At the performance of the Rajasuya sacrifice
by Maharaja Yudhisthira,
the celestial sage Narada Muni appeared to give spiritual
instructions to the Pandavas.
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Hiranyakashipu, King of the Demons
Sri Narada Muni said: My dear King Yudhisthira, when Lord
Vishnu appeared in the form of Varaha (the Boar incarnation),
and killed the demon Hiranyaksha, Hiranyaksha's brother Hiranyakashipu
was extremely angry and began to lament.
Filled with rage and biting his lips, Hiranyakashipu gazed
at the sky with eyes that blazed in anger, making the whole
sky smoky. Thus he began to speak. Exhibiting his terrible
teeth, fierce glance and frowning eyebrows, terrible to see,
he took up his weapon, a trident, and thus began speaking
to his associates, the assembled demons:
'O Danavas and Daityas! O Dvimurdha, Tryaksha, Shambara and
Tryaksha, Shambara and Shatabahu! O Hayagriva, Namuci, Paka
and Ilvala! O Vipracitti, Puloman, Shakuna and other demons!
All of you kindly hear me attentively and then act according
to my words without delay.
'My insignificant enemies the demigods have combined to kill
my very dear and obedient wellwisher, my brother Hiranyaksha.
Although the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, is always equal to both
of us-namely, the demigods and the demons-this time, being
devoutly worshiped by the demigods, He has taken their side
and helped them kill Hiranyaksha.
'The Supreme Personality of Godhead has given up His natural
tendency of equality toward the demons and demigods. Although
He is the Supreme Person, now, influenced by maya, He has
assumed the form of a Boar to please His devotees, the demigods,
just as a restless child leans toward someone. I shall therefore
sever Lord Vishnu's head from His trunk by my trident, and
with the profuse blood from His body I shall please my brother
Hiranyaksha, who was so fond of sucking blood. Thus shall
I too be peaceful.
'When the root of a tree is cut and the tree falls down,
its branches and twigs automatically dry up. Similarly, when
I have killed this diplomatic Vishnu, the demigods, for whom
Lord Vishnu is the life and soul, will lose the source of
their life and wither away.
'While I am engaged in the business of killing Lord Vishnu,
go down to the planet earth, which is flourishing due to brahminical
culture and a kshatriya government. These people engage in
austerity, sacrifice, Vedic study, regulative vows, and charity.
Destroy all the people thus engaged!
'The basic principle of brahminical culture is to satisfy
Lord Vishnu, the personification of sacrificial and ritualistic
ceremonies. Lord Vishnu is the personified reservoir of all
religious principles, and He is the shelter of all the demigods,
the great pitas (forefathers), and the people in general.
When the brahmanas are killed, no one will exist to encourage
the kshatriyas to perform yajnas, and thus the demigods, not
being appeased by yajna, will automatically die.
'Immediately go wherever there is good protection for the
cows and brahmanas, and wherever the Vedas are studied in
terms of the varna-ashrama principles. Set fire to those places
and cut from the roots the trees there, which are the source
of life.' Thus the demons, being fond of disastrous activities,
took Hiranyakashipu's instructions on their heads with great
respect and offered him obeisances. According to his directions,
they engaged in envious activities directed against all living
The demons set fire to the cities, villages, pasturing grounds,
cowpens, gardens, agricultural fields and natural forests.
They burned the hermitages of the saintly persons, the important
mines that produced valuable metals, the residential quarters
of the agriculturalists, the mountain villages, and the villages
of the cow protectors, the cowherd men. They also burned the
Some of the demons took digging instruments and broke down
the bridges, the protective walls and the gates [gopuras]
of the cities. Some took axes and began cutting the important
trees that produced mango, jackfruit and other sources of
food. Some of the demons took firebrands and set fire to the
residential quarters of the citizens.
Thus disturbed again and again by the unnatural occurrences
caused by the followers of Hiranyakashipu, all the people
had to cease the activities of Vedic culture. Not receiving
the results of yajna, the demigods also became disturbed.
They left their residential quarters in the heavenly planets
and, unobserved by the demons, began wandering on the planet
earth to see the disasters.
After performing the ritualistic observances for the death
of his brother, Hiranyakashipu, being extremely unhappy, tried
to pacify his nephews. O King, Hiranyakashipu was extremely
angry, but since he was a great politician, he knew how to
act according to the time and situation. With sweet words
he began pacifying his nephews, whose names were Shakuni,
Shambara, Dhrishti, Bhutasantapana, Vrika, Kalanabha, Mahanabha,
Harishmashru and Utkacha. He also consoled their mother, his
sister-in-law, Rushabhanu, as well as his own mother, Diti.
He spoke to them all as follows.
Hiranyakashipu said: 'My dear mother, sister-in-law and nephews,
you should not lament for the death of the great hero, for
a hero's death in front of his enemy is glorious and desirable.
'My dear mother, in a restaurant or place for drinking cold
water, many travelers are brought together, and after drinking
water they continue to their respective destinations. Similarly,
living entities join together in a family, and later, as a
result of their own actions, they are led apart to their destinations.
'The spirit soul, the living entity, has no death, for he
is eternal and inexhaustible. Being free from material contamination,
he can go anywhere in the material or spiritual worlds. He
is fully aware and completely different from the material
body, but because of being misled by misuse of his slight
independence, he is obliged to accept subtle and gross bodies
created by the material energy and thus be subjected to so-called
material happiness and distress. Therefore, no one should
lament for the passing of the spirit soul from the body.
'Because of the movements of the water, the trees on the
bank of a river, when reflected on the water, seem to move.
Similarly, when the eyes move because of some mental derangement,
the land appears to move also. In the same way, O my gentle
mother, when the movements of the modes of material nature
agitate the mind, the living entity, although freed from all
the different phases of the subtle and gross bodies, thinks
that he has changed from one condition to another.
'The living entity, accepting the body and mind to be the
self in his bewildered state, considers some people to be
his kinsmen and others to be outsiders. Because of this misconception,
he suffers. Indeed, the accumulation of such concocted material
ideas is the cause of so-called suffering and happiness in
the material world. The conditioned soul thus situated must
take birth in different species and work in various types
of consciousness, thus creating new bodies. This continued
material life is called samsara. Birth, death, lamentation,
foolishness and anxiety are due to such material considerations.
Thus we sometimes come to a proper understanding and sometimes
fall again to a wrong conception of life.
'In this regard, an example is given from an old history.
This involves a discourse between Yamaraja and the friends
of a dead person. Please hear it attentively. In the state
known as Ushinara there was a celebrated king named Suyajna.
When his enemies killed the King in battle, his kinsmen sat
down around the dead body and began to lament the death of
'His golden, bejeweled armor smashed, his ornaments and garlands
fallen from their places, his hair scattered and his eyes
lusterless, the slain King lay on the battlefield, his entire
body smeared with blood, his heart pierced by the arrows of
the enemy. When he died he had wanted to show his prowess,
and thus he had bitten his lips, and his teeth remained in
that position. His beautiful lotuslike face was now black
and covered with dust from the battlefield. His arms, with
his sword and other weapons, were cut and broken. When the
queens of the King of Ushinara saw their husband lying in
that position, they began crying, 'O lord, now that you have
been killed, we also have been killed.' Repeating these words
again and again, they fell down, pounding their breasts, at
the feet of the dead King.
'As the queens loudly cried, their tears glided down their
breasts, becoming reddened by kunkuma powder, and fell upon
the lotus feet of their husband. Their hair became disarrayed,
their ornaments fell, and the queens began lamenting their
husband's death in a way that evoked sympathy from the hearts
of others. 'O lord, you have now been removed by cruel Providence
to a state beyond our sight.
You had previously sustained the livelihood of the inhabitants
of Ushinara, and thus they were happy, but your condition
now is the cause of their unhappiness. O King, O hero, you
were a very grateful husband and the most sincere friend of
all of us. How shall we exist without you? O hero, wherever
you are going, please direct us there so that we may follow
in your footsteps and engage again in your service. Let us
go along with you!'
'The time was appropriate for the body to be burned, but
the queens, not allowing it to be taken away, continued lamenting
for the dead body, which they kept on their laps. In the meantime,
the sun completed its movements for setting in the west. While
the queens were lamenting for the dead body of the King, their
loud cries were heard even from the abode of Yamaraja. Assuming
the body of a boy, Yamaraja personally approached the relatives
of the dead body and advised them as follows.
'Shri Yamaraja said: 'Alas, how amazing it is! These persons,
who are older than me, have full experience that hundreds
and thousands of living entities have taken birth and died.
Thus they should understand that they also are apt to die,
yet still they are bewildered. The conditioned soul comes
from an unknown place and returns after death to that same
unknown place. There is no exception to this rule, which is
conducted by material nature. Knowing this, why do they uselessly
lament? 'It is wonderful that these elderly women do not have
a higher sense of life than we do. Indeed, we are most fortunate,
for although we are children and have been left to struggle
in material life, unprotected by father and mother, and although
we are very weak, we have not been vanquished or eaten by
ferocious animals. Thus we have a firm belief that the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, who has given us protection even in
the womb of the mother, will protect us everywhere.' 'The
boy addressed the women: 'O weak women! Only by the will of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is never diminished,
is the entire world created, maintained and again annihilated.
This is the verdict of the Vedic knowledge. This material
creation, consisting of the moving and nonmoving, is exactly
like His plaything. Being the Supreme Lord, He is completely
competent to destroy and protect.
'Sometimes one loses his money on a public street, where
everyone can see it, and yet his money is protected by destiny
and not seen by others. Thus the man who lost it gets it back.
On the other hand, if the Lord does not give protection, even
money maintained very securely at home is lost. If the Supreme
Lord gives one protection, even though one has no protector
and is in the jungle, one remains alive, whereas a person
well protected at home by relatives and others sometimes dies,
no one being able to protect him.
'Every conditioned soul receives a different type of body
according to his work, and when the engagement is finished
the body is finished. Although the spirit soul is situated
in subtle and gross material bodies in different forms of
life, they do not bind him, for he is always understood to
be completely different from the manifested body.
'Just as a householder, although different from the identity
of his house, thinks his house to be identical with him, so
the conditioned soul, due to ignorance, accepts the body to
be himself, although the body is actually different from the
soul. This body is obtained through a combination of portions
of earth, water and fire, and when the earth, water and fire
are transformed in the course of time, the body is vanquished.
The soul has nothing to do with this creation and dissolution
of the body.
'As fire, although situated in wood, is perceived to be different
from the wood, as air, although situated within the mouth
and nostrils, is perceived to be separate from them, and as
the sky, although all-pervading, never mixes with anything,
so the living entity, although now encaged within the material
body, of which it is the source, is separate from it.'
'Yamaraja continued: 'O lamenters, you are all fools! The
person named Suyajna, for whom you lament, is still lying
before you and has not gone anywhere. Then what is the cause
for your lamentation? Previously he heard you and replied
to you, but now, not finding him, you are lamenting. This
is contradictory behaviour, for you have never actually seen
the person within the body who heard you and replied. There
is no need for your lamentation, for the body you have always
seen is lying here.
'In the body the most important substance is the life air,
but that also is neither the listener nor the speaker. Beyond
even the life air, the soul also can do nothing, for the Supersoul
is actually the director, in cooperation with the individual
soul. The Supersoul conducting the activities of the body
is different from the body and living force.
'The five material elements, the ten senses and the mind
all combine to form the various parts of the gross and subtle
bodies. The living entity comes in contact with his material
bodies, whether high or low, and later gives them up by his
personal prowess. This strength can be perceived in a living
entity's personal power to possess different types of bodies.
'As long as the spirit soul is covered by the subtle body,
consisting of the mind, intelligence and false ego, he is
bound to the results of his fruitive activities. Because of
this covering, the spirit soul is connected with the material
energy and must accordingly suffer material conditions and
reversals, continually, life after life.
'It is fruitless to see and talk of the material modes of
nature and their resultant so-called happiness and distress
as if they were factual. When the mind wanders during the
day and a man begins to think himself extremely important,
or when he dreams at night and sees a beautiful woman enjoying
with him, these are merely false dreams. Similarly, the happiness
and distress caused by the material senses should be understood
to be meaningless.
'Those who have full knowledge of self-realization, who know
very well that the spirit soul is eternal whereas the body
is perishable, are not overwhelmed by lamentation. But persons
who lack knowledge of self-realization certainly lament. Therefore
it is difficult to educate a person in illusion.
'There was once a hunter who lured birds with food and captured
them after spreading a net. He lived as if appointed by death
personified as the killer of the birds. While wandering in
the forest, the hunter saw a pair of kulinga birds. Of the
two, the female was captivated by the hunter's lure.
'O queens of Suyajna, the male kulinga bird, seeing his wife
put into the greatest danger in the grip of Providence, became
very unhappy. Because of affection, the poor bird, being unable
to release her, began to lament for his wife.
'Alas, how merciless is Providence! My wife, unable to be
helped by anyone, is in such an awkward position and lamenting
for me. What will Providence gain by taking away this poor
bird? What will be the profit? If unkind Providence takes
away my wife, who is half my body, why should He not take
me also? What is the use of my living with half of my body,
bereaved by loss of my wife? What shall I gain in this way?
The unfortunate baby birds, bereft of their mother, are waiting
in the nest for her to feed them. They are still very small
and have not yet grown their wings. How shall I be able to
'Because of the loss of his wife, the kulinga bird lamented
with tears in his eyes. Meanwhile, following the dictations
of mature time, the hunter, who was very carefully hidden
in the distance, released his arrow, which pierced the body
of the kulinga bird and killed him.'
'Thus Yamaraja, in the guise of a small boy, told all the
queens: 'You are all so foolish that you lament but do not
see your own death. Afflicted by a poor fund of knowledge,
you do not know that even if you lament for your dead husband
for hundreds of years, you will never get him back alive,
and in the meantime your lives will be finished.'
Hiranyakashipu said: 'While Yamaraja, in the form of a small
boy, was instructing all the relatives surrounding the dead
body of Suyajna, everyone was struck with wonder by his philosophical
words. They could understand that everything material is temporary,
not continuing to exist.
