Hiranyakasipu Terrorizes the Universe
This chapter fully describes how Hiranyakasipu obtained power from Lord Brahma and misused it by harassing all the living entities within this universe.
By severe austerities, Hiranyakasipu satisfied Lord Brahma and obtained the benedictions he desired. After he received these benedictions, his body, which had been almost entirely consumed, was revived with full beauty and a luster like gold. Nonetheless, he continued to be envious of Lord Visnu, unable to forget Lord Visnu's having killed his brother. Hiranyakasipu conquered everyone in the ten directions and the three worlds and brought all living entities, both demigods and asuras, under his control. Becoming the master of all places, including the residence of Indra, whom he had driven out, he began enjoying life in great luxury and thus became mad. All the demigods but Lord Visnu, Lord Brahma and Lord Siva came under his control and began serving him, but despite all his material power he was dissatisfied because he was always puffed up, proud of transgressing the Vedic regulations. All the brahmanas were dissatisfied with him, and they cursed him with determination. Eventually, all the living entities within the universe, represented by the demigods and sages, prayed to the Supreme Lord for relief from Hiranyakasipu's rule.
Lord Visnu informed the demigods that they and the other living entities would be saved from the fearful conditions created by Hiranyakasipu. Since Hiranyakasipu was the oppressor of all the demigods, the followers of the Vedas, the cows, the brahmanas and the religious, saintly persons, and since he was envious of the Supreme Lord, he would naturally be killed very soon. Hiranyakasipu's last exploit would be to torment his own son Prahlada, who was a maha-bhagavata, an exalted Vaisnava. Then his life would end. When the demigods were thus reassured by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, everyone was satisfied, knowing that the miseries inflicted upon them by Hiranyakasipu would come to an end.
Finally, Narada Muni describes the characteristics of Prahlada Maharaja, the son of Hiranyakasipu, and describes how his father envied his own qualified son. In this way the chapter ends.
evam vrtah sata-dhrtir
pradat tat-tapasa prito
varams tasya sudurlabhan
sri-naradah uvaca--Sri Narada Muni said; evam--thus; vrtah--solicited; sata-dhrtih--Lord Brahma; hiranyakasipoh--of Hiranyakasipu; atha--then; pradat--delivered; tat--his; tapasa--by the difficult austerities; pritah--being pleased; varan--benedictions; tasya--unto Hiranyakasipu; su-durlabhan--very rarely obtained.
Narada Muni continued: Lord Brahma was very much satisfied by Hiranyakasipu's austerities, which were difficult to perform. Therefore, when solicited for benedictions, he indeed granted them, although they were rarely to be achieved.
tateme durlabhah pumsam
yan vrnise varan mama
tathapi vitaramy anga
varan yadyapi durlabhan
sri-brahma uvaca--Lord Brahma said; tata--O dear son; ime--all these; durlabhah--very rarely obtained; pumsam--by men; yan--those which; vrnise--you ask; varan--benedictions; mama--from me; tathapi--still; vitarami--I shall deliver; anga--O Hiranyakasipu; varan--the benedictions; yadyapi--although; durlabhan--not generally available.
Lord Brahma said: O Hiranyakasipu, 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.
Material benedictions are not always exactly worthy of being called benedictions. If one possesses more and more, a benediction itself may become a curse, for just as achieving material opulence in this material world requires great strength and endeavor, maintaining it also requires great endeavor. Lord Brahma informed Hiranyakasipu that although he was ready to offer him whatever he had asked, the result of the benedictions would be very difficult for Hiranyakasipu to maintain. Nonetheless, since Brahma had promised, he wanted to grant all the benedictions asked. The word durlabhan indicates that one should not take benedictions one cannot enjoy peacefully.
tato jagama bhagavan
tatah--thereafter; jagama--departed; bhagavan--the most powerful, Lord Brahma; amogha--without failure; anugrahah--whose benediction; vibhuh--the Supreme within this universe; pujitah--being worshiped; asura-varyena--by the most exalted demon (Hiranyakasipu); stuyamanah--being praised; praja-isvaraih--by many demigods, the masters of different regions.
Then Lord Brahma, who awards infallible benedictions, departed, being worshiped by the best of the demons, Hiranyakasipu, and being praised by great sages and saintly persons.
evam labdha-varo daityo
bibhrad dhemamayam vapuh
bhagavaty akarod dvesam
bhratur vadham anusmaran
evam--thus; labdha-varah--having obtained his desired boon; daityah--Hiranyakasipu; bibhrat--acquiring; hema-mayam--possessing the luster of gold; vapuh--a body; bhagavati--unto Lord Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; akarot--maintained; dvesam--envy; bhratuh vadham--the killing of his brother; anusmaran--always thinking of.
The demon Hiranyakasipu, 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 Visnu.
A demoniac person, in spite of acquiring all the opulences possible to obtain in this universe, continues to be envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
sa vijitya disah sarva
lokams ca trin mahasurah
rsin pitr-patin manun
vasam aniya visva-jit
sthanani saha tejasa
sah--he (Hiranyakasipu); vijitya--conquering; disah--the directions; sarvah--all; lokan--planetary systems; ca--and; trin--three (upper, lower and middle); maha-asurah--the great demon; deva--the demigods; asura--the demons; manusya--of the human beings; indra--the kings; gandharva--the Gandharvas; garuda--the Garudas; uragan--the great serpents; siddha--the Siddhas; carana--the Caranas; vidyadhran--the Vidyadharas; rsin--the great sages and saintly persons; pitr-patin--Yamaraja and the other leaders of the Pitas; manun--all the different Manus; yaksa--the Yaksas; raksah--the Raksasas; pisaca-isan--the leaders of Pisacaloka; preta--of the Pretas; bhuta--and of the Bhutas; patin--the masters; api--also; sarva-sattva-patin--the masters of all the different planets; jitva--conquering; vasam aniya--bringing under control; visva-jit--the conqueror of the whole universe; jahara--usurped; loka-palanam--of the demigods who manage the universal affairs; sthanani--the places; saha--with; tejasa--all their power.
Hiranyakasipu became the conqueror of the entire universe. 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 Yaksas, the Raksasas, the Pisacas 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 control. Conquering the abodes of all, he seized their power and influence.
