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Seventh Skanda

Chapter 10: About Prahlâda, the Best Among the Exalted Devotees and the Fall of Tripura

(1) Nârada Muni said: ‘Although small considered he [Prahlâda] each and every one of the blessings that came with his bhakti yoga as impediments on the path and made he sure to tell the Lord of the Senses that with a smile.

(2) S’rî Prahlâda said: ‘Please do not allure me, because of my asura birth I have a propensity for lusting over all those material blessings. It was of being afraid of such material association that, desiring liberation, for the sake of complete detachment I have taken to the shelter of You. (3) So that I may behave as a pure devotee has Your lordship sent me into this world of lust, the lust that as the root cause of being present here is found in the heart of everyone o Master. (4) Otherwise such a thing could not happen of You, o guru of all; anyone who from You, the soul of friendliness, desires any material benefits, would such a person indeed not be a merchant instead of a servitor [see also B.G. 17: 20]? (5) A person for himself desiring material benefits from his spiritual master is not really a servant nor is the master really of service who for his own prestige desires to bestow material profits upon his servant [see also 10.88: 8-10]. (6) As far as I am concerned is there, fully devoted to You, surely no question of any desire and also do You, in our relating, as the real master, have no further motives such as one finds with a king and his subject. (7) If You want to give me anything to my desire for a blessing, then I pray for the benediction from You, o Lord of All Blessings, that no desire for any material happiness will grow in my heart [see also: S’rî S’rî S’ikshâshthaka verse four]. (8) From one’s very birth on are the senses, the mind, the life-air, the body, the religion, one’s patience, intelligence, shyness, opulence, strength, memory and truthfulness overrun by lusty desires. (9) Only indeed when one gives up all the desires that one of human association finds in one’s mind is one fit for an opulence equal to that of You, o Lotus-eyed Lord. (10) Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You, o Supreme Lord, o Original Personality; all my respects for You as the Great Soul, the Lord in the form of Nrisimha, the Brahman, the Supersoul.’

(11) The Supreme Lord said: ‘Unalloyed from Me towards Me, not intent on any benedictions in this world nor in the next, is it all the devoted like you nevertheless till the end of Manu’s reign given to enjoy all the material wealth of the daitya rule out here [see also 2.3: 10]. (12) Always ponder over My stories; being absorbed in Me as existing within you as the One within all living beings, will give you the greatest pleasure; worship with bhakti yoga the Lord who is the enjoyer of all sacrifices and give up your fruitive activities. (13) With the wealth be pious, by such devoted action are all kinds of reactions overcome. Forced by the time giving up your vehicle of time will your reputation of transcendence spread all over the universe, be sung in the highest spheres and you will, freed from all bondage, return back to Me. (14) Anyone who chants these prayers offered to Me by you, any human being who remembers Me as well as you, will in due course of time become free from the bondage of his karma [see B.G. 4: 9, 6: 7, 9: 27-28, 12: 3-4 and see also 11.14: 21].’

(15-17) S’rî Prahlâda said: ‘I pray for this benediction from You, o Lord of Benedictions, o Supreme Controller; my father, not knowing Your strength and supremacy, had with a heart polluted by anger thus a false notion of You, o master and guru of all worlds, as being the killer of his brother and was so of the greatest sin towards me, Your devotee. May my father be purified from that greatest and most difficult to overcome sin, although he was already purified when You casted Your glance upon him, o Merciful Father to the Materialists.’

(18) The Supreme Lord said: ‘With the purification of your father have all together twenty-one of your forefathers been purified, o sinless one, because, o saintly boy, the person of you took birth in the dynasty. You indeed are the dynasty its purifier. (19) Wherever and whenever there are My devotees who full of peace and equipoise, with the best qualities are equally graceful towards all, is even the worst of societies purified. (20) Never are they in any way of any violence towards all the beings higher or lower, o King of the Daityas, because they, out of their love for Me, have given up all material aspirations. (21) Persons in this world following in your footsteps become My pure devotees; of all devotees of Mine are you indeed the best example of all the different mellows [see also 6.3: 20-21]. (22) You should perform the obsequies for your father, who already in all respects was purified being in touch with My body, My child, so that he will be promoted to the worlds of better men. (23) Also assume the throne of your father as prescribed by vedic injunction; be with your mind fully absorbed in Me, My dearest, and do your duty just for My supreme sake.’