'After instructing all the foolish relatives of Suyajna,
Yamaraja, in the form of a boy, disappeared from their vision.
Then the relatives of King Suyajna performed the ritualistic
'Therefore none of you should be aggrieved for the loss of
the body-whether your own or those of others. Only in ignorance
does one make bodily distinctions, thinking, 'Who am I? Who
are the others? What is mine? What is for others?''
Shri Narada Muni concluded: Diti, the mother of Hiranyakashipu
and Hiranyaksha, heard the instructions of Hiranyakashipu
along with her daughter-in-law, Rushabhanu, Hiranyaksha's
wife. She then forgot her grief over her son's death and thus
engaged her mind and attention in understanding the real philosophy
Hiranyakashipu's Plan to Become Immortal
Narada Muni continued speaking about the Absolute Truth to
Maharaja Yudhisthira: The demoniac king Hiranyakashipu wanted
to be unconquerable and free from old age and dwindling of
the body. He wanted to gain all the yogic perfections like
anima and laghima, to be deathless, and to be the only king
of the entire universe, including Brahmaloka.
In the valley of Mandara Hill, Hiranyakashipu began performing
his austerities by standing with his toes on the ground, keeping
his arms upward and looking toward the sky. This position
was extremely difficult, but he accepted it as a means to
attain perfection. From the hair on Hiranyakashipu's head
there emanated an effulgent light as brilliant and intolerable
as the rays of the sun at the time of dissolution.
Seeing the performance of such austere penances, the demigods,
who had been wandering throughout the planets, now returned
to their respective homes. Because of Hiranyakashipu's severe
austerities, fire came from his head, and this fire and its
smoke spread throughout the sky, encompassing the upper and
lower planets, which all became extremely hot. Because of
the power of his severe austerities, all the rivers and oceans
were agitated, the surface of the globe, with its mountains
and islands, began trembling, and the stars and planets fell.
All directions were ablaze.
Scorched and extremely disturbed because of Hiranyakashipu's
severe penances, all the demigods left the planets where they
reside and went to the planet of Lord Brahma, where they informed
the creator as follows: 'O lord of the demigods, O master
of the universe, because of the fire emanating from Hiranyakashipu's
head as a result of his severe austerities, we have become
so disturbed that we could not stay in our planets but have
come to you. O great person, chief of the universe, if you
think it proper, kindly stop these disturbances, meant to
destroy everything, before all your obedient subjects are
'Hiranyakashipu has undertaken a most severe type of austerity.
Although his plan is not unknown to you, kindly listen as
we submit his intentions.
'[Hiranyakashipu's thinking is as follows:] 'The supreme
person within this universe, Lord Brahma, has gotten his exalted
post by dint of severe austerities, mystic power and trance.
Consequently, after creating the universe, he has become
the most worshipable demigod within it. Since I am eternal
and time is eternal, I shall endeavour for such austerity,
mystic power and trance for many, many births, and thus I
shall occupy the same post occupied by Lord Brahma.
'By dint of my severe austerities, I shall reverse the results
of pious and impious activities. I shall overturn all the
established practices within this world. Even Dhruvaloka will
be vanquished at the end of the millennium. Therefore, what
is the use of it? I shall prefer to remain in the position
'O lord, we have heard from reliable sources that in order
to obtain your post, Hiranyakashipu is now engaged in severe
austerity. You are the master of the three worlds. Please,
without delay, take whatever steps you deem appropriate. O
Lord Brahma, your position within this universe is certainly
most auspicious for everyone, especially the cows and brahmanas.
Brahminical culture and the protection of cows can be increasingly
glorified, and thus all kinds of material happiness, opulence
and good fortune will automatically increase. But unfortunately,
if Hiranyakashipu occupies your seat, everything will be lost.'
O King, being thus informed by the demigods, the most powerful
Lord Brahma, accompanied by Bhrigu, Daksha and other great
sages, immediately started for the place where Hiranyakashipu
was performing his penances and austerities. Lord Brahma,
who is carried by a swan airplane, at first could not see
where Hiranyakashipu was, for Hiranyakashipu's body was covered
by an anthill and by grass and bamboo sticks. Because Hiranyakashipu
had been there for a long time, the ants had devoured his
skin, fat, flesh and blood. Then Lord Brahma and the demigods
spotted him, resembling a cloud covered sun, heating all the
world by his austerity. Struck with wonder, Lord Brahma began
to smile and then addressed him as follows.
Lord Brahma said: 'O son of Kashyapa Muni, please get up,
please get up. All good fortune unto you. You are now perfect
in the performance of your austerities, and therefore I may
give you a benediction. You may now ask from me whatever you
desire, and I shall try to fulfill your wish.
'I have been very much astonished to see your endurance.
In spite of being eaten and bitten by all kinds of worms and
ants, you are keeping your life air circulating within your
bones. Certainly this is wonderful. Even senior saintly persons
like Bhrigu could not perform such severe austerities, nor
will anyone in the future be able to do so. Who within these
three worlds can sustain his life without even drinking water
for one hundred celestial years?
'My dear son of Diti, with your great determination and austerity
you have done what was impossible even for great saintly persons,
and thus you have certainly conquered me. O best of the asuras,
for this reason I am now prepared to give you all benedictions,
according to your desire. I belong to the celestial world
of demigods, who do not die like human beings. Therefore,
although you are subject to death, your audience with me will
not go in vain.'
Sri Narada Muni continued: After speaking these words to
Hiranyakashipu, Lord Brahma, the original being of this universe,
who is extremely powerful, sprinkled transcendental, infallible,
spiritual water from his kamandalu (waterpot) upon Hiranyakashipu's
body, which had been eaten away by ants and moths. Thus he
As soon as he was sprinkled with the water from Lord Brahma's
waterpot, Hiranyakashipu arose, endowed with a full body with
limbs so strong that they could bear the striking of a thunderbolt.
With physical strength and a bodily luster resembling molten
gold, he emerged from the anthill a completely young man,
just as fire springs from fuel wood.
Seeing Lord Brahma present before him in the sky, carried
by his swan airplane, Hiranyakashipu was extremely pleased.
He immediately fell flat with his head on the ground and began
to express his obligation to the lord. Then, getting up from
the ground and seeing Lord Brahma before him, the head of
the Daityas was overwhelmed by jubilation. With tears in his
eyes, his whole body shivering, he began praying in a humble
mood, with folded hands and a faltering voice, to satisfy
'Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the supreme lord
within this universe. At the end of each day of his life,
the universe is fully covered with dense darkness by the influence
of time, and then again, during his next day, that self-effulgent
lord, by his own effulgence, manifests, maintains and destroys
the entire cosmic manifestation through the material energy,
which is invested with the three modes of material nature.
He, Lord Brahma, is the shelter of those modes of nature:
sattva-guna, raja-guna and tama-guna.
'I offer my obeisances to the original personality within
this universe, Lord Brahma, who is cognizant and who can apply
his mind and realized intelligence in creating this cosmic
manifestation. It is because of his activities that everything
within the universe is visible. He is therefore the cause
of all manifestations.
'Your lordship, being the origin of the life of this material
world, is the master and controller of the living entities,
both moving and stationary, and you inspire their consciousness.
You maintain the mind and the acting and knowledge acquiring
senses, and therefore you are the great controller of all
the material elements and their qualities, and you are the
controller of all desires.
'My dear lord, by your form as the Vedas personified and
through knowledge relating to the activities of all the yajnic
brahmanas, you spread the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies of
the seven kinds of sacrifices, headed by agnistoma. Indeed,
you inspire the yajnic brahmanas to perform the rituals mentioned
in the three Vedas. Being the Supreme Soul, the Supersoul
of all living entities, you are beginningless, endless and
omniscient, beyond the limits of time and space.
'O my lord, your lordship is eternally awake, seeing everything
that happens. As eternal time, you reduce the duration of
life for all living entities through your different parts,
such as moments, seconds, minutes and hours. Nonetheless,
you are unchanged, resting in one place as the Supersoul,
witness and supreme lord, the birthless, all-pervading controller
who is the cause of life for all living entities.
'There is nothing separate from you, whether it be better
or lower, stationary or moving. The knowledge derived from
the Vedic literatures like the Upanishads, and from all the
sub-limbs of the original Vedic knowledge, form your external
body. You are Hiranyagarbha, the reservoir of the universe,
but nonetheless, being situated as the supreme controller,
you are transcendental to the material world, which consists
of the three modes of material nature.
'O my lord, being changelessly situated in your own abode,
you expand your universal form within this cosmic manifestation,
thus appearing to taste the material world. You are Brahman,
the Supersoul, the oldest, the personality of godhead.
'Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme,
who in his unlimited, unmanifested form has expanded the cosmic
manifestation, the form of the totality of the universe. He
possesses external and internal energies and the mixed energy
called the marginal potency, which consists of all the living
'O my lord, O best of the givers of benediction, if you will
kindly grant me the benediction I desire, please let me not
meet death from any of the living entities created by you.
Grant me that I not die within any residence or outside any
residence, during the daytime or at night, nor on the ground
or in the sky. Grant me that my death not be brought by any
being other than those created by you, nor by any weapon,
nor by any human being or animal.
'Grant me that I not meet death from any entity, living or
nonliving. Grant me, further, that I not be killed by any
demigod or demon or by any great snake from the lower planets.
Since no one can kill you in the battlefield, you have no
competitor. Therefore, grant me the benediction that I too
may have no rival. Give me sole lordship over all the living
entities and presiding deities, and give me all the glories
obtained by that position. Furthermore, give me all the mystic
powers attained by long austerities and the practice of yoga,
for these cannot be lost at any time.'
Hiranyakashipu Terrorizes the Universe
Narada Muni continued: Lord Brahma was very much satisfied
by Hiranyakashipu's austerities, which were difficult to perform.
Therefore, when solicited for benedictions, he indeed granted
them, although they were rarely to be achieved.
Lord Brahma said: 'O Hiranyakashipu, these benedictions for
which you have asked are difficult to obtain for most men.
Nonetheless, O my son, I shall grant you them although they
are generally not available.' Then Lord Brahma, who awards
infallible benedictions, departed, being worshiped by Hiranyakashipu,
the best of the demons, and being praised by great sages and
The demon Hiranyakashipu, having thus been blessed by Lord
Brahma and having acquired a lustrous golden body, continued
to remember the death of his brother and therefore be envious
of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu became the conqueror of the
Indeed, that great demon conquered all the planets in the
three worlds-upper, middle and lower-including the planets
of the human beings, the Gandharvas, the Garudas, the great
serpents, the Siddhas, Caranas and Vidyadharas, the great
saints, Yamaraja, the Manus, the Yakshas, the Rakshasas, the
Pishacas and their masters, and the masters of the ghosts
and Bhutas. He defeated the rulers of all the other planets
where there are living entities and brought them under his
Conquering the abodes of all, he seized their power and influence.
Hiranyakashipu, who possessed all opulence, began residing
in heaven, with its famous Nandana garden, which is enjoyed
by the demigods. In fact, he resided in the most opulent palace
of Indra, the King of heaven. The palace had been directly
constructed by the demigod architect Vishvakarma and was as
beautifully made as if the Goddess of Fortune of the entire
universe resided there.
The steps of King Indra's residence were made of coral, the
floor was bedecked with invaluable emeralds, the walls were
of crystal, and the columns of vaidurya stone. The wonderful
canopies were beautifully decorated, the seats were bedecked
with rubies, and the silk bedding, as white as foam, was decorated
with pearls. The ladies of the palace, who were blessed with
beautiful teeth and the most wonderfully beautiful faces,
walked here and there in the palace, their ankle bells tinkling
melodiously, and saw their own beautiful reflections in the
gems. The demigods, however, being very much oppressed, had
to bow down and offer obeisances at the feet of
Hiranyakashipu, who chastised the demigods very severely
and for no reason. Thus Hiranyakashipu lived in the palace
and severely ruled everyone. O my dear King, Hiranyakashipu
was always drunk on strong-smelling wines and liquors, and
therefore his coppery eyes were always rolling. Nonetheless,
because he had powerfully executed great austerities in mystic
yoga, although he was abominable, all but the three principal
demigods-Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu-personally
worshiped him to please him by bringing him various presentations
with their own hands.
O Maharaja Yudhisthira, descendant of Pandu, by dint of his
personal power, Hiranyakashipu, being situated on the throne
of King Indra, controlled the inhabitants of all the other
planets. The two Gandharvas Vishvavasu and Tumburu, I myself
and the Vidyadharas, Apsaras and sages all offered prayers
to him again and again just to glorify him. Being worshiped
by sacrifices offered with great gifts by those who strictly
followed the principles of varna and ashrama, Hiranyakashipu,
instead of offering shares of the oblations to the demigods,
accepted them himself.
As if in fear of Hiranyakashipu, the planet earth, which
consists of seven islands, delivered food grains without being
plowed. Thus it resembled cows like the surabhi of the spiritual
world or the kama-dugha of heaven. The earth yielded sufficient
food grains, the cows supplied abundant milk, and outer space
was beautifully decorated with wonderful phenomena.
By the flowing of their waves, the various oceans of the
universe, along with their tributaries, the rivers, which
are compared to their wives, supplied various kinds of gems
and jewels for Hiranyakashipu's use. These oceans were the
oceans of salt water, sugarcane juice, wine, clarified butter,
milk, yogurt, and sweet water.
The valleys between the mountains became fields of pleasure
for Hiranyakashipu, by whose influence all the trees and plants
produced fruits and flowers profusely in all seasons. The
qualities of pouring water, drying and burning, which are
all qualities of the three departmental heads of the universe-
namely Indra, Vayu and Agni-were all directed by Hiranyakashipu
alone, without assistance from the demigods.
In spite of achieving the power to control in all directions
and in spite of enjoying all types of dear sense gratification
as much as possible, Hiranyakashipu was dissatisfied because
instead of controlling his senses he remained their servant.
Hiranyakashipu thus passed a long time being very much proud
of his opulences and transgressing the laws and regulations
mentioned in the authoritative shastras. He was therefore
subjected to a curse by the four Kumaras, who were great brahmanas.
