Prahlada

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Prahlada (प्रह्लाद) was a king, the son of Hiranyakashipu and Kayadhu, and the father of Virochana. He belonged to the Kashyap gotra.

The story of Prahlāda

Prahlāda was born to Kayadu and Hiranyakashipu, an evil daitya king who had been granted a boon that he could not be killed of anything born from a living womb, neither be killed by a man nor an animal, neither during the day nor at night, neither indoors nor outdoors, neither on land, nor in the air nor in water and of no man made weapon. However, after repeated attempts of filicide by Hiranyakashipu unto Prahlāda, Prahlāda was finally saved by Lord Narasimha, a prominent avatar of Vishnu who descended to demonstrate the quality of Divine rage and redemption by killing the demon king. The word "Narsimha" is derived from the Sanskrit word" nara" meaning Man and "siṃha" meaning lion.[citation needed] Thus Narsimha to a being who is half man and half lion. Lord Narasiṁha, being the transcendental Supreme Personality of Godhead, fulfilled all the proper requirements by which the otherwise nearly-invincible Hiranyakashipu could be killed.

After the death of his father, Prahlāda took his father's kingdom and ruled peacefully and virtuously. He was known for his generosity and kindness. He sowed similar seeds in his son Virochana and grandson Mahabali.

Prahlāda—while being in his mother's womb—got to hear Narada's chants. He was taught by Narada in early childhood. As a result, he was devoted towards Vishnu. His father didn't like his Spiritual inclination and tried to warn Prahlāda. Despite several warnings from his father Hiranyakashipu, Prahlāda continued to worship Vishnu instead. His father then decided to commit filicide and poison Prahlāda, but he survived. He then trampled the boy with elephants, but the boy still lived. Then he put Prahlāda in a room with venomous snakes, and they made a bed for him with their bodies.

Prahalada was then thrown from a valley into a river but was saved by Lord Vishnu. Holika, the sister of Hiranyakashipu, was blessed in that she could not be hurt by fire. Hiranyakashipu put Prahlāda on the lap of Holika as she sits on a pyre. Prahlāda prayed to Vishnu to keep him safe. Holika then burned to death as Prahlāda is left unscathed. This event is celebrated as the Hindu festival of Holi.[1]

After tolerating abuse from Hiranyakashipu, Prahlāda is eventually saved by Narasiṁha, Lord Vishnu in the form of a man-lion chimera, who places the king on his thighs, and kills him with his sharp nails at the entrance to his home at dusk, thus nullifying all of Hiranyakashipu's boon of virtual immortality.[2]

Prahlāda eventually becomes king of the daityas and attains a place in the abode of Vishnu (Vaikuntha) after his death.[3]

History

Scriptural references: In the Bhagavad Gita (10.30) Krishna makes the following statement in regard to Prahlāda, showing his favour towards him:

Translation: "Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlāda, among subduers I am time, among beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda."[4]

Later life: Because of his steadfast devotion towards Lord Vishnu as well as under the teachings of Shukracharya, Prahlada became the mighty king of the Asuras. Prahlada was even more powerful than his father, Hiranyakashipu ever was. He enjoyed the love and respect of his subjects.

Without lifting a single weapon, and by virtue of his good behaviour, Prahlada conquered the three worlds easily and Indra ran away from the Heavens. Indra then deceived Prahlada into giving him the power of his behaviour and Prahlada lost control of the three worlds.

The Asuras grew angry at the Devas for taking advantage of their King's virtuous behaviour and invaded the heavens. The Devas, afraid of the Asuras, enlisted the help of human Kings such as Yayati, Raji and Kakutstha and defeated them.

Prahlada attacked the gods and defeated Indra in battle, forcing the King of the Gods to run for his life. Indra sought help of Lord Vishnu. Infused with his power, Indra defeated Prahlada. The latter understood that Vishnu was helping Indra in battle and he withdrew his forces. Prahlada first gave his kingdom to Andhaka, but the latter was defeated by Shiva. So Prahlada gave it to his son Virochana and undertook a Tirtha Yatra.

The Devi Bhagavatam narrates an incident, where Prahlada fought the Sages, Nara and Narayana. Prahlada attacked them because despite being ascetics and living in holy places, they practiced warrior duties, which was sinful, according to the Daitya King. Prahlada defeated Nara, but continuously fought against Narayana for 360,000 years. The fight ended in a draw. Lord Vishnu told Prahlada to desist from the fight as Nara-Narayana were the incarnations of himself.

When Prahlada found out that his blind and deformed cousin, Andhakasura, had overcome his disabilities and became mighty and invincible due to the boon of Lord Brahma, he voluntarily ceded his lordship over the Asuras to Andhaka and became a vassal. Prahlada, Virochana, Bali and Bana had fought against Lord Shiva and the other gods when Andhaka attacked Mt. Kailash. Prahlada had strongly advised to Andhaka against the invasion, but Andhaka refused. Andhaka was eventually defeated by Lord Shiva and Prahlada once more became King of the Asuras.

Prahlada was present during the churning of the ocean and also fought in the Tarakamaya war against the Devas.

