By Srila Govinda Maharaja
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah
krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
vaisnavebhyo namo namah
namas te narasimhaya
[I offer my obeisances to Lord Nrsimha, who gives joy to Prahlad Maharaj and whose nails are like chisels on the stonelike chest of the demon Hiranyakasipu.]
Jaya Nrsmhadeva ki jay. Prahlad Maharaj ki jay.
In a previous age, so long ago in Satya-yuga, this incident happened. At that time, the munis and the rishis could go everywhere. Four such rishis were known as the Chatursana, the Four Kumaras: Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanata Kumara. The four of them went to see Lord Visnu in Vaikuntha Dham.
The gate-keepers of Vaikuntha were Jaya and Vijaya. Upon arriving Jaya and Vijaya told them, "Now Lord Visnu is resting with Laksmidevi. Take seat and later we shall arrange for you to see Him." The four rishis were very disappointed and said, "It is Vaikuntha Dham. When we come here we have a right to go and see Lord Visnu. He is also ready to give his darsan (audience), otherwise why has He given us entrance to Vaikuntha Dham? We think there is no obstacle for us to see Him. Don't stop us like this." But Jaya and Vijaya said, "It is our duty, sir, what shall we do." Then the rishis were very angry and said, "You are behaving with us like demons, then go to martya-dham, the material world, and take birth there as demons in the plane of death." Then in the meantime, Visnu, who knows everything, came out. When the rishis gave that curse, Visnu said, "Tathastu." Tathastu means, "What you said, that will be." And when this divine vibration came out from Visnu's mouth, the rishis were very surprised and Jaya and Vijaya were very disappointed.
They said, "Prabhu, You engaged us here as Your gate-keepers."
Visnu said, "Yes, it is My wish, otherwise the rishis would not curse you."
"Yes, I want to fight. My muscles are 'crunching', then I need to fight, to get some exercise, and with whom I shall fight? You are the perfect fighters against Me. Then you go, and I shall go for saving My devotee. It is necessary to create some situation there. You will be My devotee's father and uncle, no problem." Then they were very unhappy and said, "Prabhu, we want to come back to our duty immediately. Give that opportunity to us."
And Bhagavan Visnu said, "Yes, if you come immediately, then you will be My enemy there. And if you come a little later, by seven births, you will be My friend. What do you want?"
They said, "By Your wish we are going, then we want to come back quickly. So maybe we will be Your enemy, no problem."
Visnu said, "That is My desire, otherwise why will you fight with Me?" And in that way Jaya and Vijaya took birth in the forms of Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu. Both had a very demoniac mentality because they were against Lord Visnu. Hiranyaksa wanted to destroy the whole world. He took the world into the ocean and Bhagavan in the form of Varahadeva dived into the ocean and saved the world and the whole universe. Then He killed that Hiranyaksa the brother of Hiranyakasipu.
Then Hiranyakasipu was very angry and he thought, "Visnu is so powerful." The brothers had forgotten their previous life history. They were thinking, "We are the rulers and controllers of all the universes. No-one can oppose us." Then Hiranyakasipu thought, "Visnu is opposing us and my brother was very strong but Visnu killed him. Then how much power does Visnu have? I can guess something. Then I must be more powerful than Visnu."
So he worshipped Brahma, who was the creator of the whole universe. Brahma was happy with his spiritual austerity, tapasya, and wanted to give him a boon. "You take a boon from me."
And Hiranyakasipu said, "I want to be immortal. Please give me that."
Brahma said, "It is not in my hand actually, I cannot give it to you. So how can I say 'Yes'?"
Then Hiranyakasipu said, "Then you go."
Again he tried to satisfy Brahma with his spiritual austerity. In this way, three times he tried to satisfy Brahma. After three times he understood that Brahma could not give immortality, for sure. Then he thought, "I shall take some diplomacy to be immortal." Then he said, "Okay, but this boon you can give: I shall not die by any animal you created within this universe – by any other man, human, animal or anything. They cannot kill me."
Brahma said, "Yes it is, I agree."
"And in the night, and in the day, I shall not die."
Brahma said, "Yes, I agree."
