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Seventh Skanda

Chapter 9: Prahlâda Propitiates Lord Nrisimhadeva with Prayers

(1) Nârada Muni said [to Yudhishthhira again]: ‘All the Suras thus represented by Brahmâ and S’iva dared not to come forward because He, boiling with anger, was most difficult to approach. (2) The Goddess of Fortune on the request of the gods being confronted, could, after seeing Him so huge and wonderful the way one had never seen or heard before, not come closer either as she was most frightened herself. (3) Prahlâda brought close to Lord Brahmâ was asked: ‘My dear son, could you please go near the Lord and propitiate Him for He is very angry because of what your father has done.’

(4) ‘So be it’ he said and slowly, o King, got the great devotee, although he was only a small boy, step by step near Him and prostrated he himself offering prayers with folded hands. (5) With him, such a little boy, fallen at His lotus feet was the godhead, greatly moved, merciful and with the raising of His lotus hand which He placed on his head, dispelled He the fear from all minds about the snake of time [to its four physical necessities of âhâra, nidrâ, bhaya and maithuna; eating, sleeping, fearing or defending and mating]. (6) He because of that touch being cleansed from all impurity, manifested, in association with the Supersoul or the reality of His lotus feet, from a heart overcome and captured in bliss the symptoms of ecstasy all over his body, with tears welling in his eyes. (7) With his mind one-pointed in great concentration and with an of love faltering voice, began he in the full dedication of his heart and mind to offer prayers unto the Lord.

