Introduction : A
lad who faced the anger of his mighty father for the sake of his faith in
God. Poison, sword and fire could not frighten him. And the Lord Himself
responded to the devotion of the five-year old boy and came to the earth.
'Let not death come to me from any creature created by Brahma.
'Let me not meet with death
either in the house or outside it.
'Let not my death occur during the day or at night.
'No weapon should cause my death.
'I should not die either on land or in the sky-'
It is said a Rakshasa, an evil I person, got this boon from Brahma. He
thought he was
beyond the reach of death ; so he was puffed up with pride that he was
deathless. He troubled the gods very much.
His ears burnt when he heard the name of Lord Vishnu.
What a boon he got from Lord Brahma And yet he was punished for his wicked
pride and death came to him. Men and gods used to tremble when they heard
his name; they were freed from this fear.
Even the gods, it is said, could not save the world from thecruelty and
Hiranyakasipu. At last, a boy's firm and pure devotion to, God saved the
world. This boy was Prahlada.
The story of Prahlada is very interesting.
'What Have You Learnt, Dear Child?'
"Who is a friend and who is a foe?" - this was the question that troubled
the mind of little Prahlada. That peaceful boy of beautiful curls was
walking to and fro before the house of his teacher. He was absentminded. The
house belonged to Chanda and Amarka, the sons of Sukra- charya, the great
teacher of theRakshasas, evil beings. Prahlada together with other Rakshasa
boys was taught there. Prahlada was earnest, dignified and modest. So the
teachers were very much pleased. Besides, he was the son of Hiranyakasipu,
the most powerful king of the demons. Eight gods guard eight points of the
universe. Hiranyakasipu had crushed them. He had pleased Brahma Himself and
got boons from Him. Gods trembled with fear at his name. Prahlada was the
son of that' glorious king. Sukracharya had greater pride in him for this
reason. The teachers used to teach how he should treat friends and how he
should treat enemies.Prahlada listened to the lessons. But all the while
he thought, 'What is R these teachers say? Hari is present everywhere in the
world. We are all sparks of that glowing fire. Who, then, is an enemy and
who a friend? Why have any fears?’
Just then the king's servants came to take him to the palace. His father
loved the son very dearly. He was eager to know what the child had learnt.
Prahlada went up to the throne. Hiranyakasipu called his son with tender
love. He took him on his knee and pressed soft and loving kisses on his
cheek. He said, "Well child, tell me what you have learnt from your
teachers." Prahlada said: "Father, they teach me that one person is my
friend and another my enemy. I do not like this. I want to leave all this
and go to the forest. I want to meditate on. Lord Srihari." At these words
the father felt as if hot lead was poured into his heart. God Srihari was
his enemy; and his own son was speaking about him! That son
wanted to meditate on him!
But still he sent away the boy with a smiling face. Then he sent for his
teachers. He said, "Sirs, some enemy has crept into your school; he has been
poisoning the tender mind of my son with devotion to Vishnu. Pray be careful
and correct him." Then he took leave of them.
The teachers Chanda and Amarka were filled with fear when they learnt that
Srihari was the beloved Lord of Prahlada. They palled him near and spoke
very tenderly: "Child! Don't tell a lie; speak the truth. No other boy has
such thoughts here. How did these thoughts come to you? Did anyone teach
them? Or, are they your own thoughts?" Then Prahlada told them, "Sirs, I do
not understand what you say. That I am different from others is a false
belief. By the grace of Narayana I am free from such false beliefs. I have
myself learnt this; nobody taught me."
When they heard these words, they lost all hope. "Oh, you cursed being! You
are a shame to the race of the Rakshasas. Don't you know that the same Hari
is the deadly axe at the very root of the race of Rakshasas? It is he who
killed your uncle." So they tried to frighten him, They also hoped he would
forget Srihari if they taught him new subjects. They taught him the
principles of the art of ruling; they taught him the ways of defeating
enemies by peaceful persuasion, giving gifts to win over others, creating
quarrels among enemies and, finally, the use of force. They hoped that these
studies would turn Prahlada's mind away from Vishnu.
