Prahlada Maharaja, the Saintly Son of Hiranyakasipu
Prahlada Maharaja did not carry out the orders of his teachers, for he was always engaged in worshiping Lord Visnu. As described in this chapter, Hiranyakasipu tried to kill Prahlada Maharaja, even by having a snake bite him and by putting him under the feet of elephants, yet he was unsuccessful.
Hiranyakasipu's spiritual master, Sukracarya, had two sons named Sanda and Amarka, to whom Prahlada Maharaja was entrusted for education. Although the teachers tried to educate the boy Prahlada in politics, economics and other material activities, he did not care for their instructions. Instead, he continued to be a pure devotee. Prahlada Maharaja never liked the idea of discriminating between one's friends and enemies. Because he was spiritually inclined, he was equal toward everyone.
Once upon a time, Hiranyakasipu inquired from his son what the best thing was that he had learned from his teachers. Prahlada Maharaja replied that a man engrossed in the material consciousness of duality, thinking, "This is mine, and that belongs to my enemy," should give up his householder life and go to the forest to worship the Supreme Lord.
When Hiranyakasipu heard from his son about devotional service, he decided that this small boy had been polluted by some friend in school. Thus he advised the teachers to take care of the boy so that he would not become a Krsna conscious devotee. However, when the teachers inquired from Prahlada Maharaja why he was going against their teachings, Prahlada Maharaja taught the teachers that the mentality of ownership is false and that he was therefore trying to become an unalloyed devotee of Lord Visnu. The teachers, being very angry at this answer, chastised and threatened the boy with many fearful conditions. They taught him to the best of their ability and then brought him before his father.
Hiranyakasipu affectionately took his son Prahlada on his lap and then inquired from him what the best thing was that he had learned from his teachers. As usual, Prahlada Maharaja began praising the nine processes of devotional service, such as sravanam and kirtanam. Thus the King of the demons, Hiranyakasipu, being extremely angry, chastised the teachers, Sanda and Amarka, for having wrongly trained Prahlada Maharaja. The so-called teachers informed the King that Prahlada Maharaja was automatically a devotee and did not listen to their instructions. When they proved themselves innocent, Hiranyakasipu inquired from Prahlada where he had learned visnu-bhakti. Prahlada Maharaja replied that those who are attached to family life do not develop Krsna consciousness, either personally or collectively. Instead, they suffer repeated birth and death in this material world and continue simply chewing the chewed. Prahlada explained that the duty of every man is to take shelter of a pure devotee and thus become eligible to understand Krsna consciousness.
Enraged at this answer, Hiranyakasipu threw Prahlada Maharaja from his lap. Since Prahlada was so treacherous that he had become a devotee of Visnu, who had killed his uncle Hiranyaksa, Hiranyakasipu asked his assistants to kill him. The assistants of Hiranyakasipu struck Prahlada with sharp weapons, threw him under the feet of elephants, subjected him to hellish conditions, threw him from the peak of a mountain and tried to kill him in thousands of other ways, but they were unsuccessful. Hiranyakasipu therefore became increasingly afraid of his son Prahlada Maharaja and arrested him. The sons of Hiranyakasipu's spiritual master, Sukracarya, began teaching Prahlada in their own way, but Prahlada Maharaja did not accept their instructions. While the teachers were absent from the classroom, Prahlada Maharaja began to preach Krsna consciousness in the school, and by his instructions all his class friends, the sons of the demons, became devotees like him.
vrtah kavyah kilasuraih
sandamarkau sutau tasya
sri-naradah uvaca--the great saint Narada said; paurohityaya--to work as priest; bhagavan--the most powerful; vrtah--chosen; kavyah--Sukracarya; kila--indeed; asuraih--by the demons; sanda-amarkau--Sanda and Amarka; sutau--sons; tasya--of him; daitya-raja--of the King of the demons, Hiranyakasipu; grha-antike--near the residence.
The great saint Narada Muni said: The demons, headed by Hiranyakasipu, accepted Sukracarya as their priest for ritualistic ceremonies. Sukracarya's two sons, Sanda and Amarka, lived near Hiranyakasipu's palace.
The beginning of the life story of Prahlada is recounted as follows. Sukracarya became the priest of the atheists, especially Hiranyakasipu, and thus his two sons, Sanda and Amarka, resided near Hiranyakasipu's residence. Sukracarya should not have become the priest of Hiranyakasipu because Hiranyakasipu and his followers were all atheists. A brahmana should become the priest of a person interested in the advancement of spiritual culture. The very name Sukracarya, however, indicates a person interested in obtaining benefits for his sons and descendants, regardless of how the money comes. A real brahmana would not become a priest for atheistic men.
tau rajna prapitam balam
pathayam asatuh pathyan
tau--those two (Sanda and Amarka); rajna--by the King; prapitam--sent; balam--the boy; prahladam--named Prahlada; naya-kovidam--who was aware of moral principles; pathayam asatuh--instructed; pathyan--books of material knowledge; anyan--other; ca--also; asura-balakan--sons of the asuras.
Prahlada Maharaja was already educated in devotional life, but when his father sent him to those two sons of Sukracarya to be educated, they accepted him at their school along with the other sons of the asuras.
yat tatra guruna proktam
susruve 'nupapatha ca
na sadhu manasa mene
yat--which; tatra--there (in the school); guruna--by the teachers; proktam--instructed; susruve--heard; anupapatha--recited; ca--and; na--not; sadhu--good; manasa--by the mind; mene--considered; sva--of one's own; para--and of others; asat-graha--by the bad philosophy; asrayam--which was supported.
Prahlada certainly heard and recited the topics of politics and economics taught by the teachers, but he understood that political philosophy involves considering someone a friend and someone else an enemy, and thus he did not like it.
Politics involves accepting one group of men as enemies and another group as friends. Everything in politics is based on this philosophy, and the entire world, especially at the present, is engrossed in it. The public is concerned with friendly countries and friendly groups or enemy countries and enemy groups, but as stated in Bhagavad-gita, a learned person does not make distinctions between enemies and friends. Devotees, especially, do not create friends and enemies. A devotee sees that every living being is part and parcel of Krsna (mamaivamso jiva-bhutah). Therefore a devotee treats friends and enemies equally by trying to educate them both in Krsna consciousness. Of course, atheistic men do not follow the instructions of pure devotees, but instead consider a devotee their enemy. A devotee, however, never creates a situation of friendship and enmity. Although Prahlada Maharaja was obliged to hear the instructions of Sanda and Amarka, he did not like the philosophy of friends and enemies, which forms the basis of politics. He was not interested in this philosophy.
ankam aropya pandava
papraccha kathyatam vatsa
manyate sadhu yad bhavan
ekada--once upon a time; asura-rat--the Emperor of the asuras; putram--his son; ankam--on the lap; aropya--placing; pandava--O Maharaja Yudhisthira; papraccha--inquired; kathyatam--let it be told; vatsa--my dear son; manyate--considers; sadhu--the best; yat--that which; bhavan--your good self.
My dear King Yudhisthira, once upon a time the King of the demons, Hiranyakasipu, took his son Prahlada on his lap and very affectionately inquired: My dear son, please let me know what you think is the best of all the subjects you have studied from your teachers.
Hiranyakasipu did not ask his young son anything that would be very difficult for him to answer; instead, he gave the boy a chance to speak plainly about whatever he thought might be best. Prahlada Maharaja, of course, being a perfect devotee, knew everything and could say what the best part of life is. In the Vedas it is said, yasmin vijnate samam evam vijnatam bhavati: if one properly understands God, he can understand any subject matter very nicely. Sometimes we have to challenge big scientists and philosophers, but by the grace of Krsna we emerge successful. It is impossible, practically speaking, for ordinary men to challenge scientists or philosophers concerning genuine knowledge, but a devotee can challenge them because the best of everything is known to a devotee by the grace of Krsna. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (10.11):
aham ajnana-jam tamah
Krsna, who is situated in the core of everyone's heart as the Supersoul, dissipates all the ignorance from the heart of a devotee. As a special favor, He enlightens the devotee with all knowledge by putting before him the torch of light. Prahlada Maharaja, therefore, knew the best of knowledge, and when his father inquired from him, Prahlada gave him that knowledge. Prahlada Maharaja was able to solve the most difficult parts of problems because of his advanced Krsna consciousness. Therefore he replied as follows.
tat sadhu manye 'sura-varya dehinam
sada samudvigna-dhiyam asad-grahat
hitvatma-patam grham andha-kupam
vanam gato yad dharim asrayeta
sri-prahladah uvaca--Prahlada Maharaja replied; tat--that; sadhu--very good, or the best part of life; manye--I think; asura-varya--O King of the asuras; dehinam--of persons who have accepted the material body; sada--always; samudvigna--full of anxieties; dhiyam--whose intelligence; asat-grahat--because of accepting the temporary body or bodily relations as real (thinking "I am this body, and everything belonging to this body is mine"); hitva--giving up; atma-patam--the place where spiritual culture or self-realization is stopped; grham--the bodily concept of life, or household life; andha-kupam--which is nothing but a blind well (where there is no water but one nonetheless searches for water); vanam--to the forest; gatah--going; yat--which; harim--the Supreme personality of Godhead; asrayeta--may take shelter of.
Prahlada Maharaja replied: O best of the asuras, King of the demons, as far as I have learned from my spiritual master, any person who has accepted a temporary body and temporary household life is certainly embarrassed by anxiety because of having fallen in a dark well where there is no water but only suffering. One should give up this position and go to the forest [vana]. More clearly, one should go to Vrndavana, where only Krsna consciousness is prevalent, and should thus take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Hiranyakasipu thought that Prahlada, being nothing but a small boy with no actual experience, might reply with something pleasing but nothing practical. Prahlada Maharaja, however, being an exalted devotee, had acquired all the qualities of education.
yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana
sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah
harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna
manorathenasati dhavato bahih
"One who has unflinching devotional faith in Krsna consistently manifests all the good qualities of Krsna and the demigods. However, he who has no devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no good qualifications because he is engaged by mental concoction in material existence, which is the external feature of the Lord." (Bhag. 5.18.12) So-called educated philosophers and scientists who are simply on the mental platform cannot distinguish between what is actually sat, eternal, and what is asat, temporary. The Vedic injunction is asato ma jyotir gama: everyone should give up the platform of temporary existence and approach the eternal platform. The soul is eternal, and topics concerning the eternal soul are actually knowledge. Elsewhere it is said, apasyatam atma-tattvam grhesu grha-medhinam: those who are attached to the bodily conception of life and who thus stick to life as a grhastha, or householder, on the platform of material sense enjoyment, cannot see the welfare of the eternal soul. Prahlada Maharaja confirmed this by saying that if one wants success in life, he should immediately understand from the right sources what his self-interest is and how he should mold his life in spiritual consciousness. One should understand himself to be part and parcel of Krsna and thus completely take shelter of His lotus feet for guaranteed spiritual success. Everyone in the material world is in the bodily conception, struggling hard for existence, life after life. Prahlada Maharaja therefore recommended that to stop this material condition of repeated birth and death, one should go to the forest (vana).
In the varnasrama system, one first becomes a brahmacari, then a grhastha, a vanaprastha and finally a sannyasi. Going to the forest means accepting vanaprastha life, which is between grhastha life and sannyasa. As confirmed in the Visnu purana (3.8.9), varnasramacaravata purusena parah puman visnur aradhyate: by accepting the institution of varna and asrama, one can very easily elevate himself to the platform of worshiping Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Otherwise, if one remains in the bodily conception, one must rot within this material world, and his life will be a failure. Society must have divisions of brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra, and for spiritual advancement one must gradually develop as a brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasi. Prahlada Maharaja recommended that his father accept vanaprastha life because as a grhastha he was becoming increasingly demoniac due to bodily attachment. Prahlada recommended to his father that accepting vanaprastha life would be better than going deeper and deeper into grham andha-kupam, the blind well of life as a grhastha. In our Krsna consciousness movement we therefore invite all the elderly persons of the world to come to Vrndavana and stay there in retired life, making advancement in spiritual consciousness, Krsna consciousness.
srutva putra-giro daityah
jahasa buddhir balanam
sri-naradah uvaca--Narada Muni said; srutva--hearing; putra-girah--the instructive words of his son; daityah--Hiranyakasipu; para-paksa--on the side of the enemy; samahitah--full of faith; jahasa--laughed; buddhih--the intelligence; balanam--of small boys; bhidyate--is polluted; para-buddhibhih--by instructions from the enemy's camp.
Narada Muni continued: When Prahlada Maharaja spoke about the path of self-realization in devotional service, thus being faithful to the camp of his father's enemies, Hiranyakasipu, the King of the demons, heard Prahlada's words and he laughingly said, "Thus is the intelligence of children spoiled by the words of the enemy."
Hiranyakasipu, being a demon, would always consider Lord Visnu and His devotees to be his enemies. Therefore the word para-paksa ("on the side of the enemy") is used here. Hiranyakasipu never agreed with the words of Visnu, or Krsna. Rather, he was angered by the intelligence of a Vaisnava. Lord Visnu, Lord Krsna, says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja--"Give up all other duties and surrender unto Me"--but demons like Hiranyakasipu never agree to do this. Therefore Krsna says:
na mam duskrtino mudhah
asuram bhavam asritah
"Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons, do not surrender unto Me." (Bg. 7.15) The asura-bhava, the atheistic nature, is directly represented by Hiranyakasipu. Such persons, being mudha and naradhama--fools and rascals, the lowest of men--would never accept Visnu as the Supreme and surrender to Him. Hiranyakasipu naturally became increasingly angry that his son Prahlada was being influenced by the camp of the enemies. He therefore asked that saintly persons like Narada not be allowed within the residential quarters of his son, for otherwise Prahlada would be further spoiled by Vaisnava instructions.
samyag vidharyatam balo
na bhidyetasya dhir yatha
samyak--completely; vidharyatam--let him be protected; balah--this boy of tender age; guru-gehe--in the guru-kula, the place where children are sent to be instructed by the guru; dvi-jatibhih--by brahmanas; visnu-paksaih--who are on the side of Visnu; praticchannaih--disguised in different dresses; na bhidyeta--may not be influenced; asya--of him; dhih--the intelligence; yatha--so that.
