[Srila Narayana Maharaja spoke this class two years ago, on the appearance
day of Lord Nrsimhadeva. We sent out the first half and, as the Lords
appearance day is again approaching (May 22) we are sending out this
never-before-published second half. (Part
One - 'On the Subject of Sri Prahlada')]
Prahlada and Bali Maharaja
We generally hear about Sri Prahlada Maharaja's pastimes as a child -
how his father tries to kill him and how the Supreme Lord always
saves him (as above). The following lecture glorifies some of
Prahlada's adult pastimes.
Today is a very auspicious day the appearance day of Sri Nrsimhadeva.
When Sri Krsnas incarnation, Lord Vamanadeva, came to the palace
of Bali Maharaja in the form of a dwarf-brahmana, his feet and legs
were naturally very small. He told Bali Maharaja, "I want something
Bali Maharaja became happy and said, "Ask for any boon
a very beautiful wife, a kingdom, heaven, wealth, reputation or a
position. I can easily give you this."
Lord Vamanadeva replied, "I am a brahmana boy. I am always satisfied.
I don't want anything unnecessary. I want only three steps of land,
so that I may sit there and do bhajana (chant the Lords names
and glories, and remember Him)."
Bali Maharaja began to laugh and joke with that young brahmana. He
said, "You are just a boy a child and your intelligence
is also very small like that of a child. I want to give you everything
imaginable but you do not want that. But alright, I shall give you
the three steps of land, as you desire.
Lord Vamanadeva asked Bali Maharaja to do sankalpa (a ceremony to
make a vow) that would consecrate the offering and finalize it.
Bali Maharaja's guru Sukracarya was actually a materialist, and was
thus worried about his own security. He warned Bali, "Be careful.
Don't make a vow to give him anything. Don't believe him. He is Visnu,
not a dwarf. He is the imperishable Supreme Personality of Godhead
Visnu. Accepting Kasyapa Muni as his father and Aditi as his mother,
He has now appeared to fulfill the interests of the demigods. He is
cheating you. Give something that will not be harmful to you. Give
something, but not in a way that he can take everything."
Bali Maharaja replied, "If he is Visnu, he will somehow take
everything anyway. Everything already belongs to Visnu, God; so why
should I not give what he asks? And, if he is not Visnu, he will not
be able to take anything except the three steps of land."
Lord Vamanadeva then said, "If Sukracarya does not assist you
in making the vow, I will do so personally. Now take some water from
this vessel and do sankalpa."
While Bali Maharaja was preparing to do the sankalpa, Sukracarya thought,
"He did not obey me, and now Visnu will take everything. I must
prevent that water from coming out of the vessel so that the vow will
not be completed."
Because the water was not coming out, Lord Vamanadeva took a small
stick and pierced a hole in the spout of that vessel, and blood at
once began to flow from it. From where had the blood come? Sukracarya
was a powerful mystic yogi. He had made himself become very small
and had entered the vessel to stop the water from pouring from the
spout and now he had become blind in one eye. Of course, because
he always had one eye on worldly things and not transcendental truths,
he was actually blind in one eye even before this incident.
Persons who create problems for those who are coming to do bhajana
and to accept a guru are blind in one eye. So don't give any such
problems to your husband, children, wife, friends or anyone else.
If any associate of yours wants to do bhajana, tell them they are
doing very well and say, "I bless you. I will help you."
If your husband or wife is trying to do bhajana, don't stop him or
her. If you do so, you will become blind in one eye.
After the vow was completed, clever Lord Vamanadeva at once became
so tall that his body extended from the Earth to the sky. By this
pastime he became also known as Trivikrama, for he took three giant
steps. His first step encompassed the entire lower half of the universe
and his second step covered the upper half. Now it seemed that there
was nothing remaining for Bali Maharaja to give. Vamanadeva asked,
"Where should I put my third step?"
Sri Vamanadeva was very clever, and Bali Maharaja was also clever.
Bali replied, "I am fully surrendering to you. Please take my
body; place your foot on my head." He did atma-nivedana, full
surrender of the body, words, mind and heart. But what was the result?
Vamanadeva arrested him and bound him with the ropes of Varuna. There
was a great roar of lamentation in all directions, but Bali Maharaja
was nonetheless fixed in his determination to serve and love the Lord.
It appeared that Lord Vamanadeva was punishing Bali Maharaja, especially
when He ordered that Bali would now have to go to the lower palanetary
system to reside. Bali would lose his usurped kingdom. But it was
not an ordinary hellish planet to which the Lord sent Bali. This planet
had been created for Bali by the Lords own desire, and it was
more opulent than any heaven. He even had the famous demigod architect,
Visvakarma, build Bali Maharaja a palace that was far more opulent
than that of the King of heaven.
Sri Prahlada Maharaja at once arrived, along with Lord Brahma, and
asked Vamanadeva, "What are you doing Lord? He has given you
everything, and you are binding him? This was an indirect glorification.