Still there was some fear in their minds. So before they sent him to the
king of the
Rakshasas, they took him to his mother Kayadhu. She gave him a holy bath and
dressed him in new and lovely clothes. The boy looked charming. With love
and obedience the boy touched his father's
Hiranyakasipu asked him
tenderly, "Child, what is the highest thing you have learnt?"
Prahlada expressed his innermost thoughts: "Dear father, to hear with my
ears the holy names of Srihari, to have a song to Him on my lips, a thought
of Him in my mind, to worship only Him and to bow to Him, to be His servant
and His friend, to offer myself to Him in devotion - this is the
It was as if liquid fire raced through Hiranyakashipu's body. He called his
teachers and thundered at them: "You wicked Brahmins, you have taught my son
bad things and ruined him! You seem to have joined my enemies and to have no
fear of meat at all!"
The poor teachers! Their
heart was heavy with grief and fear. Trembling in fear they
prayed to him thus: "Great King, we beg of you, be not angry with us. This
is not what we have taught. The prince himself says that he learnt it by
himself. Do not say we have secretly worked against you."
The anger of the King of the Rakshasas now turned on his son. He said,
"Wretched fellow, how did you learn such evil?"
Prahlada had no fear whatever. "Father, this I have said is not evil. No one
taught this to me. It is wrong to think that I am different from others this
wisdom came to me by the grace of Vishnu."
He Must be Killed
At the words of his son, Hiranyakasipu trembled in great anger. He pushed
the boy away and roared to his servants, "Do not wait; take away this evil
fellow from my presence at once. Drag him away. Kill him. Just as a disease
born in the body destroys it, this cursed boy born in our family will
Rakshasas of horrible forms, carrying terrible weapons, were shocked when
they heard the order of their master. What, kill the young prince? But they
did not have the courage to disobey the king's order, so they went up to the
boy.The little boy stood unmoved meditating on Lord Hari. They struck the
boy with the sharp point of the lance. But it did not pierce his body. Not a
hair was hurt. No weapon injured him. Hiranyakasipu stood amazed. But the
next moment he was reminded of his son's devotion to Vishnu and his eyes
became red with anger.
He screamed, "Bring elephants. Let him trampled under their feet."
Those who heard the king's cruel order trembled. But Prahlada himself was
calm and showed not the slightest trace of fear. Elephants entered the
palace. The king himself watched; his heart had turned to stone because of
hatred. An elephant stood upon the boy.
Oh wonder of wonders!
Nothing happened to the boy!
Hiranyakashipu's anger knew
no bounds. He was grievously insulted.In boiling anger he ordered Prahlada
to be thrown into the river. Then Prahlada joyously floated on water
repeating the sacred names of Hari. It was an unbearable insult to his
father. 'I must kill the boy' - this was the thought that filled all his
mind. Prahlada was given poison; but his devotion to Hari changed it into
nectar. The king's servants pushed him from the ledge of a mountain rock; he
fell like a light flower from a branch and came back to his father unhurt.
Thrown into the fire, he glowed like the Fire God. Rain, wind, snow and sun
- nothing could hurt him in the least. Hiranyakasipu was amazed. He said,
"This boy is barely a span in height, just five years old; and yet he has
such wonderful power. Bravo! He is fit to be my son. But he is loyal to my
enemy Vishnu! Vishnu killed my brother Hiranyaksha, and my son is devoted to
him! What shall I do? He is devoted to my accursed enemy. Perhaps he will be
my death." So he was troubled.
'Narada Taught Me'
Then the sons of Sukracharya met Hiranyakasipu when he was alone andsaid,
"King of the Rakshasas I in all the three worlds there is no one whom you
have not defeated.When you are so strong why worried about this boy? Our
father Sukra- charya will be here in a short time. He will somehow correct
this boy and properly shape his nature. Besides, Prahlada is yet small boy.
He may grow up to be a sensible man. Until then let him stay with us." The
king agreed and sent his son with them.
Prahlada again entered the house of the masters. The teachers taught him how
a king should rule and how he should defeat his enemies.But he had no
interest in such matters. So time passed.