The word garuda in this verse indicates that there are planets of great birds like Garuda. Similarly, the word uraga indicates that there are planets of enormous serpents. Such a description of the various planets of the universe may challenge modern scientists who think that all planets but this earth are vacant. These scientists claim to have launched excursions to the moon, where they have found no living entities but only big craters full of dust and stone, although in fact the moon is so brilliant that it acts like the sun in illuminating the entire universe. Of course, it is not possible to convince modern scientists of the Vedic information about the universe. Nonetheless, we are not very much impressed by the words of scientists who say that all other planets are vacant and that only the earth is full of living entities.
adhyaste sma tri-pistapam
deva-udyana--of the famous garden of the demigods; sriya--by the opulences; justam--enriched; adhyaste sma--remained in; tri-pistapam--the higher planetary system, where various demigods live; mahendra-bhavanam--the palace of Indra, the King of heaven; saksat--directly; nirmitam--constructed; visvakarmana--by the famous architect of the demigods, Visvakarma; trailokya--of all the three worlds; laksmi-ayatanam--the residence of the goddess of fortune; adhyuvasa--lived in; akhila-rddhi-mat--possessing the opulence of the entire universe.
Hiranyakasipu, 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 Visvakarma and was as beautifully made as if the goddess of fortune of the entire universe resided there.
From this description it appears that all the heavenly planets of the upper planetary system are thousands upon thousands of times more opulent than the lower planetary system in which we live. Visvakarma, the famous heavenly architect, is known as the constructor of many wonderful buildings in the upper planets, where there are not only beautiful buildings, but also many opulent gardens and parks, which are described as nandana-devodyana, gardens quite fit to be enjoyed by the demigods. This description of the upper planetary system and its opulences is to be understood from authoritative scriptures like the Vedic literatures. Telescopes and the other imperfect instruments of scientists are inadequate for evaluating the upper planetary system. Although such instruments are needed because the vision of the so-called scientists is imperfect, the instruments themselves are also imperfect. Therefore the upper planets cannot be appraised by imperfect men using imperfect man-made instruments. Direct information received from the Vedic literature, however, is perfect, We therefore cannot accept the statement that there are no opulent residences on planets other than this earth.
kujadbhir nupurair devyah
sabda-yantya itas tatah
sudatih sundaram mukham
tasmin mahendra-bhavane maha-balo
maha-mana nirjita-loka eka-rat
reme 'bhivandyanghri-yugah suradibhih
yatra--where (the residential quarters of King Indra); vidruma-sopanah--steps made of coral; maha-marakatah--emerald; bhuvah--floors; yatra--where; sphatika--crystal; kudyani--walls; vaidurya--of vaidurya stone; stambha--of pillars; panktayah--lines; yatra--where; citra--wonderful; vitanani--canopies; padmaraga--bedecked with rubies; asanani--seats; ca--also; payah--of milk; phena--the foam; nibhah--just like; sayyah--beds; muktadama--of pearls; paricchadah--having borders; kujadbhih--jingling; nupuraih--with ankle bells; devyah--celestial ladies; sabda-yantyah--making sweet vibrations; itah tatah--here and there; ratna-sthalisu--in places bedecked with jewels and gems; pasyanti--see; su-datih--having nice teeth; sundaram--very beautiful; mukham--faces; tasmin--in that; mahendra-bhavane--the residential quarters of the heavenly King; maha-balah--the most powerful; maha-manah--highly thoughtful; nirjita-lokah--having everyone under his control; eka-rat--the powerful dictator; reme--enjoyed; abhivandya--worshiped; anghri-yugah--whose two feet; sura-adibhih--by the demigods; pratapitaih--being disturbed; urjita--more than expected; canda--severe; sasanah--whose ruling.
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 Hiranyakasipu, who chastised the demigods very severely and for no reason. Thus Hiranyakasipu lived in the palace and severely ruled everyone.
Hiranyakasipu was so powerful in the heavenly planets that all the demigods except Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and Lord Visnu were forced to engage in his service. Indeed, they were afraid of being severely punished if they disobeyed him. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti has compared Hiranyakasipu to Maharaja Vena, who was also atheistic and scornful of the ritualistic ceremonies mentioned in the Vedas. Yet Maharaja Vena was afraid of some of the great sages such as Bhrgu, whereas Hiranyakasipu ruled in such a way that everyone feared him but Lord Visnu, Lord Brahma and Lord Siva. Hiranyakasipu was so alert against being burnt to ashes by the anger of great sages like Bhrgu that by dint of austerity he surpassed their power and placed even them under his subordination. It appears that even in the higher planetary systems, to which people are promoted by pious activities, disturbances are created by asuras like Hiranyakasipu. No one in the three worlds can live in peace and prosperity without disturbance.
tam anga mattam madhunoru-gandhina
tribhis tapo-yoga-balaujasam padam
tam--him (Hiranyakasipu); anga--O dear King; mattam--intoxicated; madhuna--by wine; uru-gandhina--strong-smelling; vivrtta--rolling; tamra-aksam--having eyes like copper; asesa-dhisnya-pah--the principal men of all the planets; upasata--worshiped; upayana--full with paraphernalia; panibhih--by their own hands; vina--without; tribhih--the three principal deities (Lord Visnu, Lord Brahma and Lord Siva); tapah--of austerity; yoga--mystic power; bala--bodily strength; ojasam--and power of the senses; padam--the abode.
O my dear King, Hiranyakasipu 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 Siva and Lord Visnu--personally worshiped him to please him by bringing him various presentations with their own hands.
In the Skanda Purana there is this description: upayanam daduh sarve vina devan hiranyakah. Hiranyakasipu was so powerful that everyone but the three principal demigods--namely Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and Lord Visnu--engaged in his service. Madhvacarya says, aditya vasavo rudras tri-vidha hi sura yatah. There are three kinds of demigods--the Adityas, the Vasus and the Rudras--beneath whom are the other demigods, like the Maruts and Sadhyas (marutas caiva visve ca sadhyas caiva ca tad-gatah). Therefore all the demigods are called tri-pistapa, and the same word tri applies to Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and Lord Visnu.
jagur mahendrasanam ojasa sthitam
visvavasus tumburur asmad-adayah
gandharva-siddha rsayo 'stuvan muhur
vidyadharas capsarasas ca pandava
jaguh--sung of the glories; mahendra-asanam--the throne of King Indra; ojasa--by personal power; sthitam--situated on; visvavasuh--the chief singer of the Gandharvas; tumburuh--another Gandharva singer; asmat-adayah--including ourselves (Narada and others also glorified Hiranyakasipu); gandharva--the inhabitants of Gandharva-loka; siddhah--the inhabitants of Siddhaloka; rsayah--the great sages and saintly persons; astuvan--offered prayers; muhuh--again and again; vidyadharah--the inhabitants of Vidyadhara-loka; ca--and; apsarasah--the inhabitants of Apsaroloka; ca--and; pandava--O descendant of Pandu.