Then he said, "I shall not be killed by any weapon."
Then Brahma said, "Yes, I agree."
In this way, Hiranyakasipu, took boons to avoid the different types of causes of death. Then he was thinking, "Now I am immortal," and he came back to his kingdom. When he came back he gave the order, "Whoever is a devotee of Visnu, kill all of them, beat all of them, oust all of them from my capital! No-one can do Visnu-puja, etc." He ruled to the whole universe: "No-one can do that, no-one can keep connection with Visnu!"
But when he went to the jungle for his spiritual austerity, his wife Kayadhu was pregnant. In the womb of Kayadhu, there was one son and Indra thought that this demon's son must be another demon and that the demon would get more power. Hiranyakasipu had already taken the demigods' power and they were under his control. Indra thought, "If he will get a good son as a good demon then that will make it more difficult for us." Then Indra wanted to kill that son. He did not want to kill Kayadhu, the mother, but he wanted to kill the son. So while Hiranyakasipu was in the jungle, Indra took Kayadhu away. As Indra travelled with Kayadhu, Narada appeared on their path.
Narada said, "Oh Indra, where you are going with this lady? You are doing much wrong, I think."
Indra said, "I shall not do wrong with this lady but in her womb there is one demon, Hiranyakasipu's son. When he comes out, I shall kill him."
And Narada said, "No, no, no. Inside is living a devotee, and he is a devotee of Visnu. Then it is not necessary to kill him. For him, Lord Visnu will appear in this mundane world." Then after hearing from Narada, Indra left Kayadhu and Narada Goswami took her into his asram. He wanted to keep Kayadhu in his asram until delivery but Kayadhu asked, "I do not want to give birth to this child before my husband comes back. Please give me this boon."
Narada said, "Yes. When Hiranyakasipu comes back, at that time, you will get the son."
"And my son will be happy if he will hear Hari-katha about Visnu and His glories, that is, what you are chanting and singing in front of me. My son can hear it all and he will follow that. As you are Guru, please give him initiation in my womb." And Narada gave that initiation. Kayadhu was also initiated and when the boy came out from the womb he was given the name Prahlad.
Narada gave Kayadhu back to her husband and when Hiranyakasipu heard it, he was more angry. He tried to oust Indra from heaven. Indra ran away and he conquered heaven also. Hiranyakasipu fought with all the demigods and defeated every one of them. Then the demigods were very sad and they prayed to Brahma, "When will our Lord appear?" Brahma said, "Time is very short, He will come, but in the meantime, all of you pray to Lord Visnu. He will come."
When Prahlad reached the age for learning, around four, Hiranyakasipu gave him to his Guru's asram. As he was the king's son, he was to be trained as a king. The Guru was Sukracharyya. In his house he had two sons, one was called öanda and the other Amarka. öanda and Amarka were taking care of Prahlad, as he lived in the Guru's house.
Prahlad was so qualified in the Krsna conception that when he was there he was always thinking of Krsna and preaching to his friends, the other boys, on the Krsna conception. After one year, Hiranyakasipu was thinking that his son had learnt something, maybe ABCD, etc. He then called öanda and Amarka to bring his son into the assembly, "I want to see my son." They brought Prahlad, and Hiranyakasipu took Prahlad on his lap and gave him much affection. He then asked Prahlad, "Please tell me what you have learned in your Gurudeva's school. Maybe it is ABCD or anything." But Prahlad was thinking that his Guru was Narada Goswami and he told Hiranyakasipu the lesson that he learned from Narada:
tat sadhu manye ’sura-varya dehinam
sada samudvigna-dhiyam asad-grahat
hitvatma-patam grham andha-kupam
vanam gato yad dharim asrayeta
Prahlad said, "I learned from my Guru that it is very good for everyone to leave mundane attachment, go to the jungle and worship Lord Krsna. That is very good, I think."
Hiranyakasipu heard this and exclaimed, "What are you saying? You are telling us to worship Visnu." Prahlad said, "Yes, father, this is the best. Be detached with this material world, and go to the jungle and worship Lord Visnu." Hiranyakasipu was very angry with Prahlad's teachers and chastised them very much.
