“Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaishnava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Krishna conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination.” (Prahlada Maharaja, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.32)
नैषां मतिस् तावद् उरुक्रमाङ्घ्रिं
स्पृशत्य् अनर्थापगमो यद्-अर्थः
निष्किञ्चनानां न वृणीत यावत्
naiṣāṁ matis tāvad urukramāṅghriṁ
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
niṣkiñcanānāṁ na vṛṇīta yāvat
The creation attributed to Him should be enough. To have a massive object that floats in space and produces endless heat and light is itself uncommon. To configure an engine of earth, water and air delivery, with predictable and reliable movements, should be sufficient cause for glorification.
Yet to see the association is difficult in the conditioned state. Therefore the doubting souls insist on hard evidence. They need to see something to prove the existence of God. They also want justification for the recommended practice of glorification.
Prahlada Maharaja says that the Supreme Lord, whose many names include Vishnu, is glorified for His uncommon activities, urukramanghrim. Vedic literature provides ample supporting evidence.
1. Killing Putana
Here Vishnu was on earth in the two-handed form of Shri Krishna. The darling of Vrindavana as a youth, everyone was captivated by Yashoda’s son. He, in fact, first appeared from the womb of mother Devaki in Mathura. Due to the danger posed by the leader, Kamsa, the birth-father, Vasudeva, transferred the newborn Krishna to Gokula Vrindavana, where He would likely be in safe hands under the care of Nanda and his wife Yashoda.
Kamsa later learned of Krishna’s birth and wanted to do something about it. He deputed a witch named Putana to go and kill Him. Kamsa did not realize that Vishnu’s potency is the same irrespective of the visual. Krishna could do anything as an infant, though appearing to be helpless and fully dependent on the elders.
Putana had the ability to change her shape at will. From reading Vedic literature we find that this is not an uncommon ability. Today the same feat exhibited in public might fool millions of people into accepting you as God, but in reality there is only a shift in material elements occurring. Through a little mystic power even a person if ill-intent can do the same.
Putana arrived in Gokula dressed as a beautiful, enchanting woman. This made it easier to pick up baby Krishna to nurse Him. No one objected. She had smeared poison on the breast. This would be a rather straightforward strike.
Not only did Krishna survive, but He ended up sucking the life out of her. The magic of the mystic ability vanished at the same time. Putana reassumed her large and hideous form. She crashed to the ground in death. Meanwhile, Krishna innocently played on her body. He was not hurt in the least.
2. Tolerating Bhrigu
Imagine you are lying down in rest. Your wife is massaging your feet. Suddenly, you feel a sharp blow to the chest. Upon opening your eyes you see that someone you know very well has kicked you. There was no justification. They were simply conducting a test, to see if you got angry as a result.
This happened to Vishnu once. The one of uncommon activities showed tolerance to the highest degree. He asked if the brahmana Bhrigu had hurt his foot, since Vishnu’s chest is known to be hard. He welcomed the guest as if he had done nothing wrong. This was a devotee, after all, and he wouldn’t have been allowed in Vaikuntha if he lacked the qualification of gentleness, tolerance, intelligence and allegiance to the Supreme Lord and those who support Him.
3. Appearing from a pillar
Prahlada already knew that Vishnu is amazing. He didn’t require further convincing. The asura class, however, would not take his word for it. Prahlada was a young child at the time, and a stubborn one at that. He refused to take an interest in statecraft, at a time when the orders directly from the crown demanded otherwise.
The father Hiranyakashipu eventually became fed up. He mocked Prahlada’s devotion. If God were indeed everywhere, as the boy claimed, then why wasn’t He in the nearby pillar? Vishnu most certainly was, and He soon appeared from the column, to the father’s dismay.
This was an awe-inspiring vision. An angry half-man/half-lion, ready to pounce on the offending father, who had tried to kill Prahlada as punishment for devotion. The uncommon form took the uncommon step of killing the true offender through the means of bifurcation. God indeed was in the pillar, and His full strength was also present in the nails on the hands.
Through feats not routinely shown,
As one of uncommon activities known.
Such as from Putana witch feeding,
And Bhrigu’s chest kick proceeding.
For Prahlada from column appearing,
And obstacles to devotion clearing.
Justification for praise a sample,
Vedas with evidence ample.