O Maharaja Yudhisthira, descendant of Pandu, by dint of his personal power, Hiranyakasipu, being situated on the throne of King Indra, controlled the inhabitants of all the other planets. The two Gandharvas Visvavasu and Tumburu, I myself and the Vidyadharas, Apsaras and sages all offered prayers to him again and again just to glorify him.
The asuras sometimes become so powerful that they can engage even Narada Muni and similar devotees in their service. This does not mean that Narada was subordinate to Hiranyakasipu. Sometimes, however, it so happens in this material world that great personalities, even great devotees, can also be controlled by the asuras.
sa eva varnasramibhih
agrahit svena tejasa
sah--he (Hiranyakasipu); eva--indeed; varna-asramibhih--by persons who strictly followed the regulative principles of the four varnas and four asramas; kratubhih--by ritualistic ceremonies; bhuri--abundant; daksinaih--offered with gifts; ijyamanah--being worshiped; havih-bhagan--the portions of the oblations; agrahit--usurped; svena--by his own; tejasa--prowess.
Being worshiped by sacrifices offered with great gifts by those who strictly followed the principles of varna and asrama, Hiranyakasipu, instead of offering shares of the oblations to the demigods, accepted them himself.
tatha kama-dugha gavo
akrsta-pacya--bearing grains without being cultivated or plowed; tasya--of Hiranyakasipu; asit--was; sapta-dvipa-vati--consisting of seven islands; mahi--the earth; tatha--so much so; kama-dughah--which can deliver as much milk as one desires; gavah--cows; nana--various; ascarya-padam--wonderful things; nabhah--the sky.
As if in fear of Hiranyakasipu, 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.
ratnakaras ca ratnaughams
tat-patnyas cohur urmibhih
ratnakarah--the seas and oceans; ca--and; ratna-oghan--various kinds of gems and valuable stones; tat-patnyah--the wives of the oceans and seas, namely the rivers; ca--also; uhuh--carried; urmibhih--by their waves; ksara--the salt ocean; sidhu--the ocean of wine; ghrta--the ocean of clarified butter; ksaudra--the ocean of sugarcane juice; dadhi--the ocean of yogurt; ksira--the ocean of milk; amrta--and the very sweet ocean; udakah--water.
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 Hiranyakasipu's use. These oceans were the oceans of salt water, sugarcane juice, wine, clarified butter, milk, yogurt, and sweet water.
The water of the seas and oceans of this planet, of which we have experience, are salty, but other planets within the universe contain oceans of sugarcane juice, liquor, ghee, milk and sweet water. The rivers are figuratively described as wives of the oceans and seas because they glide down to the oceans and seas as tributaries, like the wives attached to their husbands. Modern scientists attempt excursions to other planets, but they have no information of how many different types of oceans and seas there are within the universe. According to their experience, the moon is full of dust, but this does not explain how it gives us soothing rays from a distance of millions of miles. As far as we are concerned, we follow the authority of Vyasadeva and Sukadeva Gosvami, who have described the universal situation according to the Vedic literature. These authorities differ from modern scientists who conclude from their imperfect sensual experience that only this planet is inhabited by living beings whereas the other planets are all vacant or full of dust.
saila dronibhir akridam
sarvartusu gunan drumah
eka eva prthag gunan
sailah--the hills and mountains; dronibhih--with the valleys between them; akridam--pleasure grounds for Hiranyakasipu; sarva--all; rtusu--in the seasons of the year; gunan--different qualities (fruits and flowers); drumah--the plants and trees; dadhara--executed; loka-palanam--of the other demigods in charge of different departments of natural activity; ekah--alone; eva--indeed; prthak--different; gunan--qualities.
The valleys between the mountains became fields of pleasure for Hiranyakasipu, 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 Hiranyakasipu alone, without assistance from the demigods.
It is said in the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam, tejo-vari-mrdam yatha vinimayah: this material world is conducted by fire, water and earth, which combine and take shape. Here it is mentioned that the three modes of nature (prthag gunan) act under the direction of different demigods. For example, King Indra is in charge of pouring water, the demigod Vayu controls the air and dries up the water, whereas the demigod controlling fire burns everything. Hiranyakasipu, however, by dint of his austere performance of mystic yoga, became so powerful that he alone took charge of everything, without assistance from the demigods.
sa ittham nirjita-kakub
eka-rad visayan priyan
sah--he (Hiranyakasipu); ittham--thus; nirjita--conquered; kakup--all directions within the universe; eka-rat--the one emperor of the whole universe; visayan--material sense objects; priyan--very pleasing; yatha-upajosam--as much as possible; bhunjanah--enjoying; na--did not; atrpyat--was satisfied; ajita-indriyah--being unable to control the senses.
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, Hiranyakasipu was dissatisfied because instead of controlling his senses he remained their servant.
This is an example of asuric life. Atheists can advance materially and create an extremely comfortable situation for the senses, but because they are controlled by the senses, they cannot be satisfied. This is the effect of modern civilization. Materialists are very much advanced in enjoying money and women, yet dissatisfaction prevails within human society because human society cannot be happy and peaceful without Krsna consciousness. As far as material sense gratification is concerned, materialists may go on increasing their enjoyment as far as they can imagine, but because people in such a material condition are servants of their senses, they cannot be satisfied. Hiranyakasipu was a vivid example of this dissatisfied state of humanity.
kalo mahan vyatiyaya
evam--thus; aisvarya-mattasya--of one who was intoxicated by opulences; drptasya--greatly proud; ut-sastra-vartinah--transgressing the regulative principles mentioned in the sastras; kalah--duration of time; mahan--a great; vyatiyaya--passed; brahma-sapam--a curse by exalted brahmanas; upeyusah--having obtained.
