“Prahlada Maharaja maintained an attitude of noncooperation with the philosophy of his father, Hiranyakashipu, yet he was tolerant and humble. Hiranyakashipu, however, being a nondevotee, was so polluted that he was even prepared to kill his own son. He justified this by putting forward the logic of amputation.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.37 Purport)
Hiranyakashipu tried to use logic and reasoning for justification. Though he was so engrossed in material life, suffering from a kind of fever, he did not act completely in haste. There would be a spotlight shining on him, for it is not an everyday occurrence for a father to intentionally try to kill his son, especially a boy who is only five years of age.
There was the professed allegiance to Vishnu. That did not sit well with the king. The all-pervading personal feature of the Supreme Lord had previously done away with a menace named Hiranyaksha. That was Hiranyakashipu’s brother, and in effect Prahlada was now siding with someone who had killed his uncle.
Then there was the continuing obstinacy with respect to the teachings from within the royal family. Prahlada was interested only in spiritual life; he considered accepting a material body to be a great embarrassment. At that point a person would be better served retreating to the forest or spiritual place, tirtha, to live a life of renunciation conducive towards advancing the consciousness. This was Prahlada’s presentation, anyway.
Hiranyakashipu could tolerate no more, and he invoked the practice of amputation to justify his decision. Indeed, quick and full separation tends to be a wise choice in many situations.
1. A bad job
Day after day, the stress is killing you. It’s not like there is any respite at home. At night there is difficulty sleeping because of concerns over the next day. The boss swings from one venture to another:
“This will save the company. Just give us some time. We will make it out of this. Don’t you worry.”
You are not buying his assurances. Though you have been with this place for a long time, it is probably better to move on. The initial separation will be difficult, but after time the shift might end up being the best decision you ever made.
2. A toxic relationship
Every single day fighting. You’ve employed so many strategies. Being nice. Being firm. Strict and serious. Kind and gentle. Making phone contact throughout the day. Only talking as much as needed.
Whatever the case, there is always a struggle. At this phase it might be better to simply move on. Sever ties. Be free of the headache. Be at peace. It is difficult, as there is attachment to the other person, but the negatives outweigh the positives.
3. A noisy home
Every single day at the exact same time. There is running around downstairs. It sounds like someone is banging on the front door, but that is actually the adjacent apartment. Then the smell of food seeps into the bathroom. And this is the worst kind of food, something that makes you want to vomit.
Though you like the area, though the cost of living is affordable, at this time it might be appropriate to find a different place. At least the constant issues would subside. There would be new neighbors who hopefully are more considerate of those living around them.
4. A septic body part
This was the comparison made by Hiranyakashipu. If an arm or a leg is in really bad shape, the doctors may have no other choice but to amputate. This is to save the life of the patient. A drummer from a famous rock band lost his arm in a car accident. The medical practitioners attempted to attach the arm back, but then a negative reaction forced them to remove it. There was worry that the other arm would get infected, as well, and require amputation.
The problem with Hiranyakashipu was he didn’t see that Prahlada’s association was for the higher good. If anything needed amputation, it was the king’s association with material life. The brahmanas in the royal family were not doing him any favors. They stayed within the family business due to ancestry only. Actual qualifications in self-control, cleanliness, and knowledge of the Absolute were lacking.
It is interesting to see that Prahlada did not behave similarly. He would have been justified in leaving home and living someplace free of toxic association. He instead chose the path of noncooperation. Let others do as they may, but he will stay in the devotional consciousness. Such a plan is easier to implement in theory, but fortunately a sincere seeker today is boosted in their efforts by the opportunity to maintain the good association of saints like Prahlada Maharaja, whose exploits live in eternity through the recorded sound vibrations of Vedic literature.
Sometimes separation for the best,
Like from noisy home getting rest.
From that old job breaking,
And new opportunity taking.
Hiranyakashipu wrongly thought,
That threat to family Prahlada brought.
Perilous punishment giving,
But that son most forgiving.
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