Argumentum Ad Baculum

[Krishna's lotus feet]“When the two seminal brahmanas Shanda and Amarka failed to extract from Prahlada Maharaja the cause for his having opinions different from those of his father, they called for a stick with which to chastise him to satisfy their master, Hiranyakashipu. Because Prahlada had become a devotee, they considered him to be contaminated by bad intelligence and to be the worst descendant in the family of demons. As it is said, where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise. In a society or family in which everyone is a demon, for someone to become a Vaishnava is certainly folly.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.16 Purport)

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It is the way of a civilized person. The world is a complicated place. What is applicable to one situation may not be so for another. One person has their life experiences, which include outside instruction and also self-contemplation. Philosophies, theories and moral standards may result.

It should be considered that others have their own experiences. Perhaps they have been taught differently. Maybe their point of view, despite being different from mine, is the correct one. Maybe I have had it wrong the entire time.

When engaged in conflict of opinion, where there are differing views, the rational person remains calm. They try to persuade using logic and reasoning. They do not simply go off the handle immediately, especially if they are having a difficult time remembering exactly what to say.

The worst of the worst choose violence as the first option. Forget reasoning. Never mind sitting down and having an open debate. No challenge to this point or that. Invective, volleys of abuse, sustained shouting, and in the end some sort of violence.

[Prahlada]With Prahlada Maharaja, force was called rather soon. The supposed teachers, Shanda and Amarka, were upset that critical information was not forthcoming from the boy. They wanted to know who brought the dreaded knowledge of devotion to God into the kingdom. The place had something like an invisible wall, erected by the leader, Hiranyakashipu.

This was a family of Daityas, who had hatred of God and godly principles in their blood. Prahlada appeared in that line, a son to the king, but somehow he had an inclination towards bhakti from birth. Someone must have taught him, but who? There was a traitor within the ranks and Prahlada was ordered to hand over the culprit.

When he refused, the teachers were ready for the fourth method of diplomacy. This is called danda in Sanskrit. When pacification, subtle bribery, and division fail to produce the desired outcome, release the awesome power of the state on the foe. It is surprising that a small child would be designated as such, especially since he belonged to the royal family.

The other methods could not succeed on Prahlada because he had the most valuable possession any person can find in this world. Imagine you are in an occupation where you don’t care what other people think. You are so happy connecting with this other person that no bribe can turn your direction.

Imagine this took place in a child. Without some art of persuasion parents and caretakers would have a much more difficult time. You give candy in order for the child to take medicine, which has an unpalatable taste. Video games and television are allowed only after the child completes their homework assignments. Pizza and candy are a reward for good behavior, and so on.

क्षिप्रं भवति धर्मात्मा
शश्वच्-छान्तिं निगच्छति
कौन्तेय प्रतिजानीहि
न मे भक्तः प्रणश्यति

kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā
śaśvac-chāntiṁ nigacchati
kaunteya pratijānīhi
na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati

“He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.31)

[Krishna's lotus feet]The so-called brahmanas of the community, who only held that title due to heredity, would soon learn that not even danda could change Prahlada. Massive armies can overwhelm hostile nations to the point that they surrender. Prahlada was only one person, and at five years old there was no ability to fight back. The person he supported, the Supreme Lord, was there the entire time to ensure that the devotion of the devotee did not perish.

In Closing:

Not into consideration taking,

Don’t like that argument you’re making.

My way right now believe,

Otherwise force of state receive.

With Prahlada this method applied,

But failed despite so much tried.

Since to Shri Krishna connected,

Ways of demons rejected.



Categories: the story of prahlada

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