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The Divine Leela of Prahalad Canto 7 of Srimad Bhagavatam

Updated: Jan 15, 2023

NH Parent Satsang Summary - 01152023

Hari Om, Happy Makara Sankranti to all of you. We had a wonderful assembly today with the Kite and Kolum activity. Many thanks to all of for your presence, participation & enthusiasm. The kids seemed to have an awesome time and we will do more activities in the future! This is a quick review of the topics we discussed the last 2 weeks as we have now completed the glorious Canto 7, with the story of Prahlada.

The Learned One goes to School Hiranyakashipu - The Asura king, and his wife Kayathu are blessed with a child - Prahlada, who will go on to become one of the foremost devotees of the Lord.

  1. Prahlada is enrolled in school, where the curriculum is steeped in Materialism. The syllabus was designed personally by Hiranyakashipu. The main principles and goals of this school were: a. Principles of Materialism b. How to fully satisfy our worldly desires c. How to earn wealth and hoard it for our own self d. Using things (Articles, Beings & Circumstances) as resources for our own benefit e. There is only One God - Hiranyakashipu

  2. After being in school for a few months, Prahlada goes home.

  3. Hiranyakashipu calls his son lovingly and asks him about his favorite subject.

  4. Prahlada, with a smile on his face replied - "It is worthless to waste our life with the excitement and anxiety associated with our Body, which is not permanent. For permanent happiness, the best idea is to take refuge in Hari.".

  5. Hiranyakashipu, slightly annoyed, blames the teachers and warns them. He asks them to keep an eye for Vishnu's spies, who may be teaching 'all the wrong things' to the Prince.

  6. On their way back to the Gurukul, the teachers ask Prahlada where does he get this devotion from ? Prahlada replies that this is the natural phenomenon for every human to be attracted to the Lord, as normal as it is for a piece of iron to get attracted to a magnet.

Second Visit. Result ? A Discourse on Nava Vidha Bhakti After a few more months, Prahlada visits his family again. Hiranyakashipu again asks his dear son about the teachings he has learned at school.

  • The response is a glorious subject called "Nava Vidha Bhakti" or the 9 Forms of Devotion. Prahlada says that one can gain complete knowledge by devoting themselves to Bhagwaan Vishnu. Any one of the 9 methods is available to devotees.

  • The 9 forms, along with a glorious example, is provided here.

Hiranyakashipu throws Prahlad off his lap and summons the gurus - Shanda & Amarka - the sons of Guru Shukracharya. The gurus, trembling, explain that these thoughts are so natural to the boy & that they never taught him anything like this.

  • Prahlad explains that it is the teachers who have it wrong. The only right thinking is to bend one’s mind towards God, throughout our life.

  • Hiranyakashipu can no longer stand this. He declares - "This boy must die !!!!"

Torture ? Not quite. I am not the BMI.

Hiranyakashipu directs his soldiers to 'take care of Prahlada'.

  • Attacked by weapons, snakebites, trampling by elephants, dropping off a cliff; drinking poison, drowning in the ocean and being thrown in the fire - Hiranyakashipu tries everything method in his disposal.

  • With that great Hari by his side, nothing could harm Prahlada. The ever respectful son that he was - He would come back and obediently report to his father, "Dear father, the mountain-cliff assignment is completed. Where do you want me to do next - Poison, Cliff or Elephants ?"

  • Frustrated, Hiranyakashipu sends Prahlada back to the Gurukula (School).

  • Back at school, Prahlada takes the first Bala Vihar session. He gathers all the Asura kids and tells them how wrong the teachers were. He teaches them Atma-Vidya and explains how we should renounce any wrong thoughts, words or actions and divinize everything by keeping Bhagwaan the center of our life.

  • The Asura kids take in this knowledge and rationalize what Prahlada teaches them. This section highlights the highest levels of Jnanam, akin to the Verses 12 thru 25 in Chapter 2 of Srimad Bhagavad Gita.

