Prahlada Maharaja - The Personification of Remembering
Lord Nrsimha Blesses Prahlada Maharaja
Feb 6, CANADA (SUN) Transcendental personalities who personify the nine devotional practices.
"Prahlada Maharaja, he was put into so many difficulties by his atheist father, Hiranyakasipu, but he was simply remembering Narayana, Krsna. Because he was a child, five years old, how he can fight with his father? His father was the greatest demon, powerful, and he was against the child. So he used to simply think of Krsna, smaranam."
Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam, 02-22-73, Auckland
"Prahlada Maharaja, a five-year-old boy, had to undergo a great deal of suffering at the hands of his father, who was torturing him for being a devotee. The boy was trampled by elephants, thrown from a mountain, placed in burning oil and thrown into a snake pit, yet he was silent during this whole ordeal. Similarly, Haridasa Thakura, a Muhammadan by birth, was a very great devotee and was always chanting Hare Krsna. That was his only fault. However, the Muslim Kazi called him forth and said, "You are a Muhammadan, born in a great Muhammadan family, yet you are chanting this Hindu Hare Krsna mantra. What is this?" Haridasa Thakura mildly replied, "My dear sir, there are many Hindus who have become Muhammadans. Suppose I have become a Hindu? What is wrong with this?" The Kazi became very angry and ordered Haridasa Thakura to be whipped in twenty-two bazaars. This essentially meant that he was to be beaten to death, but because he was such a great devotee he did not actually feel the pain. Although a devotee may sometimes have to suffer, he tolerates the suffering. At the same time, he is very kind to conditioned souls and tries to elevate them to Krsna consciousness. This is one of the primary features of a devotee's life. People are always putting a sadhu into difficulties, but he does not give up his job, which is to spread Krsna consciousness so that others may become happy. It was Prahlada Maharaja who said: "My Lord, I am not suffering, for I know the art of being happy." How is this? "Simply by hearing about You and chanting about You I am happy." This is the business of a devotee--hearing and chanting about the Lord. This is sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam. Now this sravanam kirtanam is taking place all over the world through the Krsna consciousness movement."
Teachings of Lord Kapila, Verse 23
"Prahlada Maharaja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)--these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge."
Purport: "When Prahlada Maharaja was asked by his father to say something from whatever he had learned, he considered that what he had learned from his spiritual master was the best of all teachings whereas what he had learned about diplomacy from his material teachers, Sanda and Amarka, was useless. Bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra ca (Bhag. 11.2.42). This is the symptom of pure devotional service. A pure devotee is interested only in devotional service, not in material affairs. To execute devotional service, one should always engage in hearing and chanting about Krsna, or Lord Visnu."
"My dear Lord Nrsimhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence [mauna-vrata]. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all these poor fools and rascals. I know that without Krsna consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy. Therefore I wish to bring them back to shelter at Your lotus feet.
Purport: "This is the decision of the Vaisnava, the pure devotee of the Lord. For himself he has no problems, even if he has to stay in this material world, because his only business is to remain in Krsna consciousness. The Krsna conscious person can go even to hell and still be happy. Therefore Prahlada Maharaja said, naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaranyah: "O best of the great personalities, I am not at all afraid of material existence." The pure devotee is never unhappy in any condition of life. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.17.28):
na kutascana bibhyati
""Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord."
"For a devotee, being situated in the heavenly planets and being in the hellish planets are equal, for a devotee lives neither in heaven nor in hell but with Krsna in the spiritual world. The secret of success for the devotee is not understood by the karmis and jnanis. Karmis therefore try to be happy by material adjustment, and jnanis want to be happy by becoming one with the Supreme. The devotee has no such interest. He is not interested in so-called meditation in the Himalayas or the forest. Rather, his interest is in the busiest part of the world, where he teaches people Krsna consciousness. The Krsna consciousness movement was started for this purpose. We do not teach one to meditate in a secluded place just so that one may show that he has become very much advanced and may be proud of his so-called transcendental meditation, although he engages in all sorts of foolish materialistic activity. A Vaisnava like Prahlada Maharaja is not interested in such a bluff of spiritual advancement. Rather, he is interested in enlightening people in Krsna consciousness because that is the only way for them to become happy. Prahlada Maharaja says clearly, nanyam tvad asya saranam bhramato'nupasye: "I know that without Krsna consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy." One wanders within the universe, life after life, but by the grace of a devotee, a servant of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one can get the clue to Krsna consciousness and then not only become happy in this world but also return home, back to Godhead. That is the real target in life. The members of the Krsna consciousness movement are not at all interested in so-called meditation in the Himalayas or the forest, where one will only make a show of meditation, nor are they interested in opening many schools for yoga and meditation in the cities. Rather, every member of the Krsna consciousness movement is interested in going door to door to try to convince people about the teachings of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the teachings of Lord Caitanya. That is the purpose of the Hare Krsna movement. The members of the Krsna consciousness movement must be fully convinced that without Krsna one cannot be happy. Thus the Krsna conscious person avoids all kinds of pseudo spiritualists, transcendentalists, meditators, monists, philosophers and philanthropists."