Hiranyakasipu advised his assistants: My dear demons, give complete protection to this boy at the guru-kula where he is instructed, so that his intelligence will not be further influenced by Vaisnavas who may go there in disguise.
In our Krsna consciousness movement, the tactic of dressing oneself like an ordinary karmi is necessary because everyone in the demoniac kingdom is against the Vaisnava teachings. Krsna consciousness is not at all to the liking of the demons of the present age. As soon as they see a Vaisnava dressed in saffron garments with beads on his neck and tilaka on his forehead, they are immediately irritated. They criticize the Vaisnavas by sarcastically saying Hare Krsna, and some people also chant Hare Krsna sincerely. In either case, since Hare Krsna is absolute, whether one chants it jokingly or sincerely, it will have its effect. The Vaisnavas are pleased when the demons chant Hare Krsna because this shows that the Hare Krsna movement is taking ground. The greater demons, like Hiranyakasipu, are always prepared to chastise the Vaisnavas, and they try to make arrangements so that Vaisnavas will not come to sell their books and preach Krsna consciousness. Thus what was done by Hiranyakasipu long, long ago is still being done. That is the way of materialistic life. Demons or materialists do not at all like the advancement of Krsna consciousness, and they try to hinder it in many ways. Yet the preachers of Krsna consciousness must go forward--in their Vaisnava dress or any other dress--for the purpose of preaching. Canakya Pandita says that if an honest person deals with a great cheater, it is necessary for him to become a cheater also, not for the purpose of cheating but to make his preaching successful.
grham anitam ahuya
prasasya slaksnaya vaca
grham--to the place of the teachers (Sanda and Amarka); anitam--brought; ahuya--calling; prahradam--Prahlada; daitya-yajakah--the priests of the demon Hiranyakasipu; prasasya--by pacifying; slaksnaya--with a very mild; vaca--voice; samaprcchanta--they questioned; samabhih--by very agreeable words.
When Hiranyakasipu's servants brought the boy Prahlada back to the guru-kula [the place where the brahmanas taught the boys], the priests of the demons, Sanda and Amarka, pacified him. With very mild voices and affectionate words, they inquired from him as follows.
Sanda and Amarka, the priests of the demons, were eager to know from Prahlada Maharaja who the Vaisnavas were that came to instruct him in Krsna consciousness. Their purpose was to discover the names of these Vaisnavas. In the beginning they did not threaten the boy because when threatened he might not identify the real culprits. Therefore they very mildly and peacefully inquired as follows.
vatsa prahrada bhadram te
satyam kathaya ma mrsa
balan ati kutas tubhyam
vatsa--O dear son; prahrada--Prahlada; bhadram te--all blessings and good fortune unto you; satyam--the truth; kathaya--speak; ma--do not; mrsa--a lie; balan ati--passing over the other demon boys; kutah--from where; tubhyam--unto you; esah--this; buddhi--of the intelligence; viparyayah--pollution.
Dear son Prahlada, all peace and good fortune unto you. Kindly do not speak lies; just reply with the truth. These boys you see are not like you, for they do not speak in a deviant way. How have you learned these instructions? How has your intelligence been spoiled in this way?
Prahlada Maharaja was still a boy, and therefore his teachers thought that if they pacified the little boy he would immediately speak the truth, revealing the secret of how the Vaisnavas came there to teach him lessons in devotional service. It was surprising, of course, that in the same school the other boys of the Daityas were not polluted; only Prahlada Maharaja was supposedly polluted by the instructions of the Vaisnavas. The main duty of the teachers was to inquire who those Vaisnavas were that came to teach Prahlada and spoil his intelligence.
utaho te svato 'bhavat
buddhi-bhedah--pollution of the intelligence; para-krtah--done by the enemies; utaho--or; te--of you; svatah--by yourself; abhavat--was; bhanyatam--let it be told; srotu-kamanam--to us, who are very eager to hear about it; gurunam--all your teachers; kula-nandana--O best of your family.
O best of your family, has this pollution of your intelligence been brought about by you or by the enemies? We are all your teachers and are very eager to hear about this. Please tell us the truth.
Prahlada Maharaja's teachers were astonished that a small boy could speak such exalted Vaisnava philosophy. Therefore they inquired about the Vaisnavas who stealthily taught it to him, in order that these Vaisnavas might be arrested and killed in the presence of Prahlada's father, Hiranyakasipu.
parah svas cety asad-grahah
pumsam yan-mayaya krtah
tasmai bhagavate namah
sri-prahradah uvaca--Prahlada Maharaja replied; parah--an enemy; svah--a kinsman or friend; ca--also; iti--thus; asat-grahah--material conception of life; pumsam--of persons; yat--of whom; mayaya--by the external energy; krtah--created; vimohita--bewildered; dhiyam--of those whose intelligence; drstah--practically experienced; tasmai--unto Him; bhagavate--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; namah--my respectful obeisances.
Prahlada Maharaja replied: Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose external energy has created the distinctions of "my friend" and "my enemy" by deluding the intelligence of men. Indeed, I am now actually experiencing this, although I have previously heard of it from authoritative sources.
As stated in Bhagavad-gita (5.18):
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva svapake ca
"The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste]." panditah, those who are actually learned--the equipoised, advanced devotees who have full knowledge of everything--do not see any living entity as an enemy or friend. Instead, with broader vision, they see that everyone is part of Krsna, as confirmed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (jivera 'svarupa' haya--krsnera 'nitya-dasa'). Every living entity, being part of the Supreme Lord, is meant to serve the Lord, just as every part of the body is meant to serve the whole body.
As servants of the Supreme Lord, all living entities are one, but a Vaisnava, because of his natural humility, addresses every other living entity as prabhu. A Vaisnava sees other servants to be so advanced that he has much to learn from them. Thus he accepts all other devotees of the Lord as prabhus, masters. Although everyone is a servant of the Lord, one Vaisnava servant, because of humility, sees another servant as his master. Understanding of the master begins from understanding of the spiritual master.
yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto 'pi
"By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Krsna. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement."
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam
"The spiritual master is to be honored as much as the Supreme Lord because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all revealed scriptures and followed by all authorities. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master, who is a bona fide representative of Sri Hari [Krsna]." The spiritual master, the servant of God, is engaged in the most confidential service of the Lord, namely delivering all the conditioned souls from the clutches of maya, in which one thinks, "This person is my enemy, and that one is my friend." Actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the friend of all living entities, and all living entities are eternal servants of the Supreme Lord. Oneness is possible through this understanding, not through artificially thinking that every one of us is God or equal to God. The true understanding is that God is the supreme master and that all of us are servants of the Supreme Lord and are therefore on the same platform. This had already been taught to Prahlada Maharaja by his spiritual master, Narada, but Prahlada was nonetheless surprised by how a bewildered soul thinks one person his enemy and another his friend.
As long as one adheres to the philosophy of duality, thinking one person a friend and another an enemy, he should be understood to be in the clutches of maya. The Mayavadi philosopher who thinks that all living entities are God and are therefore one is also mistaken. No one is equal to God. The servant cannot be equal to the master. According to the Vaisnava philosophy, the master is one, and the servants are also one, but the distinction between the master and servant must continue even in the liberated stage. In the conditioned stage we think that some living beings are our friends whereas others are enemies, and thus we are in duality. In the liberated stage, however, the conception is that God is the master and that all living entities, being servants of God, are one.
sa yadanuvratah pumsam
anya esa tathanyo 'ham
sah--that Supreme Personality of Godhead; yada--when; anuvratah--favorable or pleased; pumsam--of the conditioned souls; pasu-buddhih--the animalistic conception of life ("I am the Supreme, and everyone is God"); vibhidyate--is destroyed; anyah--another; esah--this; tatha--as well as; anyah--another; aham--I; iti--thus; bheda--distinction; gata--having; asati--which is disastrous.
When the Supreme Personality of Godhead is pleased with the living entity because of his devotional service, one becomes a pandita and does not make distinctions between enemies, friends and himself. Intelligently, he then thinks, "Every one of us is an eternal servant of God, and therefore we are not different from one another."
When Prahlada Maharaja's teachers and demoniac father asked him how his intelligence had been polluted, Prahlada Maharaja said, "As far as I am concerned, my intelligence has not been polluted. Rather, by the grace of my spiritual master and by the grace of my Lord, Krsna, I have now learned that no one is my enemy and no one is my friend. We are all actually eternal servants of Krsna, but under the influence of the external energy we think that we are separately situated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead as friends and enemies of one another. This mistaken idea has now been corrected, and therefore, unlike ordinary human beings, I no longer think that I am God and that others are my friends and enemies. Now I am rightly thinking that everyone is an eternal servant of God and that our duty is to serve the supreme master, for then we shall stand on the platform of oneness as servants."
Demons think of everyone as a friend or enemy, but Vaisnavas say that since everyone is a servant of the Lord, everyone is on the same platform. Therefore a Vaisnava treats other living entities neither as friends nor as enemies, but instead tries to spread Krsna consciousness, teaching everyone that we are all one as servants of the Supreme Lord but are uselessly wasting our valuable lives by creating nations, communities and other groups of friends and enemies. Everyone should come to the platform of Krsna consciousness and thus feel oneness as a servant of the Lord. Although there are 8,400,000 species of life, a Vaisnava feels this oneness. The Isopanisad advises, ekatvam anupasyatah. A devotee should see the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be situated in everyone's heart and should also see every living entity as an eternal servant of the Lord. This vision is called ekatvam, oneness. Although there is a relationship of master and servant, both master and servant are one because of their spiritual identity. This is also ekatvam. Thus the conception of ekatvam for the Vaisnava is different from that of the Mayavadi.
Hiranyakasipu asked Prahlada Maharaja how he had become antagonistic to his family. When a family member is killed by an enemy, all the members of the family would naturally be inimical to the murderer, but Hiranyakasipu saw that Prahlada had become friendly with the murderer. Therefore he asked, "Who has created this kind of intelligence in you? Have you developed this consciousness by yourself? Since you are a small boy, someone must have induced you to think this way." Prahlada Maharaja wanted to reply that an attitude favorable toward Visnu can develop only when the Lord is favorable (sa yadanuvratah). As stated in Bhagavad-gita, Krsna is the friend of everyone (suhrdam sama-bhutanam jnatva mam santim rcchati). The Lord is never an enemy to any of the millions of living entities, but is always a friend to everyone. This is true understanding. If one thinks that the Lord is an enemy, his intelligence is pasu-buddhi, the intelligence of an animal. He falsely thinks, "I am different from my enemy, and my enemy is different from me. The enemy has done this, and therefore my duty is to kill him." This misconception is described in this verse as bheda-gatasati. The actual fact is that everyone is a servant of the Lord, as confirmed in Caitanya-caritamrta by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (jivera 'svarupa' haya--krsnera 'nitya-dasa'). As servants of the Lord, we are one, and there can be no questions of enmity or friendship. If one actually understands that every one of us is a servant of the Lord, where is the question of enemy or friend?
Everyone should be friendly for the service of the Lord. Everyone should praise another's service to the Lord and not be proud of his own service. This is the way of Vaisnava thinking, Vaikuntha thinking. There may be rivalries and apparent competition between servants in performing service, but in the Vaikuntha planets the service of another servant is appreciated, not condemned. This is Vaikuntha competition. There is no question of enmity between servants. Everyone should be allowed to render service to the Lord to the best of his ability, and everyone should appreciate the service of others. Such are the activities of Vaikuntha. Since everyone is a servant, everyone is on the same platform and is allowed to serve the Lord according to his ability. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (15.15), sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca: the Lord is situated in everyone's heart, giving dictation according to the attitude of the servant. However, the Lord gives different dictation to the nondevotees and devotees. The nondevotees challenge the authority of the Supreme Lord, and therefore the Lord dictates in such a way that the nondevotees forget the Lord's service, life after life, and are punished by the laws of nature. But when a devotee very sincerely wants to render service to the Lord, the Lord dictates in a different way. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (10.10):
dadami buddhi-yogam tam
yena mam upayanti te
"To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me." Everyone is actually a servant, not an enemy or friend, and everyone is working under different directions from the Lord, who directs each living entity according to his mentality.
sa esa atma sva-parety abuddhibhir
muhyanti yad-vartmani veda-vadino
brahmadayo hy esa bhinatti me matim
sah--He; esah--this; atma--Supersoul situated in everyone's heart; sva-para--this is my own business, and that is someone else's; iti--thus; abuddhibhih--by those who have such bad intelligence; duratyaya--very difficult to follow; anukramanah--whose devotional service; nirupyate--is ascertained (by scriptures or the instructions of the spiritual master); muhyanti--are bewildered; yat--of whom; vartmani--on the path; veda-vadinah--the followers of Vedic instructions; brahma-adayah--the demigods, beginning from Lord Brahma; hi--indeed; esah--this one; bhinatti--changes; me--my; matim--intelligence.
Persons who always think in terms of "enemy" and "friend" are unable to ascertain the Supersoul within themselves. Not to speak of them, even such exalted persons as Lord Brahma, who are fully conversant with the Vedic literature, are sometimes bewildered in following the principles of devotional service. The same Supreme Personality of Godhead who has created this situation has certainly given me the intelligence to take the side of your so-called enemy.
