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Bhakthi Story: Story of Bhaktha Prahalada

Story of Bhaktha Prahalada

Bhagavan Narashimha making hatyam of Rakshasa Hiranyakashipu

Swayam BrahmaDeva making Raajya-abhishekam of Prahalada Swamy

Hiranyakashipu had received a boon from Brahma. On the strength of this boon, he conquered the three worlds. He drove out Indra from heaven and assumed the title of Indra. He also assumed the titles of Savita, Vayu, Agni, Varuna, Soma, Kubera and Yama. The gods fled from heaven (svarga) and roamed around the world in human forms. Everyone had to worship Hiranyakashipu, the king of the daityas (the sons of Diti). Hiranyakashipu lived in a magnificent palace made of crystal. There the apsaras danced. And Hiranyakashipu indulged in drinking wine.

Young Prahlada had been sent away to study with his guru (teacher). On a vacation he came home with his teacher and Hiranyakashipu naturally wanted to find out what his son had learnt.

"I have learnt to pray to Vishnu," said Prahlada.

Hiranyakshipu was furious. "Why have you taught him this nonsense?," he demanded of the guru.

"I have not," replied the teacher "This is not what I have taught him. He is saying this of his own accord.

"Dear son," asked Hiranyakashipu, "who has taught this rubbish?"

"The teacher of all teachers, Lord Vishnu," came the reply.

"Who is this Vishnu?," asked Hiranyakashipu.

"The Lord of my heart," said Prahlada.

"Lord of your heart. How can you have a Lord other than me?"

"He is not only my Lord, he is yours as well," repied Prahlada. "Lord of everyone."

"Take him away," said the angry Hiranyakashipu. "Send him back to the teacher. Let him unlearn all this."

Prahlada went back to his guru’s home and studied there for many years. He was then again brought back before Hiranyakashipu.

"Son," asked Hiranyakashipu, "what did you study?"

"To pray to Vishnu," was the reply.

"Kill my evil son," said Hiranyakashipu. "There is nothing to be gained by his remaining alive. He is a disgrace to my family."

On hearing these words, hundreds and thousands of daityas attacked Prahlada with all sorts of weapons. But because Prahlada was protected by Vishnu, the weapons could do him no harm. Hiranyakashipu then let loose many poisonous snakes on Prahlada. But because Prahlada had Vishnu’s protection, the fangs of the snakes could not penetrate his skin. Hiranyakshipu then asked many elephants to kill Prahlada with their tusks. The elephants threw done Prahlada on the gound and gored him with their tusks. But Prahlada thought of Vishnu and the tusks broke on his breast. On the orders of Hiranyakashipu, the daityas next lit a fire. Prahlada was put into the fire, but the flames could do nothing to him. On witnessing all this, Hiranyakashipu’s priests requested him to take Prahlada out of the fire. "Don’t worry," they said, "We will give him a proper education."

Prahlada went back to his guru. But whenever he could find the time, he began to teach the sons of the daityas. He taught them to pray to Vishnu.

This was reported to Hiranyakashipu, who instructed the cooks to poison Prahlada’s food. The cooks did as they were told. But because Prahlada thought of Vishnu, the poison had no effect. The priests tried to persuade Prahlada once more. But to no avail. The priests then created a demon. The demon was like the flames of a fire. It dug up the earth with its feet. And attacked Prahlada with a huge trishula (trident). But the trishula struck Prahlada’s chest and broke into many pieces. This frustrated the demon and it turned around and began to attack the priests instead. The priests ran here and there, but were all killed by the demon.

This made Prahlada very unhappy. "Lord Vishnu, teacher of all the worlds, creator of all the worlds," he prayed. "Please restore these priests back to life." And as soon as Prahlada touched the dead bodies, the priests came back to life. The priests went back to Hiranyakashipu and told him what had happened.

Prahlada was taken to Hiranyakashipu once more. "What gives you these powers?," asked Hiranyakashipu.

"They are not my powers," replied Prahlada. "They are the powers of Vishnu."

On hearing Vishnu’s name, Hiranyakashipu became angry once again. He instructed his servants to take Prahlada to the top of the place and throw him down so that his bones might break on the rocks below. The servants did as they were told. But Prahlada thought of Vishnu as he fell, and nothing happened to him. Hiranyakashipu then called Shambarasura. This was an asura who was well versed in the use of maya, the technique of creating illusions and hallucinations.

Shambarasura used maya to create illusions around Prahlada. But Prahalda kept thinking of Vishnu. And Vishnu’s weapon, the sudarshana chakra, came and destroyed all the maya. Hiranyakashipu then asked the wind to dry up Prahlada’s body. But this too failed. And Prahlada returned to the home of his teacher.

The teacher taught him the things that a king should know. These precepts of royal policy had been laid down a long time ago by Shukracharya. They taught one the rules for dealing with one’s enemies and one’s friends.

When his education had been completed, Prahalda was brought again before Hiranyakashipu. "Son," said Hiranyakashipu, "show me what you have learnt. How will you deal with your enemies?"

"What enemies?," asked prahlada. "Vishnu is in me, Vishnu is in my friend and Vishnu is in my enemies. If Vishnu is everywhere, how can there be enemies? I see friends everywhere, Gods, humans, birds, animals, tree and snakes are all full of the same Vishnu. Therefore, one should look upon the whole world as one looks upon oneself."

Hiranyakashipu became mad with anger. He got up from his throne and kicked his son on the chest. He told his soldiers to tie Prahlada in nooses of snakes and throw him into the sea. They were then to throw down mountains on the sea so that Prahlada got crushed. This is precisely what the daityas did. But Prahlada kept on praying to Vishnu. He forgot all about himself and thought only of Vishnu. Prahlada became like Vishnu himself and the nooses of snakes fell away from his body. Prahalada removed the mountains that had been thrown down by the daityas and emerged from the water. He prayed to Vishnu and Vishnu appeared before him.

"What boon do you desire, Prahlada?," asked Vishnu.

"That I may be forever faithful to you."

"Granted," said Vishnu. "What else do you want/"

"That my father’s sins be forgiven."

"Granted," said Vishnu.

Prahlada returned to Hiranyakashipu and the father relented and embrace his son. Eventually, Vishnu adopted the form of a man-lion (Narasimha) and killed Hiranyakashipu. Prahlada became the king of the daityas and he ruled well and wisely. He had many sons and grandsons. One of Prahlada’s sons was Virochana and Virochana’s son was Vali.

PS: Only bhakthi wins over shakthi, yukthi and anything. Only Bhagavan naama smaranam is the only way. OM NAMO NARAYANAYA is the only path.



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