  • The Asura kids whole-heartedly agree with him and within no time, start chanting the name of the Lord.

  • Shanda & Amarka are aghast at this revolution and straight away go to the palace to complain to the King.

The Lord's Arrival - Shri Narasimha Murthy

  • Hiranyakashipu tries to control his anger and asks Prahlada - "Where do you get this courage ? Who gives you the power to speak and defy me like this ? Don't you know that I am the Lord of this land. People fear me and I rule their heart. And this Hari you refer to - Where is he ?".

  • Prahlada says, "Sorry, O King of Asuras. That is not simply not true. There is only one entity who rules everyone's heart. Regarding my courage and strength - I derive strength from the same power who gives you the power to speak - Shri Hari - The true Lord of the Universe. And O King, where is He not ? He is omni-present."

  • Hiranyakashipu's anger shoots up and with a rage, as he points to a huge pillar in the Palace hall and asks Prahlada if Hari is present in this great pillar. Prahlada says, "He is also present here."

  • With a mighty blow using his fist, Hiranyakashipu splits the huge pillar. The sound shakes the whole universe. Devas, BrahmaJi, and other celestial beings get terrified and think that the end of the world is near. They rush to the site to witness the cause of this deafening sound.

  • After the dust settles, a strange and huge figure reveals itself, with eyes closed. It was none other than the compassionate Lord Narayana, rushing there to help His favorite devotee.

  • The Avatar - Shri Narasimha Murthy - lets out a huge roar and steps out of the broken pillar. Hiranyakashipu instantly realized that this is no ordinary being and immediately starts to attack the terrifying creature. Bhagwaan does battle with him, as if playing with a child.

  • At the appropriate time, the Lord lifts Hiranyakashipu with both his hands, takes him to the threshold of the palace, puts him in his lap and tears open his stomach, roaring and snarling.

  • Hiranyakashipu thinks to himself, "It is neither day nor night; this terrible figure is not a human or an animal; the nails are neither a weapon or the hands; this is not a creation of Brahma; we are neither inside the house or outside; and I am neither on Earth or the Heavens. Alas !! Vishnu has tricked me !!"

The Meeting of Bhakta & Bhagwaan

  1. BrahmaJi, Indra, the Devas, Goddess Lakshmi - everyone is scared to go in front of Lord Narasimha, who still is in a tremendous rage.

  2. Sage Narada requests little Prahlada to appease Bhagwaan. Just like lion cubs are not afraid to approach the Lion, Prahlada, with tears in his eyes and folded hands, proceeds straight towards Bhagwaan, who was seated majestically in the throne.

  3. Bhagwaan then tells Prahlada to ask for a boon. He refuses, and says that if someone asks for a boon in return for their individual penance, it is nothing but a trade, a business deal. But he finally relents and asks for 2 things: a. No desires for anything worldly b. Forgiveness for his father who hated Bhagwaan and committed so many atrocities

  4. Bhagwaan says, "Having a son like you, Hiranyakashipu and 21 generation of yours have been purified."

  5. In a most touching scene, Bhagwaan Narasimha asks Prahalada for forgiveness for not coming sooner.

Bhagwaan then purifies the throne of Hiranyakashipu by sitting on it Himself. After handing over the throne to Prahlada, Bhagwaan disappears. And thus ends one of the most glorious stories of Bhagwaan Vishnu's devotees - Bhakta Chakravarthy - Shri Prahlada. Great devotee, Great Bhagwaan - How fortunate we are to listen to these stories. And with that, we conclude Canto 7.

Resources to Reflect Srimad Bhagavatham Canto-Chapter Map: This link provides the list of all the Cantos, Chapters & Topics within Bhagavatham. This should be a handy guide to help us navigate thru this voluminous text. Chatushloki Bhagavatham (Core 4-Verses of Bhagavatham): Here is a link to all the 4 verses from the Chatushloki Bhagavatham. Also is included a link to the audio recording. Hari Om !! Suresh Mulukutla ( | 412-965-6078

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