Tattva: God is bound by the words of the devotee.
Today is Vaamana Jayanti and the topic is Narasimhavatara. This is the introduction for Vaamanavatara. There is so much of similarity between them. In this there is redemption of Prahlada while in that there is redemption of Bali.
Prahlada’s grandson is Bali. Both had the same personalities. Though born as the son of a demon, he stood beyond the demonic qualities. The story of God entering the life of a great soul. On this day of Vaamana Jayanti, let us begin by bowing to Vaamana and Lord of Tatva Bhagavatha, Shri Krishna.
A saying says- ನಂಬದಿರ್ದನು ತಂದೆ ನಂಬಿದನು ಪ್ರಹ್ಲಾದ which means Prahalada believed in which his father did not believe. It is the question of belief. Prahalada had believed completely in Hari but his father had hatred in Him. But both of them were uplifted because both had the belief of knowing Hari. While Prahlada believed Hari to be the supreme God, Hiranyakashipu saw Him as his enemy. Both had a lot of firm belief on this matter. They were rightly father and son and had one faith. That firm faith was the reason for liberation. Therefore between the two, become any one, do not stand in the middle.
Don’t be dual-minded, believe in any one side. Either have fond devotion towards Him or opposing devotion. Fond devotion means-sweet liberation while opposing devotion means liberation through battles, torture, etc. By hook or crook, they attain Moksha. These two also are okay, but do not become like a housefly trapped on mucus, which cannot free itself nor can it die there.
Hiranyakashipu had no doubt about the existence of Hari because he knew that his brother was killed by Him. Hence he had this confirmed enemity towards Hari. Did he love Hari before that? No. The nature of this kind of people is such- enemity without reason, and in remembrance of his brother, it increased. He became more tensed, did a very hard penance in such a way that he was reduced to nothing but bones. An anthill grew over his body. At that time he was granted a boon.
After the boon was granted, his body became as before. In those times people used to be Asthigatha praanas, hence they would be alive until the bones were there. Now we have become Annagatha praanas. Like this the hatred towards Vishweshwara/the Lord of the world spread to the Vishwa/world. These kind of people don’t like anybody and don’t wish well for others.
He is troubling the whole world, he is oppressing all the living beings. All the Gods went to Srihari pleading to protect them. The Lord told them not to worry, the job will be done when the right time comes. He has put a trap around himself,he must be pulled out of it, hence wait for the time and He said, don’t worry, anyone who is spiteful about Gou, Brahmanas, saints and Dharma will not survive for long, can’t be constant for long, danger awaits them. He has won the world, he has won all of the three worlds, but he’ll be opposed by his own son at the end. Even though his son is just an infant right now, Hiranyakshipu will become helpless and weak in front of him. When his atrocities cross the limit, I’ll come, be patient and wait, He said. The Lord of the lords said to the Gods, strength and power are never permanent, there will be a loophole somewhere, it could be inside their own house or inside their body or inside the mind but there definitely is a loophole somewhere which can’t be faced by anyone and he will lose at some point. Because this is the rule of the world, you have to lose at some point. Hiranyakashipu had four children with his wife Kayaadu, namely Samhlada, Anuhlada, Hlada and Prahlada. Prahlada was the youngest but we have never heard of the other three. Because if a person’s name is to be well known then he must have achieved something. We know the father and also the son Prahlada. He was remembered as the youngest amongst the demons, even in Ramayana, Vibheeshana was the last child after Ravana, Kumbakarna and Shoorpanakhi. Amongst the four children of Kaikasi, Vibheeshana was like his father. Vishravasu was a Brahmarshi and Kaikasi was a demoness. It was told to her before that if they unite together at an inappropriate time and if she wanted their children to be like him and not like her, then the three children would be like her and only the fourth one would be like him and hence Vibheeshana became the noble one. People like Prahlada inspired Vibheeshana. During Hiranyakashipu’s reign there was atrocities everywhere, there was no place for Dharma. Because he didn’t leave Dharma anywhere, it came to his own house. It came in the form of his own son. Dharma is also magical, it rises from the darkest corner of the forest. The same thing happened to him, his son was different, he was born with love for Srihari. That is why it is said that good values are to be taught while in the womb of the mother. The mother should let only morals into her child. When Kayaadu was pregnant, she heard few good things, that’s why that passion, it grew into a tree and Prahlada was born with devotion. He was younger, but his values were not small, he never lied, never misspoke anything. He respected the elderly, knowledged people. He controlled all his senses, he was kind and humble which was uncommon amongst other people. That is the difference between normal people and great people. He was never narrow minded, he believed in good for all of the world, he served the elderly, he treated his teachers like Gods; thus, even though he was born as a demon his deeds were not. Hence the Gods accepted him as a noble devotee. His father didn’t realise in the beginning but that time was not far away. He was sent to Gurukul for education. His teachers were Shukracharaya’s children Chandramarkas. He was sent there because his father wanted him to become more heinous than himself. He wanted him to learn all the dark arts.