"You taught this to my son! Take him back and give him perfect lessons with perfect teachings. I shall call again after one year and if I see anything wrong, then I shall punish you!" Prahlad went back and öanda and Amarka asked him, "Oh Prahlad, what have you told your father? We did not teach that to you. We taught you general knowledge, politics, many things, but we did not teach you this. Where did you learn it?" Prahlad replied, "If I try to learn, I cannot learn without the mercy of Lord Visnu. By His mercy and His devotees' mercy; that is the only cause for getting that consciousness."
naisam matis tavad urukramanghrim
sprsaty anarthapagamo yad-arthah
niskincananam na vrnita yavat
"After leaving all mundane attachment, he who is always engaging his energy for the service to Lord Krsna, is the real sadhu. Until one takes the feet dust of that sadhu on their head, they will not get this conception, this consciousness about Krsna. So in some way I have got the mercy of a devotee and through that I have got this conception." öanda and Amarka had not seen anyone and they did not know that in the womb of his mother he had heard this teaching, so how could öanda and Amarka understand it?
Anyhow, they then tried their best to teach Prahlad but in the classes the other boys did not like to hear the teachings of öanda and Amarka. When öanda and Amarka left the classroom, Prahlad Maharaj would teach the boys.
kaumara acaret prajno
dharman bhagavatan iha
durlabham manusam janma
tad apy adhruvam arthadam
"Oh boys, you do not know, but you have got this birth and it is not for spending time for mundane happiness. Actually it is necessary to worship Lord Visnu for His satisfaction. It is necessary to hear the glories of Visnu, to speak the glories of Visnu, to do archan, vandana, etc."
Prahlad Maharaj told the boys,
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
"Give yourself to the lotus feet of Visnu and worship Lord Visnu. Then you will get the super-benefit of your life." They heard it from Prahlad and they were very happy. Then they were chanting the Holy Name of Lord Visnu in the school and sometimes from afar, öanda and Amarka heard it. They were very angry but Prahlad was the king's son so they could not beat him. They came and they told him in several ways, "Do not do this, it is very dangerous, you do not know. This whole school will be destroyed by Hiranyakasipu." Prahlad would not hear from them and the other boys would also not hear from them. öanda and Amarka were very fearful. Then after two sittings of the assembly and their failure to teach Prahlad, they told Hiranyakasipu, "We are unable to teach him. His mind is completely crazy and he is only giving advice to everyone. He has taken the chair of teacher and is giving his teachings to the other demons' children. We cannot control him, sir. Please excuse our offences."
Hiranyakasipu was very angry to hear that. In the meantime he tried to give some teachings but it was not appropriate for Prahlad. Finally he wanted to kill Prahlad. He told his servants, "Take him and throw him from the mountain." They threw Prahlad from the mountain but Visnu saved him. "Throw him in the ocean." They threw him in the ocean and again Visnu saved him. They tried to kill him in many different ways. They threw him in a well, but he was saved. They put him in front of a mad elephant, thinking that the mad elephant would smash him. But the elephant took Prahlad to his head and the elephant began to dance. In this way Hiranyakasipu was very disturbed as no-one could kill his son. He was so angry and he said to öanda and Amarka, "Bring him in front of me and I shall kill him." Then Prahlad came with folded hands in front of his father. His father said, "Oh, you are so crazy. Indra, Chandra, Vayu, Varuna, all the demigods are so fearful of me. Even that Yamaraja, he is cutting the grass for my horse, and you have no fear of me! Where have you got that power?" Prahlad said,
na kevalam me bhavatas ca rajan
sa vai balam balinam caparesam
pare ’vare ’mi sthira-jangama ye
brahmadayo yena vasam pranitah
"It is not only my power, it is your power also. What you are saying – you are doing those things by His power. By His power everything has happened. Why are you asking me this? Without His mercy, without His power, the jiva-soul cannot do anything. I have got power from Visnu." In this way Hiranyakasipu and Prahlad discussed several topics in their conversation. When Hiranyakasipu could no longer tolerate, his body was shaking.
From that place I am reading something from Srimad-Bhagavatam and explaining it....