(24) S’rî Nârada said: ‘Prahlâda performed, as was commissioned by the Supreme Lord, all the functions necessary to the occasion of his father’s death, o King [Yudhishthhira], and was crowned by the brahmins present. (25) With his face shining because of the Lord His grace offered Lord Brahmâ, who had witnessed what had happened, with transcendental words the purest of prayers unto Lord Nrisimha, addressing Him in the presence of all the godly. (26) S’rî Brahmâ said: ‘O God of gods, o proprietor of the whole universe, o love of all beings, o first among all the living, by your decision has the most sinful Asura, who was of so much trouble to everyone, been killed. (27) That one I have granted the rare benediction that he would not be killed by any creature created by me nor that he would die because of any austerity, mystical or physical power; thus very proud he transgressed all injunctions. (28) By Your decision has his son, who despite of his young age was a great saint and exalted devotee, been released from the clutches of death and enjoys he, the way You wanted it, now Your shelter. (29) For those who, confronted with an adversary, meditate upon this physical presence of Your Supersoul, o omnipresent Supreme Lord, are You the protector against all kinds of fear, including even the fear of death.’

(30) The Supreme Lord replied: ‘Do not, as you have done, bestow benedictions upon demons, o Meditator of the Lotus; to bless people of a cruel nature is like giving milk to snakes.’

(31) S’rî Nârada said: ‘This is what the Supreme Lord said, o King, and after Hari had been worshiped by the one from the beyond, disappeared He from before the eyes of all the ones alive. (32) Prahlâda bowing his head was thereafter of worship with offering prayers, and so did the One in the beyond as also Lord S’iva, the leading fathers and the demigods, who each were part of the Supreme Lord. (33) Next made S’ukrâcârya and others, with all the sages and the One on the Lotus, him king of all the Daityas and Dânavas. (34) O King, with Brahmâ and all the rest properly honored, congratulated thereafter all the godly him, wishing him all the best and returned they to their respective abodes. (35) In this way were the two associates of Vishnu, who born as the sons of Diti in their forgetfulness were thinking as enemies, both killed by the Lord residing in the core of the heart [see 7.1: 36-39]. (36) Again being cursed by the brahmins were the two devils reborn as Kumbhakarna and ten-head Râvana and were they both killed by the special powers of Lord Râmacandra. (37) Slain laying on the battlefield with their hearts pierced by Râma’s arrows, gave they up their bodies with their minds fixed on Him, just as they did in their previous birth. (38) The two this way reappearing out here, again being bound to the Lord in enmity, took their births as S’is’upâla and Dantavakra and merged with Him in your presence. (39) All the kings who were inimical to S’ri Krishna were, upon their death, freed from what they were guilty of in their lives; they became as pure as He like larvae that obtain the same body as the drone that guarded them. (40) In their devotion undivided unto the Supreme One, turned kings like S’is’upâla back to Godhead with the same form as the Supreme Lord, because they had kept Him constantly in mind [see also B.G. 4: 9]. (41) This all I described to you in reply to your inquiry on how, even hating, the son of Damaghosha [S’is’upâla] and others could be of the same kind of body [see 7.1: 34-35]. (42) In this about the Supersoul and the God of all brahmins, Krishna, I related to you the stories about His incarnations of purification wherein He from the beginning defeated the Daityas. (43-44) They describe of that most exalted devotee Prahlâda the characteristics of his devotion, his spiritual knowledge and his renunciation; try to understand each of them and by this indeed know what is of the Lord, the Master of maintenance, creation and destruction; what are His qualities and activities, handed down wisdom and how He, by Time, is the finality of all the higher and lower living beings and their cultures, however great they might be. (45) From this narration, in which the transcendence without reservations is perfectly described, one may understand the bhâgavata dharma [see 7.6: 28] and Bhagavân Himself. (46) Anyone who after hearing this pious narration describing the Supreme Power of Vishnu, with faith repeats it, will be liberated from the entanglement in fruitive labor. (47) Anyone who with great attention reads and hears this story about the activities of the best of all the truthful, this daitya son, and how the Original Personality playing the part of the lion king killed the king of the demons who was as strong as an elephant, will reach the spiritual world where there is never ever any fear. (48) All you Pândavas in your human world are extremely fortunate that in your house resides the human appearance of the Supreme One of the Absolute Truth who is able to purify all the worlds and is always sought by the great saints. (49) The Impersonal Brahman for which all the great are searching is He. He, who in fact is the son of your maternal uncle, is your most dear well-wisher, is the oneness of transcendental happiness and the source of all life. He who is there as your guru leading in the principle, is the One who is worshipable in the complete of His body and soul. (50) Not even by meditation could Lord S’iva, Lord Brahmâ and others directly see Him or describe Him in his real form; may He, this great protector of all His devotees, be pleased with the silence we observe, with our devotion, our forsaking for the better and our worship. (51) He, this very same Supreme Lord, o King, long ago restored the reputation of the divinity of Lord S’iva that was compromised by a demon called Maya who, of great technical cunning, enjoyed an unparalleled power.’