(8) S’rî Prahlâda said: ‘All the Suras headed by Brahmâ, all the saints as well as the perfect ones of spiritual living, one-pointed in the purpose were in their streams of words as yet not able to please You, however qualified they are; how can it be that He, this Lord, with mine would be pleased while I am but of an asura birth? (9) I think that riches, a good birth, a nice body, penance, vedic knowledge, prowess, energy, influence, strength, diligence, intelligence, and mystical power will not satisfy at all; like the Supreme Lord with Gajendra [the elephant], is the Personality of Transcendence pleased by bhakti. (10) A learned one with the twelve characteristics [as mentioned, see also*] who doesn’t care about the lotus feet of Him from whose navel sprouted the lotus, I consider not as blessed as a man of low birth who is of surrender to the Ultimate, because he with his mind, words and everything he does, purifies his wealth, life and family, while that is not so with the one whose thought is based on false prestige. (11) Whatever a person in his ignorance offers is kindly accepted by the Supreme Lord, and that offering is for certain, with Him always being happy within, not His personal desire; that worship indeed serves the interest of the one devoted, just like the reflection in a mirror is there to the glory of one’s own face. (12) It is for this reason that I must not consider myself unfit; in full surrender to the Lord shall I to the best of my ability and insight aim at His glory, however lowborn I am; because with one’s ignorantly having entered this material world is describing and singing that glory the way for a person to find purification [see also B.G. 18: 55]. (13) I am certain that, unlike us [Asuras], all these followers, like Brahmâ and his lot, are faithful and godfearing to the principle of You who are always situated in goodness o Lord, but it is said that it is for the better and good of Your protection and provision, and for the happiness of the soul that You manifested the incarnations of Your lordship in this material world. (14) Therefore give up Your anger about the Asura that You killed today, even the saints are happy when a scorpion or snake is killed; the truth is that all the worlds have found the pleasure and that all, wishing to commemorate You, are awaiting this form of You to allay their fears. (15) I myself am not afraid, o Invincible One, of Your fearsome mouth, tongue, flashing eyes and frowning face, Your strong ferocious teeth or garland of intestines and bloody manes, Your pointed ears, Your roar that even scares the elephants or the nails that pierced the enemy. (16) I do fear, o Merciful Father of Care, that intolerable, ugly repetition of birth and death, the fact that one is thrown into the miserable condition of living among predator-people, that one is bound to the actions and reactions of karma, o Insurmountable One; when will I, with You being pleased with me at the soles of Your feet, the refuge in this ocean of matter, be called back to You? (17) Because of one’s pleasing or not so pleasing birth being separated from You and being fused with the world, is one, in whatever body one resides, burnt by the fire of lamentation and suffers one just as well by the remedies against it in mistaking the body for the real self; I, o Greatest Being, am wandering; please initiate me into the service of You in yoga. (18) That way will I, from constantly hearing the narrations about Your exploits as the well-wisher and Supreme Godhead, o Nrisimha, as handed down in succession, easily cross over and be free from the modes, and will I, in wisdom and association with the liberated, be liberated from all the misery in the full absorption of Your lotus feet. (19) Of a little child in this world not being the shelter of parentage, o Nrisimha, neither of a patient being the medicine, nor of a person drowning in the ocean being the boat, nor of a person suffering being the redeemer, constitute all the things which in this world are cherished by the ones locked up in a physical body but the appearance of a remedy, o Almighty One, in which they are bereft of You. (20) Whatever the circumstance, for whatever reason, whatever the time, whatever the obligation or relation, by whomever or unto whomever, whatever way or of whatever nature, certain is that each of these matters is but a different form of the same Supreme; in other words: in nature is there because of all kinds of changes the separateness of a certain form of existence, but whatever form it may concern, it is always a manifestation of the energy of Your Lordship. (21) The illusory of matter is a creation of the mind [which is experienced as a fixation] that produces endless wanton actions; actions that are conditioned by the Time that stirs the three modes of nature. And then are the person, to the approbation of God with what is arranged in the Vedas [in the karma-kânda section], less victoriously offered the sixteen spokes [of the senses of action and perception, the elements and the mind] of the wheel of rebirth, o Unborn One. Whoever, bereft of the best that You are, would single-handed be able to overcome this [see also B.G. 9: 25]? (22) You are indeed that one element of Time, to which one in one’s intelligence, through Your personal energy, eternally is delivered; present as a form of material energy which in all effects and causes is subjected to Your cyclic control, am I at a loss, o Lord and Master, and am I crushed under the wheel with the sixteen spokes; please help me to get out of it, o Mightiest, for I am of full surrender. (23) I witnessed o Almighty One, how in that respect all the higher placed leaders of state in their desire for lifespan, opulence and glory, all by our father with his sarcastic laughs in the blink of an eye were baffled, nevertheless was he by You completely vanquished. (24) Therefore, knowing where all the sensegratification of all that longevity, opulence and fineness of all the ones embodied, from Brahmâ down to the smallest ant, leads to, have I no want for being subjected by You who art so powerful as the Master of Time; please kindly lead me to the association of your faithful servants. (25) In what respect is one blessed with happiness in being controlled [by desires]? What to this body, which is host to so many illnesses, is the meaning of the happiness that is just like a mirage in the desert? Even though the common man has never enough, do nevertheless the ones of learning try to put out that fire of desire with small drops of honey, do they try to control that which is only controlled with the greatest difficulty. (26) What is now my position? How can I surpass the fact of being born in the darkness of a body of passion, from a family far removed fom the enlightened state? The lotushand of Your causeless mercy that You offered me on my head as a token of grace, wouldn’t even be there for Lord Brahmâ, for Lord S’iva or even for the Goddess of Fortune! (27) In this can there factually with Your Lordship as the friend of the whole world be no distinction between higher and lower living beings, but nevertheless is there of You, depending on the service, just like with a desire tree yielding whatever wanted, the manifestation of the benediction reserved for the devotion, whether or not one is of a higher or lower level [see also 2.3: 10 and B G. 4: 33, 9: 25]. (28) The common man who in his material existence fell into a blind well full of snakes, runs after the objects of his desire; I who as a person because of bad association also fell into that condition was by the sura sage [Nârada], o Supreme Lord, taken in confidence; how can I ever give up on the service of Your pure devotee? (29) Saving my life o Unlimited One, with You having saved me from being killed by my father, do I consider the words of Your servant, that what the rishi said, as true because You proved them to be true unto him who bad-minded with the sword in his hands said to me: ‘Let that controller other than me save you from me now severing your head.’