Hiranyakasipu thus passed a long time being very much proud of his opulences and transgressing the laws and regulations mentioned in the authoritative sastras. He was therefore subjected to a curse by the four Kumaras, who were great brahmanas.
There have been many instances in which demons, after achieving material opulences, have become extremely proud, so much so that they have transgressed the laws and regulations given in the authoritative sastras. Hiranyakasipu acted in this way. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (16.23):
yah sastra-vidhim utsrjya
na sa siddhim avapnoti
na sukham na param gatim
"He who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination." The word sastra refers to that which controls our activities. We cannot violate or transgress the laws and regulative principles mentioned in the sastras. Bhagavad-gita repeatedly confirms this.
tasmac chastram pramanam te
karma kartum iharhasi
"One should understand what is duty and what is not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated." (Bg. 16.24) One should act according to the direction of the sastra, but the material energy is so powerful that as soon as one becomes materially opulent, he begins to transgress the sastric laws. As soon as one transgresses the laws of sastra, he immediately enters upon the path of destruction.
sarve lokah sapalakah
saranam yayur acyutam
tasya--of him (Hiranyakasipu); ugra-danda--by the very fearful chastisement; samvignah--disturbed; sarve--all; lokah--the planets; sa-palakah--with their principal rulers; anyatra--anywhere else; alabdha--not obtaining; saranah--shelter; saranam--for shelter; yayuh--approached; acyutam--the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Everyone, including the rulers of the various planets, was extremely distressed because of the severe punishment inflicted upon them by Hiranyakasipu. Fearful and disturbed, unable to find any other shelter, they at last surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu.
Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (5.29):
jnatva mam santim rcchati
"The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries." The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is actually the best friend of everyone. In a condition of distress or misery, one wants to seek shelter of a well-wishing friend. The well-wishing friend of the perfect order is Lord Sri Krsna. Therefore all the inhabitants of the various planets, being unable to find any other shelter, were obliged to seek shelter at the lotus feet of the supreme friend. If from the very beginning we seek shelter of the supreme friend, there will be no cause of danger. It is said that if a dog is swimming in the water and one wants to cross the ocean by catching hold of the dog's tail, certainly he is foolish. Similarly, if in distress one seeks shelter of a demigod, he is foolish, for his efforts will be fruitless. In all circumstances, one should seek shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then there will be no danger under any circumstances.
tasyai namo 'stu kasthayai
yatratma harir isvarah
yad gatva na nivartante
santah sannyasino 'malah
iti te samyatatmanah
tasyai--unto that; namah--our respectful obeisances; astu--let there be; kasthayai--direction; yatra--wherein; atma--the Supersoul; harih--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; isvarah--the supreme controller; yat--which; gatva--approaching; na--never; nivartante--return; santah--peaceful; sannyasinah--saintly persons in the renounced order of life; amalah--pure; iti--thus; te--they; samyata-atmanah--having controlled minds; samahita--steadied; dhiyah--intelligences; amalah--purified; upatasthuh--worshiped; hrsikesam--the master of the senses; vinidrah--without sleeping; vayu-bhojanah--eating only air.
"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." Without sleep, fully controlling their minds, and living on only their breath, the predominating deities of the various planets began worshiping Hrsikesa with this meditation.
The two words tasyai kasthayai are very significant. Everywhere, in every direction, in every heart and in every atom, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is situated in His features as Brahman and Paramatma. Then what is the purpose of saying tasyai kasthayai--"in that direction where Hari is situated?" During Hiranyakasipu's time, his influence was everywhere, but he could not force his influence into the places where the Supreme Personality of Godhead had His pastimes. For example, on this earth there are such places as Vrndavana and Ayodhya, which are called dhamas. In the dhama, there is no influence from Kali-yuga or any demon. If one takes shelter of such a dhama, worship of the Lord becomes very easy, and resultant spiritual advancement quickly takes place. In fact, in India one may still go to Vrndavana and similar places to achieve the results of spiritual activities quickly.
tesam avirabhud vani
tesam--in front of all of them; avirabhut--appeared; vani--a voice; arupa--without a form; megha-nihsvana--resounding like the sound of a cloud; sannadayanti--causing to vibrate; kakubhah--all directions; sadhunam--of the saintly persons; abhayankari--driving away the fearful situation.
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.
ma bhaista vibudha-sresthah
sarvesam bhadram astu vah
mad-darsanam hi bhutanam
jnatam etasya dauratmyam
tasya santim karisyami
kalam tavat pratiksata
ma--do not; bhaista--fear; vibudha-sresthah--O best of learned persons; sarvesam--of all; bhadram--the good fortune; astu--let there be; vah--unto you; mat-darsanam--the seeing of Me (or offering of prayers to Me or hearing about Me, all of which are absolute); hi--indeed; bhutanam--of all living entities; sarva-sreya--of all good fortune; upapattaye--for the attainment; jnatam--known; etasya--of this; dauratmyam--the nefarious activities; daiteya-apasadasya--of the great demon, Hiranyakasipu; yat--which; tasya--of this; santim--cessation; karisyami--I shall make; kalam--time; tavat--until that; pratiksata--just wait.
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 Hiranyakasipu and shall surely stop them very soon. Please wait patiently until that time.
Sometimes people are very much eager to see God. In considering the word mad-darsanam, "seeing Me," which is mentioned in this verse, one should note that in Bhagavad-gita the Lord says, bhaktya mam abhijanati. In other words, the ability to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead or to see Him or talk with Him depends on one's advancement in devotional service, which is called bhakti. In bhakti there are nine different activities: sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam. arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam. Because all these devotional activities are absolute, there is no fundamental difference between worshiping the Deity in the temple, seeing Him and chanting His glories. Indeed, all of these are ways of seeing Him, for everything done in devotional service is a means of direct contact with the Lord. The vibration of the Lord's voice appeared in the presence of all the devotees, and although the person vibrating the sound was unseen to them, they were meeting or seeing the Lord because they were offering prayers and because the vibration of the Lord was present. Contrary to the laws of the material world, there is no difference between seeing the Lord, offering prayers and hearing the transcendental vibration. Pure devotees, therefore, are fully satisfied by glorifying the Lord. Such glorification is called kirtana. Performing kirtana and hearing the vibration of the sound Hare Krsna is actually seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. One must realize this position, and then one will be able to understand the absolute nature of the Lord's activities.
yada devesu vedesu
gosu vipresu sadhusu
dharme mayi ca vidvesah
sa va asu vinasyati
yada--when; devesu--unto the demigods; vedesu--unto the Vedic scriptures; gosu--unto the cows; vipresu--unto the brahmanas; sadhusu--unto the saintly persons; dharme--unto religious principles; mayi--unto Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ca--and; vidvesah--envious; sah--such a person; vai--indeed; asu--very soon; vinasyati--is vanquished.
