“O lord, we know that when you simply move your eyebrows, all the commanders of the various planets are most afraid. Without the help of any assistant, you have conquered all the three worlds. Therefore, we do not find any reason for you to be morose and full of anxiety. As for Prahlada, he is nothing but a child and cannot be a cause of anxiety. After all, his bad or good qualities have no value.” (Shanda and Amarka speaking to Hiranyakashipu, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.49)
जितं त्वयैकेन जगत्-त्रयं भ्रुवोर्
न तस्य चिन्त्यं तव नाथ चक्ष्वहे
न वै शिशूनां गुण-दोषयोः पदम्
jitaṁ tvayaikena jagat-trayaṁ bhruvor
na tasya cintyaṁ tava nātha cakṣvahe
na vai śiśūnāṁ guṇa-doṣayoḥ padam
An accomplished individual even under the analysis of the greatest skeptic. King of the world. Everyone under his control. The subordinates walking in fear. The slightest misstep, the wrong word spoken at an inappropriate time, and the master ruler might hand down the stiffest punishment. Better to tread lightly. Play the prevent defense, in hopes of avoiding careless mistakes.
Such a personality can still find frustration, to the point of wanting to escape from their present way of life. Though they hold so much power, in certain areas they can be rendered completely helpless.
1. Putting together furniture
Haul that heavy box up several flights of stairs. Inside is furniture, but not yet assembled. That is your job. You think that having to lift the item is enough work for the day. Sufficiently tired and procrastination kicking in, you are ready to rest until the time is right.
When you eventually get started, it is one frustration after another. Locate the individual parts. Try to read the instruction manual, which is in multiple languages. It says to insert one screw this way and another screw that way. But every time you try, the first screw falls out. You are so frustrated that you end up punching the nearby wall with your fist.
How do people do this, you ask. There has to be a better way. After all is said and done, you complete the assembly. You think it is done correctly, but you can’t be sure. You vow to never again take on such work. “I will hire someone next time.”
2. Getting a car to start
Ready for a long weekend road trip, the journey gets off to an inauspicious start. On one of the side streets, near a stoplight, the car starts to sputter. You pull over and notice that it simply won’t start up again. Something is obviously wrong.
You’ve seen other people open up the hood in the front to examine further. The issue is that you don’t know how to do that. You search for a few minutes until you finally find the latch. Pulling the lever works, but of course the hood does not open fully. This is not like the trunk. You have to step out to complete the process.
There is a spot in the front where you have to press down in order to get the hood to release. You can’t seem to find it. You have never done this before. Luckily, someone is there to help. They open the hood in no time.
That is just the first step. Now you have to figure out what is wrong. You are not experienced in this area. You usually take the car into a repair shop for maintenance. How are you going to get it started? The only option is to call someone to arrive and examine further.
You are this big personality in the outside world, but in the home you are nothing. The child runs over you. They pull at your hair. They scratch your face. They never listen to your warnings to avoid this area and that.
To top things off, they cry when the mother is not around. You try everything in your power to get them to stop crying, but nothing works. You wonder how anyone is able to survive with children in the home. Perhaps it would be better to run away, to escape from the pressing responsibilities.
King Hiranyakashipu was tremendously frustrated, to the point of feeling morose, but he actually didn’t have any difficult work. He was the ruler of the entire world, with even the demigods in fear of him. There were boons to sufficiently protect; no enemy could mount a successful sneak attack.
Yet he had to get a pep talk one time from the royal teachers, Shanda and Amarka. They tried to lift up his spirits. The king was feeling down because his five-year-old son could not be killed. Hiranyakashipu wanted Prahlada dead due to the devotion shown to Vishnu, who is the Supreme Lord.
The father was more than an atheist. He wanted no sign of genuine religion anywhere near him. Prahlada quietly meditated, but when asked about goals in life and the purpose to living, he was not shy. He shared the wisdom of the ages whenever questioned.
This was unacceptable insolence from someone within the family. Hiranyakashipu could not allow it. The problem was that Prahlada survived every subsequent attack made against him. Nothing could kill him. The king was dumbstruck. He didn’t know what to do.
In truth, every person meets such frustration eventually. If we were God, we would always get what we want. Anytime there is a denial in terms of fulfilling a desire, the event should serve as a reminder of the all-powerful nature of the Supreme Lord.
Vishnu can share some of His amazing potency with those who are devoted to Him. It was through Vishnu’s protection that Prahlada survived, and the same Vishnu would succeed in eliminating the consistent and persistent danger to the world that was Hiranyakashipu.
Of successful ideal illustration,
But not immune from frustration.
Though over entire world the king,
For killing son not working a thing.
Immature at five years old,
Surviving attacks untold.
Vishnu the strength Prahlada’s source,
Arriving for father in due course.