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By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Canto Seven, Chapter Eight
Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva Slays the King of the Demons
As described in this chapter, Hiraṇyakaśipu was ready to kill his own son Prahlāda Mahārāja, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared in front of the demon as Śrī Nṛkeśarī, half lion and half man, and killed him.
Following the instructions of Prahlāda Mahārāja, all the sons of the demons became attached to Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When this attachment became pronounced, their teachers, Ṣaṇḍa and Amarka, were very much afraid that the boys would become more and more devoted to the Lord. In a helpless condition, they approached Hiraṇyakaśipu and described in detail the effect of Prahlāda’s preaching. After hearing of this, Hiraṇyakaśipu decided to kill his son Prahlāda. Hiraṇyakaśipu was so angry that Prahlāda Mahārāja fell down at his feet and said many things just to pacify him, but he was unsuccessful in satisfying his demoniac father. Hiraṇyakaśipu, as a typical demon, began to advertise himself as being greater than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Prahlāda Mahārāja challenged him, saying that Hiraṇyakaśipu was not God, and began to glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead, declaring that the Lord is all-pervading, that everything is under Him, and that no one is equal to or greater than Him. Thus he requested his father to be submissive to the omnipotent Supreme Lord.
The more Prahlāda Mahārāja glorified the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the more angry and agitated the demon became. Hiraṇyakaśipu asked his Vaiṣṇava son whether his God existed within the columns of the palace, and Prahlāda Mahārāja immediately accepted that since the Lord is present everywhere, He was also present within the columns. When Hiraṇyakaśipu heard this philosophy from his young son, he derided the boy’s statement as just the talk of a child and forcefully struck the pillar with his fist.
As soon as Hiraṇyakaśipu struck the column, there issued forth a tumultuous sound. At first Hiraṇyakaśipu, the King of the demons, could not see anything but the pillar, but to substantiate Prahlāda’s statements, the Lord came out of the pillar in His wonderful incarnation as Narasiṁha, half lion and half man. Hiraṇyakaśipu could immediately understand that the extraordinarily wonderful form of the Lord was surely meant for his death, and thus he prepared to fight with the form of half lion and half man. The Lord performed His pastimes by fighting with the demon for some time, and in the evening, on the border between day and night, the Lord captured the demon, threw him on His lap, and killed him by piercing his abdomen with His nails. The Lord not only killed Hiraṇyakaśipu, the King of the demons, but also killed many of his followers. When there was no one else to fight, the Lord, roaring with anger, sat down on Hiraṇyakaśipu’s throne.
The entire universe was thus relieved of the rule of Hiraṇyakaśipu, and everyone was jubilant in transcendental bliss. Then all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahmā, approached the Lord. These included the great saintly persons, the Pitās, the Siddhas, the Vidyādharas, the Nāgas, the Manus, the prajāpatis, the Gandharvas, the Cāraṇas, the Yakṣas, the Kimpuruṣas, the Vaitālikas, the Kinnaras and also many other varieties of beings in human form. All of them stood not far from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and began offering their prayers unto the Lord, whose spiritual effulgence was brilliant as He sat on the throne.
atha daitya-sutāḥ sarve
śrī-nāradaḥ uvāca—Śrī Nārada Muni said; atha—thereupon; daitya-sutāḥ—the sons of the demons (the class friends of Prahlāda Mahārāja); sarve—all; śrutvā—hearing; tat—by him (Prahlāda); anuvarṇitam—the statements about devotional life; jagṛhuḥ—accepted; niravadyatvāt—due to the supreme utility of that instruction; na—not; eva—indeed; guru-anuśikṣitam—that which was taught by their teachers.
Nārada Muni continued: All the sons of the demons appreciated the transcendental instructions of Prahlāda Mahārāja and took them very seriously. They rejected the materialistic instructions given by their teachers, Ṣaṇḍa and Amarka.
This is the effect of the preaching of a pure devotee like Prahlāda Mahārāja. If a devotee is qualified, sincere and serious about Kṛṣṇa consciousness and if he follows the instructions of a bona fide spiritual master, as Prahlāda Mahārāja did when preaching the instructions he had received from Nārada Muni, his preaching is effective. As it is said in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.25.25):
satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido
bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ
If one tries to understand the discourses given by the sat, or pure devotees, those instructions will be very pleasing to the ear and appealing to the heart. Thus if one is inspired to take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and if one practices the process in his life, he is surely successful in returning home, back to Godhead. By the grace of Prahlāda Mahārāja, all his class friends, the sons of the demons, became Vaiṣṇavas. They did not like hearing from their so-called teachers Ṣaṇḍa and Amarka, who were interested only in teaching them about diplomacy, politics, economic development and similar topics meant exclusively for sense gratification.