"Purport: "There are three stages of transcendental development in devotional service, which are technically called sthayi-bhava, anubhava and mahabhava. Continual perfect love of Godhead is called sthayi-bhava, and when it is performed in a particular type of transcendental relationship it is called anubhava. But the stage of mahabhava is visible amongst the personal pleasure potential energies of the Lord. It is understood that the grandson of Diti, namely Prahlada Maharaja, would constantly meditate on the Lord and reiterate His activities. Because he would constantly remain in meditation, he would easily transfer himself to the spiritual world after quitting his material body. Such meditation is still more conveniently performed by chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord. This is especially recommended in this age of Kali.
"He will be a virtuously qualified reservoir of all good qualities; he will be jolly and happy in others' happiness, distressed in others' distress, and will have no enemies. He will be a destroyer of the lamentation of all the universes, like the pleasant moon after the summer sun.
Purport: Prahlada Maharaja, the exemplary devotee of the Lord, had all the good qualities humanly possible. Although he was the emperor of this world, he was not profligate. Beginning from his childhood he was the reservoir of all good qualities. Without enumerating those qualities, it is said here summarily that he was endowed with all good qualities. That is the sign of a pure devotee. The most important characteristic of a pure devotee is that he is not lampata, or licentious, and another quality is that he is always eager to mitigate the miseries of suffering humanity. The most obnoxious misery of a living entity is his forgetfulness of Krsna. A pure devotee, therefore, always tries to evoke everyone's Krsna consciousness. This is the panacea for all miseries.
"Your grandson will be able to see, inside and outside, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose wife is the beautiful goddess of fortune. The Lord can assume the form desired by the devotee, and His face is always beautifully decorated with earrings.
Purport: It is predicted herewith that the grandson of Diti, Prahlada Maharaja, would not only see the Personality of Godhead within himself by meditation but would also be able to see Him personally with his eyes. This direct vision is possible only for one who is highly elevated in Krsna consciousness, for the Lord is not possible to see with material eyes. The Supreme Personality of Godhead has multifarious eternal forms such as Krsna, Baladeva, Sankarsana, Aniruddha, Pradyumna, Vasudeva, Narayana, Rama, Nrsimha, Varaha and Vamana, and the devotee of the Lord knows all those Visnu forms. A pure devotee becomes attached to one of the eternal forms of the Lord, and the Lord is pleased to appear before him in the form desired. A devotee does not imagine something whimsical about the form of the Lord, nor does he ever think that the Lord is impersonal and can assume a form desired by the nondevotee. The nondevotee has no idea of the form of the Lord, and thus he cannot think of any one of the above-mentioned forms. But whenever a devotee sees the Lord, he sees Him in a most beautifully decorated form, accompanied by His constant companion the goddess of fortune, who is eternally beautiful."
"Krsna is never morose or full of anxiety. Why? Why God should be full of anxiety? Krsna, you will never find that He is in meditation. Whom He will meditate? He is the Supreme Personality of God Himself. You will find Lord Siva is in the pose of meditation, but you will never find Krsna in meditation. Therefore, He is the Supreme Lord. And He says personally that mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya. "Dhananjaya, Arjuna, just take it from Me. There is no other superior authority than Me." And that's a fact. So when Krsna was present on this planet, He showed that nobody in the history of the world is superior than Krsna. He showed as much as possible you can understand. Otherwise, still He has got immense power, unlimited power. So the point is Prahlada Maharaja is trying to convince his demon... The demons cannot understand that the God can be a person. That is demoniac. They cannot... Because they cannot understand, the difficulty is a demon tries to understand God, comparing with him."
Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam, 09-12-71, Mombassa
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.