Everyone, including the rulers of the various planets, was
extremely distressed because of the severe punishment inflicted
upon them by Hiranyakashipu. Fearful and disturbed, unable
to find any other shelter, they at last surrendered to the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu.
Without sleep, fully controlling their minds, and living
on only their breath, the predominating deities of the various
planets began worshiping Hrishikesha with this meditation:
'Let us offer our respectful obeisances unto that direction
where the Supreme Personality of Godhead is situated, where
those purified souls in the renounced order of life, the great
saintly persons, go, and from which, having gone, they never
return.' Then there appeared before them a transcendental
sound vibration, emanating from a personality not visible
to material eyes. The voice was as grave as the sound of a
cloud, and it was very encouraging, driving away all fear.
The voice of the Lord vibrated as follows: 'O best of learned
persons, do not fear! I wish all good fortune to you. Become
My devotees by hearing and chanting about Me and offering
Me prayers, for these are certainly meant to award benedictions
to all living entities. I know all about the activities of
Hiranyakashipu and shall surely stop them very soon. Please
wait patiently until that time.
'When one is envious of the demigods, who represent the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, of the Vedas, which give all knowledge,
of the cows, brahmanas, Vaishnavas and religious principles,
and ultimately of Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
he and his civilization will be vanquished without delay.
'When Hiranyakashipu harasses the great devotee Prahlada,
his own son, who is peaceful and sober and who has no enemy,
I shall kill Hiranyakashipu immediately, despite the benedictions
The great saint Narada Muni continued: When the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, the spiritual master of everyone, thus reassured
all the demigods living in the heavenly planets, they offered
their respectful obeisances unto Him and returned, confident
that the demon Hiranyakashipu was now practically dead.
Hiranyakashipu had four wonderful, well-qualified sons, of
whom the one named Prahlada was the best. Indeed, Prahlada
was a reservoir of all transcendental qualities because he
was an unalloyed devotee of the Personality of Godhead. Prahlada
was completely cultured as a qualified brahmana, having very
good character and being determined to understand the Absolute
Truth. He had full control of his senses and mind. Like the
Supersoul, he was kind to every living entity and was the
best friend of everyone. To respectable persons he acted exactly
like a menial servant, to the poor he was like a father, to
his equals he was attached like a sympathetic brother, and
he considered his teachers, spiritual masters and older Godbrothers
to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He was
completely free from unnatural pride that might have arisen
from his good education, riches, beauty, aristocracy and so
Although Prahlada Maharaja was born in a family of asuras,
he himself was not an asura but a great devotee of Lord Vishnu.
Unlike the other asuras, he was never envious of Vaishnavas.
He was not agitated when put into danger, and he was neither
directly nor indirectly interested in the fruitive activities
described in the Vedas. Indeed, he considered everything material
to be useless, and therefore he was completely devoid of material
desires. He always controlled his senses and life air, and
being of steady intelligence and determination, he subdued
all lusty desires.
O King, Prahlada Maharaja's good qualities are still glorified
by learned saints and Vaisnavas. As all good qualities are
always found existing in the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
they also exist forever in His devotee Prahlada Maharaja.
In any assembly where there are discourses about saints and
devotees, O King Yudhisthira, even the enemies of the demons,
namely the demigods, what to speak of you, would cite Prahlada
Maharaja as an example of a great devotee.
Who could list the innumerable transcendental qualities of
Prahlada Maharaja? He had unflinching faith in Vasudeva, Lord
Krishna [the son of Vasudeva], and unalloyed devotion to Him.
His attachment to Lord Krishna was natural because of his
previous devotional service. Although his good qualities cannot
be enumerated, they prove that he was a great soul [mahatma].
From the very beginning of his childhood, Prahlada Maharaja
was uninterested in childish playthings. Indeed, he gave them
up altogether and remained silent and dull, being fully absorbed
in Krishna consciousness. Since his mind was always affected
by Krishna consciousness, he could not understand how the
world goes on being fully absorbed in the activities of sense
Prahlada Maharaja was always absorbed in thought of Krishna.
Thus, being always embraced by the Lord, he did not know how
his bodily necessities, such as sitting, walking, eating,
lying down, drinking and talking, were being automatically
performed. Because of advancement in Krishna consciousness,
he sometimes cried, sometimes laughed, sometimes expressed
jubilation and sometimes sang loudly.
Sometimes, upon seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
Prahlada Maharaja would loudly call in full anxiety. He sometimes
lost his shyness in jubilation and began dancing in ecstasy,
and sometimes, being fully absorbed in thoughts of Krishna,
he felt oneness and imitated the pastimes of the Lord. Sometimes,
feeling the touch of the Lord's lotus hands, he became spiritually
jubilant and remained silent, his hairs standing on end and
tears gliding down from his halfclosed eyes because of his
love for the Lord.
Because of his association with perfect, unalloyed devotees
who had nothing to do with anything material, Prahlada Maharaja
constantly engaged in the service of the Lord's lotus feet.
By seeing his bodily features when he was in perfect ecstasy,
persons very poor in spiritual understanding became purified.
In other words, Prahlada Maharaja bestowed upon them transcendental
bliss. My dear King Yudhisthira, the demon Hiranyakashipu
tormented this exalted, fortunate devotee, although Prahlada
was his own son.
Maharaja Yudhisthira said: 'O best of the saints among the
demigods, O best of spiritual leaders, how did Hiranyakashipu
give so much trouble to Prahlada Maharaja, the pure and exalted
saint, although Prahlada was his own son? I wish to know about
this subject from you.
'A father and mother are always affectionate to their children.
When the children are disobedient the parents chastise them,
not due to enmity but only for the child's instruction and
welfare. How did Hiranyakashipu, the father of Prahlada Maharaja,
chastise such a noble son? This is what I am eager to know.'
Maharaja Yudhisthira further inquired: 'How was it possible
for a father to be so violent toward an exalted son who was
obedient, well-behaved and respectful to his father? O brahmana,
O master, I have never heard of such a contradiction as an
affectionate father's punishing his noble son with the intention
of killing him. Kindly dissipate our doubts in this regard.'
Prahlada Maharaja, the Saintly Son of Hiranyakashipu The
great saint Narada Muni replied: The demons, headed by Hiranyakashipu,
accepted Shukracharya as their priest for ritualistic ceremonies.
Shukracharya's two sons, Shanda and Amarka, lived near Hiranyakashipu's
palace. Prahlada Maharaja was already educated in devotional
life, but when his father sent him to those two sons of Shukracharya
to be educated, they accepted him at their school along with
the other sons of the asuras.
Prahlada certainly heard and recited the topics of politics
and economics taught by the teachers, but he understood that
political philosophy involves considering someone a friend
and someone else an enemy, and thus he did not like it. My
dear King Yudhisthira, once upon a time the King of the demons,
Hiranyakashipu, took his son Prahlada on his lap and very
affectionately inquired: 'My dear son, please let me know
what you think is the best of all the subjects you have studied
from your teachers.'
Prahlada Maharaja replied: 'O best of the asuras, King of
the demons, as far as I have learned from my spiritual master,
any person who has accepted a temporary body and temporary
household life is certainly embarrassed by anxiety because
of having fallen in a dark well where there is no water but
only suffering. One should give up this position and go to
the forest [vana]. More clearly, one should go to Vrindavana,
where only Krishna consciousness is prevalent, and should
thus take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.'
Narada Muni continued: When Prahlada Maharaja spoke about
the path of self-realization in devotional service, thus being
faithful to the camp of his father's enemies, Hiranyakashipu,
the King of the demons, heard Prahlada's words and he laughingly
said, 'Thus is the intelligence of children spoiled by the
words of the enemy.'
Hiranyakashipu advised his assistants: 'My dear demons, give
complete protection to this boy at the guru-kula where he
is instructed, so that his intelligence will not be further
influenced by Vaishnavas who may go there in disguise.'
When Hiranyakashipu's servants brought the boy Prahlada back
to the guru-kula [the place where the brahmanas taught the
boys], the priests of the demons, Shanda and Amarka, pacified
him. With very mild voices and affectionate words, they inquired
from him as follows:
'Dear son Prahlada, all peace and good fortune unto you.
Kindly do not speak lies; just reply with the truth. These
boys you see are not like you, for they do not speak in a
deviant way. How have you learned these instructions? How
has your intelligence been spoiled in this way? O best of
your family, has this pollution of your intelligence been
brought about by you or by the enemies? We are all your teachers
and are very eager to hear about this. Please tell us the
Prahlada Maharaja replied: 'Let me offer my respectful obeisances
unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose external energy
has created the distinctions of 'my friend' and 'my enemy'
by deluding the intelligence of men. Indeed, I am now actually
experiencing this, although I have previously heard of it
from authoritative sources. When the Supreme Personality of
Godhead is pleased with the living entity because of his devotional
service, one becomes a pandita and does not make distinctions
between enemies, friends and himself. Intelligently, he then
thinks, 'Every one of us is an eternal servant of God, and
therefore we are not different from one another.'
'Persons who always think in terms of 'enemy' and 'friend'
are unable to ascertain the Supersoul within themselves. Not
to speak of them, even such exalted persons as Lord Brahma,
who are fully conversant with the Vedic literature, are sometimes
bewildered in following the principles of devotional service.
The same Supreme Personality of Godhead who has created this
situation has certainly given me the intelligence to take
the side of your so-called enemy.
'O brahmanas [teachers], as iron attracted by a magnetic
stone moves automatically toward the magnet, my consciousness,
having been changed by His will, is attracted by Lord Vishnu,
who carries a disc in His hand. Thus I have no independence.'
The great saint Narada Muni continued: The great soul Prahlada
Maharaja became silent after saying this to his teachers,
Shanda and Amarka, the seminal sons of Shukracharya. These
so-called brahmanas then became angry at him. Because they
were servants of Hiranyakashipu, they were very sorry, and
to chastise Prahlada Maharaja they spoke as follows.
'Oh, please bring me a stick! This Prahlada is damaging our
name and fame. Because of his bad intelligence, he has become
like a cinder in the dynasty of the demons. Now he needs to
be treated by the fourth of the four kinds of political diplomacy
'This rascal Prahlada has appeared like a thorn tree in a
forest of sandalwood. To cut down sandalwood trees, an axe
is needed, and the wood of the thorn tree is very suitable
for the handle of such an axe. Lord Vishnu is the axe for
cutting down the sandalwood forest of the family of demons,
and this Prahlada is the handle for that axe.'
Shanda and Amarka, the teachers of Prahlada Maharaja, chastised
and threatened their disciple in various ways and began teaching
him about the paths of religion, economic development and
sense gratification. This is the way they educated him. After
some time, the teachers Shanda and Amarka thought that Prahlada
Maharaja was sufficiently educated in the diplomatic affairs
of pacifying public leaders, appeasing them by giving them
lucrative posts, dividing and ruling over them, and punishing
them in cases of disobedience.
Then, one day, after Prahlada's mother had personally washed
the boy and dressed him nicely with sufficient ornaments,
they presented him before his father. When Hiranyakashipu
saw that his child had fallen at his feet and was offering
obeisances, as an affectionate father he immediately began
showering blessings upon the child and embraced him with both
arms. A father naturally feels happy to embrace his son, and
Hiranyakashipu became very happy in this way.
Narada Muni continued: My dear King Yudhisthira, Hiranyakashipu
seated Prahlada Maharaja on his lap and began smelling his
head. With affectionate tears gliding down from his eyes and
moistening the child's smiling face, he spoke to his son as
Hiranyakashipu said: 'My dear Prahlada, my dear son, O longlived
one, for so much time you have heard many things from your
teachers. Now please repeat to me whatever you think is the
best of that knowledge.'
Prahlada Maharaja said: 'Hearing and chanting about the transcendental
holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of
Lord Vishnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the
Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types
of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His
servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering
everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the
body, mind and words) -these nine processes are accepted as
pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to
the service of Krishna through these nine methods should be
understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired
After hearing these words of devotional service from the
mouth of his son Prahlada, Hiranyakashipu was extremely angry.
His lips trembling, he spoke as follows to Shanda the son
of his guru, Shukracharya.
'O unqualified, most heinous son of a brahmana, you have
disobeyed my order and taken shelter of the party of my enemies.
You have taught this poor boy about devotional service! What
is this nonsense? In due course of time, various types of
diseases are manifest in those who are sinful. Similarly,
in this world there are many deceptive friends in false garbs,
but eventually, because of their false behavior, their actual
enmity becomes manifest.'
The son of Shukra-acharya, Hiranyakashipu's spiritual master,
said: 'O enemy of King Indra, O King! Whatever your son Prahlada
has said was not taught to him by me or anyone else. His spontaneous
devotional service has naturally developed in him. Therefore,
please give up your anger and do not unnecessarily accuse
us. It is not good to insult a brahmana in this way.'
Sri Narada Muni continued: When Hiranyakashipu received this
reply from the teacher, he again addressed his son Prahlada.
Hiranyakashipu said: 'You rascal, most fallen of our family,
if you have not received this education from your teachers,
where have you gotten it?'
Prahlada Maharaja replied: 'Because of their uncontrolled
senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress
toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has
already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Krishna are
never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their
own efforts, or by a combination of both.
'Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness
of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted
as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external
sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is
to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service
of Lord Vishnu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss
the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached
men led by another materially attached man are bound by the
ropes of fruitive labour, which are made of very strong cords,
and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering
the threefold miseries.
'Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus
feet of a Vaishnava completely freed from material contamination,
persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot
be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified
for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Krishna conscious
and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way
can one be freed from material contamination.'
After Prahlada Maharaja had spoken in this way and become
silent, Hiranyakashipu, blinded by anger, threw him off his
lap and onto the ground.
Indignant and angry, his reddish eyes like molten copper,
Hiranyakashipu said to his servants: 'O demons, take this
boy away from me! He deserves to be killed. Kill him as soon
as possible! This boy Prahlada is the killer of my brother,
for he has given up his family to engage in the devotional
service of the enemy, Lord Vishnu, like a menial servant.
