“Being under the influence of illusion, I underestimated Rama and took Him to be a mere child. Thus I ran towards Vishvamitra’s sacrificial altar. With that, Rama released an acute arrow capable of destroying His enemies. Upon hitting me, that arrow forcefully threw me away to an ocean one hundred yojanas [eight hundred miles] away.” (Maricha speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 38.18-19)
अवजानन्नहं मोहाद्बालोऽयमिति राघवम्।
विश्वामित्रस्य तां वेदिमभ्यधावं कृतत्वरः।।
तेन मुक्तस्ततो बाणः शितश्शत्रुनिबर्हणः।
तेनाहं त्वाहतः क्षिप्तस्समुद्रे शतयोजने।।
avajānannahaṃ mohādbālo’yamiti rāghavam।
viśvāmitrasya tāṃ vedimabhyadhāvaṃ kṛtatvaraḥ।।
tena muktastato bāṇaḥ śitaśśatrunibarhaṇaḥ।
tenāhaṃ tvāhataḥ kṣiptassamudre śatayojane।।
“Say hello to my imaginary friend,” might be a good retort from followers of Hari, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A person who has not deeply considered the issue, who wants to start trouble as a sort of playful game, may claim to not believe in any imaginary friends or invisible figures living beyond the clouds.
They are smarter than that, you see. They trust science, which is merely observation and experiment. Science changes with experience, so to trust the fallible human being in their ability to perceive everything and then make sense of it is not a wise proposal.
From the Vedic science we learn that there really isn’t such a thing as an atheist. The closest Sanskrit equivalent term is asura, which means a person who deviates from the divine qualities of honesty, compassion, cleanliness, austerity and so forth. Yet even the asura is a kind of worshiper; they merely see the Supreme differently. Their vehement denials withstanding, they might get an unexpected darshana, a personal viewing, at the time of death.
1. Nails from a lion
In this case the stance was firm and stubborn; as strong as it could be. For many years, a character trait inseparable from Hiranyakashipu, the leader of the Daityas. It was in his blood, so to speak, as in a past life he held the same contempt from the Supreme Lord.
This time he had the good fortune of receiving a saintly son. Prahlada tried to educate his father as to the source of strength in men. The five-year old boy revealed that Hari is everywhere, that not a corner of this world is lacking His presence.
Hiranyakashipu mocked the idea to the most violent extent, resulting in a personal visit from Hari, living up to one of the meanings of this name. The Supreme Lord showed the vision of a half-man/half-lion. The appropriate name is Narahari, and he proceeded to tear apart the villainous and violent Hiranyakashipu. The denying Daitya king saw the face of all-devouring time, kala, as nails on a lion.
2. Five-headed serpents
Something like a cousin to the Daitya species, the Rakshasas from Lanka were the worst of the worst. Killing innocent people. Attacking at the most damaging time. Choosing the most innocent in society as victims. Those who wish to abolish the police department in their community would turn the situation into something identical to what the sages of Dandaka faced many thousands of years ago.
No one to protect them, but who actually thought a security force would be necessary in a remote forest area? This shows just how vile the Rakshasas were. They would change their shapes at will, attack at the time of yajna, and then eat the flesh of their victims.
In their foolishness, they thought nothing of the consequences. They were getting away with the crimes; there would be no retribution. No punishment and no rebound of the injury they inflicted upon others. This is the asura-mentality. “If I can’t see it immediately, it must not exist.“
As Hiranyakashipu before them, the staunch deniers received the vision of God at the time of death. They were attacked this time by arrows released from the bow of Shri Rama, who is the same Hari that protected Prahlada.
Based on the testimony of one of the Rakshasas, these arrows chased the enemy wherever they went. In the end, the tips displayed the vision of five-headed serpents. As the night-rangers had previously bitten into the flesh of their innocent victims, these snakes would serve the lethal blow in deliverance of justice.
3. A clenched fist
King Kamsa of Mathura received so many prior notifications. Though he hated God, he at least feared destiny. A voice from the sky had previously informed him that the eighth child of Devaki would be his doom. Though he thought of killing Devaki, his sister, on the spot, in the end he decided on imprisonment. Whenever the husband and wife would deliver a new child, Kamsa would kill it.
Yet Hari is not so weak as to be under the control of manmade institutions. The prison system would not hold Him down. The dark of night and the supposed helplessness of Vasudeva, the birth-father, worked in Hari’s favor. Appearing as the avatara named Krishna, Kamsa’s angel of death managed to escape to Gokula after birth.
Destiny would be fulfilled. Kamsa would see all-devouring death through the vision of Krishna’s fist. The same violence that the wicked ruler had previously inflicted on infants came back to him in an unstoppable force.
4. A spinning wheel
Later in Krishna’s pastimes, there was a rival named Shishupala. This person hated Krishna, especially since the marriage to Rukmini had been foiled. Krishna swooped in on the day of the ceremonies to capture His new bride, stealing her away from Shishupala. This went according to Rukmini’s plan, who as the goddess of fortune can never be the consort of anyone except the Supreme Lord.
Shishupala maintained the rivalry throughout life. One time he kept insulting Krishna in front of others. As the cumulative total of words of derision climbed, the sudarshana-chakra became more of a reality. Krishna finally released it, beheading that great enemy of God. Shishupala saw a spinning wheel at the end, and that vision was most auspicious.
Every person follows Hari, whether they know it or not. They are rewarded in a way commensurate with their level of surrender. Even the asuras worship Him, and in special cases they receive a vision that devotees cherish.
Since glorious protector is He,
Even bhaktas cherishing to see.
Though Narasimha violent to be,
Where Hiranya from ignorance to free.
And Rama countless arrows to release,
From the serpents enemies no relief.
Incidents proving that everyone to go,
Following whether or not they know.