“I can see that this boy’s strength is unlimited, for he has not feared any of my punishments. He appears immortal. Therefore, because of my enmity toward him, I shall die. Or maybe this will not take place.” (Hiranyakashipu, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.47)
मृत्युर् मे भविता न वा
mṛtyur me bhavitā na vā
As far as day-to-day operations are concerned at the firm, this single piece of equipment is critical. It is a server that needs to stay up and running during the day. There are updates, changes, patches, regular maintenance and the like which occur off-hours, but any disruptions during the time period when everyone is at work will cause major problems.
On this particular day you end up arriving late. You work in the IT department. You are intimately familiar with the network topology, of which server is where and what each one of them does. As you open the door to the main call center, wherein your specific desk is located, one of the systems administrators runs up to you in a panic.
“That main server is down. I don’t know what happened.”
You reply, “Did you check on it? Are there any error messages?”
“Actually, I rebooted it. Since then it has not come back online.”
“Why did you reboot it?”
“I don’t know. I was trying to fix an error and then it just happened accidentally.”
“But the machine will actually ask you if you are sure that you want to reboot.”
“I don’t think I saw that.”
“It prompts you three times. It wants to make sure that you know the implications of turning off the machine. There is always a risk in these things. If there is some underlying problem, it might only manifest during the time of booting.”
In this situation the person obviously saw the multiple warnings and proceeded regardless. After the fact the messages are like a distant memory. Then everyone has to live with the consequences.
In a similar manner, the king named Hiranyakashipu had an inkling that something was wrong with the plan to eliminate Prahlada, the menace to society. The devotee of Vishnu happened to be Hiranyakashipu’s own son. The child was only five years of age; this was not like a dependent remaining in the parent’s home well past the age normally considered to be adulthood.
With every attempt made against Prahlada’s life, there had to be a similar warning inside the father’s mind. Was he sure this was the way to go? The son was still alive. Throwing him off a cliff didn’t work. Feeding him to snakes? Nope. Trampling by elephants has a one hundred percent success rate. Not this time.
Hiranyakashipu then described Prahlada’s strength as unlimited, aprameya. This same Sanskrit word also applies to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Vishnu person worshiped by Prahlada. Naturally, that property would descend to the most dedicated servants.
Hiranyakashipu could have had the same unlimited strength, but he was in the other direction. Everything through personal effort, with a little help from divine figures like Lord Brahma, the creator. Still, when matched up against the devotee son the unlimited defeated the limited. Soon the unlimited in the amazing visual would confirm that the wicked king was not guaranteed of remaining in his position.
Every person has a similar inkling deep down, that there is more to this world. There is more to life than simply acquiring possessions and enjoying the senses. Personal effort can only take us so far; there has to be an underlying awesome power behind the workings of nature; something like the power-plant providing enough electricity for a large city to operate.
Thankfully, there are saints like Prahlada who go beyond the warning. “Are you sure” is the question, but where is the explanation as to why there should be doubt? Who is there to resolve? The Vaishnava arrives bringing perfect clarity, should a person be willing to sacrifice a little time to hear. Hiranyakashipu had no tolerance for such words, and so the doubt deep inside could only be resolved by the ferocious vision of Narasimha.
To fix the issue the task,
Server of certainty to ask.
Since with reboot a problem maybe found,
Entire operations to be downed.
Daitya king with warning the same,
When question of son’s survival came.
Deep down knowing beyond to be,
Confirmed when Narasimha to see.
Categories: the story of prahlada