Although Prahlada is only five years old, even at this young
age he has given up his affectionate relationship with his
father and mother. Therefore, he is certainly untrustworthy.
Indeed, it is not at all believable that he will behave well
'Although a medicinal herb, being born in the forest, does
not belong to the same category as a man, if beneficial it
is kept very carefully. Similarly, if someone outside one's
family is favorable, he should be given protection like a
son. On the other hand, if a limb of one's body is poisoned
by disease, it must be amputated so that the rest of the body
may live happily. Similarly, even one's own son, if unfavourable,
must be rejected, although born of one's own body. Just as
uncontrolled senses are the enemies of all yogis engaged in
advancing in spiritual life, this Prahlada, who appears to
be a friend, is an enemy because I cannot control him. Therefore
this enemy, whether eating, sitting or sleeping, must be killed
by all means.' The demons [Rakshasas], the servants of Hiranyakashipu,
thus began striking the tender parts of Prahlada Maharaja's
body with their tridents. The demons all had fearful faces,
sharp teeth and reddish, coppery beards and hair, and they
appeared extremely threatening. Making a tumultuous sound,
shouting, 'Chop him up! Pierce him!' they began striking Prahlada
Maharaja, who sat silently, meditating upon the Supreme Personality
Even though a person who has no assets in pious activities
performs some good deed, it will have no result. Thus the
weapons of the demons had no tangible effects upon Prahlada
Maharaja because he was a devotee undisturbed by material
conditions and fully engaged in meditating upon and serving
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is unchangeable, who
cannot be realized by the material senses, and who is the
soul of the entire universe.
My dear King Yudhisthira, when all the attempts of the demons
to kill Prahlada Maharaja were futile, the King of the demons,
Hiranyakashipu, being most fearful, began contriving other
means to kill him.
Hiranyakashipu could not kill his son by throwing him beneath
the feet of big elephants, throwing him among huge, fearful
snakes, employing destructive spells, hurling him from the
top of a hill, conjuring up illusory tricks, administering
poison, starving him, exposing him to severe cold, winds,
fire and water, or throwing heavy stones to crush him. When
Hiranyakashipu found that he could not in any way harm Prahlada,
who was completely sinless, he was in great anxiety about
what to do next.
Hiranyakashipu thought: 'I have used many ill names in chastising
this boy Prahlada and have devised many means of killing him,
but despite all my endeavours, he could not be killed. Indeed,
he saved himself by his own powers, without being affected
in the least by these treacheries and abominable actions.
Although he is very near to me and is merely a child, he is
situated in complete fearlessness. He resembles a dog's curved
tail, which can never be straightened, because he never forgets
my misbehaviour and his connection with his master, Lord Vishnu.
I can see that this boy's strength is unlimited, for he has
not feared any of my punishments. He appears immortal. Therefore,
because of my enmity toward him, I shall die. Or maybe this
will not take place.'
Thinking in this way, the King of the Daityas, morose and
bereft of bodily luster, remained silent with his face downward.
Then Shanda and Amarka, the two sons of Shukracharya, spoke
to him in secret.
'O lord, we know that when you simply move your eyebrows,
all the commanders of the various planets are most afraid.
Without the help of any assistant, you have conquered all
the three worlds. Therefore, we do not find any reason for
you to be morose and full of anxiety. As for Prahlada, he
is nothing but a child and cannot be a cause of anxiety. After
all, his bad or good qualities have no value.
'Until the return of our spiritual master, Shukracharya,
arrest this child with the ropes of Varuna so that he will
not flee in fear. In any case, by the time he is somewhat
grown up and has assimilated our instructions or served our
spiritual master, he will change in his intelligence. Thus
there need be no cause for anxiety.'
After hearing these instructions of Shanda and Amarka, the
sons of his spiritual master, Hiranyakashipu agreed and requested
them to instruct Prahlada in that system of occupational duty
which is followed by royal householder families. Thereafter,
Shanda and Amarka systematically and unceasingly taught Prahlada
Maharaja, who was very submissive and humble, about mundane
religion, economic development and sense gratification.
The teachers Shanda and Amarka instructed Prahlada Maharaja
in the three kinds of material advancement called religion,
economic development and sense gratification. Prahlada, however,
being situated above such instructions, did not like them,
for such instructions are based on the duality of worldly
affairs, which involve one in a materialistic way of life
marked by birth, death, old age and disease.
When the teachers went home to attend to their household
affairs, the students of the same age as Prahlada Maharaja
would call him to take the opportunity of leisure hours for
play. Prahlada Maharaja, who was truly the supreme learned
person, then addressed his class friends in very sweet language.
Smiling, he began to teach them about the uselessness of the
materialistic way of life. Being very kind to them, he instructed
them as follows.
My dear King Yudhisthira, all the children were very much
affectionate and respectful to Prahlada Maharaja, and because
of their tender age they were not so polluted by the instructions
and actions of their teachers, who were attached to condemned
duality and bodily comfort. Thus the boys surrounded Prahlada
Maharaja, giving up their playthings, and sat down to hear
him. Their hearts and eyes being fixed upon him, they looked
at him with great earnestness. Prahlada Maharaja, although
born in a demon family, was an exalted devotee, and he desired
their welfare. Thus he began instructing them about the futility
of materialistic life.
Prahlada Instructs His Demoniac Schoolmates
Prahlada Maharaja said: 'My dear friends born of demoniac
families, the happiness perceived with reference to the sense
objects by contact with the body can be obtained in any form
of life, according to one's past fruitive activities. Such
happiness is automatically obtained without endeavour, just
as we obtain distress.
'Endeavours merely for sense gratification or material happiness
through economic development are not to be performed, for
they result only in a loss of time and energy, with no actual
profit. If one's endeavours are directed toward Krishna consciousness,
one can surely attain the spiritual platform of self-realization.
There is no such benefit from engaging oneself in economic
'Therefore, while in material existence, a person fully competent
to distinguish wrong from right must endeavour to achieve
the highest goal of life as long as the body is stout and
strong and is not embarrassed by dwindling. Every human being
has a maximum duration of life of one hundred years, but for
one who cannot control his senses, half of those years are
completely lost because at night he sleeps twelve hours, being
covered by ignorance. Therefore such a person has a lifetime
of only fifty years.
'In the tender age of childhood, when everyone is bewildered,
one passes ten years. Similarly, in boyhood, engaged in sporting
and playing, one passes another ten years. In this way, twenty
years are wasted. Similarly, in old age, when one is an invalid,
unable to perform even material activities, one passes another
twenty years wastefully. One whose mind and senses are uncontrolled
becomes increasingly attached to family life because of insatiable
lusty desires and very strong illusion. In such a madman's
life, the remaining years are also wasted because even during
those years he cannot engage himself in devotional service.
'What person too attached to household life due to being
unable to control his senses can liberate himself? An attached
householder is bound very strongly by ropes of affection for
his family [wife, children and other relatives]. Money is
so dear that one conceives of money as being sweeter than
honey. Therefore, who can give up the desire to accumulate
money, especially in household life? Thieves, soldiers of
fortune and smugglers try to acquire money even by risking
their very dear lives.
'How can a person who is most affectionate to his family,
the core of his heart being always filled with their pictures,
give up their association? Specifically, a wife is always
very kind and sympathetic and always pleases her husband in
a solitary place. Who could give up the association of such
a dear and affectionate wife? Small children talk in broken
language, very pleasing to hear, and their affectionate father
always thinks of their sweet words. How could he give up their
association? One's elderly parents and one's sons and daughters
are also very dear. A daughter is especially dear to her father,
and while living at her husband's house she is always in his
mind. Who could give up that association? Aside from this,
in household affairs there are many decorated items of household
furniture, and there are also animals and servants. Who could
give up such comforts? The attached householder is like a
silkworm, which weaves a cocoon in which it becomes imprisoned,
unable to get out. Simply for the satisfaction of two important
senses-the genitals and the tongue-one is bound by material
conditions. How can one escape?
'One who is too attached cannot understand that he is wasting
his valuable life for the maintenance of his family. He also
fails to understand that the purpose of human life, a life
suitable for realization of the Absolute Truth, is being imperceptibly
spoiled. However, he is very cleverly attentive to seeing
that not a single farthing is lost by mismanagement. Thus
although an attached person in material existence always suffers
from threefold miseries, he does not develop a distaste for
the way of material existence.
'If a person too attached to the duties of family maintenance
is unable to control his senses, the core of his heart is
immersed in how to accumulate money. Although he knows that
one who takes the wealth of others will be punished by the
law of the government, and by the laws of Yamaraja after death,
he continues cheating others to acquire money.
'O my friends, sons of demons! In this material world, even
those who are apparently advanced in education have the propensity
to consider, 'This is mine, and that is for others.' Thus
they are always engaged in providing the necessities of life
to their families in a limited conception of family life,
just like uneducated cats and dogs. They are unable to take
to spiritual knowledge; instead, they are bewildered and overcome
'My dear friends, O sons of the demons, it is certain that
no one bereft of knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead
has been able to liberate himself from material bondage at
any time or in any country. Rather, the material laws bind
those bereft of knowledge of the Lord. They are factually
addicted to sense gratification, and their target is woman.
Indeed, they are actually playthings in the hands of attractive
women. Victimized by such a conception of life, children,
grandchildren and great-grandchildren surround them, and thus
they are shackled to material bondage. Those who are very
much addicted to this conception of life are called demons.
Therefore, although you are sons of demons, keep aloof from
such persons and take shelter of the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, Narayana, the origin of all the demigods, because
the ultimate goal for the devotees of Narayana is liberation
from the bondage of material existence.
'My dear sons of demons, the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
Narayana, is the original Supersoul, the father of all living
entities. Consequently there are no impediments to pleasing
Him or worshiping Him under any conditions, whether one be
a child or an old man. The relationship between the living
entities and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always
a fact, and therefore there is no difficulty in pleasing the
'The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supreme controller,
who is infallible and indefatigable, is present in different
forms of life, from the inert living beings such as the plants,
to Brahma, the foremost created living being. He is also present
in the varieties of material creations and in the material
elements, the total material energy and the modes of material
nature [sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna], as well as
the unmanifested material nature and the false ego.
'Although He is one, He is present everywhere, and He is
also the transcendental Supersoul, the cause of all causes,
who is present as the observer in the cores of the hearts
of all living entities. He is indicated in the Vedas as that
which is pervaded and as the all-pervading Supersoul, but
actually He cannot be indicated by words. He is changeless
and undivided. He is simply perceived as the supreme sac-cid-ananda
[eternity, knowledge and bliss]. Being covered by the curtain
of the external energy, to the atheist He appears nonexistent.
'Therefore, my dear young friends born of demons, please
act in such a way that the Supreme Lord, who is beyond the
conception of material knowledge, will be satisfied. Give
up your demoniac nature and act without enmity or duality.
Show mercy to all living entities by enlightening them in
devotional service, thus becoming their well-wishers.
'Nothing is unobtainable for devotees who have satisfied
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the cause of all
causes, the original source of everything. The Lord is the
reservoir of unlimited spiritual qualities. Therefore, for
devotees who are transcendental to the modes of material nature,
what is the use of following the principles of religion, economic
development, sense gratification and liberation, which are
all automatically obtainable under the influence of the modes
of nature? We devotees always glorify the lotus feet of the
Lord, and therefore we need not ask for anything in terms
of dharma, kama, artha and moksa [religion, economic development,
sense gratification and liberation].
'Religion, economic development and sense gratification-
these are described in the Vedas as tri-varga, or three ways
to salvation. Within these three categories are education
and selfrealization; ritualistic ceremonies performed according
to Vedic injunction; logic; the science of law and order;
and the various means of earning one's livelihood. These are
the external subject matters of study in the Vedas, and therefore
I consider them material. However, I consider surrender to
the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu to be transcendental.
'Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the wellwisher
and friend of all living entities, formerly explained this
transcendental knowledge to the great saint Narada. Such knowledge
is extremely difficult to understand without the mercy of
a saintly person like Narada, but everyone who has taken shelter
of Narada's disciplic succession can understand this confidential
Prahlada Maharaja continued: 'I received this knowledge from
the great saint Narada Muni, who is always engaged in devotional
service. This knowledge, which is called bhagavatadharma,
is fully scientific. It is based on logic and philosophy and
is free from all material contamination.'
The sons of the demons replied: 'Dear Prahlada, neither you
nor we know any teacher or spiritual master other than Shanda
and Amarka, the sons of Shukracharya. After all, we are children
and they our controllers. For you especially, who always remain
within the palace, it is very difficult to associate with
a great personality. Dear friend, most gentle one, would you
kindly explain how it was possible for you to hear Narada?
Kindly dispel our doubts in this regard.'
What Prahlada Learned in the Womb
Prahlada Maharaja replied: 'When our father, Hiranyakashipu,
went to Mandaracala Mountain to execute severe austerities,
in his absence the demigods, headed by King Indra, made a
severe attempt to subdue all the demons in warfare.
'The demigods thought: 'Alas, as a serpent is eaten by small
ants, so the troublesome Hiranyakashipu, who always inflicted
miseries upon all types of people, has now been defeated by
the reactions of his own sinful activities.' Saying this,
the demigods, headed by King Indra, arranged to fight the
'When the great leaders of the demons, who were being killed
one after another, saw the unprecedented exertion of the demigods
in fighting, they began to flee, scattering themselves in
all directions. Simply to protect their lives, they hastily
fled from their homes, wives, children, animals and household
paraphernalia. Paying no heed to all these, the demons simply
fled. The victorious demigods plundered the palace of Hiranyakashipu,
the King of the demons, and destroyed everything within it.
Then Indra, King of heaven, arrested my mother, the Queen.
'As she was being led away, crying in fear like a kurari
captured by a vulture, the great sage Narada, who at that
time had no engagement, appeared on the scene and saw her
in that condition.
'Narada Muni said: 'O Indra, King of the demigods, this woman
is certainly sinless. You should not drag her off in this
merciless way. O greatly fortunate one, this chaste woman
is the wife of another. You must immediately release her.'