(52) The king [Yudhishthhira] said: ‘Please describe for what reason and by what actions Lord S’iva, he who controls the whole universe, was outdone by Maya Dânava and how he with Krishna regained his reputation.’

(53) Nârada said: ‘All the Asuras who by the godly by the power of the Lord were defeated in battle, took shelter of the greatest and best of them all, Maya Dânava. (54-55) That demon constructed three big and mighty cities made of gold, silver and iron. Possessing the uncommon ability to change places were they difficult to discern. Thus hidden from view began the Asuras, remembering their former enmity with all the three worlds and their controllers, o ruler of man, to break up the order in the world. (56) Thereupon approached all the worlds with their rulers Lord S’iva, falling at his feet in surrender saying: ‘Please save us who are so close to you, for we are frightened, o Godhead, we are most affected by the tripura [three-city] people. (57) To show them his favor said the All-powerful Lord to the Suras: ‘Do not fear’, and fixed he an arrow on his bow to launch his weapons on the cities. (58) The arrows after being released shone as bright as beams of sunlight from which the cities could no longer be seen. (59) Because of that attack fell they who used to inhabit the houses of the cities, lifeless to the ground, but thanks to the great mystic powers of Maya were they all, one by one, dipped in a well of [life-giving] nectar [called mrita-sanjîvayitari]. (60) Thus touched by the all-potent nectar of the liquid, rose they from death as strong as thunderbolts splitting the sky with flashes of lightning. (61) Seeing how disappointed and unhappy the Emblem of the Lord [S’iva] was at the time, considered the Almighty Lord Vishnu the proper measures. (62) Thus assumed Lord Brahmâ the form of a calf and with Lord Vishnu Himself as the cow entered they in broad daylight Tripura to drink all the nectar in the well. (63) Even though the Asuras took notice of them could they, in their bewilderment, not stop them. And thus did the great mystic Maya who, fully aware of it, thought it was a thing of divine ordinance, address the ones on guard who, once quite content with their illusion, were now greatly dismayed: (64) ‘Demigods, demons, human beings, nor anybody else can undo what by God would the fate ordained for oneself, for others or for everybody together.’ (65-66) From His personal potencies concerning all the ingredients of life constituted by the religion, the spiritual knowledge, the renunciation, the opulence, the austerity the education, the activities and all of that, equiped He [Lord Vishnu] thereafter Lord S’iva with everything required, like a chariot and charioteer, a flag, horses and elephants, a bow with shield and arrows and so on. Seated on his chariot he then fixed an arrow on his bow. (67) O ruler of man, with the arrows joined on his bow set Lord S’iva as the Master and Controller thus by means of them, at noon, the so difficult to pierce three cities afire. (68) From their celestial chariots in the sky vibrated, with the help of countless kettledrums, the gods and saints, the ancestors, the perfected and the great, ‘Jaya, Jaya’, as they showered a wealth of flowers over his head and chanted and danced in great ecstacy with the beauties of heaven. (69) O King, the mighty Lord S’iva who thus encouraged by Lord Brahmâ and the others had burnt Tripura to ashes, then returned to his own abode. (70) Thus it happens with all that the Lord is capable of: acting like an ordinary man within the human society are there of Him, the teacher of the universe, the narrations about His transcendental activities that, related by the saintly people, purify all the worlds; what more would you like me to talk about?’