Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 7 Chapter 5:15-29

Book 7: Chapter 5

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 7: Chapter 5: Verses 15-29
Hiranyakasipu attempts the life of Prahrada

Narada went on : Having said this much to the Brahmana (his preceptor), Prahrada (who was possessed of a lofty mind) stopped speaking. Reprimanding him, that poor Brahmana (who was a servant of the king) then angrily said :- "O bring (me) a cane! The boy is bringing us into disrepute. The fourth expedient of punishment (alone) has been prescribed (in the Sastras) for this silly chap, who is proving to be the (very) ruin of his race. He is born a veritable thorny bush in the forest of Diti's sons, who are like so many sandal trees. (Nay,) the urchin has served as a handle to the axe, in the form of Visnu, cutting at the root of that forest." Thus intimidating him with threats and various other expedients, the preceptor taught Prahrada only texts dealing with the first three objects of human pursuit (viz., earthly possessions, gratification of the senses and religious merit). Thinking that the boy had mastered the four expedients worth knowing (viz., expostulation, gift, coercion and sowing seeds of dissension), the preceptor later on ushered the boy, when he had been washed and adorned by the mother, into the presence of Hiranyakasipu (the ruler of the Daityas). Greeting with benedictions the child fallen at his feet, the demon kept him folded in his arms for a long time and derived supreme gratification (thereby). (Then) placing the infant on his lap and smelling its head (out of affection) and bathing it with tears (of joy), he spoke as follows to the boy, whose face was beaming (with delight), O Yudhisthira. Hiranyakasipu said : Prahrada dear, repeat (to me) something excellent that you have learnt from your teacher all this time, O long-lived one, and which you have fully mastered.

Prahrada replied : (1) To hear the names, praises and stories of Lord Visnu and (2) chant them, (3) to remember Him (as well as His names and stories), (4) to wait upon Him, (5) to offer worship and (6) salutation to Him, (7) to dedicate one's actions to Him, (8) to cultivate friendship with Him and (9) to offer one's own body as well as one's dependants and belongings to Him-if Devotion marked by these nine features is practised by a man as something already offered direct to Lord Visnu, I reckon that (such Devotion) to be the highest (form of) learning. Hearing this observation of his son (Prahrada), Hiranyakasipu then spoke to the son of his preceptor (Sukracarya) as follows, his lips quivering through rage:- "O vile Brahmana, having espoused the enemy's cause and disregarding me what is this nonsense that the child has been taught bit your wicked self, O fool ? Indeed there are in this world impious souls who have assumed a deceptive garb and whose friendship is of a vicious (most unreliable) type. Like the malady[1] of the sinful, their mischief comes to light (only) at the proper time."The preceptor's son replied : This son of yours, O enemy of Indra, is saying something which has neither been taught by me nor by anyone else. This view is natural with him, O king! (Pray,) curb your anger and do not lay the blame at our door. Narada resumed : Thus replied to by the preceptor, the demon addressed his son (Prahrada) again: "If this vicious idea of your's has not been imbibed from the mouth of your preceptor, whence has it come, O inauspicious one?"



  1. We find the following Smrti-text quoted in the commentary of Sridhara Swami The murderer of a Brahmana suffers (in a future incarnation) from the fell disease of consumption; a (habitual) drunkard comes to have discoloured teeth; he who has (ever) stolen gold comes to have diseased nails and he who has violated the bed of his own teacher is afflicted with leprosy (after he has suffered tortures in hell and is born again as a human being).'

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