Narasimha Avatar – Part 5 – The story of Prahlada’s birth


narasimha

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In Sukracharya’s ashram, when the other students learnt about Prahlada’s story, they approached him and wanted to learn from him. He then instructed them about the uselessness of leading a materialistic life and how absolute devotion to Lord Vishnu was the only way in which one could attain salvation.

He then went on to inform his friends that he had received this knowledge from Narada Muni and that it was based on logic and philosophy and was free from all material contamination. When his young friends asked Prahlada as to how he had managed to get this knowledge from the great Narada, he went on to narrate the story of his birth to them.

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When Hiranyakasipu, the asura king was engaged in severe penance near the Mandara mountain, Indra, the king of the demigods attacked the asuras to subdue them and conquer them. After defeating the asura armies, Indra then captured Hiranyakasipu’s wife, who at that point of time was pregnant with Prahlada. At this point, Narada intervened and told Indra that even though the queen bore Hiranyakasipu’s child, the child itself was sinless and faultless and that he would go on to become a great devotee of Vishnu.

Hearing this Indra allowed Narada to take the queen to his ashram to remain there under his protection. At the ashram, as was the norm the queen provided service to Narada who in turn was benevolent enough to partake with instructions and information on religion and other related subjects to her. Because of the long duration of her stay there, all the information that Narada gave to her were assimilated by Prahlada from within his mother’s womb itself.

Therefore when the young prince was born, he was already a great devotee of Vishnu and followed the path of abstaining from materialistic pleasures even from a very young age, despite the fact that he was an asura prince.

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The story of Narada


Narada

Sage Narada in his previous birth was born as a son of a maid servant in a community of Brahmanas. The holy men were pleased with the services of the boy and once with their permission he took the remnants of the food left by them. Thus his mind got purified and he became attracted to a devotional life. Listening to the stories of the Lord three times a day every day from these holy men sprang in the boy a powerful devotion to the supreme Lord.

Before they went away after the Chathurmasya period (the retreat during rainy season), they imparted the knowledge of the Supreme divine even though he was a young boy they found in him a fit recipient.The boy was only five years old and he was bound by his mother’s love for him. One day his mother went out at night to milk the cow and was bitten by a serpent on her leg and died. The boy then started wandering through villages, farms, towns, hills, mountain ranges and finally reached a dense and extensive forest that was almost impenetrable. He refreshed himself by bathing and drinking at the forest stream and sat under a banyan tree and began to meditate on the Supreme Being as instructed by his teachers. Slowly he progressed and was able to merge in Samadhi with the Supreme Lord Sri Hari. Suddenly the vision of lord disappeared from him and the boy became utmost distressed and started concentrating again on Lord Hari, but he couldn’t get the vision of Lord anymore.

The Supreme Lord appeared in front of the boy and told him that He revealed his form to the boy so that it will increase his longing for the Lord. The boy would not be able to see the Supreme Lord in this birth because he was not completely free from all passions, hence in his next birth he would be born as an attendant of the Lord and be firmly established in Him. The boy continued living his present life praising the Lord and death came all of a sudden, like a streak of lightening in the sky. At the end of the creative cycle, everything was drawn into Narayana through Brahma. After a thousand years Brahma started the creative activity again and Narada emerged along with other Rishis like Marichi and Atri. Narada was blessed by the Lord to go about unobstructed everywhere within the three worlds and also beyond it to the transcendental realm.

Narada’s story shows that even though Karma is a cause of bondage of man who is pre-occupied with it, and the same when dedicated to the Supreme Lord makes him closer to God and towards the path of liberation.

Narada thus told his story to Vyasa  and then moved on from there.

Sage Vyasa entered into Samadhi after hearing Sage Narada’s story and the illumined sage thus started composing Bhagavata Purana. After composing the Bhagavata he taught it to his son Suka who was also a self-illumined person.