Once both the teachers went home on business. The boys wished to relax and
play. They also called Prahlada to join them. He said to them in his sweet
voice, "Friends, human life is a rare gift. It is not a small thing to be
born a man and not ari animal. When we get this gift we should not waste it.
If we wish to be happy, we must be devoted to Srihari from childhood. That
is the only way to make our lifeworthy. If our ways please God, He will give
anything. Narada himself has taught me this. What is the use of this
wretched education? This is only a waste of time." The boys were surprised
to hear these words. Prahlada was studying with them; Chanda and Amarka were
the teachers of all of them. How then was Narada Prah- lada's teacher? So
they asked Prahlada, "Prince, you have always been with us. Where did you
meet Narada? When did he teach you?" To clear this doubt, Prahlada told the
story of his past to them.
It is an interesting story. "You know, boys, that in days gone by, my father
went to the
mountain Mandara for meditation. Then the gods thought that was the best
time to attack the country of the Rakshasas. The king was not there to
protect the Rak- shasas. They were defeated and ran away helter-skelter. The
gods looted the palace. Devendra was dragging away my mother Kayadhu as a
war - prisoner. She was crying piteously. Then Narada happened to come that
way. He said, 'Oh King I What injustice is this? Is it right for you to do
this? She is a pious woman and you are dragging her. First leave her.' Then
Devendra replied, 'Holy Sir, I entertain no evil thought about this woman.
She is now with child. I fear the child that is born will cause ruin and
harm to us as his father does. I shall take her home. As soon as the child
is born I shall kill him and send her back home.'
"Then Narada laughed and said, 'Friend, you do not know the truth. The son
to be born of her will be devoted to God. You cannot kill him. Besides, is
this an act worthy of the king of the gods?' On hearing these words of
Narada, Indra felt ashamed. He touched the feet of my mother and let her go.
Narada took her to his Ashrama. During her stay there Narada taught her
Bhagavata Dharma, the way of those who love God. I was in the womb of my
mother; I heard and understood these teachings. After my father returned
home, my mother came to the palace. As days passed she forgot the Bhagavata
Dharma. But it was firmly fixed in my mind. If you hear those teachings you
will get the same wisdom."
The story was very
interesting. Prahlada's friends were delighted. They were curious now to
know more about Bhagavata Dharma. So they said, "You speak of Bhagavata
Dharma, what is it?" Now Prahlada explained,"it is the way of winning the
love of God. There are many ways of making God love us. Of these many ways,
the best and the easiest is Bhagavata Dharma. We should love Him with all
our hearts. We should always think of him. We should believe that everything
really belongs to Him and act according to that belief. We should always be
in the company of good people. So we have joy and peace. So Narada taught
me." These words appealed to the other boys; a they, too, became the
devotees of Srihari.
Vishnu In The Form Of Varaha
The masters learnt what had happened. Their minds were filled with grief and
anger.The king had become wild withanger because Prahlada had become a
devotee of Hari. What may he do when he learnt that all the boys had become
devotees of Srihari ? So they approached Prahlada and spoke to him sweet
words: "Child, have you done right? Don't you know how deeply and strongly
your father hates Vishnu? Is it not the same Hari in the form of the wild
pig who killed your uncle?"
Prahlada was curious. He said, "Holy Sirs, tell me about it." Then the
masters called all the pupils. They narrated the story of Narayana so as to
blame the deeds of Varaha.
"When Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksha were born, the gods trembled with fear.
These two Children gained terrible forms and grew up day by day and looked
like mountains. The younger of the two, Hiran- yaksha, was the stronger and
attacked Heaven, the kingdom of the gods. At his very sight they were struck
so much with fear that they hid themselves. Hiranyaksha challenged Varuna,
the Lord of the Ocean, to a fight. But Varuna answered, '’O great hero, I
live like a hermit. I do not wish to fight. Besides, who can fight with you!
Only God can do it.' Then Hiranyaksha went in search of Hari."