There are few students who are never attentive while they are being instructed, they hear it from one ear and leave from the other. But Prahlada was not like that. Usually when there is a proper environment it is easier to improve. But he didn’t have any such environment, he didn’t have any chance for devotion towards Hari. But none of these conditions affected him; environment in his school, at his house, couldn’t change him. If personality is strong then other things will not matter, but if that is not present then we won’t have our own identity. Few people copy few things from here and there and add everything from different places and make it theirs. But he wasn’t like that, he was strong , in other terms he would not break if thrown, wouldn’t melt if dragged, will stay strong as a brick. Whatever his teachers did wouldn’t change him. It became a problem to the poor teachers. Hiranyakashipu got to know about it. After a while he sat him down next to him and lovingly asked what all he had learnt while caressing his forehead (even if they are evil and harmful, they love their family and show their love towards them at times). He asked, son, what is the most supreme thing in this world? The son told the ultimate Srihari was the most supreme of all. The father laughed hysterically, poor child! Someone must have taught him this, some Brahmanas might be living amongst us in disguise, they might have taught my son all of these. He warned the teachers that someone was teaching unnecessary things and keep him away from everyone. Then they asked Prahlada softly that who planted seeds of devotion towards Hari in his mind. He answered that no one taught him but it was his nature itself. I am like this, he said and preached that Srihari was the most supreme. Nothing is bigger than him. They couldn’t come up with any solution to convert him. They tried everything- Saama, Daana, Bheda, Danda- everything was experimented on him. Even now these techniques are used in few schools. He did not wither at any moment, but he started preaching to other students himself that Hari was the supreme. He preached so beautifully that all the students started listening to him rather listening to the teachers. Then it became a huge problem to the teachers, hence they sent him back to his mother and asked to send him elsewhere. When he returned home his father asked him to tell about something nice that he learnt from his teachers. He asked carefully this time. But Prahlada knew nothing but Hari and preached about Hari to his cruel father. He had utmost devotion towards nothing but Vishnu. How many times do we remember God? If we remember him only when we are facing problems then, there is something wrong. If we don’t remember him even at times of crisis, then there is a serious issue which can’t be treated. He said this is what he had realised, that he learnt that success is devotion towards Him in nine different ways i.e. hearing, singing, memory,saluting the feet, worship,devoting, salutations and surrendering. Hiranyakashipu was furious, he immediately summoned the teachers and asked them what were they teaching him. He was even suspicious of the teachers that they might have taught him this. The teachers told that this was his own nature. But Hiranyakashipu refused to believe that. When Prahlada tried to explain the same he got even more furious and lost sense and ordered to kill his own son as a result. He said that he was the most important and everything should happen according to his will and if there were any barriers then he wouldn’t mind taking away his own son’s life. This is not our culture, everything presents different views and topics. There is a chance for everything, nothing is belittled. It suggests to proceed in one direction with utmost focus to achieve something. But this was outrageous. Brutal servants tried to kill Prahlada. They say what goes around comes around, all the evilness he had spread around the world came back to his own house and was experimented on his own son. They used different methods and lethal weapons but nothing worked on him, nothing changed his mind. Even when they tried to hurt him physically nothing changed, nothing happened. What kind of body was that? How strong was that mind that nothing changed it? Invincible, nobody could change anything. That is belief, even if Hari Himself came and told him otherwise, he wouldn’t believe, his belief was that strong. No sword or any other weapon worked on him. That is trust. Elephants stomped him, poisonous snakes bit him, even black magic was tried on him. But nothing touched him. They dropped him from a cliff, made him starve, laid him on cutting cold ice, pushed him into the fire. At last they dropped him amidst the ocean. Even after all this Prahlada didn’t even have a scratch on his body, his smile didn’t fade, his devotion didn’t deteriorate. That is what we should learn, but because of his deeds this got a meaning. When his father performed heinous acts on him, his name got the value. Prahlada means ecstatic happiness, he used to be happy with devotion immersed in devotion towards Hari, he never deviated from that devotion and worship towards Hari. His smile didn’t fade.