Prahlada Maharaja admitted frankly, "My dear teachers, you wrongly think that Lord Visnu is your enemy, but because He is favorable toward me, I understand that He is the friend of everyone. You may think that I have taken the side of your enemy, but factually He has bestowed a great favor upon me."
yatha bhramyaty ayo brahman
tatha me bhidyate cetas
yatha--just as; bhramyati--moves; ayah--iron; brahman--O brahmanas; svayam--itself; akarsa--of a magnet; sannidhau--in the proximity; tatha--similarly; me--my; bhidyate--is changed; cetah--consciousness; cakra-paneh--of Lord Visnu, who has a disc in His hand; yadrcchaya--simply by the will.
O brahmanas [teachers], as iron attracted by a magnetic stone moves automatically toward the magnet, my consciousness, having been changed by His will, is attracted by Lord Visnu, who carries a disc in His hand. Thus I have no independence.
For iron to be attracted by a magnet is natural. Similarly, for all living entities to be attracted toward Krsna is natural, and therefore the Lord's real name is Krsna, meaning He who attracts everyone and everything. The typical examples of such attraction are found in Vrndavana, where everything and everyone is attracted by Krsna. The elderly persons like Nanda Maharaja and Yasodadevi, the friends like Sridama, Sudama and the other cowherd boys, the gopis like Srimati Radharani and Her associates, and even the birds, beasts, cows and calves are attracted. The flowers and fruits in the gardens are attracted, the waves of the Yamuna are attracted, and the land, sky, trees, plants, animals and all other living beings are attracted by Krsna. This is the natural situation of everything in Vrndavana.
Just contrary to the affairs of Vrndavana is the material world, where no one is attracted by Krsna and everyone is attracted by maya. This is the difference between the spiritual and material worlds. Hiranyakasipu, who was in the material world, was attracted by women and money, whereas Prahlada Maharaja, being in his natural position, was attracted by Krsna. In replying to Hiranyakasipu's question about why Prahlada Maharaja had a deviant view, Prahlada said that his view was not deviant, for the natural position of everyone is to be attracted by Krsna. Hiranyakasipu found this view deviant, Prahlada said, because of being unnaturally unattracted by Krsna. Hiranyakasipu therefore needed purification.
As soon as one is purified of material contamination, he is again attracted by Krsna (sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam tat-paratvena nirmalam). In the material world, everyone is contaminated by the dirt of sense gratification and is acting according to different designations, sometimes as a human being, sometimes a beast, sometimes a demigod or tree, and so on. One must be cleansed of all these designations. Then one will be naturally attracted to Krsna. The bhakti process purifies the living entity of all unnatural attractions. When one is purified he is attracted by Krsna and begins to serve Krsna instead of serving maya. This is his natural position. A devotee is attracted by Krsna, whereas a nondevotee, being contaminated by the dirt of material enjoyment, is not. This is confirmed by the Lord in Bhagavad-gita (7.28):
yesam tv anta-gatam papam
bhajante mam drdha-vratah
"Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated and who are freed from the duality of delusion, engage themselves in My service with determination." One must be freed from all the sinful dirt of material existence. Everyone in this material world is contaminated by material desire. Unless one is free from all material desire (anyabhilasita-sunyam), one cannot be attracted by Krsna.
tam sannibhartsya kupitah
sri-naradah uvaca--Narada Muni said; etavat--this much; brahmanaya--unto the brahmanas, the sons of Sukracarya; uktva--speaking; virarama--became silent; maha-matih--Prahlada Maharaja, who possessed great intelligence; tam--him (Prahlada Maharaja); sannibhartsya--chastising very harshly; kupitah--being angry; su-dinah--poor in thought, or very much aggrieved; raja-sevakah--the servants of King Hiranyakasipu.
The great saint Narada Muni continued: The great soul Prahlada Maharaja became silent after saying this to his teachers, Sanda and Amarka, the seminal sons of Sukracarya. These so-called brahmanas then became angry at him. Because they were servants of Hiranyakasipu, they were very sorry, and to chastise Prahlada Maharaja they spoke as follows.
The word sukra means "semen." The sons of Sukracarya were brahmanas by birthright, but an actual brahmana is one who possesses the brahminical qualities. The brahmanas Sanda and Amarka, being seminal sons of Sukracarya, did not actually possess real brahminical qualifications, for they engaged as servants of Hiranyakasipu. An actual brahmana is very much satisfied to see anyone, not to speak of his disciple, become a devotee of Lord Krsna. Such brahmanas are meant to satisfy the supreme master. A brahmana is strictly prohibited from becoming a servant of anyone else, for that is the business of dogs and sudras. A dog must satisfy his master, but a brahmana does not have to satisfy anyone; he is simply meant to satisfy Krsna (anukulyena krsnanusilanam). That is the real qualification of a brahmana. Because Sanda and Amarka were seminal brahmanas and had become servants of such a master as Hiranyakasipu, they unnecessarily wanted to chastise Prahlada Maharaja.
aniyatam are vetram
caturtho 'syodito damah
aniyatam--let it be brought; are--oh; vetram--the stick; asmakam--of us; ayasaskarah--who is bringing defamation; kula-angarasya--of he who is like a cinder in the dynasty; durbuddheh--having bad intelligence; caturthah--the fourth; asya--for him; uditah--declared; damah--punishment (the stick, argumentum ad baculum).
Oh, please bring me a stick! This Prahlada is damaging our name and fame. Because of his bad intelligence, he has become like a cinder in the dynasty of the demons. Now he needs to be treated by the fourth of the four kinds of political diplomacy.
In political affairs, when a person disobediently agitates against the government, four principles are used to suppress him--legal orders, pacification, the offer of a post, or, finally, weapons. When there are no other arguments, he is punished. In logic, this is called argumentum ad baculum. When the two seminal brahmanas Sanda and Amarka failed to extract from Prahlada Maharaja the cause for his having opinions different from those of his father, they called for a stick with which to chastise him to satisfy their master, Hiranyakasipu. Because Prahlada had become a devotee, they considered him to be contaminated by bad intelligence and to be the worst descendant in the family of demons. As it is said, where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise. In a society or family in which everyone is a demon, for someone to become a Vaisnava is certainly folly. Thus Prahlada Maharaja was charged with bad intelligence because he was among demons, including his teachers, who were supposedly brahmanas.
The members of our Krsna consciousness movement are in a position similar to that of Prahlada Maharaja. All over the world, ninety-nine percent of the people are godless demons, and therefore our preaching of Krsna consciousness, following in the footsteps of Prahlada Maharaja, is always hampered by many impediments. Because of their fault of being devotees, the American boys who have sacrificed everything for preaching Krsna consciousness are charged with being members of the CIA. Moreover, the seminal brahmanas in India, who say that one can become a brahmana only if born in a brahmana family, charge us with ruining the Hindu system of religion. Of course, the fact is that one becomes a brahmana by qualification. Because we are training Europeans and Americans to become qualified and are awarding them brahminical status, we are being charged with destroying the Hindu religion. Nonetheless, confronting all kinds of difficulties, we must spread the Krsna consciousness movement with great determination, like that of Prahlada Maharaja. In spite of being the son of the demon Hiranyakasipu, Prahlada never feared the chastisements of the seminal brahmana sons of a demoniac father.
jato 'yam kantaka-drumah
visnor nalayito 'rbhakah
daiteya--of the demoniac family; candana-vane--in the sandalwood forest; jatah--born; ayam--this; kantaka-drumah--thorn tree; yat--of which; mula--of the roots; unmula--in the cutting; parasoh--who is like an axe; visnoh--of Lord Visnu; nalayitah--the handle; arbhakah--boy.
This rascal Prahlada has appeared like a thorn tree in a forest of sandalwood. To cut down sandalwood trees, an axe is needed, and the wood of the thorn tree is very suitable for the handle of such an axe. Lord Visnu is the axe for cutting down the sandalwood forest of the family of demons, and this Prahlada is the handle for that axe.
Thorn trees generally grow in deserted places, not in sandalwood forests, but the seminal brahmanas Sanda and Amarka compared the dynasty of the Daitya Hiranyakasipu to a sandalwood forest and compared Prahlada Maharaja to a hard, strong thorn tree that could provide the handle of an axe. They compared Lord Visnu to the axe itself. An axe alone cannot cut a thorn tree; it needs a handle, which may be made of the wood of a thorn tree. Thus the thorn tree of demoniac civilization can be cut to pieces by the axe of visnu-bhakti, devotional service to Lord Krsna. Some of the members of the demoniac civilization, like Prahlada Maharaja, may become the handle for the axe, to assist Lord Visnu, and thus the entire forest of demoniac civilization can be cut to pieces.
iti tam vividhopayair
prahradam grahayam asa
iti--in this way; tam--him (Prahlada Maharaja); vividha-upayaih--by various means; bhisayan--threatening; tarjana-adibhih--by chastisement, threats, etc.; prahradam--unto Prahlada Maharaja; grahayam asa--taught; tri-vargasya--the three goals of life (the paths of religion, economic development and sense gratification); upapadanam--scripture that presents.
Sanda and Amarka, the teachers of Prahlada Maharaja, chastised and threatened their disciple in various ways and began teaching him about the paths of religion, economic development and sense gratification. This is the way they educated him.
In this verse the words prahradam grahayam asa are important. The words grahayam asa literally mean that they tried to induce Prahlada Maharaja to accept the paths of dharma, artha and kama (religion, economic development and sense gratification). People are generally preoccupied with these three concerns, without interest in the path of liberation. Hiranyakasipu, the father of Prahlada Maharaja, was simply interested in gold and sense enjoyment. The word hiranya means "gold," and kasipu refers to soft cushions and bedding on which people enjoy sense gratification. The word prahlada, however, refers to one who is always joyful in understanding Brahman (brahma-bhutah prasannatma). Prahlada means prasannatma, always joyful. Prahlada was always joyful in worshiping the Lord, but in accordance with the instructions of Hiranyakasipu, the teachers were interested in teaching him about material things. Materialistic persons think that the path of religion is meant for improving their material conditions. The materialist goes to a temple to worship many varieties of demigods just to receive some benediction to improve his material life. He goes to a sadhu or so-called svami to take advantage of an easy method for achieving material opulence. In the name of religion, the so-called sadhus try to satisfy the senses of the materialists by showing them shortcuts to material opulence. Sometimes they give some talisman or blessing. Sometimes they attract materialistic persons by producing gold. Then they declare themselves God, and foolish materialists are attracted to them for economic development. As a result of this process of cheating, others are reluctant to accept a religious process, and instead they advise people in general to work for material advancement. This is going on all over the world. Not only now but since time immemorial, no one is interested in moksa, liberation. There are four principles--dharma (religion), artha (economic development), kama (sense gratification) and moksa (liberation). People accept religion to become materially opulent. And why should one be materially opulent? For sense gratification. Thus people prefer these three margas, the three paths of materialistic life. No one is interested in liberation, and bhagavad-bhakti, devotional service to the Lord, is above even liberation. Therefore the process of devotional service, Krsna consciousness, is extremely difficult to understand. This will be explained later by Prahlada Maharaja. The teachers Sanda and Amarka tried to induce Prahlada Maharaja to accept the materialistic way of life, but actually their attempt was a failure.
tata enam gurur jnatva
daityendram darsayam asa
tatah--thereafter; enam--him (Prahlada Maharaja); guruh--his teachers; jnatva--knowing; jnata--known; jneya--which are to be known; catustayam--the four diplomatic principles (sama, the process of pacifying; dana, the process of giving money in charity; bheda, the principle of dividing; and danda, the principle of punishment); daitya-indram--unto Hiranyakasipu, the King of the Daityas; darsayam asa--presented; matr-mrstam--being bathed by his mother; alankrtam--decorated with ornaments.
After some time, the teachers Sanda and Amarka thought that Prahlada Maharaja was sufficiently educated in the diplomatic affairs of pacifying public leaders, appeasing them by giving them lucrative posts, dividing and ruling over them, and punishing them in cases of disobedience. Then, one day, after Prahlada's mother had personally washed the boy and dressed him nicely with sufficient ornaments, they presented him before his father.
It is essential for a student who is going to be a ruler or king to learn the four diplomatic principles. There is always rivalry between a king and his citizens. Therefore, when a citizen agitates the public against the king, the duty of the king is to call him and try to pacify him with sweet words, saying, "You are very important in the state. Why should you disturb the public with some new cause for agitation?" If the citizen is not pacified, the king should then offer him some lucrative post as a governor or minister--any post that draws a high salary--so that he may be agreeable. If the enemy still goes on agitating the public, the king should try to create dissension in the enemy's camp, but if he still continues, the king should employ argumentum ad baculum--severe punishment--by putting him in jail or placing him before a firing squad. The teachers appointed by Hiranyakasipu taught Prahlada Maharaja how to be a diplomat so that he could rule over the citizens very nicely.
padayoh patitam balam
parisvajya ciram dorbhyam
paramam apa nirvrtim
padayoh--at the feet; patitam--fallen; balam--the boy (Prahlada Maharaja); pratinandya--encouraging; asisa--with blessings ("My dear child, may you live long and be happy" and so on); asurah--the demon Hiranyakasipu; parisvajya--embracing; ciram--for a long time due to affection; dorbhyam--with his two arms; paramam--great; apa--obtained; nirvrtim--jubilation.
When Hiranyakasipu saw that his child had fallen at his feet and was offering obeisances, as an affectionate father he immediately began showering blessings upon the child and embraced him with both arms. A father naturally feels happy to embrace his son, and Hiranyakasipu became very happy in this way.
idam aha yudhisthira
aropya--placing; ankam--on the lap; avaghraya murdhani--smelling his head; asru--of tears; kala-ambubhih--with water from drops; asincan--moistening; vikasat-vaktram--his smiling face; idam--this; aha--said; yudhisthira--O Maharaja Yudhisthira.