Prahlada was listening to
the story. The teachers continued, "At that moment, through one of the
nostrils of Parabrahma a pig shot out. He was very small. In size -just
aninch tall. Buteven as the onlookers were gazing, he began to grow. He grew
and grew and became huge like a mountain. The Earth had fallen into the
ocean and was lying under the water. The pig lifted it on his tusks. He was
now rising above the water in order to offer the Earth
to Brahma. Hiranyaksha saw this mountain- like pig and was astounded.Still
pride he cried -'Foolish pig, leave the earth where it is and go away. Yes,
I now know who you are, you are no other than Maha- vishnu in the form of a
pig. I have come to break your head.' So saying he stopped the pig. The
Earth - Goddess trembled at the fearful appearance of the Rakshasa. But
Varaha (the huge pig) did not take notice of these things. He was rising
from the ocean. Hiranyaksha grew impatient and called loudly, 'Coward! You
have no shame.'Varaha heard these insultingwords and put aside the Earth.
His eyes were red with anger.He said, 'These words of empty pride will only
lead you to the jaws ofdeath. Well, then, fight.' A dreadful fight followed
The teachers continued the story of the fight. "'The gods witnessed this
terrible fight. It went on from morning till evening.
"Brahma was very anxious to see the fight finished, before.Darkness
(the first pig).For, as darknessapproaches, the strength of Rakshasas, too,
though he read Brahma's thoughts, the divine pig smiled and sent his disc
(the Chakra) whirling towards Hiranyaksha. This mighty weapon destroyed all
weapons of our Yuvaraja, Hiranyaksha. At this, Hiran- yaksha's anger rose
high and he rushed forward roaring with anger to crush Hari in his arms.
Then the divine pig struck a stunning blow on Hiranyaksha's cheek. The blow
was so terrible. That Hiranyaksha fell to the ground and died."
The teachers of the Rakshasas were filled with sorrow while narrating the
Hiranyaksha's death. But Prahlada begged the teachers to continue the story.
They said, "At the death of Hiranyaksha his wife Vrishadbhanu and her
children were overpowered with grief. His mother Dithidevi was heart-broken.
Our master Piranyakashipu also was filled with sorrow. But he tried to
console the others. He said: 'everyone has to die. So do not weep. My
brother fought and died like a hero. So why weep for his death?’ So he tried
to comfort the weeping the relatives.
'This Boon I Seek...'
"Our King Hiranyakasipu tried to console others. But sorrow burnt his own
heart like fire. Even, before this, our king Hiranya- kasipu hated Vishnu.
Now Hari's very name was like poison to him. His blood was boiling with the
hatred of Vishnu. He called the generals of his army Illyala, Nam uchi and
others. He said, 'Give the devotees of Vishnu as much trouble asyou can.
Dest those who perform sacrifices and worship Vishnu.' They burnt the
cities, razed temples to the ground -They destroyed the crops.They teased
the people. How can we describe the bravery of the Rakshasas?" The teachers
narrated this story with great joy. But Prahlada felt -sick when he heard of
the evil deeds of the Rakshasas. He wished to end the evil actions of the
Rakshasas. He wished to change their nature.
The teachers continued, "The King of the Rakshasas retired to the
mountainMandara and began Tapas (meditation on the Lord). What a~ severe
meditation it was! Tostand on the toe so as to throw the whole weight of the
body on it, to hold the arms raised straight and the eyes looking up at the
sky! Thus he offered a severe prayer. Many years passed. But he did not move
even an inch. Flame rose from his body and enveloped the entire universe.
Rivers and oceans boiled. The earth shook. Fire spread on all sides. The
very gods were
filled with fear. They went to Satyaloka and prayed to Brahma to save them.
Brahma- deva appeared to Hiranyakasipu and said, 'Hiranyakasipu, arise. I am
pleased with your devotion. I never saw before such a severe meditation. Ask
for whatever you desire.'
"Brahmadeva sprinkled holy water over the body of the king. At once it shone
like gold.Tears of gratitude filled with his eyes. He was so full of joy
that at first he could not speak. Then he spoke with much effort, 'Lord, you
bestow light on the dark world; you are the creator of all, the protector of
all, and, finally, you are the destroyer of all. You are all powerful; you
know everything.You are free fromdefects. No god is easily moved like you to
take pity on his devotees and to grant them boons. I bow to you humbly !'