Prahlada's son was Virochana, who was the father of Bali. The gods had Virochana killed by taking advantage of his generosity. Prahlada raised his grandson, Bali. Infuriated by Bali's arrogance, Prahlada rashly cursed him that he would lose his kingdom. Later on, Prahlada and Bali lived on Sutala Loka on instructions of Lord Vishnu.

It was Prahlada who asked Shukracharya to acquire the Mritasanjivani mantra from Lord Shiva, to save the Asuras from the Devas.

After a long life, Prahlada attained moksha. Prahlada's great grandson was the thousand armed Bana, who was humbled in battle by Krishna. Ultimately, as Prahlada is considered a non demonic being within Hinduism.

Lord Vishnu bestowed a boon upon him that in his next life he shall be next 'Manu' and help devotees.

In Mahabharata

Prahlada (प्रह्लाद) is mentioned in Mahabharata (I.57.93), (I.59.18-19), (I.61.6), (I.61.29), (II.9.10,12),


Adi Parva, Mahabharata/ Book I Chapter 57 mentions Uparichara Vasu, who conquered kingdom of Chedi and his sons planted kingdoms and towns. Prahlada (प्रह्लाद) is mentioned in (I.57.93)[5]....Then was born the disciple of Prahlada, viz., Nagnajit, and also Suvala. And from Suvala was born a son, Sakuni, who from the curse of the gods became the slayer of creatures and the foe of virtue.


Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Book I Chapter 59 gives genealogy of Danavas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Yakshas, Rakshasas. Prahlada (प्रह्लाद) is mentioned in verse (I.59.18) [6]and (I.59.19)[7]....And the illustrious Hiranyakasipu had five sons, all famous throughout the world. The eldest of them all was Prahlada, the next was Sahradha; the third was Anuhrada; and after him were Sivi and Vashkala. Prahlada had three sons. They were Virochana, Kumbha, and Nikumbha.


Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Book I Chapter 61 gives genealogy of the Danavas, Asuras, Kauravas, Pandavas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Rakshasas. Prahlada (प्रह्लाद) is mentioned in verse (I.61.6). [8]....He who had been known as Samhlada, the younger brother of Prahlada, became among men the famous Shalya, that bull amongst Valhikas.


Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Book I Chapter 61 gives genealogy of the Danavas, Asuras, Kauravas, Pandavas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Rakshasas. Prahlada (प्रह्लाद) is mentioned in verse (I.61.29). [9]He amongst the Asura who was known as Salabha the second, became on earth the monarch Prahlada in the country of the Valhikas.


Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 9 lists the Kings who attended Sabha of Varuna. Prahlada (प्रह्लाद) is mentioned as King of Nagas in Mahabharata verse (II.9.10,12).[10] (II.9.12)... Prahlada and Mushikada, and Janamejaya,--all having auspicious marks and mandalas and extended hoods;--these and many other snakes. O Yudhishthira, without anxiety of any kind, wait upon and worship the illustrious Varuna. And, O king, Vali the son of Virochana, and Naraka the subjugator of the whole Earth; Sanghraha and Viprachitti, and those Danavas called Kalakhanja;

References

  1. Varadaraja V. Raman - Variety in Religion And Science: Daily Reflections, iUniverse, 2005, ISBN 0-595-35840-3, p.259
  2. Dimmitt, Cornelia; Johannes Adrianus Bernardus Buitenen (1978). Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Purāṇas. translated by J. A. Van Buitenen. Temple University Press. p. 312. ISBN 0-87722-122-7.
  3. P. 452 The Hindu World: An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism By Benjamin Walker - Summary
  4. http://bhagavadgitaasitis.com/10/30/en1
  5. 93 परह्राद शिष्यॊ नग्नजित सुबलश चाभवत ततः, तस्य परजा धर्महन्त्री जज्ञे देव परकॊपनात (I.57.93)
  6. प्रह्रादः पूर्वजस तेषां संह्रादस तदनन्तरम, अनुह्रादस तृतीयॊ ऽभूत तस्माच च शिबिबाष्कलौ (I.59.18)
  7. परह्रादस्य तरयः पुत्राः खयाताः सर्वत्र भारत, विरॊचनश च कुम्भश च निकुम्भश चेति विश्रुताः (I.59.19)
  8. संह्राद इति विख्यातः परह्रादस्यानुजस तु यः, स शल्य इति विख्यातॊ जज्ञे बाह्लील पुंगवः (I.61.6)
  9. दवितीयः शलभस तेषाम असुराणां बभूव यः, परह्रादॊ नाम बाह्लीकः स बभूव नराधिपः (I.61.29)
  10. परह्लाथॊ मूषिकादश च तदैव जनमेजयः, पताकिनॊ मण्डलिनः फणवन्तश च सर्वशः (II.9.10); एते चान्ये च बहवः सर्पास तस्यां युधिष्ठिर, उपासते महात्मानं वरुणं विगतक्लमाः (II.9.11); बलिर वैरॊचनॊ राजा नरकः पृदिवीं जयः, परह्लाथॊ विप्र चित्तिश च कालखञ्जाश च सर्वशः