Lord Nrisinghadev's Pastime
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Today is a very auspicious day, today is Lord Nrisinghadev's appearance day—the Lord appeared in this world on this day to protect His devotee.
How it all began
In Vaikuntha, there were two gatekeepers, Jaya and Vijaya. Once, four stark naked children came to the gates and wanted to have the audience of the Lord. At that time, Narayan was inside His room with Laksmi Devi, and the gatekeepers did not want anyone to disturb Their rest, so they did not allow these four children in (they did not know that they were actually Lord Brahma's sons). The four kumaras became angry and said, "We shall curse you two! What will be the curse? You will have to take birth in the mortal world! You cannot stay here in Vaikuntha!"
Jaya and Vijaya became senseless, "What are we going to do now?!" Hearing the noise outside the gate, Narayan came out and asked, "What has happened?" The four kumaras explained, "O Lord, these gatekeepers did not let us in, they said we would disturb Your rest. We have given them a curse." The Lord said, "So be it. You have given them a curse, so it must happen." (Do you see? Everything happens by the will of the Lord.)
Then Narayan said to Jaya and Vijaya, "I will give you a choice. If you are born as My devotees, you will have to take seven births before coming back; if you are born as My enemies, you will come back after three births. Which do you choose?" Jaya and Vijaya replied, "We want to come back to You quickly, so we choose to become Your enemies." In this way, the two gatekeepers were born as Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa in Satya-yuga, as Ravana and Kumbhakarna in Treta-yuga, and as Dantavakra and Sisupal in Dvapar-yuga.
So, Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa were two brothers and they caused so many atrocities. From the time immemorial people have worshipped demigods, but even these demigods had to run away from heaven for fear of the demons' atrocities. The Lord could not tolerate it—He became so angry that one day He took the form of a boar and killed Hiranyaksa.
Hiranyakasipu gets the boon
When Hiranyaksa was killed, Haranyakasipu became even angrier. What did he do next? He went to a forest and started doing severe penances to get a boon from Brahma. He had performed austerities for many thousands of years—he did not eat all this time, and all his flesh had gone, only bones remained. Finally, Brahma became satisfied with his austerity, so he came to the demon and asked him what he wanted. Hiranyakasipu said, "I want to be immortal so that nobody can kill me." Brahma said, "This is not in my hands, it is beyond my control. My lifetime is so long, but even I one day have to leave this body, so I cannot grant you the boon you are asking me for." Hiranyakasipu did not give up,
"All right, then I want something else. Give me the boon that I will not die during the day and I will not die during the night."
"OK, so be it."
"I will not die by anyone created by you."
"I will not die by any weapon."
"I will not die in the sky, and I will not die on the ground."
"I will not die outside, and I will not die inside."
"OK. If this is the boon you want, I am giving you that."
Prahlad Maharaj's first lessons
Hiranyakasipu had a wife called Kayadhu. While Hiranyakasipu was meditating in the forest, Kayadhu stayed at home. After the Lord killed Hiranyaksa, the demigods returned to heaven and wanted to revenge. They went to Hiranyakasipu's house and destroyed it, taking his wife away with them. As they were going away, they met Narad Goswami.
"Where are you going? Why are you taking this lady away? She was alone at home while her husband is doing penance in the jungle, where are you taking her??" asked them Narad Goswami
"There is a child in her womb, Hiranyakasipu's son. When he takes birth, he will also become a demon, and we will never get any peace," answered the demigods.
"You do not know it, but this boy in her womb will become a great devotee and he will protect us all. Give her to me."
They handed Kayadhu over to Narada, and he took her to his ashram. There, she started worshipping the Lord and did all kinds of services. Also, every day Narad would read Srimad Bhagavatam, and she would come and listen, Prahlad also listened to it from his mother's womb. Eventually, Narad became very pleased with her and said, "Kayadhu, I am very pleased with your service. What boon would you like to get, tell me?" She said, "My husband Hiranyakasipu has gone to the forest and is meditating to get a boon from Brahma... My husband is a demon, so please give me such a boon that I may not deliver the child until he returns." Narad granted her that boon.
Hiranyakasipu returns and gets to know Prahlad
After Hiranyakasipu got the boon from Brahma, he returned to his house and found it in a complete mess. He became angry, "Where has my wife gone?!" Somebody told him, "She is at Narad's ashram, she gave birth to your son there and gave him the name Prahlad." Hiranyakasipu went there and brought his wife and son back.