Brahma was pleased with his devotion. He said 'Why have you undertaken such
a severe Tapas Hiranyakasipu replied, 'Great Lord, if you will grant my
prayer, this is what I seek:
'Let not death come to me from any creature created by you; let me not meet
with death either in the house or outside it; let not my death occur either
during the day or at night; no weapon should cause my death; I should not
die either on land or in the sky.'
"Brahma Granted The Boon
"Children, you have now heard about the power of the King of Rakshasas. How
strong is he! What god can oppose him? The three worlds belong to him. Now
why should you turn away from him? Why follow any other religion and seek
Then Prahlada smilingly
said, " Why ‘masters, a king may secure boons from Brahma. But does that
mean he can do what is evil, and that he will not be punished ? All must bow
to the will of Mahavishnu who is the master of Brahma. His kindness flows in
innumerable ways to protect the world." At 'the wise -words of young
Prahlada, the other boys nodded their heads in agreement and admiration.
The Saviour Comes From The Spilt Pillar
Shukracharya's sons were filled with horror to see that the situation was
out of their
control. They now understood clearly that they could not make Prahlada
change his mind. They went straight to the King of the Rakshasas and told
him what had happened. When he heard this anger knew no bounds. He sent
messengers to bring Prahlada. He came and stood before him. Then the king
thundered at the boy, "You curse of the family! Have you not yet given Up
Your evil thoughts? The three worlds tremble at my glance. But you, my
son, how did you dare to disobey me? You are very young; some one must have
misled you and encouraged you.Otherwise you would not have had such evil
ideas and such courage. Speak the true who has shown you such an evil path
T' The earth shook as the king roared at the boy. But Prahlada calmly
replied, "Dear father, it was Srihari who gave me this courage. He is
stronger than any one else. You and 1, the universe, even Brahma is as
nothing before his strength. He is the real Lord of the Universe.">
All the gods were under the
thumb of the mighty Hiranyakasipu; and here was a mere boy of five giving
him advice! The king of the Rakshasas was mad withanger. He shouted in rage:
"Unlucky fool, your death is near. I am the Lord of all the worlds, the only
master! is there' another ? Where is he? Show him to me."
"He is everywhere," Young Prahlada's answer came without a moment's delay.
The king could no longer control himself through anger. "Wicked fellow, is
he everywhere? You mad boy, why should he no, appear to me in this pillar? I
am, going to kill you this very moment. You have been praising Hari as the
Lord of the Universe. Let him come to your help if he can." So saying he
drew out his sword and pounced upon the little boy.
Then there was a terrible
deafening noise as if the universe itself split into two. Even the very
brave Hiranyakasipu started from his place at the terrible noise.The
courtiers shook with fear and stood like statues of stone. As the stunned
men watched, the pillar split into two.
There was Srihari, in the form of Narasimha!
He had the head of a lion
and the body of a man.
The eyes of this terrible figure were dazzling they looked like molten gold.
The hair on the head and the moustache and the beard stood straight and
erect. The sharp and pointed jaws chattered harsely; the tongue quivered
like a sword and was sharp as a dagger. His eyebrows were close knit. The
ears were raised and stood erect. The mouth gaped like a mountain cave. The
two nostrils looked like wells turned upside down. The body was huge and
mountain - like. It seemed to touch the skies and to stop the very clouds.
It had countless arms. The body was covered with hair,white like silver.
The very sight of the sharp claws made -one tremble.
This terrible form split
the pillar and came out. Hiranyakashipu's courtiers had crowded the hall;
but not one dared to look at him, not to speak of approaching him.
And yet, Hiranyakasipu steadily looked him in the face. His was
extraordinary courage. He understood what was going to happen. "Oh, this is
Mahavishnu. This is the very god who killed my brother assuming the form of
a wild pig. If I kill him all the gods will be helpless; they will be like
the branches of a tree whose trunk has been cut and removed. Well, I shall
test his strength." So thinking he raised his sword and fell upon Narasimha.
