“Prahlada Maharaja admitted frankly, ‘My dear teachers, you wrongly think that Lord Vishnu is your enemy, but because He is favorable toward me, I understand that He is the friend of everyone. You may think that I have taken the side of your enemy, but factually He has bestowed a great favor upon me.’” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.13 Purport)
Friend1: Do parents really mind if their young children are into silly things?
Friend2: What do you mean?
Friend1: Let’s say that your kid is suddenly into listening to songs from a particular band on the internet. Putting that music on is the only way to keep them satisfied. Otherwise, they are morose or running around without any control.
Friend2: You obviously are aware that this sort of thing occurs quite frequently. Who doesn’t remember having to play the same video, over and over, for one of their children or younger siblings? It’s a reality of modern-day life. There aren’t so many people around to provide care. There isn’t so much room outside to play for hours and hours.
Friend1: Yes, and so the grownups are understanding. They don’t get upset that their children aren’t behaving a certain way.
Friend2: Why are you mentioning this? Have you come across someone who isn’t tolerating?
Friend1: I’m thinking of the Prahlada story from the Shrimad Bhagavatam.
Friend1: The kid just wanted to worship Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. At just five years old, this was not a threat to the adults.
Friend2: Prahlada was open about it; that was the issue. As you have probably noticed, in this world you can talk about pretty much any like or dislike and not encounter issues. As soon as you mention God, devotion to Him, questioning the life in sense gratification, the meaning of life, and so forth, you run into opposition.
Friend1: Well, Prahlada certainly found that. The teachers tried their best to “deprogram” him.
Friend2: First, they wanted to know from where the programming took place.
Friend1: At one point Prahlada explains that even the demigods have a difficult time understanding the principles of dharma.
Friend2: The proper course of action is not easy to decipher. What is pious in one situation might not be so in another.
Friend1: Okay, but I revisit the fact that this is just a kid. Who cares what he thinks? He’s not interested in material life, for now. Maybe it’s just a phase. Let him go through it.
Friend2: Okay, but the words he so freely speaks are like the greatest weapons attacking the elders. Hiranyakashipu couldn’t stand to hear anything good about Vishnu. It was like the boy took the side of the enemy.
Friend1: When in fact Vishnu is every person’s friend. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita:
ज्ञात्वा मां शान्तिम् ऋच्छति
jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
“The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.29)
Friend2: You tell that to the teachers in Hiranyakashipu’s kingdom and that only makes them more upset.
“Stop saying that the greatest threat to our power is really our friend. That is a bunch of nonsense. Tell us who poisoned your mind. If you don’t, then other measures may be required.”
Friend1: We know what attempts happened next. Still so baffling to me. It’s just a kid. Who cares?
Friend2: Think about it this way: By Hiranyakashipu attempting lethal punishment for the crime of showing devotion to Vishnu, it sets the example for others to take note of.
Friend1: What do you mean?
Friend2: The king is sending the message:
“Any other wise guys out there? You see what I did to my own son. Everyone else better stay in line or the same will happen to them.”
Friend1: Wow, I didn’t think of it that way. Good for the entire world that Prahlada endured. That is a lesson every person in the world can take.
Friend2: For all three time periods, as well. Just as Krishna is the beginning, middle and end of everything, devotional service to Him pays rewards at every point in time.
प्रीति प्रतीति सुरीति स्ॐ राम राम जपु राम |
तुलसी तेरो है भलेआ आदि मध्य परिनाम ||
prīti pratīti surīti soṃ rāma rāma japu rāma |
tulasī tero hai bhaleā ādi madhya parināma ||
“Chanting Shri Rama’s holy name with love, faith and according to regulative principles will be beneficial for you from beginning to end, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 23)
Goswami Tulsidas confirms this.
Desires from just a kid,
Response from kingdom to rid.
Since message to others sending,
Lesson on tolerated path extending.
That Hiranyakashipu to reject,
Any the bhakti life to accept.
Good that Prahlada endured,
Devotee’s protection assured.