“Prahlada Maharaja said: My dear King, the source of my strength, of which you are asking, is also the source of yours. Indeed, the original source of all kinds of strength is one. He is not only your strength or mine, but the only strength for everyone. Without Him, no one can get any strength. Whether moving or not moving, superior or inferior, everyone, including Lord Brahma, is controlled by the strength of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.8.7)
न केवलं मे भवतश् च राजन्
स वै बलं बलिनां चापरेषाम्
परे ’वरे ’मी स्थिर-जङ्गमा ये
ब्रह्मादयो येन वशं प्रणीताः
na kevalaṁ me bhavataś ca rājan
sa vai balaṁ balināṁ cāpareṣām
pare ’vare ’mī sthira-jaṅgamā ye
brahmādayo yena vaśaṁ praṇītāḥ
Prahlada understood the truth. Though a child of school-age years, he was in possession of superior information. Though the teachers tried their best to get his mind right, to reprogram him into the ways of the state, he could not be dissuaded.
That celebrated child of a Daitya king understood that the source of strength in every person is the same. I made the decision to wake up this morning. It was a little more difficult than usual. Yesterday was exhausting. I chose to exercise in the morning, and the rest of the day was one responsibility after another.
On the same day, my wife woke up without issue. She felt energized and refreshed this morning. She likely did more exercise than me yesterday. She has more responsibilities, and it is not like she will be able to rest comfortably anytime soon.
The source of strength is the same in both, but due to body types and external factors that strength may manifest differently. It is something like having a bright light bulb. One is placed inside of a lamp with a dark shade and another left out on its own. A person might mistakenly think that one bulb is brighter, but in truth they emit the same amount of light.
While it is certainly noteworthy to see exceptional strength, especially in a king who is responsible for the defense and wellbeing of his people, the source should always be remembered. This is what Prahlada tried to teach his father, Hiranyakashipu. Prahlada understood the constitutional position of the living entity as part and parcel of the Almighty.
God is the great soul and we are individual soul, sparks of His amazing and incomprehensible energy. In our fall to the material world, where we travel through different lifetimes, accepting and rejecting various vessels classified as species, God is with us. He never abandons us, and through His feature of Paramatma there is the presence of something greater inside.
One would think that Hiranyakashipu was fortunate. He had such a wonderful son, wise beyond his years. Parents give birth to children with the responsibility of rescuing them from the cycle of birth and death. After all, the final destination is the same. Nothing can change the reality. As the individual soul magically enters into the womb, so one day it will amazingly vanish into thin air, leaving the body behind.
The sober person contemplates the meaning to it all. What is the purpose of living if dying is inevitable? Why take birth at all if you one day have to leave everything and everyone behind? Why become attached to the temporary, when it will not bring you a lasting achievement?
The parent who shows their dependent the way towards liberation is eternally blessed. Hiranyakashipu did this, but unintentionally. He was the loyal opposition, with a rivalry ingrained in him. He hated Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The four-armed, opulently adorned husband of Lakshmi is identified as such by saintly people and also eyewitnesses.
Hiranyakashipu should have known better, as it was Vishnu who killed his brother. Hiranyaksha met his end at the beautiful sight of the spinning disc known as sudarshana. This is the weapon released by Vishnu when battling the demon class.
To have Prahlada show allegiance to Vishnu was too much to handle. Prahlada understood both the universal presence of Vishnu and also His disposition. God does not envy anyone. He does not hold grudges. He is equal to everyone, but for those devoted to Him He makes exceptions.
समो ऽहं सर्व-भूतेषु
न मे द्वेष्यो ऽस्ति न प्रियः
ये भजन्ति तु मां भक्त्या
मयि ते तेषु चाप्य् अहम्
samo ‘haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu
na me dveṣyo ‘sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā
mayi te teṣu cāpy aham
“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.29)
There was no need to act as opposition. Prahlada was only trying to help. The child was so forgiving, as he did not hold against the father the many attempts made on his life. While Prahlada instantly forgave, Vishnu did not. The slayer of Hiranyaksha finally appeared, this time from a pillar. As the half-man/half-lion called Narasimha, Vishnu gave visual evidence to the doubting Daitya leader. He proved Prahlada correct through the weapons of nails tearing through the evil of hatred and envy.
Like good and evil to clash,
Over for Daitya in a flash.
Prahlada the eternal truth knowing,
So asura knowledge foregoing.
But his father steadily against,
To change son much effort spent.
Until finally Vishnu there came,
Hence known by Narasimha name.
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