ālakṣya bhītas tvarito
rājña āvedayad yathā
atha—thereupon; ācārya-sutaḥ—the son of Śukrācārya; teṣām—of them (the sons of the demons); buddhim—the intelligence; ekānta-saṁsthitām—fixed in one subject matter, devotional service; ālakṣya—realizing or seeing practically; bhītaḥ—being afraid; tvaritaḥ—as soon as possible; rājñe—unto the King (Hiraṇyakaśipu); āvedayat—submitted; yathā—fittingly.
When Ṣaṇḍa and Amarka, the sons of Śukrācārya, observed that all the students, the sons of the demons, were becoming advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness because of the association of Prahlāda Mahārāja, they were afraid. They approached the King of the demons and described the situation as it was.
The words buddhim ekānta-saṁsthitām indicate that as an effect of Prahlāda Mahārāja’s preaching, the students who listened to him became fixed in the conclusion that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the only object of human life. The fact is that anyone who associates with a pure devotee and follows his instructions becomes fixed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and is not disturbed by materialistic consciousness. The teachers particularly observed this in their students, and therefore they were afraid because the whole community of students was gradually becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious.
putraṁ hantuṁ mano dadhe
kṣiptvā paruṣayā vācā
sarpaḥ padāhata iva
kopa-āveśa—by a very angry mood; calat—trembling; gātraḥ—the whole body; putram—his son; hantum—to kill; manaḥ—mind; dadhe—fixed; kṣiptvā—rebuking; paruṣayā—with very harsh; vācā—words; prahrādam—Prahlāda Mahārāja; a-tat-arhaṇam—not fit to be chastised (due to his noble character and tender age); āha—said; īkṣamāṇaḥ—looking at him in anger; pāpena—because of his sinful activities; tiraścīnena—crooked; cakṣuṣā—with eyes; praśraya-avanatam—very gentle and mild; dāntam—very restrained; baddha-añjalim—having folded hands; avasthitam—situated; sarpaḥ—a snake; pada-āhataḥ—being trampled by the foot; iva—like; śvasan—hissing; prakṛti—by nature; dāruṇaḥ—very evil.
When Hiraṇyakaśipu understood the entire situation, he was extremely angry, so much so that his body trembled. Thus he finally decided to kill his son Prahlāda. Hiraṇyakaśipu was by nature very cruel, and feeling insulted, he began hissing like a snake trampled upon by someone’s foot. His son Prahlāda was peaceful, mild and gentle, his senses were under control, and he stood before Hiraṇyakaśipu with folded hands. According to Prahlāda’s age and behavior, he was not to be chastised. Yet with staring, crooked eyes, Hiraṇyakaśipu rebuked him with the following harsh words.
When one is impudent toward a highly authorized devotee, one is punished by the laws of nature. The duration of his life is diminished, and he loses the blessings of superior persons and the results of pious activities. Hiraṇyakaśipu, for example, had achieved such great power in the material world that he could subdue practically all the planetary systems in the universe, including the heavenly planets (Svargaloka). Yet now, because of his mistreatment of such a Vaiṣṇava as Prahlāda Mahārāja, all the results of his tapasya diminished. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.4.46):
āyuḥ śriyaṁ yaśo dharmaṁ
lokān āśiṣa eva ca
hanti śreyāṁsi sarvāṇi
“When one mistreats great souls, his life span, opulence, reputation, religion, possessions and good fortune are all destroyed.”
he durvinīta mandātman
neṣye tvādya yama-kṣayam
śrī-hiraṇyakaśipuḥ uvāca—the blessed Hiraṇyakaśipu said; he—O; durvinīta—most impudent; manda-ātman—O stupid fool; kula-bheda-kara—who are bringing about a disruption in the family; adhama—O lowest of mankind; stabdham—most obstinate; mat-śāsana—from my ruling; udvṛttam—going astray; neṣye—I shall bring; tvā—you; adya—today; yama-kṣayam—to the place of Yamarāja, the superintendent of death.
Hiraṇyakaśipu said: O most impudent, most unintelligent disruptor of the family, O lowest of mankind, you have violated my power to rule you, and therefore you are an obstinate fool. Today I shall send you to the place of Yamarāja.