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, Vaisnavas and religious principles, and ultimately of Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he and his civilization will be vanquished without delay.
prahradaya yada druhyed
dhanisye 'pi varorjitam
nirvairaya--who is without enemies; prasantaya--very sober and peaceful; sva-sutaya--unto his own son; maha-atmane--who is a great devotee; prahradaya--Prahlada Maharaja; yada--when; druhyet--will commit violence; hanisye--I shall kill; api--although; vara-urjitam--blessed by the boons of Lord Brahma.
When Hiranyakasipu teases the great devotee Prahlada, his own son, who is peaceful and sober and who has no enemy, I shall kill Hiranyakasipu immediately, despite the benedictions of Brahma.
Of all sinful activities, an offense to a pure devotee, or Vaisnava, is the most severe. An offense at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava is so disastrous that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has compared it to a mad elephant that enters a garden and causes great havoc by uprooting many plants and trees. If one is an offender at the lotus feet of a brahmana or Vaisnava, his offenses uproot all his auspicious activities. One should therefore very carefully guard against committing vaisnava-aparadha, or offenses at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava. Here the Lord clearly says that although Hiranyakasipu had received benedictions from Lord Brahma, these benedictions would be null and void as soon as he committed an offense at the lotus feet of Prahlada Maharaja, his own son. A Vaisnava like Prahlada Maharaja is described herein as nirvaira, having no enemies. Elsewhere in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.21) it is said, ajata-satravah santah sadhavah sadhu-bhusanah: a devotee has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime. A devotee does not create enmity with anyone, but if someone becomes his enemy, that person will be vanquished by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, despite whatever benedictions he may have received from other sources. Hiranyakasipu was certainly enjoying the fruitful results of his austerities, but here the Lord says that as soon as he committed an offense at the lotus feet of Prahlada Maharaja he would be ruined. One's longevity, opulence, beauty, education and whatever else one may possess as a result of pious activities cannot protect one if one commits an offense at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava. Despite whatever one possesses, if one offends the lotus feet of a Vaisnava he will be vanquished.
ity ukta loka-guruna
tam pranamya divaukasah
menire casuram hatam
sri-naradah uvaca--the great saint Narada Muni said; iti--thus; uktah--addressed; loka-guruna--by the supreme spiritual master of everyone; tam--unto Him; pranamya--offering obeisances; divaukasah--all the demigods; nyavartanta--returned; gata-udvegah--relieved of all anxieties; menire--they considered; ca--also; asuram--the demon (Hiranyakasipu); hatam--killed.
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 Hiranyakasipu was now practically dead.
The less intelligent men who are always busy worshiping the demigods should note that when the demigods are harassed by the demons, they approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead for relief. Since the demigods resort to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, why should the worshipers of the demigods not approach the Supreme Lord for whatever benefits they desire? Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.3.10) says:
akamah sarva-kamo va
yajeta purusam param
"Whether one desires everything or nothing, or whether he desires to merge into the existence of the Lord, he is intelligent only if he worships Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by rendering transcendental loving service." Whether one is a karmi, jnani or yogi, if one wants a particular benediction fulfilled, even if it be material, one should approach the Supreme Lord and pray to Him, for then it will be fulfilled. There is no need to approach any demigod separately for the fulfillment of any desire.
tasya daitya-pateh putras
prahrado 'bhun mahams tesam
tasya--of him (Hiranyakasipu); daitya-pateh--the King of the Daityas; putrah--sons; catvarah--four; parama-adbhutah--very qualified and wonderful; prahradah--the one named Prahlada; abhut--was; mahan--the greatest; tesam--of all of them; gunaih--with transcendental qualities; mahat-upasakah--being an unalloyed devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Hiranyakasipu 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.
yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana
sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah
"In one who has unflinching devotional faith in Krsna, all the good qualities of Krsna and the demigods are consistently manifest." (Bhag. 5.18.12) Prahlada Maharaja is praised herein for having all good qualities because of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, a pure devotee, who has no motives, has all good qualities, material and spiritual. If one is spiritually advanced, being a staunch, liberal devotee of the Lord, all good qualities are manifest in his body. On the other hand, harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-gunah: if one is not a devotee, even if he has some materially good qualities, they have no value. That is the verdict of the Vedas.
bhratrvat sadrse snigdho
brahmanyah--cultured as a good brahmana; sila-sampannah--possessing all good qualities; satya-sandhah--determined to understand the Absolute Truth; jita-indriyah--fully controlling the senses and mind; atma-vat--like the Supersoul; sarva-bhutanam--of all living entities; eka-priya--the one beloved; suhrt-tamah--the best friend; dasa-vat--like a menial servant; sannata--always obedient; arya-anghrih--at the lotus feet of great persons; pitr-vat--exactly like a father; dina-vatsalah--kind to the poor; bhratr-vat--exactly like a brother; sadrse--to his equals; snigdhah--very affectionate; gurusu--unto the spiritual masters; isvara-bhavanah--who considered exactly like the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vidya--education; artha--riches; rupa--beauty; janma--aristocracy or nobility; adhyah--endowed with; mana--pride; stambha--impudence; vivarjitah--completely free from.
[The qualities of Maharaja Prahlada, the son of Hiranyakasipu, are described herewith.] He 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 on.
