All Glories to the Vaisnava devotees, following in the footsteps of Sri Prahlada Maharaja to attain pure devotion.
To all respected Vaisnavas, my humble offering to you on this most auspicious day.
I am sure that all of your are immersed in thoughts of Nrsimha-lila as presented in the Srimad Bhagavatam. I would like to offer some thoughts on the glories of Sri Prahlada's exalted devotion.
His devotion excels that of all demigods. Lord Siva posed the question, how can Prahlada's devotion be greater than the demigods, when they can always see the Lord, whereas Prahlada is only thinking of Him. The answer is that his meditation is so intense, that it brings intense pleasure to the Lord, whereas others are desiring something from Him. Also, the Lord sent Prahlada to demonstrate the nature of pure devotion under the most trying circumstances. Even Brahma was ignored by the Lord when he wanted to appease him after Hiranyakasipu was slain. Brahma was thinking of his own welfare and the well-being of the universe, but he had also committed many offenses, which he admits below in his prayers to L Nrsimhadeva. But Prahlada only wants to please the Lord. Thus his devotion is higher than even the residents of Vaikuntha.
Lord Brahma prays:
Just consider this, my dear professor of logic: He loves only devotion. He shows His mercy only to His devotees, never to nondevotees. Forget about my having any devotion for Him. I would be happy if only it were true that I never offend Him. I cannot expect Him to tolerate my offenses as He does Lord Siva’s.
With benedictions obtained from me, the wicked Hiranyakasipu became the tormentor of all the worlds, dedicated to violence against Vaisnavas. After the Lord in His form as Nrsimhadeva destroyed Hiranyakasipu, I and my entourage stood fearful at a distance, trying to praise the Lord with skillful prayers, but He would not even honor us with a sidelong glance. Yet when Prahlada was inaugurated king, the Lord at once became pacified. Then I slowly approached Him, and He angrily ordered me, "You should not give such benedictions to demons, O lotus-born! Nonetheless, I kept on giving benedictions to wicked demons like Ravana. Whose tongue can even mention the sins Ravana has done?
Lord Nrsimhadeva did not forgive Brahma for his mistakes immediately, thus He did not even look at him, nor at the other demigods. Brahma asked Laksmi, who is intimately connected to the Lord, to appease Him, but she, by the influence of Lila-sakti, could not ascertain the origin of that form, and was reluctant to approach Him. Then Prahlad was requested to approach, and immediately did so, without fear.
Prahlad did not speak at first, he was relished the bliss of approaching the Lord. He offered an excuse, that he was born in a demoniac family, and thus could not properly glorify the Lord. That was his humility. But the real reason is given in the Hari-Bhakti-Sudhodaya:
1. The way that L Nrsimhadeva appeared before everyone was so shocking, that Prahlada was feeling great awe and reverence,
2. The dramatic scene; his father bifucated, the unprecedented beauty of the palace decorated by the Lord, situated on the ocean,
3. The presence of the demigods and sages, before whom Prahlada considered himself inferior, did not allow his ecstatic devotion to manifest.
But when Lord Nrsimhadeva touched his head, Prahlada began to speak the most beautiful prayers. As he glorified the Lord, his ecstasy increased, and feeling the Lord's mercy upon him, he wanted to give that mercy to others, and he stated one of his most famous prayers:
naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaranyas
soce tato vimukha-cetasa indriyartha-
maya-sukhaya bharam udvahato vimudhan
O best of the great personalities, I am not at all afraid of material existence, for wherever I stay I am fully absorbed in thoughts of Your glories and activities. My concern is only for the fools and rascals who are making elaborate plans for material happiness and maintaining their families, societies and countries. I am simply concerned with love for them.
After finishing his prayers, the Lord was pacified and offered Prahlada benedictions over and over again. At first He said, please, take any benediction that you want. Then He told Prahlada that he would live for a long time, and hinted at pure devotion, saying that when a devotee is satisfied, he needs nothing. But Prahlada, steeped with pure devotion, said he did not want anything material for sense gratification.
After hearing the blessings offered by the Lord, Prahlada, out of humility, said that I am from a demon family, so please don't tempt me by these things. I want to give up materialistic things, and these blessings with only entrap me again, I want the shelter of Your lotus feet. You have sent me to this world only to show symptoms of pure devotion, otherwise, why would you tempt me. I am not a merchant, wanting retribution for my offering. You are my Lord, I am your servant, there is no need of anything else. But if you want to give me something, I pray that there be not more material desires in my heart, which disturb us at every step, but rather only desire to serve you birth after birth. With no desires, then I can have opulence to serve You.
In Visnu Purana, Parasara Muni glorifies Prahlada's selfless devotion:
yesu yesu vrajamy aham
tesu tesv acyuta bhaktir
acyutastu sada tvayi
"O master, in all the thousands of births through which I must wander in this world, please let me have unfailing devotion to You, the infallible Supreme Lord."
L Nrsimhadeva offered repeated blessings to show that the pure devotee is not attracted by opulence or even liberation, so that we will adopt the same attitude. We want something from Krsna, but Prahlada is showing us how to behave.
The Lord said that you will never enjoy opulence, thus I order you to do so, and enjoy them as the king of the demons.
Then Prahlada said, I can ask for one thing, because my father offended you, please excuse him. But the Lord said that wherever there are devotees like you, generations are purified. Also, he was purified by touching My body.
We can understand from Prahlada's prayers that material advancement is not a blesssing, but a curse, unless we are pure and can use it in Krsna's service. Better to offer our opulence to Krsna, but having a nice altar, distributing prasadam and holding events, printing books and sponsoring devotional activities.
We can also understand that we have to accept any position that the Lord puts us in, even king of the demons, but at the same time, never forget Him nor deviate from His service internally. That way you will burn up all your pious activities, and at the same time worship Me, and be eligible to return to my abode.
Additionally, we can learn of Prahlada's preaching spirit. He refused liberation, but, as he says in his above-mentioned prayer, he wanted to preach and help all conditioned souls. Thus he accepted a limited kingdom and the demon's wealth to facilitate his preaching. Nothing for himself, even up to liberation, but accepting all inconveniences (king of demons) to preach and please the Lord by bringing back His lost children. This is Vaisnava.
These are some considerations that came to me on this day.
Lord Nrsimhadeva ki jaya!
Guru Prasad Swami