Narada Muni continued: My dear King Yudhisthira, Hiranyakasipu seated Prahlada Maharaja on his lap and began smelling his head. With affectionate tears gliding down from his eyes and moistening the child's smiling face, he spoke to his son as follows.
If a child or disciple falls at the feet of the father or spiritual master, the superior responds by smelling the head of the subordinate.
svadhitam kincid uttamam
yad asiksad guror bhavan
hiranyakasipuh uvaca--King Hiranyakasipu said; prahrada--my dear Prahlada; anucyatam--let it be told; tata--my dear son; svadhitam--well learned; kincit--something; uttamam--very nice; kalena etavata--for so much time; ayusman--O long-lived one; yat--which; asiksat--has learned; guroh--from your teachers; bhavan--yourself.
Hiranyakasipu said: My dear Prahlada, my dear son, O long-lived one, for so much time you have heard many things from your teachers. Now please repeat to me whatever you think is the best of that knowledge.
In this verse, Hiranyakasipu inquires from his son what he has learned from his guru. Prahlada Maharaja's gurus were of two kinds--Sanda and Amarka, the sons of Sukracarya in the seminal disciplic succession, were the gurus appointed by his father, but his other guru was the exalted Narada Muni, who had instructed Prahlada when Prahlada was within the womb of his mother. Prahlada Maharaja responded to the inquiry of his father with the instructions he had received from his spiritual master, Narada. Thus there was again a difference of opinion because Prahlada Maharaja wanted to relate the best thing he had learned from his spiritual master, whereas Hiranyakasipu expected to hear about the politics and diplomacy Prahlada had learned from Sanda and Amarka. Now the dissension between the father and son became increasingly intense as Prahlada Maharaja began to say what he had learned from his guru Narada Muni.
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
iti pumsarpita visnau
bhaktis cen nava-laksana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha
tan manye 'dhitam uttamam
sri-prahradah uvaca--Prahlada Maharaja said; sravanam--hearing; kirtanam--chanting; visnoh--of Lord Visnu (not anyone else); smaranam--remembering; pada-sevanam--serving the feet; arcanam--offering worship (with sodasopacara, the sixteen kinds of paraphernalia); vandanam--offering prayers; dasyam--becoming the servant; sakhyam--becoming the best friend; atma-nivedanam--surrendering everything, whatever one has; iti--thus; pumsa arpita--offered by the devotee; visnau--unto Lord Visnu (not to anyone else); bhaktih--devotional service; cet--if; nava-laksana--possessing nine different processes; kriyeta--one should perform; bhagavati--unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; addha--directly or completely; tat--that; manye--I consider; adhitam--learning; uttamam--topmost.
Prahlada Maharaja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)--these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.
When Prahlada Maharaja was asked by his father to say something from whatever he had learned, he considered that what he had learned from his spiritual master was the best of all teachings whereas what he had learned about diplomacy from his material teachers, Sanda and Amarka, was useless. Bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra ca (Bhag. 11.2.42). This is the symptom of pure devotional service. A pure devotee is interested only in devotional service, not in material affairs. To execute devotional service, one should always engage in hearing and chanting about Krsna, or Lord Visnu. The process of temple worship is called arcana. How to perform arcana will be explained herein. One should have complete faith in the words of Krsna, who says that He is the great well-wishing friend of everyone (suhrdam sarva-bhutanam). A devotee considers Krsna the only friend. This is called sakhyam. Pumsarpita visnau. The word pumsa means "by all living entities." There are no distinctions permitting only a man or only a brahmana to offer devotional service to the Lord. Everyone can do so. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (9.32), striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te 'pi yanti param gatim: although women, vaisyas and sudras are considered less intelligent, they also can become devotees and return home, back to Godhead.
After performing sacrifices, sometimes a person engaged in fruitive activity customarily offers the results to Visnu. But here it is said, bhagavaty addha: one must directly offer everything to Visnu. This is called sannyasa (not merely nyasa). A tridandi-sannyasi carries three dandas, signifying kaya-mano-vakya--body, mind and words. All of these should be offered to Visnu, and then one can begin devotional service. Fruitive workers first perform some pious activities and then formally or officially offer the results to Visnu. The real devotee, however, first offers his surrender to Krsna with his body, mind and words and then uses his body, mind and words for the service of Krsna as Krsna desires.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gives the following explanation in his Tathya. The word sravana refers to giving aural reception to the holy name and descriptions of the Lord's form, qualities, entourage and pastimes as explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita and similar authorized scriptures. After aurally receiving such messages, one should memorize these vibrations and repeat them (kirtanam). Smaranam means trying to understand more and more about the Supreme Lord, and pada-sevanam means engaging oneself in serving the lotus feet of the Lord according to the time and circumstances. Arcanam means worshiping Lord Visnu as one does in the temple, and vandanam means offering respectful obeisances. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. Vandanam means namaskuru--offering obeisances or offering prayers. Thinking oneself to be nitya-krsna-dasa, everlastingly a servant of Krsna, is called dasyam, and sakhyam means being a well-wisher of Krsna. Krsna wants everyone to surrender unto Him because everyone is constitutionally His servant. Therefore, as a sincere friend of Krsna, one should preach this philosophy, requesting everyone to surrender unto Krsna. Atma-nivedanam means offering Krsna everything, including one's body, mind, intelligence and whatever one may possess.
One's sincere endeavor to perform these nine processes of devotional service is technically called bhakti. The word addha means "directly" One should not be like the karmis, who perform pious activities and then formally offer the results to Krsna. That is karma-kanda. One should not aspire for the results of his pious activities, but should dedicate oneself fully and then act piously. In other words, one should act for the satisfaction of Lord Visnu, not for the satisfaction of his own senses. That is the meaning of the word addha, "directly."
silanam bhaktir uttama
"One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Krsna favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service." One should simply satisfy Krsna, without being influenced by fruitive knowledge or fruitive activity.
The Gopala-tapani Upanisad says that the word bhakti means engagement in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, not of anyone else. This Upanisad describes that bhakti is the offering of devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. To perform devotional service, one should be relieved of the bodily conception of life and aspirations to be happy through elevation to the higher planetary systems. In other words, work performed simply for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord, without any desire for material benefits, is called bhakti. Bhakti is also called niskarma, or freedom from the results of fruitive activity. Bhakti and niskarma are on the same platform, although devotional service and fruitive activity appear almost the same.
The nine different processes enunciated by Prahlada Maharaja, who learned them from Narada Muni, may not all be required for the execution of devotional service; if a devotee performs only one of these nine without deviation, he can attain the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes it is found that when one performs one of the processes, other processes are mixed with it. That is not improper for a devotee. When a devotee executes any one of the nine processes (nava-laksana), this is sufficient; the other eight processes are included. Now let us discuss these nine different processes.
(1) Sravanam. Hearing of the holy name of the Lord (sravanam) is the beginning of devotional service. Although any one of the nine processes is sufficient, in chronological order the hearing of the holy name of the Lord is the beginning. Indeed, it is essential. As enunciated by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, ceto-darpana-marjanam: by chanting the holy name of the Lord, one is cleansed of the material conception of life, which is due to the dirty modes of material nature. When the dirt is cleansed from the core of one's heart, one can realize the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead--isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah. Thus by hearing the holy name of the Lord, one comes to the platform of understanding the personal form of the Lord. After realizing the Lord's form, one can realize the transcendental qualities of the Lord, and when one can understand His transcendental qualities one can understand the Lord's associates. In this way a devotee advances further and further toward complete understanding of the Lord as he awakens in realization of the Lord's holy name, transcendental form and qualities, His paraphernalia, and everything pertaining to Him. Therefore the chronological process is sravanam kirtanam visnoh. This same process of chronological understanding holds true in chanting and remembering. When the chanting of the holy name, form, qualities and paraphernalia is heard from the mouth of a pure devotee, his hearing and chanting are very pleasing. Srila Sanatana Gosvami has forbidden us to hear the chanting of an artificial devotee or nondevotee.
Hearing from the text of Srimad-Bhagavatam is considered the most important process of hearing. Srimad-Bhagavatam is full of transcendental chanting of the holy name, and therefore the chanting and hearing of Srimad-Bhagavatam are transcendentally full of mellows. The transcendental holy name of the Lord may be heard and chanted accordingly to the attraction of the devotee. One may chant the holy name of Lord Krsna, or one may chant the holy name of Lord Rama or Nrsimhadeva (ramadi-murtisu kala-niyamena tisthan). The Lord has innumerable forms and names, and devotees may meditate upon a particular form and chant the holy name according to his attraction. The best course is to hear of the holy name, form and so on from a pure devotee of the same standard as oneself. In other words, one who is attached to Krsna should chant and hear from other pure devotees who are also attached to Lord Krsna. The same principle applies for devotees attracted by Lord Rama, Lord Nrsimha and other forms of the Lord. Because Krsna is the ultimate form of the Lord (krsnas tu bhagavan svayam), it is best to hear about Lord Krsna's name, form and pastimes from a realized devotee who is particularly attracted by the form of Lord Krsna. In Srimad-Bhagavatam, great devotees like Sukadeva Gosvami have specifically described Lord Krsna's holy name, form and qualities. Unless one hears about the holy name, form and qualities of the Lord, one cannot clearly understand the other processes of devotional service. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends that one chant the holy name of Krsna. param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam. If one is fortunate enough to hear from the mouth of realized devotees, he is very easily successful on the path of devotional service. Therefore hearing of the holy name, form and qualities of the Lord is essential.
In Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.11) there is this verse:
yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api
namany anantasya yaso-'nkitani yat
srnvanti gayanti grnanti sadhavah
"Verses describing the name, form and qualities of Anantadeva, the unlimited Supreme Lord, are able to vanquish all the sinful reactions of the entire world. Therefore even if such verses are improperly composed, devotees hear them, describe them and accept them as bona fide and authorized." In this connection, Sridhara Svami has remarked that a pure devotee takes advantage of another pure devotee by trying to hear from him about the holy name, form and qualities of the Lord. If there is no such opportunity, he alone chants and hears the Lord's holy name.
(2) Kirtanam. The hearing of the holy name has been described above. Now let us try to understand the chanting of the holy name, which is the second item in the consecutive order. It is recommended that such chanting be performed very loudly. In Srimad-Bhagavatam, Narada Muni says that without shame he began traveling all over the world, chanting the holy name of the Lord. Similarly, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has advised:
trnad api sunicena
taror api sahisnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
A devotee can very peacefully chant the holy name of the Lord by behaving more humbly than the grass, being tolerant like a tree and offering respects to everyone, without expecting honor from anyone else. Such qualifications make it easier to chant the holy name of the Lord. The process of transcendental chanting can be easily performed by anyone. Even if one is physically unfit, classified lower than others, devoid of material qualifications or not at all elevated in terms of pious activities, the chanting of the holy name is beneficial. An aristocratic birth, an advanced education, beautiful bodily features, wealth and similar results of pious activities are all unnecessary for advancement in spiritual life, for one can very easily advance simply by chanting the holy name. It is understood from the authoritative source of Vedic literature that especially in this age, Kali-yuga, people are generally short-living, extremely bad in their habits, and inclined to accept methods of devotional service that are not bona fide. Moreover, they are always disturbed by material conditions, and they are mostly unfortunate. Under the circumstances, the performance of other processes, such as yajna, dana, tapah and kriya--sacrifices, charity and so on--are not at all possible. Therefore it is recommended:
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
"In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting of the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way." Simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord, one advances perfectly in spiritual life. This is the best process for success in life. In other ages, the chanting of the holy name is equally powerful, but especially in this age, Kali-yuga, it is most powerful. Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet: simply by chanting the holy name of Krsna, one is liberated and returns home, back to Godhead. Therefore, even if one is able to perform other processes of devotional service, one must adopt the chanting of the holy name as the principal method of advancing in spiritual life. Yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah: those who are very sharp in their intelligence should adopt this process of chanting the holy names of the Lord. One should not, however, manufacture different types of chanting. One should adhere seriously to the chanting of the holy name as recommended in the scriptures: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
While chanting the holy name of the Lord, one should be careful to avoid ten offenses. From Sanat-kumara it is understood that even if a person is a severe offender in many ways, he is freed from offensive life if he takes shelter of the Lord's holy name. Indeed, even if a human being is no better than a two-legged animal, he will be liberated if he takes shelter of the holy name of the Lord. One should therefore be very careful not to commit offenses at the lotus feet of the Lord's holy name. The offenses are described as follows: (a) to blaspheme a devotee, especially a devotee engaged in broadcasting the glories of the holy name, (b) to consider the name of Lord Siva or any other demigod to be equally as powerful as the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (no one is equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, nor is anyone superior to Him), (c) to disobey the instructions of the spiritual master, (d) to blaspheme the Vedic literatures and literatures compiled in pursuance of the Vedic literatures, (e) to comment that the glories of the holy name of the Lord are exaggerated, (f) to interpret the holy name in a deviant way, (g) to commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy name, (h) to compare the chanting of the holy name to pious activities, (i) to instruct the glories of the holy name to a person who has no understanding of the chanting of the holy name, (j) not to awaken in transcendental attachment for the chanting of the holy name, even after hearing all these scriptural injunctions.
