In the previous episode, we had witnessed Hiranya-Kashibu getting into his full rampaging mode, after he had obtained a hefty list of boons from Bhagawan Bramha! Carried away by the boons that he had just obtained, Hiranya-Kashibu directs all his forces towards Bhagawan Vishnu’s devotees, so as to take vengeance against Him for killing his brother, Hiranyaaksha. It should be remembered by readers here that Hiranyaaksha was the Raakshasa who was killed by Bhagawan Varaaha. It is only because of this, Hiranya-Kashibu is fuming with anger and is doing whatever it takes to destroy the person who had killed his brother! Thus, Hiranya-Kashibu goes house after house, forest after forest, town after town, etc. killing all those people who chanted the sacred name of Narayana. His main aim was to make Bhagawan Vishnu’s devotion unpopular and thus, establish his supremacy in the world!
As Hiranya-Kashibu goes about his business thus, he directs himself now towards the Devas, headed by Indra. A bitter war breaks out and finally Indra is unable to give a tough fight against Hiranya-Kashibu and thus finally succumbs! Hiranya-Kashibu finally captures Indra and imprisons him and his colleagues too! However on the other hand, as Hiranya-Kashibu goes thus on the rampage, his son was still an ardent devotee of Bhagawan Vishnu! Being a small child, Prahlaada was involved in chanting Bhagawan’s divine name “Narayana” almost 24*7.
Sage Shukaachaarya explains the significance of this young child very beautifully here. He lists out different characteristics of how a child should be!
The first characteristic is “Brahmanyaha” – A person who has the desire to learn and understand what the “Brahman” is. The second is “Sheela-sampannaha”. This means, a person who views everyone on the same and equal plane. There is no question of who is superior or inferior in front of Bhagawan, isn’t it? All of us are Bhagawan’s own children. Can a father distinguish amongst his children as to who is superior or inferior? Thus, an ardent devotee should have this maturity to treat everybody equally, irrespective of their financial stature, educational stature, intelligence, etc. This is where all of us get into problems with other people. Our ego goes up and down primarily because we start differentiating ourselves from others, based on these four characteristics. Suppose for instance, we would have been highly educated until a PhD degree and if someone who has bare minimal education trying to advise us on some important aspect in life, what would we do? We would immediately ask that person back, “Oh! Who are you to advise me? You’re not even educated as what I am. Given this difference, how do you feel that you know better than what I do?” This is where our ego comes into play! If we’re having this ego, we would never be able to see people on the equal plane. Thus, the point here is that, as an ardent devotee, we should be devoid of ego and if this happens, we would automatically be able to see all people as Bhagawan’s own divine children.
In fact, this was the gross difference between the son and the father, in Prahlaada’s case! This is why I’m stressing upon this particular point a lot. On one hand, the father, Hiranya-Kashibu was on a rampage mode because of his ego that he is the most supreme element in this whole world, and none can stop him! Whereas on the other hand, we witness his son Prahlaada on the exact opposite end of the spectrum wherein he is able to view all living beings on the same plane, due to the lack of this element called “ego”! Moreover, Prahlaada was a “Satyavaan”, which means, he only talks the truth and nothing else. Also, he had complete control over his senses. He was also an epitome in the characteristic of “Priya-Sukruthamaha”, which means, he had the intention that all living beings in this world should be happy and contended. Sage Shukaachaarya continues further and explains that Prahlaada was a live example of another important quality called “Dheena-Vatsalaha”. This means, he is an embodiment of mercy and if he sees any living being in distress or any sort of suffering, he would run towards them immediately and offer some help.
More than all of these, Sage Shukaachaarya explains Prahlaada’s ardent devotion towards Bhagawan. He explains that little Prahlaada doesn’t play with toys or whatever. His only focus is on Bhagawan Narayana. Thinking of Bhagawan all the time in his mind and heart, Prahlaada would dance in bliss, sing in bliss and would close his eyes and meditate on Bhagawan’s divine form. Sometimes as his devotion goes overboard, Prahlaada would suddenly burst out laughing, as if he is sitting with Bhagawan next to him and sharing a joke. At some other times, Prahlaada would burst out crying, as if he is yearning for Bhagawan’s divine vision. At times, he would even roll on the floor, jump with joy and do some crazy activities, which common people like us cannot infer! All these are the signature characteristics of a realized soul or a “Mahatma”! We shall witness a similar pattern of all these characteristics in any “Mahatma” or a “Sadguru” at any point in time. We might think that these people are “mad” and “crazy” in nature. But the ultimate truth is that, they are beyond all these worldly affairs and are totally immersed into Bhagawan’s thoughts. “Mahatmas” are totally in bliss and are experiencing the divinity of Bhagawan! Hence, instead of making fun of such people, we should make it a point to respect “Mahatmas” and should try and learn as much as we can from these great people.
So for today, let us ponder over these important points of Sage Shukaachaarya and let us try and imbibe few of them atleast, in our daily lives! We shall wait till the next episode to continue with the Prahlaada-Charithra further. Stay tuned! 😊