When the Varaha avatar incarnated, vanquishing the demon
Hiranyaksh, his infuriated brother Hiranyakashipu vowed
revenge. Scaling Mandrachal mountain, he performed harsh
penances. This pleased Brahma. Therefore Hiranyakashipu
requested a boon, "O Supreme Almighty! Let my death
not occur by the hands of man, animal, deva or demon. Let
me never die, neither indoors nor outdoors, neither during
the day nor night, neither by weapons nor mantra, neither
on earth nor sky. Let me become the eternal emperor supreme
of the whole earth...."
Brahma granted the boon. Hiranyakashipu
then embarked on a reign of terror in Trilok - the
When he was engrossed in penances,
the child in his wife Kayadhu's womb frightened Indra. Therefore
he kidnapped her. While fleeing he encountered Naradji,
who persuaded him to release Kayadhu. Taking her to his
ashram, Naradji instructed her to worship Vishnu. He recited
to her texts glorifying Vishnu's divine episodes. In her
womb, the child Prahlad too absorbed this divine glory.
This induced love for Vishnu in his heart.
evil rampaging worsened. When Prahlad was five he sent him
to Shand and Amark, sons of his guru, Shukracharya. While
being instructed, Prahlad listened mutely. However his mind
remained engrossed in Vishnu. Once Hiranyakashipu took little
Prahlad in his lap and asked him to recite something worthy
from his studies.
Prahlad replied, "O Pitaji,
everyone should forsake this miserable and dark well of
samsara. They should then go off to the forest, do penance
and offer worship to Shri Hari. To me, that is most worthy!"
Hearing these blasphemous words,
Hiranyakashipu erupted in volcanic fury. He barked, "O
Shand! Amark! How did this kid's intelligence become polluted?
Has a brahmin arrived in disguise to talk about Vishnu?"
Both brothers trembled in fear.
Begging forgiveness they brought him to their quarters and
questioned him, "O little one, tell us how your intelligence
With a smirk, Prahlad replied,
"Negative intelligence is in believing in "I"
and "mine." And this is known as animal intelligence.
Just as iron is attracted by a magnet, my heart veers towards
Speechless, the gurus threatened
and scolded him. Then they began to instruct him about wealth
and fulfilling material desires. However, not the least
interested in this, Prahlad remained silent in class. Shand
and Amark interpreted this as Prahlad's acceptance and understanding
of their instruction. Therefore they once took him along
to Hiranyakashipu. The king of demons lovingly cradled his
son in his arms and asked him, "O son, now tell me
what have you learnt from the guru? Can you tell me an interesting
Prahlad replied nonchalantly,
"O Pitaji, the greatest merit is obtained by imbibing
Navdha Bhakti - offering nine forms of devotion to
to His glory
episodes of His lila
worshipping Him by regarding oneself as das
Him as a friend
worshipping Him with unwarranted surrenderance
These words fuelled the fire
of hatred in Hiranyakashipu. He reprimanded the gurus. They
denied imparting knowledge of Vishnu to Prahlad. Therefore
Hiranyakashipu turned to Prahlad, "Tell me right now
who taught you false knowledge?"
Calmly Prahlad replied, "O
Pitaji, the gurus are not at fault. They have obeyed you.
How can one blind lead another blind? All misery and discord
will only be eradicated when the dust of a true sadhu showers
on our heads and our hearts merge with Shri Hari...."
Hearing this, the demon king
pounced on his son. Manhandling him like a rag doll, he
barked to his servants, "Take him! Kill him right now!
He supports my enemy."
These words came as music to
the demons. To kill him they inflicted a series of atrocities.
First they jabbed him with
spikes. Engrossed in Parmatma's meditation, Prahlad remained
unhurt! This bewildered Hiranyakashipu, who then ordered
other means of killing. However Paramatma delivered him
from all of them.
First the demons used weapons,
which disintegrated. When thrown under a wild elephant,
the animal lifted Prahlad with his trunk and gently placed
him on his back! Poisonous snakes turned as meek as a tortoise
and raised their hoods over his head as if to shield him!
A wild lion became as tame as a dog. Deadly poison mixed
in his food became amrut. When dropped over a mountain cliff,
invisible hands caught him. When tied to huge rocks to be
sunk in the sea, the rocks floated like flowers!
Finally Hiranyakashipu ordered
his sister Holika to sit in a fire with Prahlad in her lap.
She possessed a miraculous fire-proof garment. However the
garment vanished and she was incinerated, while Prahlad
remained unscathed. His body had become indestructible like
Shand and Amark then produced
a demoness. However she killed them instead. Grieved by
their deaths, Prahlad prayed to Vishnu and they were restored
to life! Both then requested Hiranyakashipu to await arrival
of his guru Shukracharya. The demon king agreed. Prahlad's
Once while playing, Prahlad
advised his classmates, "O friends! This human birth
is invaluable. Its greatest endeavor is to attain Paramatma.
Therefore one should conquer the indriyas (senses),
forsake the craving for wealth and other mundane desires
and become detached. The purpose of life is to realise Paramatma,
the source of eternal bliss. Therefore forsake demon-ness
and do good of all. Then Paramatma will be pleased with
Seeing Prahlad's unflinching
devotion to Vishnu, the incensed demon king once questioned
him, "With what power do you disregard me?"
"The same power that supports you and that pervading
"Where is he?"
"Where is he not? He is in myself, in you, in the sword,
"Is he in this pillar as well?"
Eyes burning with hatred, Hiranyakashipu
stood up. Brandishing his sword he struck the pillar. Instantly,
the pillar split and Paramatma Himself manifested in the
form of Nrusinh, whose upper half was a lion and
lower half, man. It was the evening of Vaishakh sud 14!
A hideous battle ensued between deva and demon. Finally,
Nrusinh, who was neither man nor beast, grabbed the demon
like a toy and flung him on his lap. Nrusinh Bhagwan sat
at the doorway - neither fully inside nor outside, nor wholly
on earth nor in the air. It was neither day or night but
twilight. With his claws, which were not weapons as such,
he ripped the demon apart! In this manner Paramatma imbued
moksha to the demon king.
Prahlad then humbly bowed at
Shri Nrusinh's feet and received blessings. The demon prince
then offered a unique prayer in which he requested moksha
for his father, himself and deliverance from his indriyas
Nrusinh Bhagwan consented and
coronated the child as king. After some time Prahlad handed
over his reign to his son Virochan, engrossing himself in
Nrusinh Jayanti celebrates
Paramatma's victory over evil.
On this day, devotees observe farar. In the evening
they offer puja to Nrusinh Bhagwan, perform his arti, and
pray to be able to offer unalloyed devotion like Prahlad.