These are some of the qualifications of a Vaisnava. A Vaisnava is automatically a brahmana because a Vaisnava has all the good qualities of a brahmana.
samo damas tapah saucam
ksantir arjavam eva ca
jnanam vijnanam astikyam
"Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness--these are the qualities by which the brahmanas work." (Bg. 18.42) These qualities are manifest in the body of a Vaisnava. Therefore a perfect Vaisnava is also a perfect brahmana, as indicated here by the words brahmanyah sila-sampannah. A Vaisnava is always determined to understand the Absolute Truth, and to understand the Absolute Truth one needs to have full control over his senses and mind. Prahlada Maharaja possessed all these qualities. A Vaisnava is always a well-wisher to everyone. The six Gosvamis, for example, are described in this way: dhiradhira jana-priyau. They were popular with both the gentle and the ruffians. A Vaisnava must be equal to everyone, regardless of one's position. Atmavat: a Vaisnava should be like Paramatma. Isvarah sama-bhutanam hrd-dese 'rjuna tisthati. Paramatma does not hate anyone; indeed, He is in the heart of a brahmana, but he is also even in the heart of a pig. As the moon never refuses to distribute its pleasing rays even to the home of a candala, a Vaisnava never refuses to act for everyone's welfare. Therefore a Vaisnava is always obedient to the spiritual master (arya). The word arya refers to one who is advanced in knowledge. One who is deficient in knowledge cannot be called arya. At the present, however, the word arya is used to refer to those who are godless. This is the unfortunate situation of Kali-yuga.
The word guru refers to the spiritual master who initiates his disciple into advancement in the science of Krsna, or Krsna consciousness, as stated by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura (sri-bhagavan-mantropadesake gurav ity arthah).
nodvigna-citto vyasanesu nihsprhah
srutesu drstesu gunesv avastu-drk
prasanta-kamo rahitasuro 'surah
na--not; udvigna--agitated; cittah--whose consciousness; vyasanesu--in dangerous conditions; nihsprhah--without desire; srutesu--in things heard of (especially elevation to heavenly planets because of pious activities); drstesu--as well as in temporal things seen; gunesu--the objects of sense gratification under the modes of material nature; avastu-drk--seeing as if insubstantial; danta--controlling; indriya--the senses; prana--the living force; sarira--the body; dhih--and intelligence; sada--always; prasanta--quieted; kamah--whose material desires; rahita--completely devoid of; asurah--demoniac nature; asurah--although born in a demoniac family.
Although Prahlada Maharaja was born in a family of asuras, he himself was not an asura but a great devotee of Lord Visnu. Unlike the other asuras, he was never envious of Vaisnavas. 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.
From this verse we discover that a man is not qualified or disqualified simply by birth. Prahlada Maharaja was an asura by birth, yet he possessed all the qualities of a perfect brahmana (brahmanyah sila-sampannah). Anyone can become a fully qualified brahmana under the direction of a spiritual master. Prahlada Maharaja provided a vivid example of how to think of the spiritual master and accept his directions calmly.
yasmin mahad-guna rajan
grhyante kavibhir muhuh
na te 'dhuna pidhiyante
yasmin--in whom; mahat-gunah--exalted transcendental qualities; rajan--O King; grhyante--are glorified; kavibhih--by persons who are thoughtful and advanced in knowledge; muhuh--always; na--not; te--these; adhuna--today; pidhiyante--are obscured; yatha--just as; bhagavati--in the Supreme Personality of Godhead; isvare--the supreme controller.
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.
From authoritative scripture it is learned that Prahlada Maharaja still lives in Vaikunthaloka as well as within this material world on the planet Sutala. This transcendental quality of existing simultaneously in different places is another qualification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhutah: the Lord appears in the core of everyone's heart, yet He exists on His own planet, Goloka Vrndavana. A devotee acquires qualities almost the same as those of the Lord because of unalloyed devotional service. Ordinary living beings cannot be so qualified, but a devotee can be qualified like the Supreme Personality of Godhead, not in full but partially.
ripavo 'pi sura nrpa
kim utanye bhavadrsah
yam--whom; sadhu-gatha-sadasi--in an assembly where saintly persons gather or exalted characteristics are discussed; ripavah--persons who were supposed to have been Prahlada Maharaja's enemies (even such a devotee as Prahlada Maharaja had enemies, including even his own father); api--even; surah--the demigods (the demigods are enemies of the demons, and since Prahlada Maharaja was born in a family of demons, the demigods should have been his enemies); nrpa--O King Yudhisthira; pratimanam--a substantial example of the best among the devotees; prakurvanti--they make; kim uta--what to speak of; anye--others; bhavadrsah--exalted personalities such as yourself.
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.
gunair alam asankhyeyair
mahatmyam tasya sucyate
yasya naisargiki ratih
gunaih--with spiritual qualities; alam--what need; asankhyeyaih--which are innumerable; mahatmyam--the greatness; tasya--of him (Prahlada Maharaja); sucyate--is indicated; vasudeve--to Lord Krsna, the son of Vasudeva; bhagavati--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; yasya--of whom; naisargiki--natural; ratih--attachment.
Who could list the innumerable transcendental qualities of Prahlada Maharaja? He had unflinching faith in Vasudeva, Lord Krsna [the son of Vasudeva], and unalloyed devotion to Him. His attachment to Lord Krsna was natural because of his previous devotional service. Although his good qualities cannot be enumerated, they prove that he was a great soul [mahatma].
In his prayers to the ten incarnations, Jayadeva Gosvami says, kesava dhrta-narahari-rupa jaya jagad-isa hare. Prahlada Maharaja was a devotee of Lord Nrsimha, who is Kesava, Krsna Himself. Therefore when this verse says vasudeve bhagavati, one should understand that Prahlada Maharaja's attachment for Nrsimhadeva was attachment for Krsna, Vasudeva, the son of Vasudeva. Prahlada Maharaja, therefore, is described as a great mahatma. As the Lord Himself confirms in Bhagavad-gita (7.19):
bahunam janmanam ante
jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma sudurlabhah
"After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare." A great devotee of Krsna, the son of Vasudeva, is a great soul very rarely to be found. Prahlada Maharaja's attachment for Krsna will be explained in the next verse. Krsna-graha-grhitatma. Prahlada Maharaja's heart was always filled with thoughts of Krsna. Therefore Prahlada Maharaja is the ideal devotee in Krsna consciousness.
na veda jagad idrsam
nyasta--having given up; kridanakah--all sportive activities or tendencies for childhood play; balah--a boy; jada-vat--as if dull, without activities; tat-manastaya--by being fully absorbed in Krsna; krsna-graha--by Krsna, who is like a strong influence (like a graha, or planetary influence); grhita-atma--whose mind was fully attracted; na--not; veda--understood; jagat--the entire material world; idrsam--like this.