'King Indra said: 'In the womb of this woman, the wife of
the demon Hiranyakashipu, is the seed of that great demon.
Therefore, let her remain in our custody until her child is
delivered, and then we shall release her.'
'Narada Muni replied: 'The child within this woman's womb
is faultless and sinless. Indeed, he is a great devotee, a
powerful servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore
you will not be able to kill him.'
'When the great saint Narada Muni had thus spoken, King Indra,
being respectful to Narada's words, immediately released my
mother. Because of my being a devotee of the Lord, all the
demigods circumambulated her. Then they returned to their
Prahlada Maharaja continued: 'The great saint Narada Muni
brought my mother to his ashrama and assured her of all protection,
saying, 'My dear child, please remain at my ashrama until
the arrival of your husband.'
'After accepting the instructions of Devarshi Narada, my
mother stayed in his care, without fear from any direction,
as long as my father, the King of the Daityas, had not become
free from his severe austerities. My mother, being pregnant,
desired the safety of her embryo and desired to give birth
after her husband's arrival. Thus she stayed at Narada Muni's
ashrama, where she rendered service unto Narada Muni with
'Narada Muni delivered his instructions both to me, who was
within the womb, and to my mother, who was engaged in rendering
him service. Because he is naturally extremely kind to the
fallen souls, being in a transcendental position, he gave
instructions on religion and transcendental knowledge. These
instructions were free from all material contamination. Because
of the long duration of time that has passed and because of
her being a woman and therefore less intelligent, my mother
has forgotten all those instructions; but the great sage Narada
blessed me, and therefore I could not forget them.'
Prahlada Maharaja continued: 'My dear friends, if you can
place your faith in my words, simply by that faith you can
also understand transcendental knowledge, just like me, although
you are small children. Similarly, a woman can also understand
transcendental knowledge and know what is spirit and what
is matter. Just as the fruits and flowers of a tree in due
course of time undergo six changes-birth, existence, growth,
transformation, dwindling and then death-the material body,
which is obtained by the spirit soul under different circumstances,
undergoes similar changes. However, there are no such changes
for the spirit soul.
'Atma refers to the Supreme Lord as well as to the living
entities. The Supreme Lord is called Param-atma and the living
entity is called Jiva-atma. Both of them are spiritual, free
from birth and death, free from deterioration and free from
material contamination. They are individual, they are the
knowers of the external body, and they are the foundation
or shelter of everything. They are free from material change,
they are self-illuminated, they are the cause of all causes,
and they are all-pervading. They have nothing to do with the
material body, and therefore they are always uncovered. With
these transcendental qualities, one who is actually learned
must give up the illusory conception of life, in which one
thinks, 'I am this material body, and everything in relationship
with this body is mine.'
'An expert geologist can understand where there is gold and
by various processes can extract it from the gold ore. Similarly,
a spiritually advanced person can understand how the spiritual
particle exists within the body, and thus by cultivating spiritual
knowledge he can attain perfection in spiritual life. However,
as one who is not expert cannot understand where there is
gold, a foolish person who has not cultivated spiritual knowledge
cannot understand how the spirit exists within the body.
'The Lord's eight separated material energies, the three
modes of material nature and the sixteen transformations-the
eleven senses and the five gross material elements like earth
and water-within all these, the one spiritual soul exists
as the observer. Therefore all the great acaryas have concluded
that the individual soul is conditioned by these material
elements. There are two kinds of bodies for every individual
soul: a gross body made of five gross elements and a subtle
body made of three subtle elements. Within these bodies, however,
is the spirit soul. One must find the soul by analysis, saying,
'This is not it. This is not it.' Thus one must separate spirit
from matter. Sober and expert persons should search for the
spirit soul with minds purified through analytical study in
terms of the soul's connection with and distinction from all
things that undergo creation, maintenance and destruction.
'Intelligence can be perceived in three states of activity-
wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep. The person who perceives
these three is to be considered the original master, the ruler,
the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As one can understand
the presence of the air by the aromas it carries, so, under
the guidance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one can
understand the living soul by these three divisions of intelligence.
These three divisions, however, are not the soul; they are
constituted of the three modes and are born of activities.
'Through polluted intelligence one is subjected to the modes
of nature, and thus one is conditioned by material existence.
Like a dreaming state in which one falsely suffers, material
existence, which is due to ignorance, must be considered unwanted
and temporary. Therefore, my dear friends, O sons of the demons,
your duty is to take to Krishna consciousness, which can burn
the seed of fruitive activities artificially created by the
modes of material nature and stop the flow of the intelligence
in wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep. In other words, when
one takes to Krishna consciousness, his ignorance is immediately
'Of the different processes recommended for disentanglement
from material life, the one personally explained and accepted
by the Supreme Personality of Godhead should be considered
all-perfect. That process is the performance of duties by
which love for the Supreme Lord develops. One must accept
the bona-fide spiritual master and render service unto him
with great devotion and faith. Whatever one has in one's possession
should be offered to the spiritual master, and in the association
of saintly persons and devotees one should worship the Lord,
hear the glories of the Lord with faith, glorify the transcendental
qualities and activities of the Lord, always meditate on the
Lord's lotus feet, and worship the Deity of the Lord strictly
according to the injunctions of the shastra and guru.
'One should always remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead
in His localized representation as the Paramatma, who is situated
in the core of every living entity's heart. Thus one should
offer respect to every living entity according to that living
entity's position or manifestation. By these activities [as
mentioned above] one is able to cut down the influence of
the enemies, namely lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness
and jealousy, and when thus situated, one can render service
to the Lord. In this way one surely attains the platform of
loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
'One who is situated in devotional service is certainly the
controller of his senses, and thus he is a liberated person.
When such a liberated person, the pure devotee, hears of the
transcendental qualities and activities of the Lord's incarnations
for the performance of various pastimes, his hair stands on
end on his body, tears fall from his eyes, and in his spiritual
realization his voice falters. Sometimes he very openly dances,
sometimes he sings loudly, and sometimes he cries. Thus he
expresses his transcendental jubilation.
'When a devotee becomes like a person haunted by a ghost,
he laughs and very loudly chants about the qualities of the
Lord. Sometimes he sits to perform meditation, and he offers
respects to every living entity, considering him a devotee
of the Lord. Constantly breathing very heavily, he becomes
careless of social etiquette and loudly chants like a madman,
'Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna! O my Lord, O master of the universe!'
'The devotee is then freed from all material contamination
because he constantly thinks of the Lord's pastimes and because
his mind and body have been converted to spiritual qualities.
Because of his intense devotional service, his ignorance,
material consciousness and all kinds of material desires are
completely burnt to ashes. This is the stage at which one
can achieve the shelter of the Lord's lotus feet.
'The real problem of life is the repetition of birth and
death, which is like a wheel rolling repeatedly up and down.
This wheel, however, completely stops when one is in touch
with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, by
the transcendental bliss realized from constant engagement
in devotional service, one is completely liberated from material
existence. All learned men know this. Therefore, my dear friends,
O sons of the asuras, immediately begin meditating upon and
worshiping the Supersoul within everyone's heart.
'O my friends, sons of the asuras, the Supreme Personality
of Godhead in His Supersoul feature always exists within the
cores of the hearts of all living entities. Indeed, He is
the wellwisher and friend of all living entities, and there
is no difficulty in worshiping the Lord. Why, then, should
people not engage in His devotional service? Why are they
so addicted to unnecessarily producing artificial paraphernalia
for sense gratification?
'One's riches, beautiful wife and female friends, one's sons
and daughters, one's residence, one's domestic animals like
cows, elephants and horses, one's treasury, economic development
and sense gratification-indeed, even the lifetime in which
one can enjoy all these material opulences-are certainly temporary
and flickering. Since the opportunity of human life is temporary,
what benefit can these material opulences give to a sensible
man who has understood himself to be eternal? 'It is learned
from Vedic literature that by performing great sacrifices
one may elevate himself to the heavenly planets. However,
although life on the heavenly planets is hundreds and thousands
of times more comfortable than life on earth, the heavenly
planets are not pure [nirmalam], or free from the taint of
material existence. The heavenly planets are also temporary,
and therefore they are not the goal of life. The Supreme Personality
of Godhead, however, has never been seen or heard to possess
inebriety. Consequently, for your own benefit and self-realization,
you must worship the Lord with great devotion, as described
in the revealed scriptures.
'A materialistic person, thinking himself very advanced in
intelligence, continually acts for economic development. But
again and again, as enunciated in the Vedas, he is frustrated
by material activities, either in this life or in the next.
Indeed, the results one obtains are inevitably the opposite
of those one desires. In this material world, every materialist
desires to achieve happiness and diminish his distress, and
therefore he acts accordingly. Actually, however, one is happy
as long as one does not endeavour for happiness; as soon as
one begins his activities for happiness, his conditions of
'A living entity desires comfort for his body and makes many
plans for this purpose, but actually the body is the property
of others. Indeed, the perishable body embraces the living
entity and then leaves him aside. Since the body itself is
ultimately meant to become stool or earth, what is the meaning
of the paraphernalia related to the body, such as wives, residences,
wealth, children, relatives, servants, friends, kingdoms,
treasuries, animals and ministers? They are also temporary.
What more can be said about this?
'All this paraphernalia is very near and dear as long as
the body exists, but as soon as the body is destroyed, all
things related to the body are also finished. Therefore, actually
one has nothing to do with them, but because of ignorance
one accepts them as valuable. Compared to the ocean of eternal
happiness, they are most insignificant. What is the use of
such insignificant relationships for the eternal living being?
'My dear friends, O sons of the asuras, the living entity
receives different types of bodies according to his previous
fruitive activities. Thus he is seen to suffer with reference
to his particular body in all conditions of life, beginning
with his infusion into the womb. Please tell me, therefore,
after full consideration: What is the living entity's actual
interest in fruitive activities, which result in hardship
and misery? 'The living entity, who has received his present
body because of his past fruitive activity, may end the results
of his actions in this life, but this does not mean that he
is liberated from bondage to material bodies. The living entity
receives one type of body, and by performing actions with
that body he creates another. Thus he transmigrates from one
body to another, through repeated birth and death, because
of his gross ignorance.
'The four principles of advancement in spiritual life-dharma,
artha, kama and moksa-all depend on the disposition of the
Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, my dear friends,
follow in the footsteps of devotees. Without desire, fully
depend upon the disposition of the Supreme Lord, worship Him,
the Supersoul, in devotional service. The Supreme Personality
of Godhead, Hari, is the soul and the Supersoul of all living
entities. Every living entity is a manifestation of His energy
in terms of the living soul and the material body. Therefore
the Lord is the most dear, and He is the supreme controller.
'If a demigod, demon, human being, Yaksha, Gandharva or anyone
within this universe renders service to the lotus feet of
Mukunda, who can deliver liberation, he is actually situated
in the most auspicious condition of life, exactly like us
[the mahajanas, headed by Prahlada Maharaja].
'My dear friends, O sons of the demons, you cannot please
the Supreme Personality of Godhead by becoming perfect brahmanas,
demigods or great saints or by becoming perfectly good in
etiquette or vast learning. None of these qualifications can
awaken the pleasure of the Lord. Nor by charity, austerity,
sacrifice, cleanliness or vows can one satisfy the Lord. The
Lord is pleased only if one has unflinching, unalloyed devotion
to Him. Without sincere devotional service, everything is
simply a show.
'My dear friends, O sons of the demons, in the same favorable
way that one sees himself and takes care of himself, take
to devotional service to satisfy the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, who is present everywhere as the Supersoul of all
living entities. O my friends, O sons of demons, everyone,
including you (the Yakshas and Rakshasas), the unintelligent
women, sudras and cowherd men, the birds, the lower animals
and the sinful living entities, can revive his original, eternal
spiritual life and exist forever simply by accepting the principles
'In this material world, to render service to the lotus feet
of Govinda, the cause of all causes, and to see Him everywhere,
is the only goal of life. This much alone is the ultimate
goal of human life, as explained by all the revealed scriptures.'
Lord Nrisimhadeva Slays the King of the
Narada Muni continued: All the sons of the demons appreciated
the transcendental instructions of Prahlada Maharaja and took
them very seriously. They rejected the materialistic instructions
given by their teachers, Shanda and Amarka. When Shanda and
Amarka, the sons of Shukracharya, observed that all the students,
the sons of the demons, were becoming advanced in Krishna
consciousness because of the association of Prahlada Maharaja,
they were afraid. They approached the King of the demons and
described the situation as it was.
When Hiranyakashipu understood the entire situation, he was
extremely angry, so much so that his body trembled. Thus he
finally decided to kill his son Prahlada. Hiranyakashipu was
by nature very cruel, and feeling insulted, he began hissing
like a snake trampled upon by someone's foot. His son Prahlada
was peaceful, mild and gentle, his senses were under control,
and he stood before Hiranyakashipu with folded hands. According
to Prahlada's age and behavior, he was not to be chastised.
Yet with staring, crooked eyes, Hiranyakashipu rebuked him
with the following harsh words.
Hiranyakashipu said: 'O most impudent, most unintelligent
disruptor of the family, O lowest of mankind, you have violated
my power to rule you, and therefore you are an obstinate fool.
Today I shall send you to the place of Yamaraja. My son Prahlada,
you rascal, you know that when I am angry all the planets
of the three worlds tremble, along with their chief rulers.
By whose power has a rascal like you become so impudent that
you appear fearless and overstep my power to rule you?'
Prahlada Maharaja said: 'My dear King, the source of my strength,
of which you are asking, is also the source of yours. Indeed,
the original source of all kinds of strength is one. He is
not only your strength or mine, but the only strength for
everyone. Without Him, no one can get any strength. Whether
moving or not moving, superior or inferior, everyone, including
Lord Brahma, is controlled by the strength of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead.
'The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the supreme controller
and time factor, is the power of the senses, the power of
the mind, the power of the body, and the vital force of the
senses. His influence is unlimited. He is the best of all
living entities, the controller of the three modes of material
nature. By His own power, He creates this cosmic manifestation,
maintains it and annihilates it also.'