By and by, Prahlad grew up, and it was time for him to get education. The demons' Guru was Sukracharya. Sukracharya had two sons, Sanda and Amarka, and Hiranyakasipu sent Prahlad to study sama (the process of pacifying), dana (the process of giving money in charity), bheda (the principle of dividing), danda (the principle of punishment) and other subjects from them. Prahlad went to the lessons, but whatever they taught him, it would not enter his ears.
One day Hiranyakasipu asked Sanda, "What has my son learnt? Bring him here." When Prahlad came, Hiranyakasipu took him on his lap and asked, "Son, what is the best you have learnt at school so far? Of all lessons you have got, what lesson is the best?" Prahlad replied, "Dear father, let me tell it to you," and then he said,
ঈশ্বরঃ পরমঃ কৃষ্ণঃ সচ্চিদানন্দবিগ্রহঃ ।
isvarah paramah krsnah sach-chid-ananda-vigrahah
"Krishna, who is known as Govinda, is the supreme controller. He has an eternal, blissful, spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin, for He is the prime cause of all causes."
(Sri Brahma-samhita, 5.1)
As soon as Hiranyakasipu heard it, he threw him off his lap, "What?! There is an enemy in my house! My own son has become my enemy!" He sent for Sanda and roared, "What have you taught my son?!" Sanda explained, "Prabhu, please believe me, we have never taught him this. We do not know where he heard this." Hiranyakasipu believed him and ordered, "Keep a good eye on him!"
Prahlad went back to his school, but what did he do? Whatever his school master told him, he would tell the opposite.
Some time later, his father again called for him and asked him, "What have you learnt at school? What did the school master teach you?" Prahlad replied,
sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, vandanam,
"Hearing, chanting, remembering, offering obeisance, rendering service as a servitor, as a friend, and self-submission..."
"What is this?!" roared Hiranyakasipu getting angry again, "What is he saying?! He a disgrace to the family!" Hiranyakasipu decided to kill his son.
The end of Hiranyakasipu
He tried to kill him in so many ways, so many times—he would throw him into fire, he tried to drown him, tried to crush him with an elephant, tried to throw him from a mountain, tried to give him snake venom—but he could not kill him. He called Kayadha and took off with her, "How did you get this boon?! He does not die from fire, he does not drown! I have tried to kill him in so many ways! Tell me, who gave him this boon!" Prahlad then said to his father,
"O dear worshippable Father, I got this power from the same place as you got yours. You got your power from Brahma, Brahma got it from Krishna, but you got it from Brahma and became mad with ego, you have forgotten where you got your power from."
"Hari, Hari... Where is your Hari?"
"Krishna is everywhere, Hari is everywhere. Tell me where is He not?"
"Where is your Hari?"
"He is everywhere."
"Is He? Is He in this pillar too?"
"Yes, He is in this pillar too."
"Hari is here?!!" Getting happy, He crushed the pillar and suddenly there was a terrible cry.
Hearing that cry, the demigods began to shiver. They ran to Laksmi Devi and asked her to come and pacify the Lord, but Laksmi Devi said she could not do it.
Nrisinghadev appeared from the pillar and there was a terrible fierce fight between Hiranyakasipu and the Lord, both were mad with anger. They fought long, and finally the Lord decided not to wait any longer—He grabbed Hiranyakasipu and put him on His lap. Hiranyakasipu got the boon that he would not die in the sky or on the ground, but Nrisinghadev kept him on His lap; Hiranyakasipu got the boon that he would not die by any weapon, but Nrisinghadev killed him with His claws—He opened up his stomach and put Hiranyakasipu's intestines on His neck...
Prahlad's boon and prayer
After that, Nrisinghadev took Prahlad Maharaj on His lap and happily said to him,
"Dear child, ask Me for some boon."
"Prabhu, what boon shall I ask for? You have come here and already given me Your mercy, I do not want anything."
"No, no, you must take something from Me."
"But You have killed my father, You have already given Your mercy."
"This is not a boon. Those who sing My glories (do My kirtan), who chant My name, who get My darshan, automatically get My mercy, but your father got to touch My body, so he has already gone to My abode. Please take some boon from Me."
"Prabhu, if You want to give me something, then give me such a boon that all desires will leave me. Give me this boon."
The main lesson
This is the main lesson of this Pastime.
People come to the Lord and ask for so many things for their own sense gratification. They always want so many things, but we must not be like this, we must give up this asking mood. People come to Nrisinghadev and ask, "Please bless my child," "Please help my daughter get married well," "Give me health," "Give me wealth," and so on. But pure devotees ask, "Please give me devotion. Please make me attached to Your lotus feet so that I can serve You. You are the destroyer of obstacles on the path of devotion, please protect me from the influence of Maya. I do not want anything for my own self."
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