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 Krsna consciousness. Since his mind was always affected by Krsna consciousness, he could not understand how the world goes on being fully absorbed in the activities of sense gratification.
Prahlada Maharaja is the vivid example of a great person fully absorbed in Krsna consciousness. In Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 8.274) it is said:
sthavara-jangama dekhe, na dekhe tara murti
sarvatra haya nija ista-deva-sphurti
A fully Krsna conscious person, although situated in this material world, does not see anything but Krsna, anywhere and everywhere. This is the sign of a maha-bhagavata. The maha-bhagavata sees Krsna everywhere because of his attitude of pure love for Krsna. As confirmed in the Brahma-samhita (5.38):
santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda, who is always seen by the devotee whose eyes are anointed with the pulp of love. He is seen in His eternal form of Syamasundara, situated within the heart of the devotee." An exalted devotee, or mahatma, who is rarely to be seen, remains fully conscious of Krsna and constantly sees the Lord within the core of his heart. It is sometimes said that when one is influenced by evil stars like Saturn, Rahu or Ketu, he cannot make advancement in any prospective activity. In just the opposite way, Prahlada Maharaja was influenced by Krsna, the supreme planet, and thus he could not think of the material world and live without Krsna consciousness. That is the sign of a maha-bhagavata. Even if one is an enemy of Krsna, a maha-bhagavata sees him to be also engaged in Krsna's service. Another crude example is that everything appears yellow to the jaundiced eye. Similarly, to a maha-bhagavata, everyone but himself appears to be engaged in Krsna's service.
Prahlada Maharaja is the approved maha-bhagavata, the supreme devotee. In the previous verse it was stated that he had natural attachment (naisargiki ratih). The symptoms of such natural attachment for Krsna are described in this verse. Although Prahlada Maharaja was only a boy, he had no interest in playing. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.42), viraktir anyatra ca: the symptom of perfect Krsna consciousness is that one loses interest in all material activities. For a small boy to give up playing is impossible, but Prahlada Maharaja, being situated in first-class devotional service, was always absorbed in a trance of Krsna consciousness. Just as a materialistic person is always absorbed in thoughts of material gain, a maha-bhagavata like Prahlada Maharaja is always absorbed in thoughts of Krsna.
asinah paryatann asnan
sayanah prapiban bruvan
asinah--while sitting; paryatan--while walking; asnan--while eating; sayanah--while lying down; prapiban--while drinking; bruvan--while talking; na--not; anusandhatte--knew; etani--all these activities; govinda--by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who enlivens the senses; parirambhitah--being embraced.
Prahlada Maharaja was always absorbed in thought of Krsna. 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.
A small child, while being cared for by his mother, does not know how the needs of the body for eating, sleeping, lying down, passing water and evacuating are being fulfilled. He is simply satisfied to be on the lap of his mother. Similarly, Prahlada Maharaja was exactly like a small child, being cared for by Govinda. The necessary activities of his body were performed without his knowledge. As a father and mother care for their child, Govinda cared for Prahlada Maharaja, who remained always absorbed in thoughts of Govinda. This is Krsna consciousness. Prahlada Maharaja is the vivid example of perfection in Krsna consciousness.
kvacid rudati vaikuntha-
kvacid dhasati tac-cinta-
hlada udgayati kvacit
kvacit--sometimes; rudati--cries; vaikuntha-cinta--by thoughts of Krsna; sabala-cetanah--whose mind was bewildered; kvacit--sometimes; hasati--laughs; tat-cinta--by thoughts of Him; ahladah--being jubilant; udgayati--chants very loudly; kvacit--sometimes.
Because of advancement in Krsna consciousness, he sometimes cried, sometimes laughed, sometimes expressed jubilation and sometimes sang loudly.
This verse further clarifies the comparison of a devotee to a child. If a mother leaves her small child in his bed or cradle and goes away to attend to some family duties, the child immediately understands that his mother has gone away, and therefore he cries. But as soon as the mother returns and cares for the child, the child laughs and becomes jubilant. Similarly, Prahlada Maharaja, being always absorbed in thoughts of Krsna, sometimes felt separation, thinking, "Where is Krsna?" This is explained by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sunyayitam jagat sarvam govinda-virahena me. When an exalted devotee feels that Krsna is invisible, having gone away, he cries in separation, and sometimes, when he sees that Krsna has returned to care for him, he laughs, just as a child sometimes laughs upon understanding that his mother is taking care of him. These symptoms are called bhava. In The Nectar of Devotion, various bhavas, ecstatic conditions of a devotee, are fully described. These bhavas are visible in the activities of a perfect devotee.
nadati kvacid utkantho
vilajjo nrtyati kvacit
tanmayo 'nucakara ha
nadati--exclaims loudly (addressing the Lord, "O Krsna"); kvacit--sometimes; utkanthah--being anxious; vilajjah--without shame; nrtyati--he dances; kvacit--sometimes; kvacit--sometimes; tat-bhavana--with thoughts of Krsna; yuktah--being absorbed; tat-mayah--thinking as if he had become Krsna; anucakara--imitated; ha--indeed.
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 Krsna, he felt oneness and imitated the pastimes of the Lord.
