Sage vasishTha starts narrating the journey of prahlAda towards realization. janaka attained realization by listening to celestial discussion – this means the realization can fall from the sky in some cases. pAvana got realization by the teaching of his brother puNya – this shows an example of circumstances bringing the teaching to fruition. bali attained the realization through own contemplation supported by his father’s childhood teaching along with teaching from his guru SukrAcharya. Another technique to attain realization is worship of god i.e. iswara ArAdhana. Let me explain this with the narration of prahlAda.
bhagavAn vaSishTha said: O rAma! You know, earlier there is a daemon called hiraNyakaSipa. He hated lord vishnu. His son prahlAda is a great devotee of lord vishnu. Due to this conflict father caused a lot of trouble to the son and subjected prahlAda to torture. Finally lord vishnu took up the form of narasimha and ended the daemonic regime of hiraNyakaSipa. Then prahlAda became the king of daemons. But, the race of daemons became weak and the devas exploited the weakness of daemons. prahlAda could not help in protecting his race.
Having thought about the situation, king prahlAda decided to worship vishnu with the maha mantra “namO nArAyaNAya” . He thought one who is not vishnu can’t derive any benefit by worshiping vishnu. I should be vishnu to worship vishnu. Hence, I am vishnu.
The individual known as prahlada is vishnu. All the splendor of vishnu is now mine. I am now carried by garuDa who is vishnu’s vAhana. All of vishnu’s marks are adorned on my limbs. Lakshmi is standing next to me. All his weapons are with me now. The lotus which is the basis for creator is coming out of my naval. The entire universe is appearing and disappearing in my womb. I am in the dark complexion like vishnu. I am wearing the yellow silk wear. I am vishnu. There is no duality. Rising above all duality being vishnu I salute myself.
Then he thought, As I wish to worship vishnu and I became vishnu, let my exhalation become a vishnu. Let me worship mentally as per the tradition. Having thought thus, he worshiped lord vishnu with all the traditional material used for worship mentally. He was rejoiced. Taking their king prahlAda as an example all the daemons started worshiping lord vishnu and they rejoiced in worship.
Seeing this development, devas got worried. They approached lord vishnu and said: how the naturally daemonic tendencies have become devotees of you? O lord? What is this contradiction? How can such a thing happen?
Lord Vishnu replied: O devas, prahlAda is my true devotee. It is his last life with the body of prahlAda. He will gain liberation. His devotion towards me will not cause any trouble to you. Do not worry and go to your own abodes and continue to perform your own duties happily. Having assured thus, all devas returned. They became friendly with prahlAda.
prahlAda continued his worship in mind, word and deed to lord Vishnu regularly. Even though the worldly desires of prahlAda are gone, he was unable to reach the eternal peaceful state. Seeing the devotee in this stage, lord Vishnu appeared in front of prahlAda.
Having seen lord prahlAda became very happy. He prayed:
tribhuvana nalinI sitAravindam
timira samAna vimOha dIpamagryam
jagadakhilArti haram harim prapadyE
for the lotus of three worlds – sun,
for the darkness of delusion – bright light
prominently visible, non-material, of conscious reality
remover of all miseries from all the words; Hari, I bow down!
Pleased by the devotion and prayer, lord hari asked prahlAda to ask for a boon. prahlAda said, O lord, you bring auspiciousness to all the beings of these multiple worlds. You bestow me the best boon as you feel suitable for me.
sarva sambhrama samsAntyai paramAya phalAya ca
brahma viSAnti paryantO vicArO’stu tavAnagha (Sarga 34, verse 3)
For removal of all the delusion, for attaining of supreme goal
until attaining supreme peace – continue your enquiry (into self)
- on the pApamOcanI EkAdaSi we covered sargas 29 till 33 of upaSama prakaraNa
- A great way to worship Narayana is shown by the great devotee prahlAda in these sargas.