(30) ‘This universe all around is the One of You alone; because of You where there in the beginning and in the end as well as in between separately those You created through the three modes that manifest Your external potency, those, the many of all the diversity who owe their experience to You who entered there [see also B.G 9: 4]. (31) You either being the cause or effect of this entirety, o My Lord, remain Yourself separate from the matter that is the illusory potency of You, and of which we know that it manifests itself as the substance from which we have creation, annihilation and maintenance; and of that there is the factually meaningless idea of having a different self or, stated differently, that the earthly existence and the subtle of it, compares to what one has with a tree and a seed [from which it all sprouts at the one hand and is the result of Your manifestation in it at the other hand]. (32) To this creation of You [my father e.g. who upon annihilation has been] thrown back into the self of Your causal ocean, You seem to do nothing and to be asleep as You within Yourself experience the blissful personal in having closed Your eyes in the yoga; but it is not a material slumber of darkness or the modes that You are into, considering the fact that You, by a manifestation of Yourself [this Nrisimha-form], have curbed that kind of sleeping in maintaining the transcendence. (33) From Your slumber on the bed of Ananta in the causal waters having awakened, appeared the great lotus of all the worlds from Your navel like a bananatree does from its seed and that cosmic body of Yours, this universe agitated by the time-factor, demonstrates the way that You [in the form and divinities of the modes] act upon the matter. (34) The one of knowledge [Brahmâ] generated from that lotus could not see anyone else because Your Lordship, as the seed, had expanded into himself; he dove into the water not understanding for a hundred demigod years how a seed once fructified o my Lord still can be perceived [see 3.8]. (35) He, born from nothing but himself, was greatly astonished to find himself upon that lotus. In due course of time through severe austerities purified he then found You, o Controller, very subtly, like an aroma in the earth, spread out through the sentient being obsessed with so many desires. (36) This way seeing the Greater Person with His thousands of faces, feet, heads, hands and thighs, noses, ears and eyes, and endowed with all kinds of ornaments and weapons, who together, appearing in different signs, all gave evidence of His potency, achieved Lord Brahmâ transcendental bliss. (37) For his sake verily accepting the head of a horse in an incarnation, You killed two very powerful demons representing the passion and the ignorance named Madhu and Kaitabha who opposed the Veda, and delivered the s’ruti [the four Vedas] for which one honors Your most dear form [of Hayagrîva] as the pure of transcendental goodness [see also 5.18: 18 and B.G. 4: 7]. (38) This way according the yuga in question appearing in different incarnations as a human being, a saint, a god or an aquatic, You protect all the worlds, sometimes in defense of the dharma killing the world its troublemakers, o Supreme Personality; in Kali-yuga You are covered [channa] and therefore are You, being one and the same person, called Triyuga [from being visible in the tree other yugas, see also Canto 11.5: 32]. (39) For sure is the mind that is not set to Your transcendental topics, in its far being removed from the Lord of Vaikunthha, polluted, dishonest and hard to control because of the sins it sympathizes with; filled with desires and lusts is it of highs and lows, fears and distress because of the urges; how can I with such a mind poor and fallen understand Your Supreme Purpose? (40) The tongue pulls me this way, o Infallible One, and the genitals unsatisfied pull me that way, so do the skin, the belly and the ear go for this and goes the nose for that hither and do the eyes go thither; the so very busy active senses bring one down like a householder is brought down by co-wives. (41) This way because of one’s karma being fallen into the Vaitaranî river [at the door of death] do I alas, one after the other birth eating all kinds of foodstuff, suffer an ever increasing fear in seeing how the living being, caught in his own body and entangled in the association with other bodies, is of enmity and friendship; o You, who art at the other side, save me from this danger because we today here are all a bunch of fools. (42) What indeed would be the difficulty of Your great compassion unto friendly people like us, who are always so eager to serve in this o Master of All, o Supreme Lord, to see to it that we materialistic fools are delivered from the cause of the time and again making, keeping and losing it, o Friend of the Needy? (43) Most surely am I, o Supreme One, from being absorbed in the broadcasting of Your sweet ocean of glories, free from worries about the hard to cross Vaitaranî that is this world; I rather lament, despite of them being fools, over the ones missing the liberation who, for the good of their senses, plan for illusory forms of happiness and duty [see also 6.17: 28]. (44) Generally, o Godhead, do the saints ambitious for their own salvation, in silence wander in remote places, not very much interested to live for the good of others; but I do not, like they do, want to leave aside the others falling short, I do not want to return back to Godhead alone, I would like to see others, caught in the vicious circle, better to find this shelter of You. (45) To be concerned with sexual matters indeed is something as trivial as the itch relieved by rubbing one’s hands; the ones who this way fall short find, suffering all kinds of misery, the different feelings of sorrow never ended in it, but if one learns from it, recognizing it to be a figment, is one a sober person able to bear the itch [see also B.G. 7: 14]. (46) Silence, vows, vedic knowledge, austerity, study, dutifulness, explaining the scripture, living alone, prayer and absorption, belong to the path of liberation, but often are these matters [these ten methods of becoming emancipated] with them who do not control their senses the main source of income, o my Lord, and can safely be said that it in this respect is nothing but hypocrisy [see also 6.1: 16]. (47) About the two of the true and the untrue of You, who Yourself are without a form and outside of whom nothing else is to be found, speak the Vedas in terms of the seed and the sprout; these two, who are like wood and the fire in it, are to the eyes of those who are connected with You, thanks to Your unification of consciousness, clearly to recognize [in the sprititual renunciating and the concrete of materially being of service], and in another way this is not possible. (48) You are the air, the fire, the earth, the sky and the water, the sense objects, the life force, the senses, the mind, the consciousness and all divinity belonging to it; You are all of that, the only nature of the modes as well as the One beyond it all, o my Lord; whatever that is manifested or is expressed in the mind and by words is no one but You. (49) Nor all the modes of nature, nor their predominating deities; nor the complete of the cosmic intelligence, the false ego, the gross and subtle elements, the senses and their objects; nor those who are so mindful together with all the godly and the mortals who all have a beginning and an end, o Lord glorified by all the saints, is truly capable of covering all that is Yours, and thus do the purest consider the end of their studies [and the begin of their devotional service, see also B.G. 2: 52].’

