The birth of Prahalada
Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha were twins of great strength. They were rank bad and wicked to the marrow of their bones.Being the elder of the two Hiranyakashipu ascended the throne and began to rule with such arrogance that his subjectsprayed to God for relief. His brother Hiranyaksha would go round the three worlds and trouble everyone. He wascausing rack and ruin whenever he went and plunged into the unbathomable ocean causing pain to the earth and waters.Sri Mahavishnu had to assume the form of Mahavaraha(Big Boar) and entered the sea. He spotted out the demon and thereensured a great fight in which the demon was killed. The world heaved a sigh of relief.
When his brother Hiranyakashipu learned about the death of his brother he became very sad and angry. He consoled hisbrother’s wife and his own wife and left the palace to perform penance to invoke Lord Brahma and get extraordinarilyspecial boons in order to make himself invincible. He entrusted the kingdom to his ministers.
When the Devas came to know about the absene of Hiranyakashipu in his kingdom, they laid siege to the capital. LordDevendra had an easy victory. He took Hiranyakashipu’s wife queen Kayadhu a prisonr and dragged her along. When sageNarada heard her cries for help, he appeared before Devendra and said, “Lord of heaven, what are you doing? Thiscowardly act is not in keeping with your status. Killing a woman is one of the worst sins(setting fire to someone’shouse, to fight with a man with no weapons, coveting someone else’s wealth, taking away someone else’s wife are theworst sins for which there is no redemption according to scriptures.) and do not pollute your hands with it. Leave her alone.”
Devendra heard Narada and said,”O holy sage, I am not going to kill her. Instead I am going to kill the child she isbearing. We cannot withstand the troubles Hiranyakashipu has been giving. It is dangerous to allow his family lineto continue. If I do so, the world is going to be in great danger.”
“O cheif of Gods, killing a helpless child is also a great sin. Further the child the queen is bearing is not an ordinary child. He is going to become one of the greatest devotees of Lord Sri Hari. The three worlds are going to benefit from this child. Therefore spare it.”said Narada. Devendra spared the child on Narada’s advice. He begged pardonof the demon queen, touched her feet and left the place taking leave of Narada. Narada consoled Kayadhu and took herto his ashram. On reaching the place he said,”My dear daughter, you live here in this ashram without any fear.Youwill be well cared for by the inmates of the ashram. You can go to the capital when your husband returns from his tapas.” So saying he entrusted the care of the pregnant queen to the elderly ascetic women of his hermitage. The queenlived happily in the conductive atmosphere of the ashram. Great sages there would hold discourses on righteous livingand the greatness of God. They saw to it that Kayadhu would sit near them and listen to the discourses. Shastras havemade it obligatory for pregnant women to live in conductive and sacred places so that the environment will have a positive influence on the child in the womb. While the child is in the womb and after birth as a child and later asa youth, the influence of the environment on him/her is decisive in forming his/her personality. It is the socialand natural environment that decide whether the person becomes good or bad. Therefore shastras have given the greatestimportance to the surroundings in which a child a brought up.
Kayadhu, the queen of demons, thus began to spend a happy and contented life in the sage’s ashram. Sometimes sageNarada would call her and talk to her privately and intiate her to noble ideas. Sometimes, while listening to thesage she would go to sleep, but sage Narada would continue his discourse and the child in her womb would listen tohim with great devotion. The child would try to understand the inner meaning of his discourses. In course of time, tough Kayadhu forgot most of what Narada spoke, the child remembered even the last syllable of what he said. The sage spoke about the world we see around us, thousands of things we do not see, the five senses, the world beyond our senses and the all comprehensive God. He made it clear that everything in this world is controlled and goverened by theomnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God, and that God is called Sriman Narayana. We have to see that God throughour inner eye and then to see him in evrything around us. we should never harm any living being. We should never hate anyone. Love should form an indivisible part of our personality, because everything is created by God everywhere andin everything. We have to be kind to people in difficulties, and help them to the best of our abilities. We shouldpray to God to give us that strength and pray for those in misery and be friendly to everyone. In the process we may suffer but we should put up with such sufferings. Pardon those who try to harm you. Be happy and contended all the while.Never blame fate when you are in difficulties. In the same way when youbeam with happiness never forget the Lord. Onall occasions chant the sacred name of the Lord.
The child in the womb of the daitya queen understood all these great principles of good life and this was possible as a result of sage Narada’s preaching, God’s grace and his good luck. At the end of the ninth month queen Kayadhu gavebirth to a handsome son. He was named Prahlada. A number of good omens were seen in nature when the child was born.The whole heaved a sigh of relief afetr contineously being put to trouble by Hiranyakashipu. Later the Lord had tocome out of a pillar, as desired by his devotee Prahalada, in the form of half man and half lion and put and end to the sufferings of the world by killing Hiranyashipu.