“This boy Prahlada is the killer of my brother, for he has given up his family to engage in the devotional service of the enemy, Lord Vishnu, like a menial servant.” (Hiranyakashipu, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.35)
Friend1: You ever meet someone whose values are totally out of whack?
Friend2: That’s saying a lot right there. What exactly do you mean?
Friend1: Where it seems like they are on another planet. What is right to you is wrong for them, and vice versa.
Friend2: On important issues or something trivial like how much sleep to get and which stores to patronize?
Friend1: Something as basic as protecting innocent life. Protecting property. Not stealing from other people. They have the values inverted. Do whatever it takes to enjoy the senses.
Friend2: Oh, for sure. That’s what happens when the mode of passion takes control.
Friend1: So you’re saying this isn’t inherited? It’s something caused by interaction with nature?
Friend2: It could be inherited from the parents. Gunas cover the individual at the time of birth, and a lot of times you can predict the kind of material qualities based on the mindset of the parents. It’s not a guarantee, though.
Friend1: Yeah, because the doctor’s son is not assured of becoming a licensed doctor.
Friend2: That is with respect to training, but it extends to the qualifications, as well. You have the case where the father wants the son to play sports, but the son is more interested in science and reading.
Friend1: There you go. Aside from the parents, the mode of passion has other sources?
Friend2: The interaction with nature is enough. A person in the mode of passion is focused on achieving a temporary goal. To that end they come up with their own rules and regulations. These could be contrary to prevailing morals.
Friend1: Like with the thief?
Friend2: There you go. Perfect example. I like to reference the Rakshasas described in Vedic literature. They were also known as nishacharas, which means “night-rangers.” To them, the nighttime was auspicious. Attacking unsuspecting and innocent priests was considered dharma, or righteous. Coming out in the open and behaving in a nonviolent manner was adharma.
Friend2: There is the famous case of Hiranyakashipu. He had things so backwards that he thought his son Prahlada was the worst person ever.
Friend1: That really is amazing, considering that Prahlada is the model citizen.
Friend2: Absolutely. Any parent would be blessed to have such a child. It’s the reason why expectant parents to this day try to absorb as much Hari-katha as possible. They hope that the child will emerge from the womb Krishna conscious, which automatically means they possess all good qualities.
Friend1: Because Prahlada heard from Narada Muni while in the womb. He remembered everything at the time of birth.
Friend2: An extraordinary case, but still an attainable goal for anyone. Hiranyakashipu’s values were inverted, so he thought that the spontaneous devotion to Vishnu found in the boy was a very bad sign. He essentially thought Prahlada was the devil’s child.
Friend1: Even though Hiranyakashipu himself was devil-like.
Friend2: Yes, a Daitya by birth and qualities. The king was against real dharma, which is always one. He took God to be the sworn enemy. At least he acknowledged that Vishnu exists, but the attention was in the negative way.
Friend1: And someone in the positive direction was considered a great enemy, even though he was the son.
Friend2: So the king tried to kill Prahlada in so many ways, but good prevailed over evil. One lesson to take is that even people that are close to you can turn into an enemy. If they are against God and see that you are for Him, they will not like it. The inverse doesn’t hold true. Prahlada did not consider the father to be an enemy. The devotees are peaceful and respectful. Hiranyakashipu was something like the devil’s brother, and Prahlada still sought forgiveness for him from Narasimhadeva, the incarnation of Vishnu who finally rid the world of that evil king.
Through lust mind perverted,
Creating values inverted.
As devil saint-like son taking,
Efforts to kill him making.
Hiranyakashipu, feared world around,
By Narasimha finally brought to ground.
Prahlada with no enmity thought,
Forgiveness for evil father sought.