(50) ‘Therefore unto You, o Best of the Worshipable, do I offer my obeisances with prayers and perform I worship, do I work for You, do I remember You, attend to Your refuge and do I always listen to the talks about You; how can without revering You in all these six forms a person [really] enjoy the bhakti reserved for the best of transcendence [the paramahamsas, compare 7.5: 23-24, see for further prayers to Lord Nrisimha 5.18: 7-14]?’

(51) S’rî Nârada said: ‘Thus far I described the transcendental qualities of the bhakta in his bhakti. The Lord above the modes who was pleased and in control of the anger, next addressed him who surrendered himself at His feet. (52) The Supreme Lord said: ‘Prahlâda my sweet boy, all good fortune to you, I am pleased with you, o best of the Asuras, just ask for any blessing from Me, for I am for each and everyone the fulfillment of all desires. (53) Live a long life! Not pleasing Me, rarely seeking My presence, not having seen Me, is it the fate of the living being time and again to lament over himself. (54) Indeed, be eager to please Me, because all the sober ones may therefrom in all respects, as well-cultured people, desire the best that life has to offer, o fortunate one, for I am the Master of all Benedictions.’

(55) S’rî Nârada said: ‘Even though he thus was allured by worldly benedictions, did the best of the Asuras not want any of the things he was invited to ask for, because he was only interested in being surrendered to the Supreme Lord [see also: S’rî S’rî S’ikshâshthaka verse four].’