“Prahlada Maharaja’s class friends, who were born of Daitya families, thought that realizing the Absolute was extremely difficult. Indeed, we have experience that many, many people say this very thing. Actually, however, this is not so. The Absolute, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is most intimately related to all living entities. Therefore if one understands the Vaishnava philosophy, which explains how He is present everywhere and how He acts everywhere, to worship the Supreme Lord or to realize Him is not at all difficult.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.6.20-23 Purport)
Friend1: Prahlada Maharaja teaches that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is within every living being. He gives the range from the nonmoving to the creator, Lord Brahma.
Friend2: That is an important distinction to make, since we often overlook the plants and the trees when discussing reincarnation. It is always about being born as a dog or an insect, but there is the possibility of remaining naked for a long time, as well.
Friend1: Such as with the two sons of Kuvera getting cursed by Narada.
Friend2: They appeared as twin yamala-arjuna trees in Vrindavana, awaiting liberation by Shri Damodara, the Supreme Lord tied to a mortar by His loving mother.
Friend1: I think the context of Prahlada’s teaching is the situation of abandoning family life. There is fear, for sure. These are people to whom I have formed an attachment since long ago. If I suddenly leave behind my material way of life, how will I survive? I think that is the primary concern.
Friend2: For sure. There is the illusion of needing to support others and myself. I must do things a certain way or face ridicule and shame. What I fail to realize is that no amount of assistance will make others happy. The wife will always want a bigger, better home. The children never have enough. You could sacrifice to the point of your life in defense of the country, and there will be people who spit on your grave as you return home.
Friend1: That is true. It’s the sad reality. I know that with Shri Krishna the opposite is true. He is pleased with the most basic service, if offered in the proper mood. He keeps the good deeds with Him and forgets the many past transgressions.
Friend2: He would have to, if you think about it. Who among us hasn’t done wrong in the past? If we make it to the destination of liberation, it means that the past mistakes get forgiven.
Friend1: Here is something that puzzles me. The idea is that realizing God should not be difficult. He is everywhere. If I am on my own, I should have no problem seeing Him. He is within the plant and also the demigod. He is within the atoms, so the skies, hills, roads, and other aspects of nature should remind me of Him.
Friend2: Absolutely. That is known as the transcendental vision.
Friend1: Okay, but those things have been around me before. I have always been in the same association. Previously, I was in maya. How are things supposed to change overnight?
Friend2: I am not sure what you are asking.
Friend1: I am not supposed to be worried because God is everywhere. Yet in the previous state, one of family attachment and the like, God was in the same places. I was worried all the time. I was in illusion. His state is not changing. Do you understand what I am saying? How is it supposed to be easy to realize Him?
Friend2: I think the meaning is that you shouldn’t have to go far. It is not like the transformation will take place overnight, but maintaining good association is more important. If your family helps you to see the spiritual equality in all beings, then their association is actually auspicious.
ब्राह्मणे गवि हस्तिनि
शुनि चैव श्व-पाके च
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.18)
If they keep you in illusion, then it is better to eventually get out. Find better association. That is the meaning. Don’t be too worried about how to maintain yourself, because on the other side you can never have enough money. The retirement investment plan never grows fast enough. The cost of living can never be low enough and you can never be sure about the future of the bank balance. Better to go from the uncertain to the certain, which is the promise of devotional service practiced under the authority of the bona fide representative known as the spiritual master.
Already living with Him,
But in illusion to spin.
Suddenly to notice how,
When same situation now?
Idea that with lens corrective,
And good association effective.
The presence to see,
That everywhere is He.
Categories: the story of prahlada