Tears came in the eyes of Prahlada Maharaja out of ecstatic affection
for the Lord, and he also had great affection for Bali Maharaja. Bali
Maharaja was the son of Virocana, who was the son of Sri Prahlada
Maharaja. Bali Maharaja was thus the grandson of Prahlada Maharaja.
Lord Vamanadeva saw Prahlada Maharaja was weeping due to his love
for his family member, and he therefore very humbly said, "O
Bali Maharaja, you may ask for any benediction."
Being very clever, Bali Maharaja replied, "In my palace in Sutala
there are 49 gates. There is no certainty by which gate or lane I
will go out or in. I request the benediction that you stand at the
gate of whatever lane I pass all the time, day and night. Thus,
he made Sri Vamanadeva gatekeeper, and Vamanadeva, Visnu, happily
Why did Vamanadeva give this benediction to Bali Maharaja? It was
because of the Lords affection for Prahlada Maharaja. Otherwise,
Bali Maharaja hadn't done anything to deserve it. A donation of only
a universe cannot bring this mercy of Visnu. Do you understand? No
one can satisfy the Lord by wealth, position or any other material
offering. Vamanadeva gave the boon to be always present in Bali Maharaja's
palace due to Prahlada Maharaja. He told Prahlada, "Always
remain there in Sutala and be happy with your relatives there; and
I will also always be here."
Prahlada and Banasura
Have you heard of King Banasura? He was a devotee of Lord Siva and
he had thousands of arms. Aniruddha, the grandson of Lord Krsna, was
in love with Banasura's daughter, Usa. Aniruddha secretly went to
Banasuras palace to stealthily meet with her. Banasura found
out and wanted him arrested. Aniruddha fought to protect himself,
but he was finally defeated by Banasura and his army, and he was arrested.
Narada, who is also a clever personality, brought the news of this
to Sri Krsna and Sri Baladeva. He told them, Banasura has captured
your grandson. At once, along with His entire army, Krsna reached
there and began to fight with Banasura. Banasura used his thousand
arms to fight with many clubs, arrows and other weapons; but during
that battle Krsna cut off all his arms and hands except for four.
In the meantime Banasura remembered his Lord, Sankara (Lord Siva)
who immediately came and began to fight on Banasuras side. Lord
Sri Krsna shot a special arrow called Visnu-jvara and Sankara shot
his Siva-jvara. Sankara was defeated and then remembered Parvati,
who came to that spot.
There was a demigoddess named Kotara who was worshiped by Banasura,
and their relationship was as mother and son. Mother Kotara was upset
that Banasura's life was in danger, so she appeared on the scene.
With naked body and scattered hair, she stood before Lord Krsna. Sri
Krsna did not like the sight of this naked woman, and to avoid seeing
her he turned his face. We see this demigoddess as a manifestation
of the power of Sankara, Parvati devi.
Krsna then stopped His fighting and said, "O Sankara, O Parvati,
what do you want?"
They requested, "We want that he be spared. Please don't kill
Krsna then said, "All right. I will bless him that he will be
loyal to you, and he will properly worship you."
Why was all this enacted by the Lord? The reason is that Banasura
was also in the dynasty of Sri Prahlada Maharaja. Ultimately, Krsna
did not favor Banasura because of Sankara nor Parvati nor for
any reason other than Prahlada Maharaja.
Prahlada and Ravana
While Lord Visnu was in the palace of Bali Maharaja, as the gatekeeper
of his entire palace, Ravana came to conquer the world. Conquering
almost everywhere, he arrived in Sutala and wanted to fight with Bali
Maharaja. He knew that Bali Maharaja was a very strong personality
and so he desired to defeat him. However, when Lord Visnu saw Ravana
coming, He simply kicked him with his toe and at once Ravana
flew very far away to Lanka. Why did He do this? It was because Ravana
would have otherwise disturbed Prahlada Maharaja and his grandson
Bali Maharaja. He threw Ravana from there for Prahlada Maharaja.
Prahlada and Durvasa Muni
The Puranas relate still another history. Dvaraka was once invaded
by a demon named Kush, and its residents became afraid. The demon
wanted to kill all the inhabitants of Dvaraka, who thus began to weep.
They begged the sage and powerful yogi Durvasa Muni, "Please
go, like the wind, and find our Lord. You must know where He is. Please
ask Him to come at once and save us."
Durvasa went to Sutala and prayed to Lord Visnu, "The demon Kush
has invaded Dvaraka and is about to kill all your citizens. Please
come and save them."
Lord Visnu told him, I am not independent of My devotees. I
am under their control. If you like, you can pray to Bali Maharaja.
If he orders Me to go, then I can go; otherwise I cannot.
Aham bhakta paradhinah
I am completely under the control
of My devotees. Indeed, I am not at all dependent. Because My devotees
are completely devoid of all material desires, I sit only within the
cores of their hearts. What to speak of My devotees, even those who
are devotees of My devotees are very dear to Me.
Durvasa then approached Bali Maharaja and said, "O Bali Maharaja,
please allow Lord Visnu to go with me to save the residents of Dvaraka.
