In the previous episode, we had witnessed the greatness of Prahlaada and why was he aptly referred to as one of the greatest “Mahatmas” (Spiritually realized soul) that the world has ever seen. We saw some important and pertinent characteristics as narrated by Sage Sukhaachaarya, that Prahlaada was comprised of. It is thus, not only for Prahlaada, but all Mahatmas are embodiments of those characteristics that we had discussed yesterday. Irrespective of whichever “Yuga” they are incarnated in, these characteristics never change. It might perhaps be the fact that normal people like us would undergo substantial changes in terms of culture, way of life, activities, etc. as years and generations pass by. Whereas, Mahatmas transcend all these changes and they are several notches ahead of us. Hence, it is our bound duty to respect Mahatmas and try to learn as much as we can from their teachings. This would aid our spiritual progress much faster. Rather than only depending upon books, literature, etc., if we have an association with a Mahatma, our knowledge gets deeper and thus, our progress becomes much faster and in the right direction as well. Because, if we just keep reading things and trying to understand, we might not be able to grasp the whole content. Rather, if a Mahatma teaches us with simple and practical examples, stories, etc. it becomes much easier for us to relate the subject and learn better. Readers should understand this point very clearly.
Moving on thus, as Hiranya-Kashibu was on a rampage mode, his son Prahlaada was silently defying his father’s anti-Vishnu agenda! As Hiranya-Kashibu goes around destroying all those people who were Bhagawan Vishnu’s devotees, Prahlaada never cared an inch and continued with his spiritual pursuit. As King Parikshit is listening to this story from Sage Shukaachaarya, he asks a question thus: “Oh Sage! How come this Prahlaada was able to manage his devotion towards Bhagawan Vishnu, even though his father was totally against it? Wasn’t it tough for Prahlaada to manage the tantrums that were thrown by his father in this regard? How did he manage all of these and still follow the spiritual path in a steadfast manner?”
As King Parikshit asks these questions thus, Sage Shukaachaarya continues to narrate the Prahlaada-Charithra even further. This would perhaps answer all his questions. Continuing with what Sage Shukaachaarya’s accord thus, as Prahlaada grows up to the age of five or six, his father, Hiranya-Kashibu decides to send him for the formal education. Thus, he selects two good teachers, “Chanda” and “Amarka” from his kingdom and sends Prahlaada for the “Gurukula-Vaasa”. Just like how the Devas have their “Guru” as “Brihaspati”, the Raakshasas too have their own “Guru”. He is none other than Sage Shukraachaarya.. Sage Shukraachaarya had two sons. It were these sons of Sage Shukraachaarya, Chanda and Amarka, whom Hiranya-Kashibu appoints for teaching his son Prahlaada.
As these two “Gurus” start teaching the lessons, they try to make little Prahlaada repeat thus, “Om Hiranyaaya Namaha”. Little Prahlaada watches them chant this! However, while repeating the chant, the child recites, “Om Narayanaaya Namaha”! This was happening in a repetitive fashion and at one stage, the two teachers start having their own doubts! They were not sure whether they are teaching Prahlaada properly or not. Hence, they go in front of a mirror and chant “Om Hiranyaaya Namaha”! 😊 They check for themselves whether they are chanting the right syllables or not! However, they couldn’t find any mistake in what they’re chanting! As the teachers try teaching several times thus, Prahlaada doesn’t seem to change from his stance! His lips are only chanting Bhagawan Narayana’s name and not his father’s name at all! The teachers try to convince him by making him understand, by scaring him with a stick, etc. But nothing seems to work with the little child! Prahlaada stands his ground firmly! He is not going to be moved by any of these gimmicks! He’s a realized soul by birth and such games played by his teachers were just a mere waste of time and energy!
Getting fed up with Prahlaada thus, the two teachers take him to his father and say thus, “Oh Hiranya! We tried our best to impart the mantra “Om Hiranyaaya Namah”, however, your son is least interested in learning it. Instead, he is steadfast in chanting something that we don’t want him to chant. We tried different ways to mend him, but nothing worked! Hence, we are helpless at this stage and we’re giving your son back to you. You find some alternative ways to mend his ways!” Saying thus, the two teachers hand over Prahlaada to his father Hiranya-Kashibu and take leave!
As little Prahlaada comes to his father, he makes the child sit on his lap and tries to lovingly teach the phrase “Om Hiranyaaya Namah”. To his utter irritation, Prahlaada repeats it by chanting “Om Narayanaaya Namah!” He further asks Prahlaada thus, “Oh child! You’ve been in the Gurukula all these days, isn’t it? What did you learn there? Can you please explain to your father?” Prahlaada politely replies back to his father thus, “Oh father! Yes! I had learnt a lot from my teachers! Thank you for sending me to such wonderful teachers. I had learnt nine types of Bhakti (Devotion) from them! Let me explain them to you one by one!”
Now what are these nine types of Bhakti that Prahlaada is going to explain? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! An interesting and an important accord awaits us tomorrow! Stay tuned! 😊