Hiraṇyakaśipu condemned his Vaiṣṇava son Prahlāda for being durvinīta—ungentle, uncivilized, or impudent. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, however, has derived a meaning from this word durvinīta by the mercy of the goddess of learning, Sarasvatī. He says that duḥ refers to this material world. This is confirmed by Lord Kṛṣṇa in His instruction in Bhagavad-gītā that this material world is duḥkhālayam, full of material conditions. Vi means viśeṣa, “specifically,” and nīta means “brought in.” By the mercy of the Supreme Lord, Prahlāda Mahārāja was especially brought to this material world to teach people how to get out of the material condition. Lord Kṛṣṇa says, yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata [Bg. 4.7]. When the entire population, or part of it, becomes forgetful of its own duty, Kṛṣṇa comes. When Kṛṣṇa is not present the devotee is present, but the mission is the same: to free the poor conditioned souls from the clutches of the māyā that chastises them.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura further explains that the word mandātman means manda—very bad or very slow in spiritual realization. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.10), mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā. Prahlāda Mahārāja is the guide of all the mandas, or bad living entities who are under the influence of māyā. He is the benefactor even of the slow and bad living entities in this material world. Kula-bheda-karādhama: by his actions, Prahlāda Mahārāja made great personalities who established big, big families seem insignificant. Everyone is interested in his own family and in making his dynasty famous, but Prahlāda Mahārāja was so liberal that he made no distinction between one living entity and another. Therefore he was greater than the great prajāpatis who established their dynasties. The word stabdham means obstinate. A devotee does not care for the instructions of the asuras. When they give instructions, he remains silent. A devotee cares about the instructions of Kṛṣṇa, not those of demons or nondevotees. He does not give any respect to a demon, even though the demon be his father. Mac-chāsanodvṛttam: Prahlāda Mahārāja was disobedient to the orders of his demoniac father. Yama-kṣayam: every conditioned soul is under the control of Yamarāja, but Hiraṇyakaśipu said that he considered Prahlāda Mahārāja his deliverer, for Prahlāda would stop Hiraṇyakaśipu’s repetition of birth and death. Because Prahlāda Mahārāja, being a great devotee, was better than any yogī, Hiraṇyakaśipu was to be brought among the society of bhakti-yogīs. Thus Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has explained these words in a very interesting way as they can be interpreted from the side of Sarasvatī, the mother of learning.
kruddhasya yasya kampante
trayo lokāḥ saheśvarāḥ
tasya me ’bhītavan mūḍha
śāsanaṁ kiṁ balo ’tyagāḥ
kruddhasya—when angered; yasya—he who; kampante—tremble; trayaḥ lokāḥ—the three worlds; saha-īśvarāḥ—with their leaders; tasya—of that; me—of me (Hiraṇyakaśipu); abhīta-vat—without fear; mūḍha—rascal; śāsanam—ruling order; kim—what; balaḥ—strength; atyagāḥ—have overstepped.
My son Prahlāda, you rascal, you know that when I am angry all the planets of the three worlds tremble, along with their chief rulers. By whose power has a rascal like you become so impudent that you appear fearless and overstep my power to rule you?
The relationship between a pure devotee and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is extremely relishable. A devotee never claims to be very powerful himself; instead, he fully surrenders to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, being confident that in all dangerous conditions Kṛṣṇa will protect His devotee. Kṛṣṇa Himself says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.31), kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: “O son of Kuntī, declare boldly that My devotee never perishes.” The Lord requested Arjuna to declare this instead of declaring it Himself because sometimes Kṛṣṇa changes His view and therefore people might not believe Him. Thus Kṛṣṇa asked Arjuna to declare that a devotee of the Lord is never vanquished.
Hiraṇyakaśipu was perplexed about how his five-year-old boy could be so fearless that he did not care for the order of his very great and powerful father. A devotee cannot execute the order of anyone except the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the position of a devotee. Hiraṇyakaśipu could understand that this boy must have been very powerful, since the boy did not heed his orders. Hiraṇyakaśipu asked his son, kiṁ balaḥ: “How have you overcome my order? By whose strength have you done this?”
na kevalaṁ me bhavataś ca rājan
sa vai balaṁ balināṁ cāpareṣām
pare ’vare ’mī sthira-jaṅgamā ye
brahmādayo yena vaśaṁ praṇītāḥ
śrī-prahrādaḥ uvāca—Prahlāda Mahārāja replied; na—not; kevalam—only; me—of me; bhavataḥ—of yourself; ca—and; rājan—O great King; saḥ—he; vai—indeed; balam—strength; balinām—of the strong; ca—and; apareṣām—of others; pare—exalted; avare—subordinate; amī—those; sthira-jaṅgamāḥ—moving or nonmoving living entities; ye—who; brahma-ādayaḥ—beginning from Lord Brahmā; yena—by whom; vaśam—under control; praṇītāḥ—brought.
