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Prahlada’s Trials-Testing of a great devotee


Prahlada was dragged away by the rakshasas to be thrown into the dark dungeons of the kingdom . Leelavati continues to plead with Hiranyakashyipu that their young son does not deserve such a harsh punishment. The demon king justifies it with the reasoning that bad behaviour needs to be nipped in the childhood or else it would lead to their son taking the side of Vishnu their enemy. Hiranyakashyipu assumed a night in the dungeons will set his son right and the darkness will teach him a lesson. The dungeons was truly a terrifying place where even grown men would cower with fear in the pitch black darkness. Prahlada was made of different mettle .When he was being thrown in the dungeons the guards on duty advised him once more that it would be better to do as his father said and leave the praise of Lord Vishnu. With a beautiful smile on his face Prahlada replies ” Why should I fear when the lord of all the light in the world will listen to my prayers ” .

Once inside the dungeon Prahlada signs a beautiful hymn in praise of Lord Vishnu and the lord himself appears as a dazzling light removing the darkness of the dungeon. Prahlada sleeps peacefully .Hiranyakashyipu opens the gates of the dungeon in the morning eager to know whether his son has reformed his ways. The demon king is suprised to see his son sleeping peacefully, he flies into a rage suspecting the guards might have been leninent and had probably let his son out. He questions the guards and they reply there were vigilant throughout the night. Hiranyakashyipu is now truly shocked and realizes Lord Vishnu himself must be helping his son. Hiranyakashyipu’s demonic nature now overtakes his mind and he decides to kill his son by any means possible . The demon simply cannot bear the presence of even his son singing the praises of his enemy.

Swami Vivekananda writes beautifully on this story .Reproducing his exact words.

The monarch became very much enraged when he heard this and called the boy to his presence. He tried by gentle persuasions to dissuade Prahlada from the worship of Vishnu and taught him that he, the king, was the only God to worship. But it was to no purpose. The child declared, again and again, that the Omnipresent Vishnu, Lord of the universe, was the only Being to be worshipped — for even he, the king, held his throne only so long as it pleased Vishnu. The rage of the king knew no bounds, and he ordered the boy to be immediately killed. So the Daityas struck him with pointed weapons; but Prahlad’s mind was so intent upon Vishnu that he felt no pain from them.

When his father, the king, saw that it was so, he became frightened but, roused to the worst passions of a Daitya, contrived various diabolical means to kill the boy. He ordered him to be trampled under foot by an elephant. The enraged elephant could not crush the body any more than he could have crushed a block of iron. So this measure also was to no purpose. Then the king ordered the boy to be thrown over a precipice, and this order too was duly carried out; but, as Vishnu resided in the heart of Prahlada, he came down upon the earth as gently as a flower drops upon the grass. Poison, fire, starvation, throwing into a well, enchantments, and other measures were then tried on the child one after another, but to no purpose. Nothing could hurt him in whose heart dwelt Vishnu.

At last, the king ordered the boy to be tied with mighty serpents called up from the nether worlds, and then cast to the bottom of the ocean, where huge mountains were to be piled high upon him, so that in course of time, if not immediately, he might die; and he ordered him to be left in this plight. Even though treated in this manner, the boy continued to pray to his beloved Vishnu: “Salutation to Thee, Lord of the universe. Thou beautiful Vishnu!” Thus thinking and meditating on Vishnu, he began to feel that Vishnu was near him, nay, that He was in his own soul, until he began to feel that he was Vishnu, and that he was everything and everywhere.

As soon as he realised this, all the snake bonds snapped asunder; the mountains were pulverised, the ocean upheaved, and he was gently lifted up above the waves, and safely carried to the shore. As Prahlada stood there, he forgot that he was a Daitya and had a mortal body: he felt he was the universe and all the powers of the universe emanated from him; there was nothing in nature that could injure him; he himself was the ruler of nature. Time passed thus, in one unbroken ecstasy of bliss, until gradually Prahlada began to remember that he had a body and that he was Prahlada. As soon as he became once more conscious of the body, he saw that God was within and without; and everything appeared to him as Vishnu.

When the king Hiranyakashipu found to his horror that all mortal means of getting rid of the boy who was perfectly devoted to his enemy, the God Vishnu, were powerless, he was at a loss to know what to do.”

This song from the movie Bhakta Prahlada beautifully shows the great trials undergone by the great child devotee.

What was the mighty devotion of the great devotee who does not fear death by any means possible.

I wish my silly mind could grasp 0.01% of the bhakti that Prahlada had . At the feet of the great bhagavata.

To be continued….

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