There is no way to atone for any of these offenses. It is therefore recommended that an offender at the feet of the holy name continue to chant the holy name twenty-four hours a day. Constant chanting of the holy name will make one free of offenses, and then he will gradually be elevated to the transcendental platform on which he can chant the pure holy name and thus become a lover of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
It is recommended that even if one commits offenses, one should continue chanting the holy name. In other words, the chanting of the holy name makes one offenseless. In the book Nama-kaumudi it is recommended that if one is an offender at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava, he should submit to that Vaisnava and be excused; similarly, if one is an offender in chanting the holy name, he should submit to the holy name and thus be freed from his offenses. In this connection there is the following statement, spoken by Daksa to Lord Siva: "I did not know the glories of your personality, and therefore I committed an offense at your lotus feet in the open assembly. You are so kind, however, that you did not accept my offense. Instead, when I was falling down because of accusing you, you saved me by your merciful glance. You are most great. Kindly excuse me and be satisfied with your own exalted qualities."
One should be very humble and meek to offer one's desires and chant prayers composed in glorification of the holy name, such as ayi mukta-kulair upasya manam and nivrtta-tarsair upagiyamanad. One should chant such prayers to become free from offenses at the lotus feet of the holy name.
(3) Smaranam. After one regularly performs the processes of hearing and chanting and after the core of one's heart is cleansed, smaranam, remembering, is recommended. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.1.11) Sukadeva Gosvami tells King Pariksit:
yoginam nrpa nirnitam
"O King, for great yogis who have completely renounced all material connections, for those who desire all material enjoyment and for those who are self-satisfied by dint of transcendental knowledge, constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord is recommended." According to different relationships with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there are varieties of namanukirtanam, chanting of the holy name, and thus according to different relationships and mellows there are five kinds of remembering. These are as follows: (a) conducting research into the worship of a particular form of the Lord, (b) concentrating the mind on one subject and withdrawing the mind's activities of thinking, feeling and willing from all other subjects, (c) concentrating upon a particular form of the Lord (this is called meditation), (d) concentrating one's mind continuously on the form of the Lord (this is called dhruvanusmrti, or perfect meditation), and (e) awakening a likening for concentration upon a particular form (this is called samadhi, or trance). Mental concentration upon particular pastimes of the Lord in particular circumstances is also called remembrance. Therefore samadhi, trance, can be possible in five different ways in terms of one's relationship. Specifically, the trance of devotees on the stage of neutrality is called mental concentration.
(4) pada-sevanam. According to one's taste and strength, hearing, chanting and remembrance may be followed by pada-sevanam. One obtains the perfection of remembering when one constantly thinks of the lotus feet of the Lord. Being intensely attached to thinking of the Lord's lotus feet is called pada-sevanam. When one is particularly adherent to the process of pada-sevanam, this process gradually includes other processes, such as seeing the form of the Lord, touching the form of the Lord, circumambulating the form or temple of the Lord, visiting such places as Jagannatha Puri, Dvaraka and Mathura to see the Lord's form, and bathing in the Ganges or Yamuna. Bathing in the Ganges and serving a pure Vaisnava are also known as tadiya-upasanam. This is also pada-sevanam. The word tadiya means "in relationship with the Lord." Service to the Vaisnava, Tulasi, Ganges and Yamuna are included in pada-sevanam. All these processes of pada-sevanam help one advance in spiritual life very quickly.
(5) Arcanam. After pada-sevanam comes the process of arcanam, worship of the Deity. If one is interested in the process of arcanam, one must positively take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master and learn the process from him. There are many books for arcana, especially Narada-pancaratra. In this age, the pancaratra system is particularly recommended for arcana, Deity worship. There are two systems of arcana--the bhagavata system and pancaratriki system. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam there is no recommendation of pancaratriki worship because in this Kali-yuga, even without Deity worship, everything can be perfectly performed simply through hearing, chanting, remembering and worship of the lotus feet of the Lord. Rupa Gosvami states:
sri-visnoh sravane pariksid abhavad vaiyasakih kirtane
prahladah smarane tad-anghri-bhajane laksmih prthuh pujane
akruras tv abhivandane kapi-patir dasye 'tha sakhye 'rjunah
sarvasvatma-nivedane balir abhut krsnaptir esam param
"Pariksit Maharaja attained salvation simply by hearing, and Sukadeva Gosvami attained salvation simply by chanting. Prahlada Maharaja attained salvation by remembering the Lord. The goddess of fortune, Laksmidevi, attained perfection by worshiping the Lord's lotus feet. Prthu Maharaja attained salvation by worshiping the Deity of the Lord. Akrura attained salvation by offering prayers, Hanuman by rendering service, Arjuna by establishing friendship with the Lord, and Bali Maharaja by offering everything to the service of the Lord." All these great devotees served the Lord according to a particular process, but every one of them attained salvation and became eligible to return home, back to Godhead. This is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam.
It is therefore recommended that initiated devotees follow the principles of Narada-pancaratra by worshiping the Deity in the temple. Especially for householder devotees who are opulent in material possessions, the path of Deity worship is strongly recommended. An opulent householder devotee who does not engage his hard-earned money in the service of the Lord is called a miser. One should not engage paid brahmanas to worship the Deity. If one does not personally worship the Deity but engages paid servants instead, he is considered lazy, and his worship of the Deity is called artificial. An opulent householder can collect luxurious paraphernalia for Deity worship, and consequently for householder devotees the worship of the Deity is compulsory. In our Krsna consciousness movement there are brahmacaris, grhasthas, vanaprasthas and sannyasis, but the Deity worship in the temple should be performed especially by the householders. The brahmacaris can go with the sannyasis to preach, and the vanaprasthas should prepare themselves for the next status of renounced life, sannyasa. Grhastha devotees, however, are generally engaged in material activities, and therefore if they do not take to Deity worship, their falling down is positively assured. Deity worship means following the rules and regulations precisely. That will keep one steady in devotional service. Generally householders have children, and then the wives of the householders should be engaged in caring for the children, just as women acting as teachers care for the children in a nursery school.
Grhastha devotees must adopt the arcana-vidhi, or Deity worship according to the suitable arrangements and directions given by the spiritual master. Regarding those unable to take to the Deity worship in the temple, there is the following statement in the Agni Purana. Any householder devotee circumstantially unable to worship the Deity must at least see the Deity worship, and in this way he may achieve success also. The special purpose of Deity worship is to keep oneself always pure and clean. Grhastha devotees should be actual examples of cleanliness.
Deity worship should be continued along with hearing and chanting. Therefore every mantra is preceded by the word namah. In all the mantras there are specific potencies, of which the grhastha devotees must take advantage. There are many mantras preceded by the word namah, but if one chants the holy name of the Lord, he receives the result of chanting namah many times. By chanting the holy name of the Lord, one can reach the platform of love of Godhead. One might ask, then what is the necessity of being initiated? The answer is that even though the chanting of the holy name is sufficient to enable one to progress in spiritual life to the standard of love of Godhead, one is nonetheless susceptible to contamination because of possessing a material body. Consequently, special stress is given to the arcana-vidhi. One should therefore regularly take advantage of both the bhagavata process and pancaratriki process.
Deity worship has two divisions, namely pure and mixed with fruitive activities. For one who is steady, Deity worship is compulsory. Observing the various types of festivals, such as Sri Janmastami, Rama-navami and Nrsimha-caturdasi, is also included in the process of Deity worship. In other words, it is compulsory for householder devotees to observe these festivals.
Now let us discuss the offenses in Deity worship. The following are offenses: (a) to enter the temple with shoes or being carried on a palanquin, (b) not to observe the prescribed festivals, (c) to avoid offering obeisances in front of the Deity, (d) to offer prayers in an unclean state, not having washed one's hands after eating, (e) to offer obeisances with one hand, (f) to circumambulate directly in front of the Deity, (g) to spread one's legs before the Deity, (h) to sit before the Deity while holding one's ankles with one's hands, (i) to lie down before the Deity, (j) to eat before the Deity, (k) to speak lies before the Deity, (l) to address someone loudly before the Deity, (m) to talk nonsense before the Deity, (n) to cry before the Deity, (o) to argue before the Deity, (p) to chastise someone before the Deity, (q) to show someone favor before the Deity, (r) to use harsh words before the Deity, (s) to wear a woolen blanket before the Deity, (t) to blaspheme someone before the Deity, (u) to worship someone else before the Deity, (v) to use vulgar language before the Deity, (w) to pass air before the Deity, (x) to avoid very opulent worship of the Deity, even though one is able to perform it, (y) to eat something not offered to the Deity, (z) to avoid offering fresh fruits to the Deity according to the season, (aa) to offer food to the Deity which has already been used or from which has first been given to others (in other words, food should not be distributed to anyone else until it has been offered to the Deity), (bb) to sit with one's back toward the Deity, (cc) to offer obeisances to someone else in front of the Deity, (dd) not to chant proper prayers when offering obeisances to the spiritual master, (ee) to praise oneself before the Deity, and (ff) to blaspheme the demigods. In the worship of the Deity, these thirty-two offenses should be avoided.
In the Varaha Purana the following offenses are mentioned: (a) to eat in the house of a rich man, (b) to enter the Deity's room in the dark, (c) to worship the Deity without following the regulative principles, (d) to enter the temple without vibrating any sound, (e) to collect food that has been seen by a dog, (f) to break silence while offering worship to the Deity, (g) to go to the toilet during the time of worshiping the Deity, (h) to offer incense without offering flowers, (i) to worship the Deity with forbidden flowers, (j) to begin worship without having washed one's teeth, (k) to begin worship after sex, (l) to touch a lamp, dead body or a woman during her menstrual period, or to put on red or bluish clothing, unwashed clothing, the clothing of others or soiled clothing. Other offenses are to worship the Deity after seeing a dead body, to pass air before the Deity, to show anger before the Deity, and to worship the Deity just after returning from a crematorium. After eating, one should not worship the Deity until one has digested his food, nor should one touch the Deity or engage in any Deity worship after eating safflower oil or hing. These are also offenses.
In other places, the following offenses are listed: (a) to be against the scriptural injunctions of the Vedic literature or to disrespect within one's heart the Srimad-Bhagavatam while externally falsely accepting its principles, (b) to introduce differing sastras, (c) to chew pan and betel before the Deity, (d) to keep flowers for worship on the leaf of a castor oil plant, (e) to worship the Deity in the afternoon, (f) to sit on the altar or to sit on the floor to worship the Deity (without a seat), (g) to touch the Deity with the left hand while bathing the Deity, (h) to worship the Deity with a stale or used flower, (i) to spit while worshiping the Deity, (j) to advertise one's glory while worshiping the Deity, (k) to apply tilaka to one's forehead in a curved way, (l) to enter the temple without having washed one's feet, (m) to offer the Deity food cooked by an uninitiated person, (n) to worship the Deity and offer bhoga to the Deity within the vision of an uninitiated person or non-Vaisnava, (o) to offer worship to the Deity without worshiping Vaikuntha deities like Ganesa, (p) to worship the Deity while perspiring, (q) to refuse flowers offered to the Deity, (r) to take a vow or oath in the holy name of the Lord.
If one commits any of the above offenses, one must read at least one chapter of Bhagavad-gita. This is confirmed in the Skanda-Purana, Avanti-khanda. Similarly, there is another injunction, stating that one who reads the thousand names of Visnu can be released from all offenses. In the same Skanda-Purana, Reva-khanda, it is said that one who recites prayers to tulasi or sows a tulasi seed is also freed from all offenses. Similarly, one who worships the salagrama-sila can also be relieved of offenses. In the Brahma-nda Purana it is said that one who worships Lord Visnu, whose four hands bear a conchshell, disc, lotus flower and club, can be relieved from the above offenses. In the Adi-varaha Purana it is said that a worshiper who has committed offenses may fast for one day at the holy place known as Saukarava and then bathe in the Ganges.
In the process of worshiping the Deity it is sometimes enjoined that one worship the Deity within the mind. In the padma purana, Uttara-khanda, it is said, "All persons can generally worship within the mind." The Gautamiya Tantra states, "For a sannyasi who has no home, worship of the Deity within the mind is recommended." In the Narada-pancaratra it is stated by Lord Narayana that worship of the Deity within the mind is called manasa-puja, One can become free from the four miseries by this method. Sometimes worship from the mind can be independently executed. According to the instruction of Avirhotra Muni, one of the nava-yogendras, as mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam, one may worship the Deity by chanting all the mantras. Eight kinds of Deities are mentioned in the sastra, and the mental Deity is one of them. In this regard, the following description is given in the Brahma-vaivarta Purana.
In the city of Pratisthana-pura, long ago, there resided a brahmana who was poverty-stricken but innocent and not dissatisfied. One day he heard a discourse in an assembly of brahmanas concerning how to worship the Deity in the temple. In that meeting, he also heard that the Deity may be worshiped within the mind. After this incident, the brahmana, having bathed in the Godavari River, began mentally worshiping the Deity. He would wash the temple within his mind, and then in his imagination he would bring water from all the sacred rivers in golden and silver waterpots. He collected all kinds of valuable paraphernalia for worship, and he worshiped the Deity very gorgeously, beginning from bathing the Deity and ending with offering arati. Thus he felt great happiness. After many years had passed in this way, one day within his mind he cooked nice sweet rice with ghee to worship the Deity. He placed the sweet rice on a golden dish and offered it to Lord Krsna, but he felt that the sweet rice was very hot, and therefore he touched it with his finger. He immediately felt that his finger had been burned by the hot sweet rice, and thus he began to lament. While the brahmana was in pain, Lord Visnu in Vaikuntha began smiling, and the goddess of fortune inquired from the Lord why He was smiling. Lord Visnu then ordered His associates to bring the brahmana to Vaikuntha. Thus the brahmana attained the liberation of samipya, the facility of living near the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
(6) Vandanam. Although prayers are a part of Deity worship, they may be considered separately like the other items, such as hearing and chanting, and therefore separate statements are given herewith. The Lord has unlimited transcendental qualities and opulences, and one who feels influenced by the Lord's qualities in various activities offers prayers to the Lord. In this way he becomes successful. In this connection, the following are some of the offenses to be avoided: (a) to offer obeisances on one hand, (b) to offer obeisances with one's body covered, (c) to show one's back to the Deity, (d) to offer obeisances on the left side of the Deity, (e) to offer obeisances very near the Deity.