Without doubt, Hiranyakasipu was a man of extraordinary strength and
courage. But what could he do against Lord Narasimha? He was like a little
sparrow dashing against a mountain. That god of immense power seized the
Rakshasa as easily as Garuda seizes a snake. But the Rakshasa slipped from
his grip like a snake. Narasimha caught him again like a snake seizing a
mouse; with a loud roar he carried Hiranyakasipu to the threshold of the
hall. He sat on the threshold with the Rakshasa in his lap. Then he dug his
nails deep into his body and tore it open. He took out the entrails and wore
them round his neck.
All this while the bodyguards and the other courtiers had stood speechless
and motionless in paralyzing fear. But at the death of their king they
sprang to action. In fierce rage, they fell on Narasimha in a body. But all
were crushed into a lump of flesh in the winking of an eye.
After the enemies were all destroyed, Narahari sat on the throne of the
Rakshasa King, glaring at those around him. The gods showered flowers from
heaven. The Gandharva sang divine music. The Apsaras, the dancers of heaven,
danced in joy. All earth rejoiced. But the terrible anger of Narasimha did
not diminish. Even Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Vishnu's wife,
was afraid to go near him.
How was he to be pacified? The little boy Prahlada touched the feet of
Narasimha with his head, in deep devotion.
At the tender touch of
Prahlada the Lord was pleased. He grew calm. Anger gave way to kindness.
Narasimha kissed the boy softly and raised him gently. The gods nodded their
heads in admiration and praised Vishnu's ways. "Hiranyakasipu got boons from
Lord Brahma; and Narasimha has respected all the promises. For it is now
twilight, which is neither day nor night; the place is neither outside the
house nor inside it, it is the threshold. Again he was killed neither on
land nor in the sky, but on the lap of the god; he was killed neither by
weapons nor by missiles but torn by nails; no one created by Brahma has
killed him; it is Vishnu, in the form of Narasimha, who slew him. 0 wonder
of wonders!" so they
sang the praise of the Lord.
Prahlada was thrilled at the touch of the Lord's hand. Tears of joy ran down
his cheeks. All his sorrow disappeared. The highest knowledge dawned in his
mind. He prayed to Narasimha, "God, you are full of compassion. You protect
the whole world. Even the gods cannot fully understand your greatness. You
have punished the unjust. Lord, why are you still anger and protect the
Narahari was pleased with these words. He said, "Child Prahlada, I am
pleased with your devotion; ask for whatever you desire."
How different was the son from his father Prahlada was a tender boy of five;
but he had true wisdom.
He bowed and said to the Lord, I am devoted to God. May this devotion be
firmly rooted in my heart! May no other desire appear there I" Narahari was
very much pleased with this prayer of Prahlada, the greatest of God's
devotees. He said, "I grant your prayer, child. Rule over this kingdom for
some time. Live happily. Do only what is right and just, so that all men
will approve. At the end you will come to me." So he granted a boon.
The Story behind The Story
The story of Prahlada is very interesting, isn't it? There is a story behind
Why did Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksha hate Vishnu so-bitterly?
Here is the story to explain it.
Two pious devotees named Jaya and Sri Vishnu had appointed Vijaya
doorkeepers. They felt that they were the chosen doorkeepers of Vaikunta and
were always very near the Supreme Lord Narayana. So they grew haughty. Once
it so happened that four boy-saints named Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara and
Sanatsujata came to pay homage to Sri Vishnu. Because of their great yogic
power, they could enter Vaikunta. Jaya and Vijaya puffed up with arrogance
stopped them. The saints were angry and cursed them. They said, "You are so
very near the Lord, and yet you are ignorant. Until you get supreme
knowledge, wander in the world below." Then the two doorkeepers came to
their senses. Trembling with sorrow, they prayed to Sri Narayana. He said to
them, "These are men of pure piety and great self-control. Their words must
come true. Go to the earth below; come back when you have gained wisdom."
