Episode # 167 – Nine forms of “Bhakti” as narrated by Prahlaada – An important accord!!!

Little Krishna

In the previous episode, we had witnessed little Prahlaada being sent to the “Gurukula” (School) for his formal education. Hiranya-Kashibu is of course very careful in selecting the teachers who can teach his little son. After some research, he selects Chanda and Amarka, both who were sons of Sage Shukraachaarya, to impart all the knowledge to little Prahlaada. As these teachers start their assignment, they try and impart “Om Hiranyaaya Namaha”! to Prahlaada. Being a great “Mahaatma”, Prahlaada only chants “Om Narayanaaya Namaha”! Irrespective of whatever tantrums his teachers inflict upon him, Prahlaada is totally unmoved like a rock! He doesn’t pay heed to what his teachers are teaching him! Realizing that Prahlaada is becoming incorrigible day by day, the teachers give up their mission! Thus, they take Prahlaada back to his father and submits them to him by saying that, they have failed in their pursuit of teaching his son!

As Prahlaada comes back, Hiranya-Kashibu calls his son lovingly and makes him sit on his lap. He asks Prahlaada as to what he has learnt in his “Gurukula”, upon which, Prahlaada gives a detailed accord on nine different types of “Bhakti” that his teachers had taught him. He lists them down as follows:

“Shravanam keerthanam vishnohosmaranam paada sevanam!

Archanam vandanam daasyam sakhyam aatma nivedanam!!”

This is a beautiful sloka which lists down the various types of “Bhakti”, which all of us ought to know and understand. Prahlaada starts with “Shravanam”. This means, we should be keen and interested to listen to Bhagawan’s divine names and divine episodes of His various incarnations. The next one is “Keerthanam”. This means, we should be keen and interested to sing in His praise. Third one is “Vishnu-Smaranam”, which means, that we should cultivate the interest of chanting Bhagawan’s divine names and meditate on His divine form. Fourth one is “Paada-Sevanam”. This means, we should be prepared to be of service under His lotus feet all the time. We should offer flower petals to His divine lotus feet. We should prostrate and bow down to His lotus feet. The next one is “Archanam”. This is the continuation of the previous point wherein we should offer our prayers in the form of flowers and petals to His lotus feet. Next, Prahlaada explains “Vandanam”, wherein we should be ready to offer all our efforts of our actions to Bhagawan and bow in front of Him. We should be able to acknowledge the fact that it is Bhagawan who is behind all our success in life. The next one in the list is “Dasyam”. This means that we should always be Bhagawan’s loyal servant, ready to perform whatever action He wants us to perform. Now the penultimate one comes by, which is “Sakhyam”. Here Prahlaada explains that we should be able to see Bhagawan as our best friend, with whom we can share lot many aspects of our life and whatever we go through. Finally, Prahlaada explains the ninth form of Bhakti, which is nothing but  “Aatma-Nivedanam” wherein, we should offer our “Atman” in its full entity towards Bhagawan!

Explaining thus, Prahlaada lists out the nine different forms of “Bhakti” (Ardent devotion) towards Bhagawan Vishnu and concludes by saying that, it was these nine divine qualities that he had learnt from his teachers in these past few days of education! As little Prahlaada explains all of these, his teachers Chanda and Amarka are standing there in utter disbelief! Hiranya-Kashibu turns towards them with an angry face and asks them, “What is all this mess? Why did you teach him what is not to be taught? Is this the education for which I sent Prahlaada to you?” Upon Hiranya-Kashibu’s angry questioning, the teachers are shaking with fear! They reply back thus, “Oh Hiranya! To be frank and honest with you, this is not what we tried teaching him! All what we taught him was to chant “Om Hiranyaaya Namah!” But whatever he is telling now, was never in our agenda of things!”

Upon hearing thus, Hiranya-Kashibu gives them one more chance! He again sends Prahlaada to their Gurukula and warns them sternly this time! If there’s going to be a mess of the same sort, both Chanda and Amarka are going to be punished under a death sentence!

Fearing thus, Chanda and Amarka take Prahlaada along with them, for a second time and again try to instill the phrase “Om Hiranyaaya Namaha”! Is there going to be a change in Prahlaada’s stance this time? The answer was a “No”! Prahlaada stuck to his position firmly! His lips can never chant anything else other than Bhagawan Vishnu’s divine name “Narayana”! Unlike the first time, the problem only ended up complicating further for both Chanda and Amarka! During the first time, it was only Prahlaada who was chanting the “Narayana” mantra. But now, Prahlaada influences all the Raakshasa children in the Gurukula to chant the divine “Narayana” mantra! Going by Prahlaada’s words, all the other kids also realized the significance of the sacred manthra, and joined him in the same! This further irked both Chanda and Amarka!

As these kids too get engrossed in Bhagawan’s tales and Mantra, they innocently ask Prahlaada with tears in their eyes thus, “Oh Prahlaada! We are also born in a Raakshasa community like how you are born! Yet, we do not have even an iota of “Bhakti” towards Bhagawan Vishnu till date, unlike you! How is that you are so different from all of us? You’re such a blessed soul, but sadly and unfortunately we are not!”

Saying thus, the kids start to weep! They realize that they’ve caught hold of the right person who can install the “Bhakti” in them! Now what is going to be Prahlaada’s reply to these weeping kids? An interesting and an important answer awaits us in the next episode! Stay tuned! 😊





Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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