“After Prahlada Maharaja had spoken in this way and become silent, Hiranyakashipu, blinded by anger, threw him off his lap and onto the ground.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.33)
इत्य् उक्त्वोपरतं पुत्रं
ity uktvoparataṁ putraṁ
A brand new life headed your way. Boundless potential. They can end up being anything they desire in adulthood; at least that is the consideration prior. If the baby is a boy, the father may have certain expectations or hopes. To that end there is also the possibility of great disappointment later on.
1. Doesn’t share the same interests
The father is into sports. They love both playing and watching. Baseball, football, tennis, basketball – you name it and they spent a significant portion of their youth involved in that activity. The son will hopefully follow in the footsteps. At the very least, the father now has someone to teach the basics to. They have a playing partner, with the hope that the son will one day surpass them in ability.
The son turns out to be what is referred to as a nerd. They are interested in science and technology. Video games are more to their liking. Science experiments are fun. Sports? Not so much. No matter how much the father tries, the son just has no interest. They are on the low end of ability, as well. They can’t throw a ball very well. They are slow and clumsy when running. At times the father wonders if this child is actually related to them.
2. Doesn’t follow authority
Just go to sleep at a certain time and stay asleep throughout the night. That is all the parents ask. They will let the young child play the day away. The rules are relaxed in other areas, but this one requires strict adherence. It’s for the sanity of the family.
The problem is the son just doesn’t listen. They respect authority for maybe a second or two. After that they are back to doing whatever they desire, at that particular moment. The frustration mounts, to the point that the father wonders if the son will ever listen to anyone.
3. Refuses to change their ways
As is common in the journey through life, new interests develop. The son indulges in this activity and that for a period of time. The father tries to explain the negative aspects to certain decisions he disagrees with.
The problem is the son refuses to adapt. They think the father is old, following an antiquated way of life. Everyone today is doing it the son’s way. The father tries the different methods of diplomacy, such as pacification and bribery, but the son is obstinate.
A long time ago, a king named Hiranyakashipu had a similar experience with his son. Prahlada did not follow in the father’s footsteps. While the royal teachers spoke of the need for basic religion, economic development and sense gratification, the child was only interested in worshiping Vishnu.
He not only followed in practice, but he could explain the principles, as well. Svartha gatim hi vishnu, the teaching from Prahlada that the actual self-interest of the individual is to go towards Vishnu, which is one name for the Divine, referencing His personal side.
Hiranyakashipu considered self-interest only, and that with a skewed understanding. He took the sense demands to be of paramount importance, when in fact the senses can lead a person astray. Even if they are otherwise discriminating, capable of utilizing previous knowledge to predict an outcome to a risky behavior, they cannot help themselves, like a boat veering off course because of a strong wind.
इन्द्रियाणां हि चरतां
यन् मनो ऽनुविधीयते
तद् अस्य हरति प्रज्ञां
वायुर् नावम् इवाम्भसि
indriyāṇāṁ hi caratāṁ
yan mano ‘nuvidhīyate
tad asya harati prajñāṁ
vāyur nāvam ivāmbhasi
“As a boat on the water is swept away by a strong wind, even one of the senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.67)
The father was disappointed in the son to the point of disgust. At one point he threw Prahlada off of his lap and onto the ground. The leader of the Daityas was sick of hearing about Vishnu. That the words came from his own son only dug the knife further in.
From that episode we see that though children may not turn out as planned or desired, if they are devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead the parents have received the greatest blessing. Even in the case of an antagonistic father like Hiranyakashipu, the end result is still auspicious. Vishnu Himself arrives on the scene to purify.
Hoping that to follow one day,
Interest in sports to play.
Or that with same understanding clarity,
Problem when into disparity.
The father then disappointed in son,
Like with Prahlada in family to come.
But devotion for all the best,
Vishnu that home to bless.