Narasimha Avatar – Part 4 – An introduction to Prahlada


<<Read Part 3 | Read Part 5 >>

Despite having acquired the boon which was beyond anybody else’s reach Hiranyakasipu still remembered his brother Hiranyaksha’s death and continued to harbor hopes of avenging the same from Vishnu.

He soon conquered all the three worlds by virtue of his strength and possessing the confidence that nobody could defeat him anymore. The human beings, the Gandharvas, the Garudas, the serpents, the Siddhas, Caranas, Vidhyadharas, the great saints, Yamaraja, the Manus, the Yakshas, the Rakshasas, the Pisachas and their masters, the masters of the ghosts and the Bhuthas, all of them were conquered by him. He started residing in the most beautiful of all of Indra’s palaces which was designed by Viswakarma. All the demigods were forced to pay obeisance to him and bow down to him despite being severely chastised by him.

Thus for a very long time, the three worlds and its inhabitants were subject to the opulences of his rule which transgressed the laws and regulations mentioned in the shastras. Everyone including the rulers of the various planets were extremely distressed with this situation and the severe punishment inflicted upon them by the demon king. They therefore started praying to Vishnu to deliver them from the asura.

Vishnu answered their prayers and informed them that he was aware of all the atrocities committed by Hiranyakasipu, and the he would soon stop them very soon. He asked them to be a little more patient with him. He then goes on to tell them that as soon as Hiranyakasipu teases and tests his own son, Prahalada, a great devotee of his, who is peaceful and sober and has no enemy, then he will immediately kill Hiranyakasipu despite Brahma’s benediction given to him.


Hiranyakasipu had four sons of which Prahlada was undoubtedly the best and he was also a staunch devotee of Vishnu. He had an extremely good character and was very determined to understand the Absolute Truth. He was kind to every living entity and was a friend to everybody. To respected persons he was a servant, to the poor he was a father, to his equals he was a brother, and he considered all his teachers, wise men and older brothers as representatives of God himself. Although he was born in a family of asuras, he never exhibited any of their material desires or opulence and had devoted his entire life to the service of Vishnu.

Despite his father Hiranyakasipu’s continued attempts to weave him away from the devotion displayed to Vishnu by various methods, Prahlada’s unstinting love for the lord continued unabated. Even though Sukracharya, the spiritual guru of the asuras and Prahlada’s teacher did everything in his power to teach the young prince subjects such as political science, governance and other similar sciences. At the end of his stint at Sukracharya’s gurukula, when Hiranyakasipu asked his son as to what he had learnt there, the young prince went on to narrate the various methods in which a true devotee worshipped Lord Vishnu.

Enraged by this when the king abused his spiritual guru, Sukracharya responded stating that whatever your son has just narrated were not taught by me to him. His devotion has been spontaneously developed by him. On hearing this reply, the king addressed his son and asked him as to where he received such sacrilegious education from. Prahlada replied stating that such devotional inclination towards Vishnu is not something that can be taught by any person to another. It is something that is developed by individuals who have given up all materialistic desires and focus their concentration on understanding the Absolute Truth.

Enraged by the insolence of his son, Hiranyakasipu immediately ordered his servants to kill the young Prahlada. Branding him a traitor and an enemy who worshipped Vishnu, his brother’s killer, the asura king broke off all ties with his own son.

On hearing their king’s orders, the asuras immediately started striking Prahlada with their weapons and surprisingly they could not even scratch the young prince despite the fierce weapons they used. Such was the power of his prayers and devotion to Vishnu. Hiranyakasipu then tried having his son trampled by elephants, throwing him in a snake pit filled with venomous snakes, hurling him from the top of a tall hill, administering him poison, starving him, subjecting him to severe cold, winds, fire and water, but none of these methods even disturbed Prahlada.

Defeated despite all his attempts to kill Prahlada, Hiranyakasipu then ordered that his son be further educated by Sukracharya with the hope that due to passage of time, his devotion to  Vishnu would be reduced and he would go on to become a good king of the asuras.

<<Read Part 3 | Read Part 5>>

4 thoughts on “Narasimha Avatar – Part 4 – An introduction to Prahlada

  1. You know I love your mythology posts and also that this is one of my fave stories! 😀
    So.. I’m just going to keep reading them and enjoying them! 🙂

      • It brings back warm memories of balmy summer evenings spent by the flickering bulb hearing these stories.. and then there are the memories of dance dramas enacted .. of playing the role of Hiranyakashipu.. 🙂

      • @pixie, that truly humbles me when so many of my readers say that my stories take them back in time to their wonderful childhood and to their grandparents narrating these tales to them 🙂

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