Prahlāda Mahārāja said: My dear King, the source of my strength, of which you are asking, is also the source of yours. Indeed, the original source of all kinds of strength is one. He is not only your strength or mine, but the only strength for everyone. Without Him, no one can get any strength. Whether moving or not moving, superior or inferior, everyone, including Lord Brahmā, is controlled by the strength of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Lord Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (10.41):
yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ
śrīmad ūrjitam eva vā
tat tad evāvagaccha tvaṁ
“Know that all beautiful, glorious and mighty creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.” This is confirmed by Prahlāda Mahārāja. If one sees extraordinary strength or power anywhere, it is derived from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. To give an example, there are different grades of fire, but all of them derive heat and light from the sun. Similarly, all living entities, big or small, are dependent on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One’s only duty is to surrender, for one is a servant and cannot independently attain the position of master. One can attain the position of master only by the mercy of the master, not independently. Unless one understands this philosophy, he is still a mūḍha; in other words, he is not very intelligent. The mūḍhas, the asses who do not have this intelligence, cannot surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Understanding the subordinate position of the living entity takes millions of births, but when one is actually wise he surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (7.19):
bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ
“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” Prahlāda Mahārāja was a great soul, a mahātmā, and therefore he completely surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Lord. He was confident that Kṛṣṇa would give him protection under all circumstances.
sa īśvaraḥ kāla urukramo ’sāv
ojaḥ sahaḥ sattva-balendriyātmā
sa eva viśvaṁ paramaḥ sva-śaktibhiḥ
sṛjaty avaty atti guṇa-trayeśaḥ
saḥ—He (the Supreme Personality of Godhead); īśvaraḥ—the supreme controller; kālaḥ—the time factor; urukramaḥ—the Lord, whose every action is uncommon; asau—that one; ojaḥ—the strength of the senses; sahaḥ—the strength of the mind; sattva—steadiness; bala—bodily strength; indriya—and of the senses themselves; ātmā—the very self; saḥ—He; eva—indeed; viśvam—the whole universe; paramaḥ—the supreme; sva-śaktibhiḥ—by His multifarious transcendental potencies; sṛjati—creates; avati—maintains; atti—winds up; guṇa-traya-īśaḥ—the master of the material modes.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the supreme controller and time factor, is the power of the senses, the power of the mind, the power of the body, and the vital force of the senses. His influence is unlimited. He is the best of all living entities, the controller of the three modes of material nature. By His own power, He creates this cosmic manifestation, maintains it and annihilates it also.
Since the material world is being moved by the three material modes and since the Lord is their master, the Lord can create, maintain and destroy the material world.
jahy āsuraṁ bhāvam imaṁ tvam ātmanaḥ
samaṁ mano dhatsva na santi vidviṣaḥ
ṛte ’jitād ātmana utpathe sthitāt
tad dhi hy anantasya mahat samarhaṇam
jahi—just give up; āsuram—demoniac; bhāvam—tendency; imam—this; tvam—you (my dear father); ātmanaḥ—of yourself; samam—equal; manaḥ—the mind; dhatsva—make; na—not; santi—are; vidviṣaḥ—enemies; ṛte—except; ajitāt—uncontrolled; ātmanaḥ—the mind; utpathe—on the mistaken path of undesirable tendencies; sthitāt—being situated; tat hi—that (mentality); hi—indeed; anantasya—of the unlimited Lord; mahat—the best; samarhaṇam—method of worship.
Prahlāda Mahārāja continued: My dear father, please give up your demoniac mentality. Do not discriminate in your heart between enemies and friends; make your mind equipoised toward everyone. Except for the uncontrolled and misguided mind, there is no enemy within this world. When one sees everyone on the platform of equality, one then comes to the position of worshiping the Lord perfectly.