(7) Dasyam. There is the following statement in regard to assisting the Lord as a servant. After many, many thousands of births, when one comes to understand that he is an eternal servant of Krsna, one can deliver others from this universe. If one simply continues to think that he is an eternal servant of Krsna, even without performing any other process of devotional service, he can attain full success, for simply by this feeling one can perform all nine processes of devotional service.
(8) Sakhyam. In regard to worshiping the Lord as a friend, the Agastya-samhita states that a devotee engaged in performing devotional service by sravanam and kirtanam sometimes wants to see the Lord personally, and for this purpose he resides in the temple. Elsewhere there is this statement: "O my Lord, Supreme Personality and eternal friend, although You are full of bliss and knowledge, You have become the friend of the residents of Vrndavana. How fortunate are these devotees!" In this statement the word "friend" is specifically used to indicate intense love. Friendship, therefore, is better than servitude. In the stage above dasya-rasa, the devotee accepts the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a friend. This is not at all astonishing, for when a devotee is pure in heart the opulence of his worship of the Deity diminishes as spontaneous love for the Personality of Godhead is manifested. In this regard, Sridhara Svami mentions Sridama Vipra, who expressed to himself his feelings of obligation, thinking, "Life after life, may I be connected with Krsna in this friendly attitude."
(9) Atma-nivedanam. The word Atma-nivedanam refers to the stage at which one who has no motive other than to serve the Lord surrenders everything to the Lord and performs his activities only to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a devotee is like a cow that is cared for by its master. When cared for by its master, a cow is not in anxiety over its maintenance. Such a cow is always devoted to its master, and it never acts independently, but only for the master's benefit. Some devotees, therefore, consider dedication of the body to the Lord to be atma-nivedanam, and as stated in the book known as Bhakti-viveka, sometimes dedication of the soul to the Lord is called atma-nivedanam. The best examples of atma-nivedanam are found in Bali Maharaja and Ambarisa Maharaja. Atma-nivedanam is also sometimes found in the behavior of Rukminidevi at Dvaraka.
nisamya--hearing; etat--this; suta-vacah--speech from his son; hiranyakasipuh--Hiranyakasipu; tada--at that time; guru-putram--unto the son of Sukracarya, his spiritual master; uvaca--spoke; idam--this; rusa--with anger; prasphurita--trembling; adharah--whose lips.
After hearing these words of devotional service from the mouth of his son Prahlada, Hiranyakasipu was extremely angry. His lips trembling, he spoke as follows to Sanda the son of his guru, Sukracarya.
brahma-bandho kim etat te
asaram grahito balo
mam anadrtya durmate
brahma-bandho--O unqualified son of a brahmana; kim etat--what is this; te--by you; vipaksam--the party of my enemies; srayata--taking shelter of; asata--most mischievous; asaram--nonsense; grahitah--taught; balah--the boy; mam--me; anadrtya--not caring for; durmate--O foolish teacher.
O unqualified, most heinous son of a brahmana, you have disobeyed my order and taken shelter of the party of my enemies. You have taught this poor boy about devotional service! What is this nonsense?
In this verse the word asaram, meaning, "having no substance," is significant. For a demon there is no substance in the process of devotional service, but to a devotee devotional service is the only essential factor in life. Since Hiranyakasipu did not like devotional service, the essence of life, he chastised Prahlada Maharaja's teachers with harsh words.
santi hy asadhavo loke
tesam udety agham kale
rogah patakinam iva
santi--are; hi--indeed; asadhavah--dishonest persons; loke--within this world; durmaitrah--cheating friends; chadma-vesinah--wearing false garbs; tesam--of all of them; udeti--arises; agham--the reaction of sinful life; kale--in due course of time; rogah--disease; patakinam--of sinful men; iva--like.
In due course of time, various types of diseases are manifest in those who are sinful. Similarly, in this world there are many deceptive friends in false garbs, but eventually, because of their false behavior, their actual enmity becomes manifest.
Being anxious about the education of his boy Prahlada, Hiranyakasipu was very much dissatisfied. When Prahlada began teaching about devotional service, Hiranyakasipu immediately regarded the teachers as his enemies in the garb of friends. In this verse the words rogah patakinam iva refer to disease, which is the most sinful and miserable of the conditions of material life (janma-mrtyu jara-vyadhi). Disease is the symptom of the body of a sinful person. The smrti-sastras say,
brahma-ha ksaya-rogi syat
svarna-hari tu kunakhi
Murderers of brahmanas are later afflicted by tuberculosis, drunkards become toothless, those who have stolen gold are afflicted by diseased nails, and sinful men who have sexual connections with the wife of a superior are afflicted by leprosy and similar skin diseases.
na mat-pranitam na para-pranitam
suto vadaty esa tavendra-satro
naisargikiyam matir asya rajan
niyaccha manyum kad adah sma ma nah
sri-guru-putrah uvaca--the son of Sukracarya, Hiranyakasipu's spiritual master, said; na--not; mat-pranitam--educated by me; na--nor; para-pranitam--educated by anyone else; sutah--the son (Prahlada); vadati--says; esah--this; tava--your; indra-satro--O enemy of King Indra; naisargiki--natural; iyam--this; matih--inclination; asya--of him; rajan--O King; niyaccha--give up; manyum--your anger; kat--fault; adah--attribute; sma--indeed; ma--do not; nah--unto us.
The son of Sukracarya, Hiranyakasipu's spiritual master, said: O enemy of King Indra, O King! Whatever your son Prahlada has said was not taught to him by me or anyone else. His spontaneous devotional service has naturally developed in him. Therefore, please give up your anger and do not unnecessarily accuse us. It is not good to insult a brahmana in this way.
bhuya ahasurah sutam
na ced guru-mukhiyam te
kuto 'bhadrasati matih
sri-naradah uvaca--Narada Muni said; guruna--by the teacher; evam--thus; pratiproktah--being answered; bhuyah--again; aha--said; asurah--the great demon, Hiranyakasipu; sutam--unto his son; na--not; cet--if; guru-mukhi--issued from the mouth of your teacher; iyam--this; te--your; kutah--from where; abhadra--O inauspicious one; asati--very bad; matih--inclination.
Sri Narada Muni continued: When Hiranyakasipu received this reply from the teacher, he again addressed his son Prahlada. Hiranyakasipu said: You rascal, most fallen of our family, if you have not received this education from your teachers, where have you gotten it?
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that devotional service is actually bhadra sati, not abhadra asati. In other words, knowledge of devotional service can be neither inauspicious nor contrary to etiquette. To learn devotional service is the duty of everyone. Therefore the spontaneous education of Prahlada Maharaja is supported as auspicious and perfect.
matir na krsne paratah svato va
mitho 'bhipadyeta grha-vratanam
adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram
punah punas carvita-carvananam
sri-prahradah uvaca--Prahlada Maharaja said; matih--inclination; na--never; krsne--unto Lord Krsna; paratah--from the instructions of others; svatah--from their own understanding; va--either; mithah--from combined effort; abhipadyeta--is developed; grha-vratanam--of persons too addicted to the materialistic, bodily conception of life; adanta--uncontrolled; gobhih--by the senses; visatam--entering; tamisram--hellish life; punah--again; punah--again; carvita--things already chewed; carvananam--who are chewing.
Prahlada Maharaja replied: Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Krsna are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both.
In this verse the words matir na krsne refer to devotional service rendered to Krsna. So-called politicians, erudite scholars and philosophers who read Bhagavad-gita try to twist some meaning from it to suit their material purposes, but their misunderstandings of Krsna will not yield them any profit. Because such politicians, philosophers and scholars are interested in using Bhagavad-gita as a vehicle for adjusting things materially, for them constant thought of Krsna, or Krsna consciousness, is impossible (matir na krsne). As stated in Bhagavad-gita (18.55), bhaktya mam abhijanati: only through devotional service can one understand Krsna as He is. The so-called politicians and scholars think of Krsna as fictitious. The politician says that his Krsna is different from the Krsna depicted in Bhagavad-gita. Even though he accepts Krsna and Rama as the Supreme he thinks of Rama and Krsna as impersonal because he has no idea of service to Krsna. Thus his only business is punah punas carvita-carvananam--chewing the chewed again and again. The aim of such politicians and academic scholars is to enjoy this material world with their bodily senses. Therefore it is clearly stated here that those who are grha-vrata, whose only aim is to live comfortably with the body in the material world, cannot understand Krsna. The two expressions grha-vrata and carvita-carvananam indicate that a materialistic person tries to enjoy sense gratification in different bodily forms, life after life, but is still unsatisfied. In the name of personalism, this ism or that ism, such persons always remain attached to the materialistic way of life. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (2.44):
samadhau na vidhiyate
"In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place." Those who are attached to material enjoyment cannot be fixed in devotional service to the Lord. They cannot understand Bhagavan, Krsna, or His instruction, Bhagavad-gita. Adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram: their path actually leads toward hellish life.
As confirmed by Rsabhadeva, mahat-sevam dvaram ahur vimukteh: one must try to understand Krsna by serving a devotee. The word mahat refers to a devotee.
mahatmanas tu mam partha
daivim prakrtim asritah
jnatva bhutadim avyayam
"O son of Prtha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible." (Bg. 9.13) A mahatma is one who is constantly engaged in devotional service, twenty-four hours a day. As explained in the following verses, unless one adheres to such a great personality, one cannot understand Krsna. Hiranyakasipu wanted to know where Prahlada had gotten this Krsna consciousness. Who had taught him? Prahlada sarcastically replied, "My dear father, persons like you never understand Krsna. One can understand Krsna only by serving a mahat, a great soul. Those who try to adjust material conditions are said to be chewing the chewed. No one has been able to adjust material conditions, but life after life, generation after generation, people try and repeatedly fail. Unless one is properly trained by a mahat--a mahatma, or unalloyed devotee of the Lord--there is no possibility of one's understanding Krsna and His devotional service."
na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum
durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah
andha yathandhair upaniyamanas
te 'pisa-tantryam uru-damni baddhah
na--not; te--they; viduh--know; sva-artha-gatim--the ultimate goal of life, or their own real interest; hi--indeed; visnum--Lord Visnu and His abode; durasayah--being ambitious to enjoy this material world; ye--who; bahih--external sense objects; artha-maninah--considering as valuable; andhah--persons who are blind; yatha--just as; andhaih--by other blind men; upaniyamanah--being led; te--they; api--although; isa-tantryam--to the ropes (laws) of material nature; uru--having very strong; damni--cords; baddhah--bound.
Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Visnu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries.
Since there must always be a difference of opinion between demons and devotees, Hiranyakasipu, when criticized by his son Prahlada Maharaja, should not have been surprised that Prahlada Maharaja differed from his way of life. Nonetheless, Hiranyakasipu was extremely angry and wanted to rebuke his son for deriding his teacher or spiritual master, who had been born in the brahmana family of the great acarya Sukracarya. The word sukra means "semen," and acarya refers to a teacher or guru. Hereditary gurus, or spiritual masters, have been accepted everywhere since time immemorial, but Prahlada Maharaja declined to accept such a seminal guru or take instruction from him. An actual guru is srotriya, one who has heard or received perfect knowledge through parampara, the disciplic succession. Therefore Prahlada Maharaja did not recognize a seminal spiritual master. Such spiritual masters are not at all interested in Visnu. Indeed, they are hopeful of material success (bahir-artha-maninah). The word bahih means "external," artha means "interest," and manina means "taking very seriously." Generally speaking, practically everyone is unaware of the spiritual world. The knowledge of the materialists is restricted within the four-billion-mile limit of this material world, which is in the dark portion of the creation; they do not know that beyond the material world is the spiritual world. Unless one is a devotee of the Lord, one cannot understand the existence of the spiritual world. Gurus, teachers, who are simply interested in this material world are described in this verse as andha, blind. Such blind men may lead many other blind followers without true knowledge of material conditions, but they are not accepted by devotees like Prahlada Maharaja. Such blind teachers, being interested in the external, material world, are always bound by the strong ropes of material nature.
naisam matis tavad urukramanghrim
sprsaty anarthapagamo yad-arthah
niskincananam na vrnita yavat
na--not; esam--of these; matih--the consciousness; tavat--that long; urukrama-anghrim--the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is famous for performing uncommon activities; sprsati--does touch; anartha--of unwanted things; apagamah--the disappearance; yat--of which; arthah--the purpose; mahiyasam--of the great souls (the mahatmas, or devotees); pada-rajah--by the dust of the lotus feet; abhisekam--consecration; niskincananam--of devotees who have nothing to do with this material world; na--not; vrnita--may accept; yavat--as long as.
Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaisnava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Krsna conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination.
Becoming Krsna conscious brings about anartha-apagamah, the disappearance of all anarthas, the miserable conditions we have unnecessarily accepted. The material body is the basic principle of these unwanted miserable conditions. The entire Vedic civilization is meant to relieve one from these unwanted miseries, but persons bound by the laws of nature do not know the destination of life. As described in the previous verse, isa-tantryam uru-damni baddhah: they are conditioned by the three strong modes of material nature. The education that keeps the conditioned soul bound life after life is called materialistic education. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has explained that materialistic education expands the influence of maya. Such an education induces the conditioned soul to be increasingly attracted to materialistic life and to stray further and further away from liberation from unwanted miseries.