Then they wept before the Lord saying, "What will
be our fate if through ignorance we forget God Himself?" Narayana took pity
on them. He said, "Jaya and Vijaya, which will you choose - to be my
devotees in seven births or my enemies in three we cannot bear births?"
Then they fell 'irom Vaikunta and were born as twin Rakshasas, Hiranyakasipu
and Hiranyaksha. They were the enemies of God and of the way to God. Vishnu
assumed the form of Varaha and Narasimha and killed them both.
After this in Kitayuga they
were born as Ravana and Kumbhakarna and were killed by Sri Ramachandra. Then
in Dwapara they were born as Shishupala and Dantavakra, and Sri Krishna
killed them. So they were freed from the curse.
The King Of The Gods Becomes A Disciple
Narasimha disappeared after blessing Prahlada. Then Prahlada ascended the
throne and ruled over the three worlds - Heaven, the Earth and the lower
regions. Because of his virtues he won vast fame and popularity. The worlds
enjoyed blissful peace under such a pious king. Piety and peace were firmly
established everywhere. There was prosperity everywhere. His virtues and his
character gave him unequalled strength. He was able to defeat Indra and to
bring Amaravati, Indra's capital' also under his rule. Indra lost
everything. He approached Brihaspatya- charya, the teacher of the gods, and
said, "Master, how can I attain what is really good? How can I attain
Mangala T' The Acharya replied, "Knowledge which is a means to salvation
also leads to what is really good." Then Indra again asked, "Is there a
better means, any special way?" The Guru said, "Yes there is. If you can
please Sukracharya, the teacher of the Rakshasas, he will teach you."
Then Indra went to Sukracharya and got from him knowledge, which leads to
salvation. Then Indra said, "Master, is there any good higher 'than this?"
Sukracharya replied, "Yes. Prahlada, who defeated you in the war, knows it.
Go to him."
Indra was surprised to hear this and approached him. In the guise of a
Brahmin he waited at the gates of Prahlada's palace.Prahlada welcomed him
with honor. Then Indra said, "King of the Rakshasas, what can give a man the
highest good? Teach me this. "Then Prahlada replied, "Sir, I wish to look
after the three worlds well, and have worries of my own. Where have I the
time to teach you?"
But Indra would not give up. He said, "Whenever you have time, give me just
a little advice. I only wish to learn from you the highest duty." Prahlada
agreed. From that day Indra became the disciple of Prahlada. Step by step he
acquired knowledge. Indra served his Guru so well that Prahlada was
pleased.When Prahlada was in a happy mood Indra asked him, "Great Sir, how
did you conquer the three worlds? What is the secret?' Prahlada did not
suspect that the person before him was cunning Indra and that he was trying
to occupy his place. He said, "ListenBrahmin, it is by my character that I
was able to win astery over the three worlds. But I never boast of my
lordship. I obey Sukracharya and I serve my elders and teachers with all my
heart, and follow their guidance. I control my senses. That is how I have
realized the highest good." Prahlada was highly pleased with his disciple
for his keen interest in the highest good. So he said to him, "Oh Brahmin, I
am pleased with your service. Ask for whatever you desire."
Indra's heart rejoiced. He replied, "King of Rakshasas, if you are really
pleased, and if
you wish to make me happy, bestow your pure character on me."
When he heard these words Prahlada was troubled. He knew that once his pure
character left him, he would lose strength and position. But he could not
break his promise. He said to Indra, "Well, I give you my character.
Farewell." Soon after the departure of the Brahmin, character, good conduct,
piety, truth and strength all appeared as lights, took leave of him and left
him. They entered Indra. Prahlada was not unhappy. With a peaceful mind he
rose to the presence of Lord Narahari.
Prahlada was born the son of a Rakshasa. Even as a small boy he became a
victim to the fury of his father. But Vishnu, pleased with his devotion,
appeared before him. Indra, the Lord of the gods, had to beg Prahlada, a
Rakshasa by birth, for knowledge.
High or low birth is not important, age is not important; a pure mind is
important, a spotless character is important - this is the lesson his story
blazes to the world