with determination a variety of ways to kill him. (43-44) He tried to crush him with an elephant, attack him with huge snakes, cast spells of doom, throw him from heights, to conjure tricks, imprison him, administer poison and subject him to starvation, cold, wind, fire and water and pile rocks upon him, but by none of these means the demon succeeded in putting his son, the sinless one, to death. With his prolonged efforts having no success he got very nervous.

    (45) [He thought:] 'With all these unholy expressions and diverse methods devised to kill him, with all these treacheries and abominations he found relief by his own strength! (46) Despite of being a child he is in control of matters and afraid of nothing. So close to me he, just like a mistreated dog, will always keep his tail curved, he will never forget my misconduct. (47) His unlimited faith, his [apparent] immortality and his lack of fear for any of these hostilities, will definitely sooner or later be the cause of my death.'

    (48) Thus ruminating with his face downward he lost a great deal of his splendor. Shanda and Amarka, the two sons of Us'anâ [S'ukrâcârya], then spoke to him in private. (49) 'All the leaders of the three worlds who are dominated by you alone, tremble when you lift your eyebrows. You have nothing to fear from him oh master. We do not understand why you should worry about the qualities and faults of this or that child. (50) Just keep him bound by the ropes of Varuna until our guru S'ukrâ returns, so that he does not flee out of fear. Assisted by people with more experience [like us] he will develop the intelligence when he gets older.'

    (51) This way being advised he took heed of what the sons of the spiritual master had told him and so it happened that Prahlâda was instructed in the duties of the members of a royal household. (52) Fulfilling religious duties, managing the economy and the regulation of desires was repeatedly in full explained to Prahlâda who was humble and submissive oh King [compare B.G. 14: 20 & 26]. (53) [But again] what the teachers related to him about the three paths, this education he received from these people taking pleasure in the duality [of friends and foes], he did not consider good instruction at all [compare 6.3: 20-25]. (54) When the teachers were busy with their own household duties the boys of his age there took the opportunity to take him aside. (55) He then smilingly addressed them, in pleasing words telling them with great intelligence and learning how merciful it is to live a better life with God. (56-57) Oh great king, all the boys giving up their playthings out of respect for his words, then sat around him with their minds no longer corrupted by the instructions and actions of those [teachers] who took pleasure in the duality. To them who were freed the moment they fixed their hearts and eyes on him, he spoke compassionately as a real friend and a great example of an Asura in devotion.'