May 2019
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Prahlada (2)

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday) 

“Seeing that all the efforts of the daityas were in vain, Hiranyakashipu became afraid. He tied up Prahlada for some time and began to contemplate different methods of killing him. First of all he tried to have Prahlada crushed by a herd of elephants. Then he had him tried to be bitten by big poisonous snakes. Failing to accomplish his goal, he then tried to kill the boy by means of black magic. Then by throwing him off the peak of a very high mountain; by burying him alive; by poisoning his food; by starving him; by freezing him with large quantities of ice; by blowing him away with a very powerful wind; by throwing him into fire and submerging him into water; and by hurling at him great stones. Hiranyakashipu tried countless ways to harm Prahlada, but all efforts failed.

After trying in so many ways to kill the innocent boy, the lord of the daityas realized that he could not do any harm to Prahlada. Now he became very anxious and started to think: ‘I have abused this boy with many harsh words and I have tried to kill him with different weapons. Yet he has such a tremendous power that he cannot be harmed in any way. Even face to face with me he remains fearless. Just as it is not possible to alter the inherent nature of a thing, such as straightening the curved tail of a dog, this boy will never give up his misbehavior towards me.”[1]

This is a very good example: you pull the tail of a dog, then it is straight; as soon as you let it go – it is back again to the original position. So to change the basic nature of things is like this – pull the tail of a dog. Then how can we change our basic nature? Same problem.

So this was the conflict of Hiranyakashipu: ‘I cannot change my boy! He will never give up his service and determination to God.’ So he concluded: ‘This boy must be immortal and if I go against him, I may die.’

“The lord of the demons could see that his own power was diminishing and as a result he became overwhelmed by anxiety. Then the two sons of Shukracharya, Shanda and Amarka, approached him in a solitary place and tried to pacify him; “Ah, lord! All kings become frightened by the mere threat of the movements of your eyes. Singlehandedly you have conquered all the three worlds. Why are you so anxious? Little children do not know what is good and what is bad. They are ignorant and foolish. Therefore there is no merit or fault in their activities. Let Shukracharya now come back so we may ask him for his advice. In the meantime scare Prahlada and do not allow him any chance to escape. Bind him with the magical ropes of Varuna. In this way he will not be exposed to contacts with sadhus and perhaps with time when he is grown up he will change his mind.”

Hiranyakashipu accepted this advice and replied: “Yes, we shall do this! You will teach Prahlada the duties of a family man and king, and also about charity.” With great care Shanda and Amarka again taught Prahlada about material religiosity, economic development and sense gratification. And again the boy studied his lessons and behaved very politely, but did not take their instructions very seriously. In fact he never accepted their instructions as worthy because his teachers were attached to the material world and were therefore controlled by the dualities of attachment and disguise.” 

(to be continued) 

[1] From B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The holy life of Prahlada


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