“I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.36)
द्यूतं छलयताम् अस्मि
तेजस् तेजस्विनाम् अहम्
जयो ऽस्मि व्यवसायो ऽस्मि
सत्त्वं सत्त्ववताम् अहम्
dyūtaṁ chalayatām asmi
tejas tejasvinām aham
jayo ‘smi vyavasāyo ‘smi
sattvaṁ sattvavatām aham
Friend1: Finally, Hiranyakashipu had enough. He tried everything. “All efforts exhausted” would be the status of the account if using a CRM system.
Friend2: You mean when trying to eliminate the saintly son named Prahlada?
Friend1: The father at last asked the son. What was the source of strength? Maybe Prahlada could teach Hiranyakashipu a thing or two. Perhaps work in tandem to take over the world. Share trade secrets in order to help each other.
Friend2: And Prahlada’s reply was excellent. The source of strength was the same in both of them. It is the same source for every application of human ability, paurusham.
Friend1: That is where I wanted to focus today. Let’s say that I am a skeptic.
Friend2: Of what?
Friend1: I don’t buy this idea that Vishnu, the personal God, is the source of strength in every person.
Friend2: Okay. What is your supporting evidence?
Friend1: I don’t need to go far. Look at the interaction between father and son. If Vishnu was behind the scenes for both parties, why did one fail and the other succeed?
Friend2: You really look at it that way?
Friend1: A person might. It’s something along the lines of, “If there is a God, then why do bad things happen to people? Why does one person live in a palatial mansion and another is homeless on the street?” If Vishnu is the powerhouse behind the scenes, why was there a divergence in outcomes?
Friend2: Okay, so you have one person who lives in a place with a warm climate. Plenty of sunshine. Another person resides in the same area. Are they both guaranteed to have the same physical makeup? Will they both live as long?
Friend1: I am not sure what you are getting at.
Friend2: The sun is there to benefit both. One person may be fit and healthy and the other diseased and weak.
Friend1: I see what you are saying, but we are talking about strength here. This is ability focused on a specific interaction in history. Why should I believe that Vishnu is behind the scenes if Hiranyakashipu was unable to succeed in killing his son? We know that the king sure did try, and in ways that would succeed for every other person.
Friend2: It is precisely that Vishnu is the source of the strength that causes the divergence.
Friend1: What do you mean?
Friend2: If there weren’t an intelligent being behind intelligence, then the application of force would work every single time. Feeding someone poison would have a one hundred percent success rate. The same for exposing to severe heat and cold, throwing off a cliff, attacking with pointed weapons, and the like. Because Vishnu was the source of the strength, one person was immune and the other left baffled.
Friend1: Okay, but what good does that knowledge do me? If I can’t always succeed in the output of effort, why even try?
Friend2: It is the type of effort that matters. Acknowledge that there is a sanctioning authority. Be aware that frustration will arise at some point, because you won’t be able to will your way into getting what you want. Hiranyakashipu used the strength he thought was his own for so long, and it got him pretty far. Not far enough, though, since he couldn’t get rid of Vishnu-worship in his kingdom, no matter how much he tried. Prahlada, on the other hand, did not specifically endeavor for strength, and yet his meditation was sufficient for protection against the worst kind of violence. If Vishnu wasn’t there protecting the entire time, no person could have survived in that situation.
Friend1: The father should have appreciated the sound words of advice, then?
Friend2: He should have realized that man has limitations. The evidence was plain before him, even before Prahlada spoke. It is there for every person to see, in fact. Thankfully, the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam give further clarity, explaining phenomena of nature already witnessed. If Vishnu is the ability in man, then use that ability for the right purpose. The Supreme Lord is the ultimate sanctioning authority, and through His feature of Paramatma He is the all-pervading witness.
Father finally to question came,
Son with reply that source the same.
The same potency from,
Hiranyakashipu and his son.
But different outcomes why?
Futile seems effort to try.
Idea that when in right direction facing,
Krishna on success track placing.