Prahlad, Bhakt

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Suman K Sharma , King Prahlad "Daily Excelsior" 25/3/2018

Narsingh Avatar had killed ruthless Hrinyakashipu, but the Deity’s rage would not subside. The three lokas shook with His terrifying roar. Devatas, led by Indra,Brahma and Shiv pleaded with Him to calm down, but in vain.

Finally, it was on Narad Muni’s advice that BhaktPrahlad beseeched the Avatar to show mercy. Narsingh’s roaring ceased and He licked the orphaned boy with the compassion of a cow licking its young calf. Prahlad then entreated Him to assume the primal form of Vishnu Bhagwan. Granting him his wish, Narsingh transformed Himself into the benign form of Vishnu and installed Prahlad on the throne, with the blessing that he may rule for ages together. Prahlad did not have any worldly wish, but he could not turn down the Deity’s command.

In time, the reluctant prince turned out to be a king mightier than his father ever was. With compassion and piety, and without raising a sword, he extended his domain far and wide. His subjects were happy and the kingdom prospered.

King Prahlad grew so powerful that Indra had to flee from heaven. But the crafty devatas had a plan ready to regain their supremacy. The artless rakshas king was tricked into going astray the narrow path of devotion. He lost the Deity’s favour as a result and his domain too, which enraged his followers. They attacked devatas and the latter had to seek the help of the mortals including King Yayati to overcome daityas. Prahlad was left with no option but to fight personally with Indra. The king of devatas approached Vishnu for help.

Prahlad could fight the world, but not his Deity. Caught in the horns of a dilemma, he gave away his throne to his blind cousin, Andhaka, but Shiv defeated Andhaka as well. Then again, King Prahlad was incited to fight Vishnu’s aspects, Nar-Narayan. It took Vishnu Himself to tell the gullible Prahlad that they were only His attributes. Having experienced the highs and lows of life, King Prahlad handed over the reins of his domain to his son, Virochan, and retired to the forest for meditation.

The legendry account of Prahlad’s mature years may read like the history of any other long-reigning monarch. But Prahlad’s is a myth and we will have to dig into it for meaning. ‘Prahlad’ is synonymous with’Aahlaad’, Sanskrit for joy. He is born to Hrinyakshipu and Kayadu. ‘Hrinya’ is gold in Sanskrit and ‘kashipu’ means a seat. Thus loosely translated, ‘Hrinyakshipu’ may stand for a ruthless tyrant who is bent upon maintaining his standing in the society at any cost. ‘Kayadu’is a Telugu word meaning durance. Was not Queen Kayadu a captive of sorts at her husband’s house and held in bondage in heaven during her pregnancy? There is also a cousin of Prahlad’s, named ‘Andhaka’ which means a blind person. The myth has it that Andhaka was blind indeed. Lastly, Prahlad had a son called ‘Virochan’, which in Sanskrit means luminous – one that emits light of knowledge.

Almighty wills us to be joyful. But there are dark forces out there to kill our joy. If we have absolute faith in the Deity, He is committed to protect us against such evil forces. Vishnu is aware of our fallibility and in His limitless compassion would pardon our faults. But to merit Divine forgiveness, we must have a pure heart to bask in His glory.

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