Prahlada Maharaja continued: 'My dear father, please give
up your demoniac mentality. Do not discriminate in your heart
between enemies and friends; make your mind equipoised toward
everyone. Except for the uncontrolled and misguided mind,
there is no enemy within this world. When one sees everyone
on the platform of equality, one then comes to the position
of worshiping the Lord perfectly.
'In former times there were many fools like you who did not
conquer the six enemies that steal away the wealth of the
body. These fools were very proud, thinking, 'I have conquered
all enemies in all the ten directions.' But if a person is
victorious over the six enemies and is equipoised toward all
living entities, for him there are no enemies. Enemies are
merely imagined by one in ignorance.'
Hiranyakashipu replied: 'You rascal, you are trying to minimize
my value, as if you were better than me at controlling the
senses. This is over-intelligent. I can therefore understand
that you desire to die at my hands, for this kind of nonsensical
talk is indulged in by those about to die.
'O most unfortunate Prahlada, you have always described a
supreme being other than me, a supreme being who is above
everything, who is the controller of everyone, and who is
allpervading. But where is He? If He is everywhere, then why
is He not present before me in this pillar?
'Because you are speaking so much nonsense, I shall now sever
your head from your body. Now let me see your most worshipable
God come to protect you. I want to see it.' Being obsessed
with anger, Hiranyakashipu, who was very great in bodily strength,
thus chastised his exalted devotee-son Prahlada with harsh
words. Cursing him again and again, Hiranyakashipu took up
his sword, got up from his royal throne, and with great anger
struck his fist against the column.
Then from within the pillar came a fearful sound, which appeared
to crack the covering of the universe. O my dear Yudhisthira,
this sound reached even the abodes of the demigods like Lord
Brahma, and when the demigods heard it, they thought, 'Oh,
now our planets are being destroyed!' While showing his extraordinary
prowess, Hiranyakashipu, who desired to kill his own son,
heard that wonderful, tumultuous sound, which had never before
been heard. Upon hearing the sound, the other leaders of the
demons were afraid. None of them could find the origin of
that sound in the assembly.
To prove that the statement of His servant Prahlada Maharaja
was substantial-in other words, to prove that the Supreme
Lord is present everywhere, even within the pillar of an assembly
hall-the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, exhibited a
wonderful form never before seen. The form was neither that
of a man nor that of a lion. Thus the Lord appeared in His
wonderful form in the assembly hall. While Hiranyakashipu
looked all around to find the source of the sound, that wonderful
form of the Lord, which could not be ascertained to be either
a man or a lion, emerged from the pillar. In amazement, Hiranyakashipu
wondered, 'What is this creature that is half-man and half-lion?'
studied the form of the Lord, trying to decide who the form
of Nrisimhadeva standing before him was. The Lord's form was
extremely fearsome because of His angry eyes, which resembled
molten gold; His shining mane, which expanded the dimensions
of His fearful face; His deadly teeth; and His razor-sharp
tongue, which moved about like a dueling sword. His ears were
erect and motionless, and His nostrils and gaping mouth appeared
like caves of a mountain. His jaws parted fearfully, and His
entire body touched the sky. His neck was very short and thick,
His chest broad, His waist thin, and the hairs on His body
as white as the rays of the moon. His arms, which resembled
flanks of soldiers, spread in all directions as He killed
the demons, rogues and atheists with His conchshell, disc,
club, lotus and other natural weapons.
Hiranyakashipu murmured to himself, 'Lord Vishnu, who possesses
great mystic power, has made this plan to kill me, but what
is the use of such an attempt? Who can fight with me?' Thinking
like this and taking up his club, Hiranyakashipu attacked
the Lord like an elephant. Just as a small insect falls forcefully
into a fire and the insignificant creature becomes invisible,
when Hiranyakashipu attacked the Lord, who was full of effulgence,
Hiranyakashipu became invisible. This is not at all astonishing,
for the Lord is always situated in pure goodness. Formerly,
during creation, He entered the dark universe and illuminated
it by His spiritual effulgence.
Thereafter, the great demon Hiranyakashipu, who was extremely
angry, swiftly attacked Nrisimhadeva with his club and began
to beat Him. Lord Nrisimhadeva, however, captured the great
demon, along with his club, just as Garuda might capture a
great snake. O Yudhisthira, O great son of Bharata, when Lord
Nrisimhadeva gave Hiranyakashipu a chance to slip from His
hand, just as Garuda sometimes plays with a snake and lets
it slip from his mouth, the demigods, who had lost their abodes
and who were hiding behind the clouds for fear of the demon,
did not consider that incident very good. Indeed, they were
perturbed. When Hiranyakashipu was freed from the hands of
Nrisimhadeva, he falsely thought that the Lord was afraid
of his prowess. Therefore, after taking a little rest from
the fight, he took up his sword and shield and again attacked
the Lord with great force.
Making a loud, shrill sound of laughter, the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, Narayana, who is extremely strong and powerful,
captured Hiranyakashipu, who was protecting himself with his
sword and shield, leaving no gaps open. With the speed of
a hawk, Hiranyakashipu moved sometimes in the sky and sometimes
on the earth, his eyes closed because of fear of Nrisimhadeva's
As a snake captures a mouse or Garuda captures a very venomous
snake, Lord Nrisimhadeva captured Hiranyakashipu, who could
not be pierced even by the thunderbolt of King Indra. As Hiranyakashipu
moved his limbs here, there and all around, very much afflicted
at being captured, Lord Nrisimhadeva placed the demon on His
lap, supporting him with His thighs, and in the doorway of
the assembly hall the Lord very easily tore the demon to pieces
with the nails of His hand. Lord Nrisimhadeva's mouth and
mane were sprinkled with drops of blood, and His fierce eyes,
full of anger, were impossible to look at. Licking the edge
of His mouth with His tongue, the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
Nrisimhadeva, decorated with a garland of intestines taken
from Hiranyakashipu's abdomen, resembled a lion that has just
killed an elephant.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had many, many arms,
first uprooted Hiranyakashipu's heart and then threw him aside
and turned toward the demon's soldiers. These soldiers had
come in thousands to fight with Him with raised weapons and
were very faithful followers of Hiranyakashipu, but Lord Nrisimhadeva
killed all of them merely with the ends of His nails.
The hair on Nrisimhadeva's head shook the clouds and scattered
them here and there, His glaring eyes stole the effulgence
of the luminaries in the sky, and His breathing agitated the
seas and oceans. Because of His roaring, all the elephants
in the world began to cry in fear. Airplanes were thrown into
outer space and the upper planetary system by the hair on
Nrisimhadeva's head. Because of the pressure of the Lord's
lotus feet, the earth appeared to slip from its position,
and all the hills and mountains sprang up due to His intolerable
force. Because of the Lord's bodily effulgence, both the sky
and all directions diminished in their natural illumination.
Manifesting a full effulgence and a fearsome countenance,
Lord Nrisimha, being very angry and finding no contestant
to face His power and opulence, then sat down in the assembly
hall on the excellent throne of the king. Because of fear
and obedience, no one could come forward to serve the Lord
directly. Hiranyakashipu had been exactly like a fever of
meningitis in the head of the three worlds. Thus when the
wives of the demigods in the heavenly planets saw that the
great demon had been killed by the personal hands of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, their faces blossomed in great joy.
The wives of the demigods again and again showered flowers
from heaven upon Lord Nrisimhadeva like rain.
At that time, the airplanes of the demigods, who desired
to see the activities of the Supreme Lord, Narayana, crowded
the sky. The demigods began beating drums and kettledrums,
and upon hearing them the angelic women began to dance, while
the chiefs of the Gandharvas sang sweetly.
My dear King Yudhisthira, the demigods then approached the
Lord. They were headed by Lord Brahma, King Indra and Lord
Shiva, and included great saintly persons and the residents
of Pitriloka, Siddhaloka, Vidyadhara-loka and Nagaloka, the
planet of the snakes. The Manus approached, and so did the
chiefs of various other planets. The Apsara angelic dancers
approached, as did the Ganshharvas, the Caranas, the Yakshas,
the inhabitants of Kinnaraloka, the Vetalas, the inhabitants
of Kimpurusha-loka, and the personal servants of Vishnu like
Sunanda and Kumuda. All of them came near the Lord, who glowed
with intense light. They individually offered their obeisances
and prayers, their hands folded at their heads.
Lord Brahma prayed: 'My Lord, You are unlimited, and You
possess unending potencies. No one can estimate or calculate
Your prowess and wonderful influence, for Your actions are
never polluted by the material energy. Through the material
qualities, You very easily create the universe, maintain it
and again annihilate it, yet You remain the same, without
deterioration. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances
Lord Shiva said: 'The end of the millennium is the time for
Your anger. Now that this insignificant demon Hiranyakashipu
has been killed, O my Lord, who are naturally affectionate
to Your devotee, kindly protect his son Prahlada Maharaja,
who is standing nearby as Your fully surrendered devotee.'
King Indra said: 'O Supreme Lord, You are our deliverer and
protector. Our shares of sacrifices, which are actually Yours,
have been recovered from the demon by You. Because the demoniac
king Hiranyakashipu was most fearsome, our hearts, which are
Your permanent abode, were all overtaken by him. Now, by Your
presence, the gloom and darkness in our hearts have been dissipated.
O Lord, for those who always engage in Your service, which
is more exalted than liberation, all material opulence is
insignificant. They do not even care for liberation, not to
speak of the benefits of kama, artha and dharma.'
All the saintly persons present offered their prayers in
this way: 'O Lord, O supreme maintainer of those sheltered
at Your lotus feet, O original Personality of Godhead, the
process of austerity and penance, in which You instructed
us before, is the spiritual power of Your very self. It is
by austerity that You create the material world, which lies
dormant within You. This austerity was almost stopped by the
activities of this demon, but now, by Yourself appearing in
the form of Nrisimhadeva, which is meant just to give us protection,
and by killing this demon, You have again approved the process
of austerity.' The inhabitants of Pitriloka prayed: 'Let us
offer our respectful obeisances unto Lord Nrisimhadeva, the
maintainer of the religious principles of the universe. He
has killed Hiranyakashipu, the demon who by force enjoyed
all the offerings of the shraddha ceremonies performed by
our sons and grandsons on the anniversaries of our death and
who drank the water with sesame seeds offered in holy places
of pilgrimage. By killing this demon, O Lord, You have taken
back all this stolen property from his abdomen by piercing
it with Your nails. We therefore wish to offer our respectful
obeisances unto You.'
The inhabitants of Siddhaloka prayed: 'O Lord Nrisimhadeva,
because we belong to Siddhaloka, we automatically achieve
perfection in all eight kinds of mystic power. Yet Hiranyakashipu
was so dishonest that by the strength of his power and austerity,
he took away our powers. Thus he became very proud of his
mystic strength. Now, because this rogue has been killed by
Your nails, we offer our respectful obeisances unto You.'
The inhabitants of Vidyadhara-loka prayed: 'Our acquired
power to appear and disappear in various ways according to
varieties of meditation was banned by that foolish Hiranyakashipu
because of his pride in his superior bodily strength and his
ability to conquer others. Now the Supreme Personality of
Godhead has killed him just as if the demon were an animal.
Unto that supreme pastime form of Lord Nrisimhadeva, we eternally
offer our respectful obeisances.' The inhabitants of Nagaloka
said: 'The most sinful Hiranyakashipu took away all the jewels
on our hoods and all our beautiful wives. Now, since his chest
has been pierced by Your nails, You are the source of all
pleasure to our wives. Thus we together offer our respectful
obeisances unto You.'
All the Manus offered their prayers as follows: 'As Your
order carriers, O Lord, we, the Manus, are the law-givers
for human society, but because of the temporary supremacy
of this great demon, Hiranyakashipu, our laws for maintaining
varnashramadharma were destroyed. O Lord, now that You have
killed this great demon, we are in our normal condition. Kindly
order us, Your eternal servants, what to do now.'
The prajapatis offered their prayers as follows: 'O Supreme
Lord, Lord of even Brahma and Shiva, we, the prajapatis, were
created by You to execute Your orders, but we were forbidden
by Hiranyakashipu to create any more good progeny. Now the
demon is lying dead before us, his chest pierced by You. Let
us therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto You, whose
incarnation in this form of pure goodness is meant for the
welfare of the entire universe.'
The inhabitants of Gandharvaloka prayed: 'Your Lordship,
we ever engage in Your service by dancing and singing in dramatic
performances, but this Hiranyakashipu, by the influence of
his bodily strength and valor, brought us under his subjugation.
Now Your Lordship has brought him to this low condition. What
benefit can result from the activities of such an upstart
The inhabitants of the Carana planet said: 'O Lord, because
You have destroyed the demon Hiranyakashipu, who was always
a stake in the hearts of all honest men, we are now relieved,
and we eternally take shelter of Your lotus feet, which award
the conditioned soul liberation from materialistic contamination.'
The inhabitants of Yakshaloka prayed: 'O controller of the
twenty-four elements, we are considered the best servants
of Your Lordship because of rendering services pleasing to
You, yet we engaged as palanquin carriers by the order of
Hiranyakashipu, the son of Diti. O Lord in the form of Nrisimhadeva,
You know how this demon gave trouble to everyone, but now
You have killed him, and his body is mixing with the five
The inhabitants of Kimpurusha-loka said: 'We are insignificant
living entities, and You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
the supreme controller. Therefore how can we offer suitable
prayers unto You? When this demon was condemned by devotees
because they were disgusted with him, he was then killed by
The inhabitants of Vaitalika-loka said: 'Dear Lord, because
of chanting Your spotless glories in great assemblies and
arenas of sacrifice, we were accustomed to great respect from
everyone. This demon, however, usurped that position. Now,
to our great fortune, You have killed this great demon, exactly
as one cures a chronic disease.'
