In the previous episode, we had witnessed the advent of Hiranya Kashibu, who was the brother of Hiranyaksha. We might remember that this Hiranyaksha was killed by Bhagawan Vishnu during His Varaaha Avatara. To seek revenge for killing his brother, Hiranya Kashibu decided to take it upon himself to prove his might to Bhagawan Vishnu. With this intent, he quickly proceeded to the forest and undertook an intense penance towards Bhagawan Brahma. Impressed by his penance, Bhagwan Brahma appeared in front of him and requested Hiranya Kashibu to ask for a few boons. With this opportunity, Hiranya Kashibu started asking for a long list of boons, wherein he literally asked Bhagawan Brahma that he shouldn’t be killed by any living being that was created either Bhagawan Brahma or by his “associates” in this world! With this, Bhagawan Brahma also granted the boon, and Hiranya Kashibu became totally invincible with regards to power and position.
As Hiranya Kashibu comes back to his kingdom, he coronates himself and starts going on a rampage against all the living beings, including the Devas. Indra was meted out with some harsh treatment by Hiranya Kashibu, because he had apparently played a foul game with regards to the “Amrita” distribution. All the Devas were in the firing line of Hiranya Kashibu as he imprisoned all of them for their gross “misdeed” towards the Raakshasas. Now the turn of Bhagawan Vishnu comes – Hiranya Kashibu goes on a rampage all over the world, forcing everyone to follow himself as Bhagawan, and propagating against following Bhagawan Vishnu. Anybody who followed Bhagawan Vishnu and worshipped Him would be brutally tortured by Hiranya Kashibu. Even in today’s world we’re sadly able to see such behaviors by some sects of people of one particular religion, however, such irrational behaviors had existed even during ancient times as well!
At this time, Hiranya Kashibu had four sons. Out of the four sons, Prahlaada was one of the important ones. This Prahlaada was a “Parama-Bhaagawatha”, which means, a true, ardent devotee of Bhagawan Vishnu. It is amazing to note that there is a son who is an ardent Bhagawan Vishnu devotee, born to a father who is totally against Bhagawan Vishnu! Anyway, this was all part of a bigger ploy, and let us witness what the ploy was. As Prahlaada was born, he was born with the knowledge and Bhakti towards Bhagwan Vishnu. In fact, when Prahlaada was in the womb of his mother, Sage Narada paid a visit to Hiranya Kashibu and his wife, Kayatu. As Kayatu was pregnant with Prahlaada in her womb, Sage Narada gave some important “Upadesha” to her. As this was happening, little Prahlaada was listening to all of this “Upadesha” very keenly and through that, the baby absorbed all what Sage Narada wanted to say! Prior to this, when Hiranya Kashibu was out to the forest for penance, Kayatu was carrying little Prahlaada in her womb and at this time, Indra tried to abduct Kayatu and take her off somewhere far away from Hiranya Kashibu. Indra wanted to kill Kayatu because the Devas were scared that Hiranya Kashibu’s son would be even more a fierce Raakshasa than himself. As Indra was abducting Kayatu, Sage Narada intervened. He explains to Indra thus, “Oh Indra! You’ve made a wrong decision! You do not understand the ploy behind this. Please give Kayatu to me, and I shall take care of her and the baby carefully. Do not enter into the sin of killing a pregnant woman and lose your position and power yet again!”
Hearing thus from Sage Narada, Indra accepted his fault and submitted Kayatu to Sage Narada. Thus, Sage Narada brings Kayatu to his place and starts telling her a lot of stories about Bhagawan Vishnu! As Sage Narada was narrating thus, the baby was listening to all the stories with keen interests and with this, the child was transformed into a “Bhaagawatha” of Bhagwan Vishnu, with the divine grace of Guru – Sage Narada. Thus, even while taking birth, Prahlaada was immersed in Bhagwan Vishnu’s devotion. He breathed and ate Bhagawan Vishnu’s divine name, “Om Namo Narayana”. Prahlaada clearly knew the difference between the Paramatman and Jeevatman and clearly understood that all “Atmans” in this world were Jeevatmas, who are controlled by Bhagawan Vishnu who was the Paramatma. He was a total embodiment of honesty, straightforward character, non-violence, truth, simplicity and unending devotion towards Bhagwan Vishnu. Prahlaada grows this way, all through his childhood, even while Hiranya Kashibu took him too lightly in the beginning.
We might wonder how one can be totally opposite to the parent in terms of character and habits. We’re clearly witnessing an example here – Hiranya Kashibu was a Raakshasa by nature, and had all characteristics to justify what he was. However, Prahlaada, although being a Raakshasa by birth, did not even have a single trace of any characteristic of being a Raakshasa. This is an important point for all of us to note, and for today, let us ponder over and reflect upon this, as we wait for the next episode! We shall continue with how Prahlaada became a serious threat for Hiranya Kashibu and how he thwarted every attempt of his father to kill him. Stay tuned! 🙂