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Hiranyakashyipu-Birth of Prahlada

05/26/2010

Today is the blessed day of Nrisimha Jayanti and on this day let us begin the story of Prahlada and Lord Nrisimha. As we go through the story the reader will definetly notice the story has parallels to the birth of Taraka . Lord Nrisimha and Lord Karthikeya both represent Mars, both are known are for their supreme martial prowress. Taraka was born to Diti the wife of Sage Kashyapa and so was Hiranyakashyipu and Hiranyaksha . Both sought immortal boons from Lord Brahma and so on. The inner meaning of this similarity is that there are two ways to reach the divine . One of the paths is through evolution and the other is through dissolution represented by Hari and Hara respectively. There is no difference between Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu.Each adores the other and this is a point that has been repeatedly stressed by various saints.

Long ago  Kashyapa Prajapati  ( refer to Taraka’s birth story on some background information )  had two wives Diti and Aditi. Diti was the mother of the Rakshasas and gave birth to many a Rakshasa. In course of time  Jaya & Vijaya were born to her as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashyipu. Hiranyaksha grows into a fearless demon and terrorizes the three worlds. Lord Vishnu incarnates as Sri Varaha Murthy and slays Hiranyaksha.  Hiranyakashyipu upon hearing the news of his brother’s death at the hands of Vishnu decides to undergo a severe penance to please Lord Brahma for the boon of immortality. After thousands of years of severe penance Lord Brahma appears before him to grant his desired boons.

Hiranyakashyipu requests that he be granted immortality. Lord Brahma informs him death is inevitable and granting that boon is beyond his power. However he does inform the demon that any alternative boon could be requested.Hiranyakashyipu thinks of a way to outwit death and asks for the following boon.

“Lord Brahma please grant me this boon ”

” I should not be killed by the Deva,Danava,Yaksha,Kimpurusha,Rakshasa,Vidhyadhara,Gandharva,Kinnera,Naga,Manushya  ganas”

“I should not be killed inside any residence nor outside any residence in the three worlds ”

“I should not be killed neither during the day nor during the night ”

“I should not be killed on the earth nor in the sky ”

“I should not be killed by any weapon nor animal nor human ”

“I should not be killed by a living or non living entity ”

” I should neither be killed in the battlefield nor have a rival ”

” I should be granted sole mastery of all the yogic powers ”

Meanwhile Indra was quite disturbed by the news of Hiranyaksha’s ongoing penance. Indra was driven out of Swarga by the brother of Hiranyakashyapu ( Hiranyaksha ) and had only regained his home after Lord Vishnu killed the demon. Now he was worried Hiranyakashyipu would turn out to be a greater menance than his brother and he received further news that Leelavathi the wife of Hiranyakashyipu was pregnant. Indra was truly worried he would have to deal with both the powerful demon and his unborn progeny who might turn out to be a powerful demon as well .Leelavathi the wife of Hiranyakashyipu was a very pious lady and was very gentle by nature.  Indra decided that the best time to strike was the time when the demon was away on his penance.  Indra invaded the ashram where Leelavathi was staying and imprisoned her along with rest of the rakshasas. The demigods decided among themselves that the unborn child was an huge danger and decided to kill the child in the womb with the use of  the thunderbolt ( vajra ayudha ) .

As they are about to release the Vajra ayudha  ,sage Narada arrives at the place and stops the demigods. He informs them that a great soul is growing in the womb of Leelavathi and should not be killed. Leelavathi is set free and she decides to go along with sage Narada to his hermitage. She spends her time listening to the various philosophical truths that were shared to her by the sage. In due course of time she gives birth to Prahlada.

Varaha avatara -The lord killing Hiranyaksha

Narada blessing Prahlada

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