The Kinnaras said: 'O supreme controller, we are ever-existing
servants of Your Lordship, but instead of rendering service
to You, we were engaged by this demon in his service, constantly
and without remuneration. This sinful man has now been killed
by You. Therefore, O Lord Nrisimhadeva, our master, we offer
our respectful obeisances unto You. Please continue to be
The associates of Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha offered this prayer:
'O Lord, our supreme giver of shelter, today we have seen
Your wonderful form as Lord Nrisimhadeva, meant for the good
fortune of all the world. O Lord, we can understand that Hiranyakashipu
was the same Jaya who engaged in Your service but was cursed
by brahmanas and who thus received the body of a demon. We
understand that his having now been killed is Your special
mercy upon him.'
Prahlada Pacifies Lord Nrisimhadeva with Prayers
great saint Narada Muni continued: The demigods, headed by
Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and other great demigods, dared not
come forward before the Lord, who at that time was extremely
angry. The goddess of fortune, Lakshmiji, was requested to
go before the Lord by all the demigods present, but because
of fear she could not do so. Even she had never seen such
a wonderful and extraordinary form of the Lord, and thus she
could not approach Him.
Thereafter Lord Brahma requested Prahlada Maharaja, who was
standing very near him: 'My dear son, Lord Nrisimhadeva is
extremely angry at your demoniac father. Please go forward
and appease the Lord.'
Narada Muni continued: O King, although the exalted devotee
Prahlada Maharaja was only a little boy, he accepted Lord
Brahma's words. He gradually proceeded toward Lord Nrisimhadeva
and fell down to offer his respectful obeisances with folded
hands. When Lord Nrisimhadeva saw the small boy Prahlada Maharaja
prostrated at the soles of His lotus feet, He became most
ecstatic in affection toward His devotee. Raising Prahlada,
the Lord placed His lotus hand upon the boy's head because
His hand is always ready to create fearlessness in all of
By the touch of Lord Nrisimhadeva's hand on Prahlada Maharaja's
head, Prahlada was completely freed of all material contaminations
and desires, as if he had been thoroughly cleansed. Therefore
he at once became transcendentally situated, and all the symptoms
of ecstasy became manifest in his body. His heart filled with
love, and his eyes with tears, and thus he was able to completely
capture the lotus feet of the Lord within the core of his
heart. Prahlada Maharaja fixed his mind and sight upon Lord
Nrisimhadeva with full attention in complete trance. With
a fixed mind, he began to offer prayers in love with a faltering
Prahlada Maharaja prayed: 'How is it possible for me, who
have been born in a family of asuras, to offer suitable prayers
to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Even until
now, all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, and all the
saintly persons, could not satisfy the Lord by streams of
excellent words, although such persons are very qualified,
being in the mode of goodness. Then what is to be said of
me? I am not at all qualified.'
Prahlada Maharaja continued: 'One may possess wealth, an
aristocratic family, beauty, austerity, education, sensory
expertise, luster, influence, physical strength, diligence,
intelligence and mystic yogic power, but I think that even
by all these qualifications one cannot satisfy the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. However, one can satisfy the Lord
simply by devotional service. Gajendra did this, and thus
the Lord was satisfied with him.
'If a brahmana has all twelve of the brahminical qualifications
[as they are stated in the book called Sanat-sujata] but is
not a devotee and is averse to the lotus feet of the Lord,
he is certainly lower than a devotee who is a dog-eater but
who has dedicated everything-mind, words, activities, wealth
and life-to the Supreme Lord. Such a devotee is better than
such a brahmana because the devotee can purify his whole family,
whereas the so-called brahmana in a position of false prestige
cannot purify even himself.
'The Supreme Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is
always fully satisfied in Himself. Therefore when something
is offered to Him, the offering, by the Lord's mercy, is for
the benefit of the devotee, for the Lord does not need service
from anyone. To give an example, if one's face is decorated,
the reflection of one's face in a mirror is also seen to be
decorated. Therefore, although I was born in a demoniac family,
I may without a doubt offer prayers to the Lord with full
endeavour, as far as my intelligence allows. Anyone who has
been forced by ignorance to enter the material world may be
purified of material life if he offers prayers to the Lord
and hears the Lord's glories.
'O my Lord, all the demigods headed by Lord Brahma, are sincere
servants of Your Lordship, and are situated in a transcendental
position. Therefore they are not like us [Prahlada and his
father, the demon Hiranyakashipu]. Your appearance in this
fearsome form is Your pastime for Your own pleasure. Such
an incarnation is always meant for the protection and improvement
of the universe.
'My Lord Nrisimhadeva, please, therefore, cease Your anger
now that my father, the great demon Hiranyakashipu, has been
killed. Since even saintly persons take pleasure in the killing
of a scorpion or a snake, all the worlds have achieved great
satisfaction because of the death of this demon. Now they
are confident of their happiness, and they will always remember
Your auspicious incarnation in order to be free from fear.
'My Lord, who are never conquered by anyone, I am certainly
not afraid of Your ferocious mouth and tongue, Your eyes bright
like the sun or Your frowning eyebrows. I do not fear Your
sharp, pinching teeth, Your garland of intestines, Your mane
soaked with blood, or Your high, wedgelike ears. Nor do I
fear Your tumultuous roaring, which makes elephants flee to
distant places, or Your nails, which are meant to kill Your
'O most powerful, insurmountable Lord, who are kind to the
fallen souls, I have been put into the association of demons
as a result of my activities, and therefore I am very much
afraid of my condition of life within this material world.
When will that moment come when You will call me to the shelter
of Your lotus feet, which are the ultimate goal for liberation
from conditional life?
'O great one, O Supreme Lord, because of combination with
pleasing and displeasing circumstances and because of separation
from them, one is placed in a most regrettable position, within
heavenly or hellish planets, as if burning in a fire of lamentation.
Although there are many remedies by which to get out of miserable
life, any such remedies in the material world are more miserable
than the miseries themselves. Therefore I think that the only
remedy is to engage in Your service. Kindly instruct me in
'O my Lord Nrisimhadeva, by engaging in Your transcendental
loving service in the association of devotees who are liberated
souls [hamsas], I shall become completely uncontaminated by
the association of the three modes of material nature and
be able to chant the glories of Your Lordship, who are so
dear to me. I shall chant Your glories, following exactly
in the footsteps of Lord Brahma and his disciplic succession.
In this way I shall undoubtedly be able to cross the ocean
'My Lord Nrisimhadeva, O Supreme, because of a bodily conception
of life, embodied souls neglected and not cared for by You
cannot do anything for their betterment. Whatever remedies
they accept, although perhaps temporarily beneficial, are
certainly impermanent. For example, a father and mother cannot
protect their child, a physician and medicine cannot relieve
a suffering patient, and a boat on the ocean cannot protect
a drowning man.
'My dear Lord, everyone in this material world is under the
modes of material nature, being influenced by goodness, passion
and ignorance. Everyone-from the greatest personality, Lord
Brahma, down to the small ant-works under the influence of
these modes. Therefore everyone in this material world is
influenced by Your energy. The cause for which they work,
the place where they work, the time when they work, the matter
due to which they work, the goal of life they have considered
final, and the process for obtaining this goal-all are nothing
but manifestations of Your energy. Indeed, since the energy
and energetic are identical, all of them are but manifestations
'O Lord, O eternal Supreme Being, by expanding Your plenary
portion You have created the subtle bodies of the living entities
through the agency of Your external energy, which is agitated
by time. Thus the mind entraps the living entity in unlimited
varieties of desires to be fulfilled by the Vedic directions
of karma-kanda [fruitive activity] and the sixteen elements.
Who can get free from this entanglement unless he takes shelter
at Your lotus feet?
'My dear Lord, O supreme great, You have created this material
world of sixteen constituents, but You are transcendental
to their material qualities. In other words, these material
qualities are under Your full control, and You are never conquered
by them. Therefore the time element is Your representation.
My Lord, O Supreme, no one can conquer You. As for me, however,
I am being crushed by the wheel of time, and therefore I surrender
fully unto You. Now kindly take me under the protection of
Your lotus feet.
'My dear Lord, people in general want to be elevated to the
higher planetary systems for a long duration of life, opulence
and enjoyment, but I have seen all of these through the activities
of my father. When my father was angry and he laughed sarcastically
at the demigods, they were immediately vanquished simply by
seeing the movements of his eyebrows. Yet my father, who was
so powerful, has now been vanquished by You within a moment.
'My dear Lord, now I have complete experience concerning
the worldly opulence, mystic power, longevity and other material
pleasures enjoyed by all living entities, from Lord Brahma
down to the ant. As powerful time, You destroy them all. Therefore,
because of my experience, I do not wish to possess them. My
dear Lord, I request You to place me in touch with Your pure
devotee and let me serve him as a sincere servant.
'In this material world, every living entity desires some
future happiness, which is exactly like a mirage in the desert.
Where is water in the desert, or, in other words, where is
happiness in this material world? As for this body, what is
its value? It is merely a source of various diseases. The
so-called philosophers, scientists and politicians know this
very well, but nonetheless they aspire for temporary happiness.
Happiness is very difficult to obtain, but because they are
unable to control their senses, they run after the so-called
happiness of the material world and never come to the right
'O my Lord, O Supreme, because I was born in a family full
of the hellish material qualities of passion and ignorance,
what is my position? And what is to be said of Your causeless
mercy, which was never offered even to Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva
or the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi? You never put Your lotus
hand upon their heads, but You have put it upon mine.
'Unlike an ordinary living entity, my Lord, You do not discriminate
between friends and enemies, the favorable and the unfavorable,
because for You there is no conception of higher and lower.
Nonetheless, You offer Your benedictions according to the
level of one's service, exactly as a desire tree delivers
fruits according to one's desires and makes no distinction
between the lower and the higher.
'My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, because
of my association with material desires, one after another,
I was gradually falling into a blind well full of snakes,
following the general populace. But Your servant Narada Muni
kindly accepted me as his disciple and instructed me how to
achieve this transcendental position. Therefore, my first
duty is to serve him. How could I leave his service?
'My Lord, O unlimited reservoir of transcendental qualities,
You have killed my father, Hiranyakashipu, and saved me from
his sword. He had said very angrily, 'If there is any supreme
controller other than me, let Him save you. I shall now sever
your head from your body.' Therefore I think that both in
saving me and in killing him, You have acted just to prove
true the words of Your devotee. There is no other cause.
'My dear Lord, You alone manifest Yourself as the entire
cosmic manifestation, for You existed before the creation,
You exist after the annihilation, and You are the maintainer
between the beginning and the end. All this is done by Your
external energy through actions and reactions of the three
modes of material nature. Therefore whatever exists- externally
and internally-is You alone.
'My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, the entire
cosmic creation is caused by You, and the cosmic manifestation
is an effect of Your energy. Although the entire cosmos is
but You alone, You keep Yourself aloof from it. The conception
of 'mine and yours,' is certainly a type of illusion [maya]
because everything is an emanation from You and is therefore
not different from You. Indeed, the cosmic manifestation is
nondifferent from You, and the annihilation is also caused
by You. This relationship between Your Lordship and the cosmos
is illustrated by the example of the seed and the tree, or
the subtle cause and the gross manifestation.
'O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, after the annihilation
the creative energy is kept in You, who appear to sleep with
half-closed eyes. Actually, however, You do not sleep like
an ordinary human being, for You are always in a transcendental
stage, beyond the creation of the material world, and You
always feel transcendental bliss. As Karanodakashayi Vishnu,
You thus remain in Your transcendental status, not touching
material objects. Although You appear to sleep, this sleeping
is distinct from sleeping in ignorance.
'This cosmic manifestation, the material world, is also Your
body. This total lump of matter is agitated by Your potent
energy known as kala-shakti, and thus the three modes of material
nature are manifested. You awaken from the bed of ananta-shesha,
and from Your navel a small transcendental seed is generated.
It is from this seed that the lotus flower of the gigantic
universe is manifested, exactly as a banyan tree grows from
a small seed.
'From that great lotus flower, Brahma was generated, but
Brahma certainly could see nothing but the lotus. Therefore,
thinking You to be outside, Lord Brahma dove into the water
and attempted to find the source of the lotus for one hundred
years. He could find no trace of You, however, for when a
seed fructifies, the original seed cannot be seen.
'Lord Brahma, who is celebrated as atma-yoni, having been
born without a mother, was struck with wonder. Thus he took
shelter of the lotus flower, and when he had been purified
after undergoing severe austerities for many hundreds of years,
he could see that the cause of all causes, the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, was spread throughout his own body and senses,
just as aroma, although very subtle, is perceived in the earth.
'Lord Brahma could then see You possessing thousands and
thousands of faces, feet, heads, hands, thighs, noses, ears
and eyes. You were very nicely dressed, being decorated and
bedecked with varieties of ornaments and weapons. Seeing You
in the form of Lord Vishnu, Your symptoms and form being transcendental,
Your legs extending from the lower planets, Lord Brahma achieved
'My dear Lord, when You appeared as Hayagriva, with the head
of a horse, You killed two demons known as Madhu and Kaitabha,
who were full of the modes of passion and ignorance. Then
You delivered the Vedic knowledge to Lord Brahma. For this
reason, all the great saints accept Your forms as transcendental,
untinged by material qualities.
'In this way, my Lord, You appear in various incarnations
as a human being, an animal, a great saint, a demigod, a fish
or a tortoise, thus maintaining the entire creation in different
planetary systems and killing the demoniac principles. According
to the age, O my Lord, You protect the principles of religion.
In the age of Kali, however, You do not assert Yourself as
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore You are
known as Triyuga, or the Lord who appears in three yugas.
'My dear Lord of the Vaikuntha planets, where there is no
anxiety, my mind is extremely sinful and lusty, being sometimes
so-called happy and sometimes so-called distressed. My mind
is full of lamentation and fear, and it always seeks more
and more money. Thus it has become most polluted and is never
satisfied in topics concerning You. I am therefore most fallen
and poor. In such a status of life, how shall I be able to
discuss Your activities?