Otherwise they will all die."
Bali Maharaja replied, You are capable of performing great tasks,
and you know everything. You should know that it is not for me to
say whether this clever and tricky personality should
go or not. Lord Brahma and Lord Sankara always offer obeisances to
His lotus feet. How can I order him to go? It is not so easy to order
the Lord to do something. I do not know what will happen to the residents
of Dvaraka, but I will not order Him to go. I cannot allow it."
Bali Maharaja did not want the Lord to leave him. He knew that the
Lord can do anything by His inconceivable power. Thus, the Lord can
stay in Sutala and at the same time He can go to Dvaraka and save
the devotees there.
Why did Bali Maharaja have such power? It is because Prahlada
Maharaja was there. What an exalted devotee Prahlada Maharaja is.
Prahlada, the Preacher
You may know that Prahlada Maharaja accepted the kingdom of the world
from Lord Nrsimhadeva. He never accepted the boon of Vaikuntha, salvation
and so on, but he accepted the kingdom of the world. Why? He thought,
"In this way I may easily preach devotion to the Lord everywhere."
So if you have money, there is no harm in that. Use it in the service
of Lord Sri Krsna, to preach bhakti everywhere. Then Krsna will be
happy, all the devotees will be happy, Bhakti-devi will be happy and
you will also be happy.
Prahlada, the Warrior
Prahlada Maharaja once visited Naimisaranya, and there he saw a sage
with matted locks, who had with him a bow and arrows and a sword.
It is the duty of the Vedic king to maintain the proper religious
and social system of varnasrama-dharma, and therefore Prahlada asked
him, "Why do you have weapons? You wear garments of a renunciate
performing austerities, and at the same time you have a sword and
bow and arrows. Why? I cannot allow you to do so. Either be a sage
or a ksatriya warrior." If you dont agree to follow my
instruction, if you like you can fight with me and try to defeat me;
but I will not allow you to do this. That person said, "I accept
your challenge," and he became ready to fight.
They were fighting for one day, two days, three days, four days
and Prahlada Maharaja could not defeat him. He began to wonder, "Who
is he? Why am I not able to defeat Him?" He then entered a trance
of meditation. In that meditation he at once saw that the same garland
he had made with his own hands and given that morning to his deity
of Lord Nrsimhadeva, was on the neck of the person he was fighting.
Prahlada then realized, "Oh, He is a very big trickster!"
and he began to laugh. He dropped his bow and arrow and exclaimed,
Lord!" The Supreme Lord then gave him darsana as Nrsimhadeva.
Prahlada Maharaja asked him, "I have promised to defeat you,
but I could not. What should I do?" Lord Nrsimhadeva wanted to
test him, otherwise who could fight against Him?
The Lord answered, "I am always defeated by you. Not only today,
but always. You always defeat Me by your devotion." How
exalted a devotee is Prahlada Maharaja.
Prahlada and Narada
Narada Muni was once traveling, from the places of one devotee to
another, telling each one, "You are the greatest recipient of
Sri Krsna's mercy. He had gone from worldly devotees to Lord Brahma
to Lord Siva. Then he came to Sri Prahlada Maharaja and glorified
him in many ways.
In another instance Sri Narada Muni prayed to Lord Visnu, "I
once received a curse from Daksa, who told me, 'You will not be able
to stay anywhere for more than a moment for as long as it takes
to milk a cow.'" Jara (old age personified) had previously
come to Narada and told him, "I want to marry you." He at
once fled, on his way to Goloka Vrndavana, and Jara also cursed him
in the same way.
Now Narada begged Lord Visnu, "I don't care about these curses.
I want to remain always in Sutala and serve you there." Why did
this incident take place? Prahlada Maharaja is there, and due to this
Lord Visnu always remains there.
Prahlada and Srila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada
There are so many more teachings and glorifications of Sri Prahlada
Maharaja, and that is why Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
Prabhupada said that everyone should read about the life of Prahlada
at least 108 times. He personally also gave at least 108 lectures
If you really want to be happy, don't try to gallop over Prahlada
Maharaja to be in Vrndavana. Don't be mad for "goopi-prema."
First be like Prahlada, gradually be like Hanuman, then the Pandavas,
then Uddhava and then any servant of the gopas and gopis. You cannot
attain gopi-prema before doing this. Try to follow all the instructions
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
["Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form,
qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Vishnu, remembering
them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful
worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the
Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend
and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him
with body, mind and words) -- these nine processes are accepted as
pure devotional service." (SB 7.5.23)]
Try to follow Prahlada, and also follow your Guru. Dont disobey
him. Always perform visrambhena gurau-seva, intimate service to Gurudeva.
Follow all the instructions of the Gosvamis and be happy forever.
My benediction to you: Today I will pray to Lord Krsna and Lord Nrsimhadeva
for you all.
Now we will see a drama about Lord Nrsimhadeva. It must be completed
before dark. At once, take the mike.
Editorial Advisors: Pujyapada Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanatha
Transcriber: Anita dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Typist: Vasanti dasi