We should also learn this. We should always face the difficulties blissfully. Whatever comes in the path of life should be accepted happily. Spreading joy everywhere will reduce the intensity of the difficulties or else at least it will minimize the pressure. We should be happy and contented by ourselves. See how much violence did Prahlada face; how merciful his situation was. We cry even for a small reason, get tensed, scared and loose our mind. If we are natural and simple minded then the natural strength that we possess will always be with us. Nothing happened to Prahalada, a great devotee of Hari. But the Sage Shukra was merciful seeing his situation and said “Let us tie him with Varuna pasha and make him listen to the lectures”. Prahlada did not respond but when they left the place, he started his old habit of preaching Hari devotion to everyone around. Those who listened to it were all uplifted. Seeing this his father reached the heights of anger and started beating, yelling and did all that he can do to annoy him. But Prahlada was not moved even a bit. He in turn started telling his father, “what you have done is not right and what I am doing is absolutely right. There is no other way than Hari”. Both were persistent in their opinion. While father had a negative determination, son had a positive one. Hiranyakashipu had a very strong belief in his theory but he was not tested at all. But no one else have faced the tests that Prahlada had faced in his life. His devotion towards Hari was very strong. That’s why he was called as Bhaktagresara (supreme among the devotees). Father asked Prahlada “what strength do you have? Based on which strength are you confronting me?” Prahlada said “what secret is there in that. I have the same strength that you have, that everyone else have, that strength is nothing but of Hari’s”. The prime character of demons is ego. However beautiful we are, if ego grows in us then we become demons. Hence, never give an opportunity to this ego. Here Prahlada had provoked his father’s ego. Father with his intense anger asks – “Show your Hari first”. I will finish him and then finish you. Then the problem will be solved forever. Prahlada laughs and says “Why are you asking this. Where is he not there? He is present everywhere”. With the boiling anger Hiranyakashipu jumps out of his throne with the sword in his hand, showing at the pillar asks Prahlada “is your Hari present in this pillar? ” At that moment a phenomenal sound was heard. That sound was so loud that it once felt like the whole world was collapsed. Even the powerful army officers were all shaken. Hiranyakashipu could hear the sound but could not see anything. The time for God to descend to earth had come. God always listens to his devotees. He decended down to earth just to make Prahlada’s words true. There were mainly two reasons. First reason was to show that He exists everywhere and second reason was to keep the words of his two disciples (one is Brahma who had given the boon and the other one is his devotee Prahlada). Finally, He the supreme of all beings, appeared to the world in the marvelous form of Narasimha.
May you all be filled with the feeling of Prahlada. This story is an example for how the Lord protects us if we have faith in Him and remember Him. He descended for the reason that His devotee’s word shouldn’t become untrue and to save his honour. Hiranyakashipu was surprised seeing the Narasimha form. The form was as if gold had been heaped up. The form was like a flame reaching the sky and golden coloured. It is highly unimaginable! He played His game of fight for few minutes; then He lifted him and placed him on His lap and granted liberation. If the Lord had enemity, why would He place the demon on His lap? Lap is the place for kids; though the Lord’s form was fearful, He was mother hearted. He came in a way to suit the boon granted by Brahma. It was the time of dusk. See His trouble, He tore apart the demon’s heart. We cannot see the Lord if the knots of the heart are tightened. So He will loosen it. He granted liberation for both, first for the father and then Jivanmukti for the son. Narasimha then sat on the throne. He wished that Prahlada should sit on the throne on which He sat. There is a protocol that though there are children of more age, the throne shall be given to them who are more knowledged. Prahlada sang the praise of the Lord and satisfied Him. Narasimha told Brahma not to give such boons in future. In this way, a divine man adorned the throne as the leader of the demons. There is probably no such one even among the gods. That was Kritayuga. The same happened in Tretayuga when Raamaraajya was established in Lanka and Vibhishana adorned the throne.
This incarnation’s uniqueness is that the devotee’s words should not become untrue. It is to assure that “Your tongue is my tongue and your words are mine; You are me and I am you. We aren’t different”. Devotion is the greatest. Let’s move towards it.
Picture courtesy: Internet
TattvaBhaagavatam a special discourse by Sri Sri RaghaveshwaraBharathi Mahaswamiji: full Video :