One may ask why highly educated persons do not take to Krsna consciousness. The reason is explained in this verse. Unless one takes shelter of a bona fide, fully Krsna conscious spiritual master, there is no chance of understanding Krsna. The educators, scholars and big political leaders worshiped by millions of people cannot understand the goal of life and take to Krsna consciousness, for they have not accepted a bona fide spiritual master and the Vedas. Therefore in the Mundaka Upanisad (3.2.3) it is said, nayam atma pravacanena labhyo na medhaya na bahuna srutena: one cannot become self-realized simply by having an academic education, by presenting lectures in an erudite way (pravacanena labhyah), or by being an intelligent scientist who discovers many wonderful things. One cannot understand Krsna unless one is graced by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Only one who has surrendered to a pure devotee of Krsna and taken the dust of his lotus feet can understand Krsna. First one must understand how to get out of the clutches of maya. The only means is to become Krsna conscious. And to become Krsna conscious very easily, one must take shelter of a realized soul--a mahat, or mahatma--whose only interest is to engage in the service of the Supreme Lord. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (9.13):
mahatmanas tu mam partha
daivim prakrtim asritah
jnatva bhutadim avyayam
"O son of Prtha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible." Therefore, to end the unwanted miseries of life, one must become a devotee.
yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana
sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah
"One who has unflinching devotional faith in Krsna consistently manifests all the good qualities of Krsna and the demigods." (Bhag. 5.18.12)
yasya deva para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
"Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23)
yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas
tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam
"The Lord is obtained only by one whom He Himself chooses. To such a person He manifests His own form." (Mundaka Upanisad 3.2.3)
These are Vedic injunctions. One must take shelter of a self-realized spiritual master, not a materially educated scholar or politician. One must take shelter of a niskincana, a person engaged in devotional service and free from material contamination. That is the way to return home, back to Godhead.
ity uktvoparatam putram
iti--thus; uktva--speaking; uparatam--stopped; putram--the son; hiranyakasipuh--Hiranyakasipu; rusa--with great anger; andhikrta-atma--made blind to self-realization; sva-utsangat--from his lap; nirasyata--threw; mahi-tale--upon the ground.
After Prahlada Maharaja had spoken in this way and become silent, Hiranyakasipu, blinded by anger, threw him off his lap and onto the ground.
vadhyatam asv ayam vadhyo
aha--he said; amarsa--indignation; rusa--and by severe anger; avistah--overpowered; kasayi-bhuta--becoming exactly like red-hot copper; locanah--whose eyes; vadhyatam--let him be killed; asu--immediately; ayam--this; vadhyah--who is to be killed; nihsarayata--take away; nairrtah--O demons.
Indignant and angry, his reddish eyes like molten copper, Hiranyakasipu said to his servants: O demons, take this boy away from me! He deserves to be killed. Kill him as soon as possible!
ayam me bhratr-ha so 'yam
hitva svan suhrdo 'dhamah
pitrvya-hantuh padau yo
visnor dasavad arcati
ayam--this; me--my; bhratr-ha--killer of the brother; sah--he; ayam--this; hitva--giving up; svan--own; suhrdah--well-wishers; adhamah--very low; pitrvya-hantuh--of He who killed his uncle Hiranyaksa; padau--at the two feet; yah--he who; visnoh--of Lord Visnu; dasa-vat--like a servant; arcati--serves.
This boy Prahlada is the killer of my brother, for he has given up his family to engage in the devotional service of the enemy, Lord Visnu, like a menial servant.
Hiranyakasipu considered his son Prahlada Maharaja to be the killer of his brother because Prahlada Maharaja was engaged in the devotional service of Lord Visnu. In other words, Prahlada Maharaja would be elevated to sarupya liberation, and in that sense he resembled Lord Visnu. Therefore Prahlada was to be killed by Hiranyakasipu. Devotees, Vaisnavas, attain the liberations of sarupya, salokya, sarsti and samipya, whereas the Mayavadis are supposed to attain the liberation known as sayujya. Sayujya-mukti, however, is not very secure, whereas sarupya-mukti, salokya-mukti, sarsti-mukti and samipya-mukti are most certain. Although the servants of Lord Visnu, Narayana, in the Vaikuntha planets are equally situated with the Lord, the devotees there know very well that the Lord is the master whereas they are servants.
visnor va sadhv asau kim nu
sauhrdam dustyajam pitror
ahad yah panca-hayanah
visnoh--unto Visnu; va--either; sadhu--good; asau--this; kim--whether; nu--indeed; karisyati--will do; asamanjasah--not trustworthy; sauhrdam--affectionate relationship; dustyajam--difficult to relinquish; pitroh--of his father and mother; ahat--gave up; yah--he who; panca-hayanah--only five years old.
Although Prahlada is only five years old, even at this young age he has given up his affectionate relationship with his father and mother. Therefore, he is certainly untrustworthy. Indeed, it is not at all believable that he will behave well toward Visnu.
paro 'py apatyam hita-krd yathausadham
sva-dehajo 'py amayavat suto 'hitah
chindyat tad angam yad utatmano 'hitam
sesam sukham jivati yad-vivarjanat
parah--not belonging to the same group or family; api--although; apatyam--a child; hita-krt--who is beneficial; yatha--just as; ausadham--remedial herb; sva-deha-jah--born of one's own body; api--although; amaya-vat--like a disease; sutah--a son; ahitah--who is not a well-wisher; chindyat--one should cut off; tat--that; angam--part of the body; yat--which; uta--indeed; atmanah--for the body; ahitam--not beneficial; sesam--the balance; sukham--happily; jivati--lives; yat--of which; vivarjanat--by cutting off.
Although a medicinal herb, being born in the forest, does not belong to the same category as a man, if beneficial it is kept very carefully. Similarly, if someone outside one's family is favorable, he should be given protection like a son. On the other hand, if a limb of one's body is poisoned by disease, it must be amputated so that the rest of the body may live happily. Similarly, even one's own son, if unfavorable, must be rejected, although born of one's own body.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has instructed all devotees of the Lord to be humbler than the grass and more tolerant than trees; otherwise there will always be disturbances to their execution of devotional service. Here is a vivid example of how a devotee is disturbed by a nondevotee, even though the nondevotee is an affectionate father. The material world is such that a nondevotee father becomes an enemy of a devotee son. Having determined to kill even his son, Hiranyakasipu gave the example of amputating a part of one's body that has become septic and therefore injurious to the rest of the body. The same example, of course, may also be applied to nondevotees. Canakya Pandita advises, tyaja durjana-samsargam bhaja sadhu-samagamam. Devotees actually serious about advancing in spiritual life should give up the company of nondevotees and always keep company with devotees. To be too attached to material existence is ignorance because material existence is temporary and miserable. Therefore devotees who are determined to perform tapasya (penances and austerities) to realize the self, and who are determined to become advanced in spiritual consciousness, must give up the company of atheistic nondevotees. Prahlada Maharaja maintained an attitude of noncooperation with the philosophy of his father, Hiranyakasipu, yet he was tolerant and humble. Hiranyakasipu, however, being a nondevotee, was so polluted that he was even prepared to kill his own son. He justified this by putting forward the logic of amputation.
sarvair upayair hantavyah
muner dustam ivendriyam
sarvaih--by all; upayaih--means; hantavyah--must be killed; sambhoja--by eating; sayana--lying down; asanaih--by sitting; suhrt-linga-dharah--who has assumed the role of a friend; satruh--an enemy; muneh--of a great sage; dustam--uncontrollable; iva--like; indriyam--the senses.
Just as uncontrolled senses are the enemies of all yogis engaged in advancing in spiritual life, this Prahlada, who appears to be a friend, is an enemy because I cannot control him. Therefore this enemy, whether eating, sitting or sleeping, must be killed by all means.
Hiranyakasipu planned a campaign to kill Prahlada Maharaja. He would kill his son by administering poison to him while he was eating, by making him sit in boiling oil, or by throwing him under the feet of an elephant while he was lying down. Thus Hiranyakasipu decided to kill his innocent child, who was only five years old, simply because the boy had become a devotee of the Lord. This is the attitude of nondevotees toward devotees.
nairrtas te samadista
bhartra vai sula-panayah
nadanto bhairavam nadam
chindhi bhindhiti vadinah
asinam cahanan sulaih
nairrtah--the demons; te--they; samadistah--being fully advised; bhartra--by their master; vai--indeed; sula-panayah--having tridents in their hands; tigma--very sharp; damstra--teeth; karala--and fearful; asyah--faces; tamra-smasru--coppery mustaches; siroruhah--and hair on the head; nadantah--vibrating; bhairavam--fearful; nadam--sound; chindhi--chop; bhindhi--divide into small parts; iti--thus; vadinah--speaking; asinam--who was sitting silently; ca--and; ahanan--attacked; sulaih--with their tridents; prahradam--Prahlada Maharaja; sarva-marmasu--on the tender parts of the body.
The demons [Raksasas], the servants of Hiranyakasipu, thus began striking the tender parts of Prahlada Maharaja's body with their tridents. The demons all had fearful faces, sharp teeth and reddish, coppery beards and hair, and they appeared extremely threatening. Making a tumultuous sound, shouting, "Chop him up! Pierce him!" they began striking Prahlada Maharaja, who sat silently, meditating upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
pare brahmany anirdesye
yuktatmany aphala asann
pare--in the supreme; brahmani--absolute; anirdesye--who is not perceivable by the senses; bhagavati--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; akhila-atmani--the Supersoul of everyone; yukta-atmani--on he whose mind was engaged (Prahlada); aphalah--without effect; asan--were; apunyasya--of a person who has no assets in pious activities; iva--like; sat-kriyah--good activities (like the performance of sacrifices or austerities).
Even though a person who has no assets in pious activities performs some good deed, it will have no result. Thus the weapons of the demons had no tangible effects upon Prahlada Maharaja because he was a devotee undisturbed by material conditions and fully engaged in meditating upon and serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is unchangeable, who cannot be realized by the material senses, and who is the soul of the entire universe.
Prahlada Maharaja was constantly and fully engaged in thought of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As it is said, govinda-parirambhitah. Prahlada Maharaja engaged himself always in meditation, and thus he was protected by Govinda. Just as a small child on the lap of his father or mother is fully protected, a devotee, in all conditions, is protected by the Supreme Lord. Does this mean that when Prahlada Maharaja was attacked by the demons, the Raksasas, Govinda was also attacked by the demons? This is not possible. There have been many attempts by the demons to hurt or kill the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but He cannot be injured by any material means because He is always in transcendence. Therefore the words pare brahmani are used here. The demons, the Raksasas, can neither see nor touch the Supreme Lord, although they may superficially think that they are striking the Lord's transcendental body with their material weapons. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described in this verse as anirdesye. We cannot understand Him to be in a particular place, for He is all-pervasive. Moreover, He is akhilatma, the active principle of everything, even material weapons. Those who cannot understand the position of the Lord are unfortunate. They may think that they can kill the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His devotee, but all their attempts will be futile. The Lord knows how to deal with them.
prayase 'pahate tasmin
prayase--when the endeavor; apahate--futile; tasmin--that; daitya-indrah--the King of the demons, Hiranyakasipu; parisankitah--very much afraid (considering how the boy was protected); cakara--executed; tat-vadha-upayan--various means for killing him; nirbandhena--with determination; yudhisthira--O King Yudhisthira.
My dear King Yudhisthira, when all the attempts of the demons to kill Prahlada Maharaja were futile, the King of the demons, Hiranyakasipu, being most fearful, began contriving other means to kill him.
mayabhih sannirodhais ca
na sasaka yada hantum
apapam asurah sutam
cintam dirghatamam praptas
dik-gajaih--by big elephants trained to smash anything under their feet; danda-suka-indraih--by the biting of the King's poisonous snakes; abhicara--by destructive spells; avapatanaih--by causing to fall from the top of a mountain; mayabhih--by conjuring tricks; sannirodhaih--by imprisonment; ca--as well as; gara-danaih--by administering poison; abhojanaih--by starving; hima--by cold; vayu--wind; agni--fire; salilaih--and water; parvata-akramanaih--by crushing with big stones and hills; api--and also; na sasaka--was not able; yada--when; hantum--to kill; apapam--who was not at all sinful; asurah--the demon (Hiranyakasipu); sutam--his son; cintam--anxiety; dirgha-tamam--long-standing; praptah--obtained; tat-kartum--to do that; na--not; abhyapadyata--achieved.
Hiranyakasipu could not kill his son by throwing him beneath the feet of big elephants, throwing him among huge, fearful snakes, employing destructive spells, hurling him from the top of a hill, conjuring up illusory tricks, administering poison, starving him, exposing him to severe cold, winds, fire and water, or throwing heavy stones to crush him. When Hiranyakasipu found that he could not in any way harm Prahlada, who was completely sinless, he was in great anxiety about what to do next.
esa me bahv-asadhukto
vadhopayas ca nirmitah
tais tair drohair asad-dharmair
muktah svenaiva tejasa
esah--this; me--of me; bahu--many; asadhu-uktah--ill names; vadha-upayah--many varieties of means to kill him; ca--and; nirmitah--devised; taih--by those; taih--by those; drohaih--treacheries; asat-dharmaih--abominable actions; muktah--released; svena--his own; eva--indeed; tejasa--by prowess.
Hiranyakasipu thought: I have used many ill names in chastising this boy Prahlada and have devised many means of killing him, but despite all my endeavors, he could not be killed. Indeed, he saved himself by his own powers, without being affected in the least by these treacheries and abominable actions.
vartamano 'vidure vai
balo 'py ajada-dhir ayam
na vismarati me 'naryam
sunah sepa iva prabhuh
vartamanah--being situated; avidure--not very far away; vai--indeed; balah--a mere child; api--although; ajada-dhih--complete fearlessness; ayam--this; na--not; vismarati--forgets; me--my; anaryam--misbehavior; sunah sepah--the curved tail of a dog; iva--exactly like; prabhuh--being able or potent.
