“When Prahlada Maharaja’s teachers and demoniac father asked him how his intelligence had been polluted, Prahlada Maharaja said, ‘As far as I am concerned, my intelligence has not been polluted. Rather, by the grace of my spiritual master and by the grace of my Lord, Krishna, I have now learned that no one is my enemy and no one is my friend. We are all actually eternal servants of Krishna, but under the influence of the external energy we think that we are separately situated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead as friends and enemies of one another. This mistaken idea has now been corrected, and therefore, unlike ordinary human beings, I no longer think that I am God and that others are my friends and enemies.’” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.12 Purport)
A questionable tactic, but certainly widely employed, law enforcement officials are known to tell lies during interrogation of subjects. The Supreme Court in the United States has determined that this does not violate the law. Support is on the side of the government, which has liberties in carrying out its work not available to others.
The questioning of a suspect may go something like this:
“Oh, your friend over there, we apprehended him, too. He confessed to the entire thing. In fact, he said you were the mastermind. You might as well tell the truth, since all eyes are on you. Tell us what actually went down.”
You could be entirely innocent of the charge and your friend may have never spoken to the police. The idea is to get some information out of you. Even if the confession is not exactly what took place, at least the law enforcement officials will be able to stop the chase and tell everyone that the case is solved.
The teachers in the kingdom run by Hiranyakashipu during ancient times tried something similar. The crime, so to speak, was a child speaking the science of self-realization. This was not allowed. The ruler was in maya, or illusion, and so everyone else was expected to follow that path.
Prahlada revealed his startling level of intelligence through responding to a question the father thought was innocent enough. If Prahlada had said that his favorite subject in school was the art of war, statecraft, earning money, or apprehending criminals, everything would have been fine. If he had reached the conclusion that the Supreme Lord did not exist and that the person known as Vishnu was actually the enemy of the world, there would have been no issue.
The answer which was forthcoming made no sense to anyone. Prahlada considered material life to be completely embarrassing. A person working so hard for a temporary gain would be better suited going to a remote area, a vana, and engaging in meditation on the Almighty.
The immediate priority was to find out the culprit. Who had polluted the mind of Hiranyakashipu’s son? The two principal teachers went to work. They were something like the law enforcement officials asking supposedly innocent questions, but with a hidden motive.
They wanted to know who had taught Prahlada this philosophy. The goal was to find the offenders and punish them. Make sure no one else would be affected. The other boys in school did not speak this way, so an outsider must have infiltrated.
In his reply, Prahlada maintained the saintly position. He did not consider people to be enemies or friends. There is a oneness created through the link to the Supreme Lord, Bhagavan. The distinctions get drawn when the illusory energy of the material world takes hold.
Hiranyakashipu and others lived off that mentality, and soon enough Prahlada would be categorized as an enemy. The direction away from God is so dangerous that a person could be influenced to the point of attempting to kill their own child, who has done nothing wrong by speaking truthful words.
This is the risk saintly people have faced since the beginning of time, and if they had all remained silent due to fear then no one would carry forward the timeless tradition of pure devotional service. As such, saints are celebrated, again and again, for the debt to them can never be properly repaid. Their satisfaction comes when even a single person turns away from the mentality of distinctions and begins to see the personal God in every time and every place.
By law enforcement official addressed,
That your friend already confessed.
Now the same for you might as well,
The truth or something similar to tell.
Prahlada in this style interrogated,
But saintly principles not abated.
Devotees in this way align,
Through amazing strength to shine.
Categories: the story of prahlada