Narasimha Avatar – Part 3 – Hiranyakasipu desires immortality


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Hiranyakasipu then started nurturing ambitions of becoming immortal. He wanted to be unconquerable, free from old age and dwindling of any of his bodily senses. Therefore, in the valley of the Mandara hill, he began performing austerities and severe penance. Due to the severity of his penance, fire started emanating from Hiranyakasipu’s head and the resultant smoke spread throughout the sky, encompassing the upper and lower planets, the oceans and rivers were agitated, the surface of the earth started trembling and there was general chaos all around.

Distressed by these occurrences, the demigods rushed to Lord Brahma, the creator and informed him that Hiranyakasipu was undertaking this severe penance to endeavor all the powers that Brahma had and ultimately replace him as the creator and lord of all the worlds. On hearing this, Brahma accompanied by Bhrigu, Daksha and other sages proceeded to the place where the asura was performing his austerities.

At first Brahma could not locate him as the asura’s body was covered by an anthill, grass and bamboo sticks. The ants had devoured his skin, fat, flesh and blood and all that was left of him were mere bones. When Brahma and the sages spotted him, they could only see a halo resembling a cloud-covered sun, heating the entire world with his austerity.

Addressing him, Brahma said O son of Kasyapa Muni, I am pleased with the extent of your austerities. You may now ask whatever you desire and I shall try to fulfill your wish. Saying so, he sprinkled some water from his kamandalu (water pot) on Hiranyakasipu’s body. As soon as the water touched the asura’s body, he emerged from the anthill a completely young man, not aged by the scores of years that he had spent in his penance.

Overcome with gratitude at Brahma recognizing his penance and austerities, Hiranyakasipu bowed down before him, paid his obeisance and told him O my lord, if you will kindly grant me the boon I desire, please let me not meet death from any of the living entities created by you.

Grant me that I not die within any residence or outside any residence, during the daytime or at night, nor on the ground or in the sky, nor by any weapon, nor by any human being or animal.

Grant me that I not meet death from any entity, living or non-living, that I not be killed by any demigod or demon or any snake from the lower worlds.

Lord Brahma was so pleased with the asura’s penance and austerities that even though the boons he asked for were very rarely achieved by anybody, he went ahead and granted them to the asura.

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Maitreyi explains the origins of Srimad Bhagavatham

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Rishi Sanatkumara accompanied by other Rishis once went to the underground world called Patala and approached Sankarshana to know more about Vasudeva the superior being. The rishis prostrated and praised hymns in praise of Sankarshana who imparted the Bhagavata to Rishi Sanatkumara. Rishi Sanatkumara taught it to Sage Maitreyi’s guru Sage Parasara who then taught it to Sage Maitreyi.

Brahma’s birth

At the end of a Yuga the whole universe plunges into the cosmic waters, which is called Pralaya. After Maha Vishnu spends a thousand chaturyugas in the cosmic waters in a slumber of self-awareness he gets up and views the universe in latent condition in Himself. With his power he creates a form of a lotus bud with its root in Him and enters into the lotus bud.

Then later the creator Brahma appeared in the Lotus, he is called self-born and an embodiment of Vedas. Brahma, after getting up did not understand anything about himself or the Lotus. Brahma was wondering, “Who am I? How has this Lotus sprung up from these water? What is the origin of this Lotus?

Thinking thus he tried to find the stalk of the Lotus but to no avail. After searching for a long time he abandoned his quest and sat in a meditative absorptional state for around a hundred years. The truth of the Lord as the indwelling spirit dawned on Brahma and he praises Maha Vishnu as the indwelling spirit and all-pervading Lord of the universe.

Maha Vishnu understanding that Brahma was lacking confidence in creation told him, “Practice concentration and self-absorption in me and then you will find the worlds within their ideal form with all obstructions removed. When your mind has reached to such a level of concentration that you see only me as penetrating the universe and yourself then you will also see the world and jivas resting in me. When aspirants see me as residing in all beings then they overcome their delusion. You will be able to engage in the creation of countless creatures and never be affected by the work of creation because your mind is always dedicated to Me alone. You have all my blessings and start creating all beings that have become latent in me.

Saying so Maha Vishnu left the place.

Brahma’s inspiration for creation


Brahma’s inspiration

Once Brahma was thinking about the ways to create but he could not get any clue to proceed further. While thus contemplating within himself, he heard a divine sound from among the cosmic waters surrounding him. He heard a sound ‘tapa,tapa’  meaning concentrate, concentrate on your nature as the spirit. He knew that this instruction must have come from a divine source and in that very place he started to engage himself in austere meditation.

Brahma performed his austerities for a thousand divine years and the Lord revealed his highest spiritual realm to Brahma. Brahma saw Him whose face is illumined with a gracious smile, with his ear ornaments, yellow cloth, four arms, Kousthuba and Sri adorning his chest. He saw the Lord surrounded by twenty five expressions of His creative power.

Brahma was bathed in bliss within which overflowed as torrential tears from his eyes and prostrated at His holy feet.

The Lord was highly satisfied by Brahma’s continuous and concentrated meditation on Him and was willing to grant any boon. Brahma requested to know the Supreme Being, who is formless, gross and subtle and the Atma Maya. Brahma, as the Lord’s servant will continuously discharge his duty of creation, and he requested that he does not develop any pride in it.

The Lord explained the supreme knowledge to Brahma being extremely pleased by his yogic meditation on Him. The basic substances of nature combine and constitute various objects. These elements do not lose their material nature but also takes on the qualities of the combinations. Similarly, the Lord constitutes all beings and is in each of them, yet the Lord’s pristine nature is not affected by the nature and experience of the combinations that make up the bodies of beings. A seeker of truth has to grasp the fact that the basic nature does not suffer any diminution and always exists as itself despite any set of combinations it undergoes. The supreme spirit is that ultimate substance. Concentrated absorption on the supreme self is the only way to get liberation.  Saying as much, Sri Hari disappeared from Brahma’s view and then Brahma proceeded towards the activity of creation.

Bhagavatam Lineage

Bhagavatam Lineage