Although he is very near to me and is merely a child, he is situated in complete fearlessness. He resembles a dog's curved tail, which can never be straightened, because he never forgets my misbehavior and his connection with his master, Lord Visnu.
The word sunah means "of a dog," and sepa means "tail." The example is ordinary. However one may try to straighten a dog's tail, it is never straight but always curved. Sunah sepa is also the name of the second son of Ajigarta. He was sold to Hariscandra, but he later took shelter of Visvamitra, Hariscandra's enemy, and never left his side.
mrtyur me bhavita na va
aprameya--unlimited; anubhavah--glory; ayam--this; akutascit-bhayah--having no fear from any quarter; amarah--immortal; nunam--definitely; etat-virodhena--because of going against him; mrtyuh--death; me--my; bhavita--may be; na--not; va--or.
I can see that this boy's strength is unlimited, for he has not feared any of my punishments. He appears immortal. Therefore, because of my enmity toward him, I shall die. Or maybe this will not take place.
iti tac-cintaya kincin
vivikta iti hocatuh
iti--thus; tat-cintaya--with full anxiety because of Prahlada Maharaja's position; kincit--somewhat; mlana--lost; sriyam--bodily luster; adhah-mukham--his face downward; sanda-amarkau--Sanda and Amarka; ausanasau--sons of Sukracarya; vivikte--in a secret place; iti--thus; ha--indeed; ucatuh--spoke.
Thinking in this way, the King of the Daityas, morose and bereft of bodily luster, remained silent with his face downward. Then Sanda and Amarka, the two sons of Sukracarya, spoke to him in secret.
jitam tvayaikena jagat-trayam bhruvor
na tasya cintyam tava natha caksvahe
na vai sisunam guna-dosayoh padam
jitam--conquered; tvaya--by you; ekena--alone; jagat-trayam--the three worlds; bhruvoh--of the eyebrows; vijrmbhana--by the expanding; trasta--become afraid; samasta--all; dhisnyapam--the chief persons in every planet; na--not; tasya--from him; cintyam--to be anxious; tava--of you; natha--O master; caksvahe--we find; na--nor; vai--indeed; sisunam--of children; guna-dosayoh--of a good quality or fault; padam--the subject matter.
O lord, we know that when you simply move your eyebrows, all the commanders of the various planets are most afraid. Without the help of any assistant, you have conquered all the three worlds. Therefore, we do not find any reason for you to be morose and full of anxiety. As for Prahlada, he is nothing but a child and cannot be a cause of anxiety. After all, his bad or good qualities have no value.
imam tu pasair varunasya baddhva
nidhehi bhito na palayate yatha
buddhis ca pumso vayasarya-sevaya
yavad gurur bhargava agamisyati
imam--this; tu--but; pasaih--by the ropes; varunasya--of the demigod known as Varuna; baddhva--binding; nidhehi--keep (him); bhitah--being afraid; na--not; palayate--runs away; yatha--so that; buddhih--the intelligence; ca--also; pumsah--of a man; vayasa--by increase of age; arya--of experienced, advanced persons; sevaya--by the service; yavat--until; guruh--our spiritual master; bhargavah--Sukracarya; agamisyati--will come.
Until the return of our spiritual master, Sukracarya, arrest this child with the ropes of Varuna so that he will not flee in fear. In any case, by the time he is somewhat grown up and has assimilated our instructions or served our spiritual master, he will change in his intelligence. Thus there need be no cause for anxiety.
dharmo hy asyopadestavyo
rajnam yo grha-medhinam
tatha--in this way; iti--thus; guru-putra-uktam--advised by Sanda and Amarka, the sons of Sukracarya; anujnaya--accepting; idam--this; abravit--said; dharmah--the duty; hi--indeed; asya--unto Prahlada; upadestavyah--to be instructed; rajnam--of the kings; yah--which; grha-medhinam--who are interested in householder life.
After hearing these instructions of Sanda and Amarka, the sons of his spiritual master, Hiranyakasipu agreed and requested them to instruct Prahlada in that system of occupational duty which is followed by royal householder families.
Hiranyakasipu wanted Prahlada Maharaja to be trained as a diplomatic king in ruling the kingdom, the country or the world, but not to be advised about renunciation or the renounced order of life. The word dharma here does not refer to some religious faith. As clearly stated, dharmo hy asyopadestavyo rajnam yo grha-medhinam. There are two kinds of royal families--one whose members are simply attached to household life and the other consisting of rajarsis, kings who govern with ruling power but are as good as great saints. Prahlada Maharaja wanted to become a rajarsi, whereas Hiranyakasipu wanted him to become a king attached to sense enjoyment (grha-medhinam). Therefore in the Aryan system there is varnasrama-dharma, by which everyone should be educated according to his position in society's division of varna (brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra) and asrama (brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa).
A devotee purified by devotional service is always in the transcendental position above the mundane qualities. Thus the difference between Prahlada Maharaja and Hiranyakasipu was that Hiranyakasipu wanted to keep Prahlada in mundane attachment whereas Prahlada was above the modes of material nature. As long as one is under the control of material nature, his occupational duty is different from that of a person not under such control. One's real dharma, or occupational duty, is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam). As described to his order carriers by Dharmaraja, or Yamaraja, a living being is a spiritual identity, and therefore his occupational duty is also spiritual. The real dharma is that which is advised in Bhagavad-gita: sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. One must give up one's material occupational duties, just as one must give up his material body. Whatever one's occupational duty, even according to the varnasrama system, one must give it up and engage in one's spiritual function. One's real dharma, or occupational duty, is explained by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Jivera 'svarupa' haya--krsnera 'nitya-dasa': every living being is an eternal servant of Krsna. That is one's real occupational duty.
dharmam artham ca kamam ca
dharmam--mundane occupational duty; artham--economic development; ca--and; kamam--sense gratification; ca--and; nitaram--always; ca--and; anupurvasah--according to order, or from the beginning to the end; prahradaya--unto Prahlada Maharaja; ucatuh--they spoke; rajan--O King; prasrita--who was humble; avanataya--and submissive; ca--also.
Thereafter, Sanda and Amarka systematically and unceasingly taught Prahlada Maharaja, who was very submissive and humble, about mundane religion, economic development and sense gratification.
There are four processes for human society--dharma, artha, kama and moksa--and they culminate in liberation. Human society must follow a process of religion to advance, and on the basis of religion one should try to develop his economic condition so that he can fulfill his needs for sense gratification according to the religious rules and regulations. Then liberation from material bondage will be easier to attain. That is the Vedic process. When one is above the stages of dharma, artha, kama and moksa, one becomes a devotee. He is then on the platform from which he is guaranteed not to fall again to material existence (yad gatva na nivartante). As advised in Bhagavad-gita if one transcends these four processes and is actually liberated, one engages in devotional service. Then he is guaranteed not to fall to material existence again.
yatha tri-vargam gurubhir
na sadhu mene tac-chiksam
yatha--as; tri-vargam--the three processes (religion, economic development and sense gratification); gurubhih--by the teachers; atmane--unto himself (Prahlada Maharaja); upasiksitam--instructed; na--not; sadhu--really good; mene--he considered; tat-siksam--the education in that; dvandva-arama--by persons taking pleasure in duality (in material enmity and friendship); upavarnitam--which is prescribed.
The teachers Sanda and Amarka instructed Prahlada Maharaja in the three kinds of material advancement called religion, economic development and sense gratification. Prahlada, however, being situated above such instructions, did not like them, for such instructions are based on the duality of worldly affairs, which involve one in a materialistic way of life marked by birth, death, old age and disease.
The entire world is interested in the materialistic way of life. Indeed, practically 99.9 percent of the people in the three worlds are uninterested in liberation or spiritual education. Only the devotees of the Lord, headed by such great personalities as Prahlada Maharaja and Narada Muni, are interested in the real education of spiritual life. One cannot understand the principles of religion while staying on the material platform. Therefore one must follow these great personalities. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.3.20):
svayambhur naradah sambhuh
kumarah kapilo manuh
prahlado janako bhismo
balir vaiyasakir vayam
One must follow in the footsteps of such great personalities as Lord Brahma, Narada, Lord Siva, Kapila, Manu, the Kumaras, Prahlada Maharaja, Bhisma, Janaka, Bali Maharaja, Sukadeva Gosvami and Yamaraja. Those interested in spiritual life should follow Prahlada Maharaja in rejecting the education of religion, economic development and sense gratification. One should be interested in spiritual education. Therefore the Krsna consciousness movement is spreading all over the world, following in the footsteps of Prahlada Maharaja, who did not like any of the materialistic education he received from his teachers.
vayasyair balakais tatra
yada--when; acaryah--the teachers; paravrttah--became engaged; grha-medhiya--of household life; karmasu--in duties; vayasyaih--by his friends of the same age; balakaih--boys; tatra--there; sah--he (Prahlada Maharaja); apahutah--called; krta-ksanaih--obtaining an opportune moment.
When the teachers went home to attend to their household affairs, the students of the same age as Prahlada Maharaja would call him to take the opportunity of leisure hours for play.
In tiffin hours, the hours when the teachers were absent from the classroom, the students called Prahlada Maharaja, wanting to play with him. As will be seen from the following verses, however, Prahlada Maharaja was not very much interested in playing. Instead, he wanted to utilize every moment for advancing in Krsna consciousness. Therefore, as indicated in this verse by the word krta-ksanaih, at the opportune moment when it was possible to preach about Krsna consciousness, Prahlada Maharaja used the time as follows.
atha tan slaksnaya vaca
uvaca vidvams tan-nistham
krpaya prahasann iva
atha--then; tan--the class friends; slaksnaya--with very pleasing; vaca--speech; pratyahuya--addressing; maha-budhah--Prahlada Maharaja, who was highly learned and advanced in spiritual consciousness (maha means "great," and budha means "learned"); uvaca--said; vidvan--very learned; tat-nistham--the path of God realization; krpaya--being merciful; prahasan--smiling; iva--like.
Prahlada Maharaja, who was truly the supreme learned person, then addressed his class friends in very sweet language. Smiling, he began to teach them about the uselessness of the materialistic way of life. Being very kind to them, he instructed them as follows.
Prahlada Maharaja's smiling is very significant. The other students were very much advanced in enjoying materialistic life through religion, economic development and sense gratification, but Prahlada Maharaja laughed at them, knowing that this was not actual happiness, for real happiness is advancement in Krsna consciousness. The duty of those who follow in the footsteps of Prahlada Maharaja is to teach the entire world how to be Krsna conscious and thus be really happy. Materialistic persons take to so-called religion to get some blessings so that they can improve their economic position and enjoy the material world through sense gratification. But devotees like Prahlada Maharaja laugh at how foolish they are to be busy in a temporary life without knowledge of the soul's transmigration from one body to another. Materialistic persons are engaged in striving for temporary benefits, whereas persons advanced in spiritual knowledge, such as Prahlada Maharaja, are not interested in the materialistic way of life. Instead, they want to be elevated to an eternal life of knowledge and bliss. Therefore, as Krsna is always compassionate to the fallen souls, His servants, the devotees of Lord Krsna, are also interested in educating the entire populace in Krsna consciousness. The mistake of materialistic life is understood by devotees, and therefore they smile upon it, considering it insignificant. Out of compassion, however, such devotees preach the gospel of Bhagavad-gita all over the world.
te tu tad-gauravat sarve
tan aha karuno maitro
te--they; tu--indeed; tat-gauravat--from great respect for the words of Prahlada Maharaja (due to his being a devotee); sarve--all of them; tyakta--having given up; krida-paricchadah--toys for playing; balah--the boys; adusita-dhiyah--whose intelligence was not as polluted (as that of their fathers); dvandva--in duality; arama--of those taking pleasure (the instructors, namely Sanda and Amarka); irita--by the instructions; ihitaih--and actions; paryupasata--sat down around; raja-indra--O King Yudhisthira; tat--unto him; nyasta--having given up; hrdaya-iksanah--their hearts and eyes; tan--unto them; aha--spoke; karunah--very merciful; maitrah--a real friend; maha-bhagavatah--a most exalted devotee; asurah--Prahlada Maharaja, although born of an asura father.
My dear King Yudhisthira, all the children were very much affectionate and respectful to Prahlada Maharaja, and because of their tender age they were not so polluted by the instructions and actions of their teachers, who were attached to condemned duality and bodily comfort. Thus the boys surrounded Prahlada Maharaja, giving up their playthings, and sat down to hear him. Their hearts and eyes being fixed upon him, they looked at him with great earnestness. Prahlada Maharaja, although born in a demon family, was an exalted devotee, and he desired their welfare. Thus he began instructing them about the futility of materialistic life.
The words bala adusita-dhiyah indicate that the children, being of a tender age, were not as polluted by materialistic life as their fathers. Prahlada Maharaja, therefore, taking advantage of the innocence of his class friends, began teaching them about the importance of spiritual life and the insignificance of materialistic life. Although the teachers Sanda and Amarka were instructing all the boys in the materialistic life of religion, economic development and sense gratification, the boys were not much polluted. Therefore, with great attention they wanted to hear from Prahlada Maharaja about Krsna consciousness. In our Krsna consciousness movement, the guru-kula plays an extremely important part in our activities because right from childhood the boys at the guru-kula are instructed about Krsna consciousness. Thus they become steady within the cores of their hearts, and there is very little possibility that they will be conquered by the modes of material nature when they are older.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Seventh Canto, Fifth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "Prahlada Maharaja, the Saintly Son of Hiranyakasipu."