'My dear Lord, O infallible one, my position is like that
of a person who has many wives, all trying to attract him
in their own way. For example, the tongue is attracted to
palatable dishes, the genitals to sex with an attractive woman,
and the sense of touch to contact with soft things. The belly,
although filled, still wants to eat more, and the ear, not
attempting to hear about You, is generally attracted to cinema
songs. The sense of smell is attracted to yet another side,
the restless eyes are attracted to scenes of sense gratification,
and the active senses are attracted elsewhere. In this way
I am certainly embarrassed.
'My dear Lord, You are always transcendentally situated on
the other side of the river of death, but because of the reactions
of our own activities, we are suffering on this side. Indeed,
we have fallen into this river and are repeatedly suffering
the pains of birth and death and eating horrible things. Now
kindly look upon us-not only upon me but also upon all others
who are suffering-and by Your causeless mercy and compassion,
deliver us and maintain us.
'O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, original spiritual
master of the entire world, what is the difficulty for You,
who manage the affairs of the universe, in delivering the
fallen souls engaged in Your devotional service? You are the
friend of all suffering humanity, and for great personalities
it is necessary to show mercy to the foolish. Therefore I
think that You will show Your causeless mercy to persons like
us, who engage in Your service.
'O best of the great personalities, I am not at all afraid
of material existence, for wherever I stay I am fully absorbed
in thoughts of Your glories and activities. My concern is
only for the fools and rascals who are making elaborate plans
for material happiness and maintaining their families, societies
and countries. I am simply concerned with love for them.
'My dear Lord Nrisimhadeva, I see that there are many saintly
persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own
deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they
go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of
silence [mauna-vrata]. They are not interested in delivering
others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated
alone, leaving aside all these poor fools and rascals. I know
that without Krishna consciousness, without taking shelter
of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy. Therefore I wish
to bring them back to shelter at Your lotus feet.
'Sex life is compared to the rubbing of two hands to relieve
an itch. Grihamedhis, so-called grihasthas who have no spiritual
knowledge, think that this itching is the greatest platform
of happiness, although actually it is a source of distress.
The krpanas, the fools who are just the opposite of brahmanas,
are not satisfied by repeated sensuous enjoyment. Those who
are dhira, however, who are sober and who tolerate this itching,
are not subjected to the sufferings of fools and rascals.
'O Supreme Personality of Godhead, there are ten prescribed
methods on the path to liberation -to remain silent, not to
speak to anyone, to observe vows, to amass all kinds of Vedic
knowledge, to undergo austerities, to study the Vedas and
other Vedic literatures, to execute the duties of varnashramadharma,
to explain the shastras, to stay in a solitary place, to chant
mantras silently, and to be absorbed in trance. These different
methods for liberation are generally only a professional practice
and means of livelihood for those who have not conquered their
senses. Because such persons are falsely proud, these procedures
may not be successful.
'By authorized Vedic knowledge one can see that the forms
of cause and effect in the cosmic manifestation belong to
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for the cosmic manifestation
is His energy. Both cause and effect are nothing but energies
of the Lord. Therefore, O my Lord, just as a wise man, by
considering cause and effect, can see how fire pervades wood,
those engaged in devotional service understand how You are
both the cause and effect.
'O Supreme Lord, You are actually the air, the earth, fire,
sky and water. You are the objects of sense perception, the
life airs, the five senses, the mind, consciousness and false
ego. Indeed, You are everything, subtle and gross. The material
elements and anything expressed, either by the words or by
the mind, are nothing but You.
'Neither the three modes of material nature [sattva-guna,
rajoguna and tamo-guna], nor the predominating deities controlling
these three modes, nor the five gross elements, nor the mind,
nor the demigods nor the human beings can understand Your
Lordship, for they are all subjected to birth and annihilation.
Considering this, the spiritually advanced have taken to devotional
service. Such wise men hardly bother with Vedic study. Instead,
they engage themselves in practical devotional service.
'Therefore, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, the best of
all persons to whom prayers are offered, I offer my respectful
obeisances unto You because without rendering six kinds of
devotional service unto You-offering prayers, dedicating all
the results of activities, worshiping You, working on Your
behalf, always remembering Your lotus feet and hearing about
Your glories-who can achieve that which is meant for the paramahamsas?'
The great saint Narada said: Thus the devotee Prahlada Maharaja
pacified Lord Nrisimhadeva with prayers offered from the transcendental
platform. The Lord gave up His anger, and being very kind
to Prahlada, who was offering prostrated obeisances, He spoke
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: 'My dear Prahlada,
most gentle one, best of the family of the asuras, all good
fortune unto you. I am very much pleased with you. It is My
pastime to fulfill the desires of all living beings, and therefore
you may ask from Me any benediction that you desire to be
fulfilled. My dear Prahlada, may you live a long time. One
cannot appreciate or understand Me without pleasing Me, but
one who has seen or pleased Me has nothing more for which
to lament for his own satisfaction.
'My dear Prahlada, you are very fortunate. Please know from
Me that those who are very wise and highly elevated try to
please Me in all different modes of mellows, for I am the
only person who can fulfill all the desires of everyone.'
Narada Muni said: Prahlada Maharaja was the best person in
the family of asuras, who always aspire for material happiness.
Nonetheless, although allured by the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, who offered him all benedictions for material happiness,
because of his unalloyed Krishna consciousness he did not
want to take any material benefit for sense gratification.
Prahlada, the Best Among Exalted Devotees
saint Narada Muni continued: Although Prahlada Maharaja was
only a boy, when he heard the benedictions offered by Lord
Nrisimhadeva he considered them impediments on the path of
devotional service. Thus he smiled very mildly and spoke as
Prahlada Maharaja said: 'My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality
of Godhead, because I was born in an atheistic family I am
naturally attached to material enjoyment. Therefore, kindly
do not tempt me with these illusions. I am very much afraid
of material conditions, and I desire to be liberated from
materialistic life. It is for this reason that I have taken
shelter of Your lotus feet.
'O my worshipable Lord, because the seed of lusty desires,
which is the root cause of material existence, is within the
core of everyone's heart, You have sent me to this material
world to exhibit the symptoms of a pure devotee. Otherwise,
O my Lord, O supreme instructor of the entire world, You are
so kind to Your devotee that You could not induce him to do
something unbeneficial for him. On the other hand, one who
desires some material benefit in exchange for devotional service
cannot be Your pure devotee. Indeed, he is no better than
a merchant who wants profit in exchange for service.
'A servant who desires material profits from his master is
certainly not a qualified servant or pure devotee. Similarly,
a master who bestows benedictions upon his servant because
of a desire to maintain a prestigious position as master is
also not a pure master. O my Lord, I am Your unmotivated servant,
and You are my eternal master. There is no need of our being
anything other than master and servant. You are naturally
my master, and I am naturally Your servant. We have no other
'O my Lord, best of the givers of benediction, if You at
all want to bestow a desirable benediction upon me, then I
pray from Your Lordship that within the core of my heart there
be no material desires. O my Lord, because of lusty desires
from the very beginning of one's birth, the functions of one's
senses, mind, life, body, religion, patience, intelligence,
shyness, opulence, strength, memory and truthfulness are vanquished.
'O my Lord, when a human being is able to give up all the
material desires in his mind, he becomes eligible to possess
wealth and opulence like Yours. O my Lord, full of six opulences,
O Supreme Person! O Supreme Soul, killer of all miseries!
O Supreme Person in the form of a wonderful halflion half-man,
let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You.'
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: 'My dear Prahlada,
a devotee like you never desires any kind of material opulences,
either in this life or in the next. Nonetheless, I order you
to enjoy the opulences of the demons in this material world,
acting as their king until the end of the duration of time
occupied by Manu. It does not matter that you are in the material
world. You should always, continuously, hear the instructions
and messages given by Me and always be absorbed in thought
of Me, for I am the Supersoul existing in the core of everyone's
heart. Therefore, give up fruitive activities and worship
'My dear Prahlada, while you are in this material world you
will exhaust all the reactions of pious activity by feeling
happiness, and by acting piously you will neutralize impious
activity. Because of the powerful time factor, you will give
up your body, but the glories of your activities will be sung
in the upper planetary systems, and being fully freed from
all bondage, you will return home, back to Godhead. One who
always remembers your activities and My activities also, and
who chants the prayers you have offered, becomes free, in
due course of time, from the reactions of material activities.'
Prahlada Maharaja said: 'O Supreme Lord, because You are
so merciful to the fallen souls, I ask You for only one benediction.
I know that my father, at the time of his death, had already
been purified by Your glance upon him, but because of his
ignorance of Your beautiful power and supremacy, he was unnecessarily
angry at You, falsely thinking that You were the killer of
his brother. Thus he directly blasphemed Your Lordship, the
spiritual master of all living beings, and committed heavily
sinful activities directed against me, Your devotee. I wish
that he be excused for these sinful activities.'
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: 'My dear Prahlada,
O most pure, O great saintly person, your father has been
purified, along with twenty-one forefathers in your family.
Because you were born in this family, the entire dynasty has
been purified. Whenever and wherever there are peaceful, equipoised
devotees who are well behaved and decorated with all good
qualities, that place and the dynasties there, even if condemned,
'My dear Prahlada, King of the Daityas, because of being
attached to devotional service to Me, My devotee does not
distinguish between lower and higher living entities. In all
respects, he is never jealous of anyone. Those who follow
your example will naturally become My pure devotees. You are
the best example of My devotee, and others should follow in
'My dear child, your father has already been purified just
by the touch of My body at the time of his death. Nonetheless,
the duty of a son is to perform the shraddha ritualistic ceremony
after his father's death so that his father may be promoted
to a planetary system where he may become a good citizen and
devotee. After performing the ritualistic ceremonies, take
charge of your father's kingdom. Sit upon the throne and do
not be disturbed by materialistic activities. Please keep
your mind fixed upon Me. Without transgressing the injunctions
of the Vedas, as a matter of formality you may perform your
Sri Narada Muni continued: 'Thus, as the Supreme Personality
of Godhead ordered, Prahlada Maharaja performed the ritualistic
ceremonies for his father. O King Yudhisthira, he was then
enthroned in the kingdom of Hiranyakashipu, as directed by
the brahmanas. Lord Brahma, surrounded by the other demigods,
was bright-faced because the Lord was pleased. Thus he offered
prayers to the Lord with transcendental words.
Lord Brahma said: 'O Supreme Lord of all lords, proprietor
of the entire universe, O benedictor of all living entities,
O original person [adi-purusha], because of our good fortune
You have now killed this sinful demon, who was giving trouble
to the entire universe. This demon, Hiranyakashipu, received
from me the benediction that no living being within my creation
could kill him. With this assurance and with strength derived
from austerities and mystic power, he became excessively proud
and transgressed all the Vedic injunctions.
'By great fortune, Hiranyakashipu's son Prahlada Maharaja
has now been released from death, for although he is a child,
he is an exalted devotee. Now he is fully under the protection
of Your lotus feet. My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of
Godhead, You are the Supreme Soul. If one meditates upon Your
transcendental body, You naturally protect him from all sources
of fear, even the imminent danger of death.'
The Personality of Godhead replied: 'My dear Lord Brahma,
O great lord born from the lotus flower, just as it is dangerous
to feed milk to a snake, so it is dangerous to give benedictions
to demons, who are by nature ferocious and jealous. I warn
you not to give such benedictions to any demon again.'
Narada Muni continued: O King Yudhisthira, the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, who is not visible to an ordinary human being,
spoke in this way, instructing Lord Brahma. Then, being worshiped
by Brahma, the Lord disappeared from that place.
Prahlada Maharaja then worshiped and offered prayers to all
the demigods, such as Brahma, Shiva and the Prajapatis, who
are all parts of the Lord. Thereafter, along with Shukracharya
and other great saints, Lord Brahma, whose seat is on the
lotus flower, made Prahlada the king of all the demons and
giants in the universe.
O King Yudhisthira, after all the demigods, headed by Lord
Brahma, were properly worshiped by Prahlada Maharaja, they
offered Prahlada their utmost benedictions and then returned
to their respective abodes. Thus the two associates of Lord
Vishnu who had become Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu, the
sons of Diti, were both killed. By illusion they had thought
that the Supreme Lord, who is situated in everyone's heart,
was their enemy.
In this narration about Krishna, the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, various expansions or incarnations of the Lord
have been described, and the killing of the two demons Hiranyaksha
and Hiranyakashipu has also been described. This narration
describes the characteristics of the great and exalted devotee
Prahlada Maharaja, his staunch devotional service, his perfect
knowledge, and his perfect detachment from material contamination.
It also describes the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the
cause of creation, maintenance and annihilation. Prahlada
Maharaja, in his prayers, has described the transcendental
qualities of the Lord and has also described how the various
abodes of the demigods and demons, regardless of how materially
opulent, are destroyed by the mere direction of the Lord.
The principles of religion by which one can actually understand
the Supreme Personality of Godhead are called bhagavata-dharma.
In this narration, therefore, which deals with these principles,
actual transcendence is properly described.
One who hears and chants this narration about the omnipotence
of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, is certainly
liberated from material bondage without fail. Prahlada Maharaja
is the best among exalted devotees. Anyone who with great
attention hears this narration concerning the activities of
Prahlada Maharaja, the killing of Hiranyakashipu, and the
activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nrisimhadeva,
surely reaches the spiritual world, where there is no anxiety.
Narada Muni continued: My dear Maharaja Yudhisthira, all
of you [the Pandavas] are extremely fortunate, for the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, Krishna, lives in your palace just
like a human being. Great saintly persons know this very well,
and therefore they constantly visit this house.
The impersonal Brahman is Krishna Himself because Krishna
is the source of the impersonal Brahman. He is the origin
of the transcendental bliss sought by great saintly persons,
yet He, the Supreme Person, is your most dear friend and constant
wellwisher and is intimately related to you as the son of
your maternal uncle. Indeed, He is always like your body and
He is worshipable, yet He acts as your servant and sometimes
as your spiritual master. Exalted persons like Lord Shiva
and Lord Brahma could not properly describe the truth of the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. May the Lord, who
is always worshiped as the protector of all devotees by great
saints who observe vows of silence, meditation, devotional
service and renunciation, be pleased with us.
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