Prahlada Maharaja sometimes felt that the Lord was far away from him and therefore called Him loudly. When he saw that the Lord was before him, he was fully jubilant. Sometimes, thinking himself one with the Supreme, he imitated the Lord's pastimes, and in separation from the Lord he would sometimes show symptoms of madness. These feelings of a devotee would not be appreciated by impersonalists. One must go further and further into spiritual understanding. The first realization is impersonal Brahman, but one must go still further to realize Paramatma and eventually the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is worshiped by the transcendental feelings of a devotee in a relationship of santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya or madhurya. Here the feelings of Prahlada Maharaja were in the mellow of vatsalya, filial love and affection. As a child cries when left by his mother, when Prahlada Maharaja felt that the Lord was away from him he began to cry (nadati). Again, a devotee like Prahlada sometimes sees that the Lord is coming from a long distance to pacify him, like a mother responding to a child, saying, "My dear child, do not cry. I am coming." Then the devotee, without being ashamed due to his surroundings and circumstances, begins to dance, thinking, "Here is my Lord! My Lord is coming!" Thus the devotee, in full ecstasy, sometimes imitates the pastimes of the Lord, just as the cowherd boys used to imitate the behavior of the jungle animals. However, he does not actually become the Lord. Prahlada Maharaja achieved the spiritual ecstasies described herein by his advancement in spiritual understanding.
kvacid utpulakas tusnim
kvacit--sometimes; utpulakah--with the hairs of his body standing on end; tusnim--completely silent; aste--remains; samsparsa-nirvrtah--feeling great joy by contact with the Lord; aspanda--steady; pranaya-ananda--due to transcendental bliss from a relationship of love; salila--filled with tears; amilita--half-closed; iksanah--whose eyes.
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 half-closed eyes because of his love for the Lord.
When a devotee feels separation from the Lord, he becomes eager to see where the Lord is, and sometimes when he feels pangs of separation, tears flow incessantly from his half-closed eyes. As stated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His Siksastaka, yugayitam nimesena caksusa pravrsayitam. The words caksusa pravrsayitam refer to tears falling incessantly from the devotee's eyes. These symptoms, which appear in pure devotional ecstasy, were visible in the body of Prahlada Maharaja.
tanvan param nirvrtim atmano muhur
duhsanga-dinasya manah samam vyadhat
sah--he (Prahlada Maharaja); uttama-sloka-pada-aravindayoh--to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is worshiped by transcendental prayers; nisevaya--by constant service; akincana--of devotees who have nothing to do with the material world; sanga--in the association; labdhaya--obtained; tanvan--expanding; param--highest; nirvrtim--bliss; atmanah--of the spirit soul; muhuh--constantly; duhsanga-dinasya--of a person poor in spiritual understanding due to bad association; manah--the mind; samam--peaceful; vyadhat--made.
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.
Apparently Prahlada Maharaja was placed in circumstances in which he was always tortured by his father. In such material conditions, one cannot have an undisturbed mind, but since bhakti is unconditional (ahaituky apratihata), Prahlada Maharaja was never disturbed by the chastisements of Hiranyakasipu. On the contrary, the bodily symptoms of his ecstatic love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead turned the minds of his friends, who had also been born in atheistic families. Instead of being disturbed by the torments of his father, Prahlada influenced these friends and cleansed their minds. A devotee is never contaminated by material conditions, but persons subjected to material conditions can become spiritually advanced and blissful upon seeing the behavior of a pure devotee.
akarod agham atmaje
tasmin--unto him; maha-bhagavate--an exalted devotee of the Lord; maha-bhage--most fortunate; maha-atmani--whose mind was very broad; hiranyakasipuh--the demon Hiranyakasipu; rajan--O King; akarot--performed; agham--very great sin; atma-je--to his own son.
My dear King Yudhisthira, the demon Hiranyakasipu tormented this exalted, fortunate devotee, although Prahlada was his own son.
When a demon like Hiranyakasipu, despite his elevated position due to severe austerities, begins to tease a devotee, he begins falling down, and the results of his austerities dwindle. One who oppresses a pure devotee loses all the results of his austerities, penances and pious activities. Since Hiranyakasipu was now inclined to chastise his most exalted devotee son, Prahlada Maharaja, his opulences began dwindling.
devarsa etad icchamo
veditum tava suvrata
yad atmajaya suddhaya
pitadat sadhave hy agham
sri-yudhisthirah uvaca--Maharaja Yudhisthira inquired; deva-rse--O best saintly person among the demigods; etat--this; icchamah--we wish; veditum--to know; tava--from you; su-vrata--having the determination for spiritual advancement; yat--because; atma-jaya--unto his own son; suddhaya--who was pure and exalted; pita--the father, Hiranyakasipu; adat--gave; sadhave--a great saint; hi--indeed; agham--trouble.
Maharaja Yudhisthira said: O best of the saints among the demigods, O best of spiritual leaders, how did Hiranyakasipu 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.
To know about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the characteristics of His pure devotee, one must inquire from authorities like Devarsi Narada. One cannot inquire about transcendental subject matters from a layman. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.25), satam prasangan mama virya-samvido bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah: only by association with devotees can one authoritatively understand the position of the Lord and His devotees. A devotee like Narada Muni is addressed as suvrata. Su means "good," and vrata means "vow." Thus the word suvrata refers to a person who has nothing to do with the material world, which is always bad. One cannot understand anything spiritual from a materialistic scholar puffed up with academic knowledge. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (18.55), bhaktya mam abhijanati: one must try to understand Krsna by devotional service and from a devotee. Therefore Yudhisthira Maharaja was quite right in wanting to learn further about Prahlada Maharaja from Sri Narada Muni.
putran vipratikulan svan
naivagham aparo yatha
putran--sons; vipratikulan--who act against the will of the father; svan--their own; pitarah--fathers; putra-vatsalah--being very affectionate to the children; upalabhante--chastise; siksa-artham--to teach them lessons; na--not; eva--indeed; agham--punishment; aparah--an enemy; yatha--like.
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 Hiranyakasipu, the father of Prahlada Maharaja, chastise such a noble son? This is what I am eager to know.
kim utanuvasan sadhums
etat kautuhalam brahmann
asmakam vidhama prabho
pituh putraya yad dveso
kim uta--much less; anuvasan--to obedient and perfect sons; sadhun--great devotees; tadrsan--of that sort; guru-devatan--honoring the father as the Supreme Personality of Godhead; etat--this; kautuhalam--doubt; brahman--O brahmana; asmakam--of us; vidhama--dissipate; prabho--O my lord; pituh--of the father; putraya--unto the son; yat--which; dvesah--envy; maranaya--for killing; prayojitah--applied.
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.
In the history of human society, an affectionate father is rarely found to chastise a noble and devoted son. Therefore Maharaja Yudhisthira wanted Narada Muni to dissipate his doubt.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Seventh Canto, Fourth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled, "Hiranyakasipu Terrorizes the Universe."