Unless one is able to fix the mind at the lotus feet of the Lord, the mind is impossible to control. As Arjuna says in Bhagavad-gītā (6.34):
cañcalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa
pramāthi balavad dṛḍham
tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye
vāyor iva suduṣkaram
“For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Kṛṣṇa, and to subdue it, it seems to me, is more difficult than controlling the wind.” The only bona fide process for controlling the mind is to fix the mind by service to the Lord. We create enemies and friends according to the dictation of the mind, but actually there are no enemies and friends. paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ [Bg. 5.18]. Samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām [Bg. 18.54]. To understand this is the preliminary condition for entering into the kingdom of devotional service.
dasyūn purā ṣaṇ na vijitya lumpato
manyanta eke sva-jitā diśo daśa
jitātmano jñasya samasya dehināṁ
sādhoḥ sva-moha-prabhavāḥ kutaḥ pare
dasyūn—plunderers; purā—in the beginning; ṣaṭ—six; na—not; vijitya—conquering; lumpataḥ—stealing all one s possessions; manyante—consider; eke—some; sva-jitāḥ—conquered; diśaḥ daśa—the ten directions; jita-ātmanaḥ—one who has conquered the senses; jñasya—learned; samasya—equipoised; dehinām—to all living entities; sādhoḥ—of such a saintly person; sva-moha-prabhavāḥ—created by one’s own illusion; kutaḥ—where; pare—enemies or opposing elements.
In former times there were many fools like you who did not conquer the six enemies that steal away the wealth of the body. These fools were very proud, thinking, “I have conquered all enemies in all the ten directions.” But if a person is victorious over the six enemies and is equipoised toward all living entities, for him there are no enemies. Enemies are merely imagined by one in ignorance.
In this material world, everyone thinks that he has conquered his enemies, not understanding that his enemies are his uncontrolled mind and five senses (manaḥ ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni karṣati [Bg. 15.7]). In this material world, everyone has become a servant of the senses. Originally everyone is a servant of Kṛṣṇa, but in ignorance one forgets this, and thus one is engaged in the service of māyā through lusty desires, anger, greed, illusion, madness and jealousy. Everyone is actually dependent on the reactions of material laws, but still one thinks himself independent and thinks that he has conquered all directions. In conclusion, one who thinks that he has many enemies is an ignorant man, whereas one who is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness knows that there are no enemies but those within oneself—the uncontrolled mind and senses.
vyaktaṁ tvaṁ martu-kāmo ’si
yo ’timātraṁ vikatthase
mumūrṣūṇāṁ hi mandātman
nanu syur viklavā giraḥ
śrī-hiraṇyakaśipuḥ uvāca—the blessed Hiraṇyakaśipu said; vyaktam—evidently; tvam—you; martu-kāmaḥ—desirous of death; asi—are; yaḥ—one who; atimātram—without limit; vikatthase—are boasting (as if you had conquered your senses whereas your father could not do so); mumūrṣūṇām—of persons who are about to meet immediate death; hi—indeed; manda-ātman—O unintelligent rascal; nanu—certainly; syuḥ—become; viklavāḥ—confused; giraḥ—the words.
Hiraṇyakaśipu replied: You rascal, you are trying to minimize my value, as if you were better than me at controlling the senses. This is over-intelligent. I can therefore understand that you desire to die at my hands, for this kind of nonsensical talk is indulged in by those about to die.
It is said in Hitopadeśa, upadeśo hi mūrkhāṇāṁ prokopāya na śāntaye. If good instructions are given to a foolish person, he does not take advantage of them, but becomes more and more angry. Prahlāda Mahārāja’s authorized instructions to his father were not accepted by Hiraṇyakaśipu as truth; instead Hiraṇyakaśipu became increasingly angry at his great son, who was a pure devotee. This kind of difficulty always exists when a devotee preaches Kṛṣṇa consciousness to persons like Hiraṇyakaśipu, who are interested in money and women. (The word hiraṇya means “gold,” and kaśipu refers to cushions or good bedding.) Moreover, a father does not like to be instructed by his son, especially if the father is a demon. Prahlāda Mahārāja’s Vaiṣṇava preaching to his demoniac father was indirectly effective, for because of Hiraṇyakaśipu’s excessive jealousy of Kṛṣṇa and His devotee, he was inviting Nṛsiṁhadeva to kill him very quickly. Thus he was expediting his being killed by the Lord Himself. Although Hiraṇyakaśipu was a demon, he is described here by the added word śrī. Why? The answer is that fortunately he had such a great devotee son as Prahlāda Mahārāja. Thus although he was a demon, he would attain salvation and return home, back to Godhead.
yas tvayā manda-bhāgyokto
kvāsau yadi sa sarvatra
kasmāt stambhe na dṛśyate
yaḥ—the one who; tvayā—by you; manda-bhāgya—O unfortunate one; uktaḥ—described; mat-anyaḥ—besides me; jagat-īśvaraḥ—the supreme controller of the universe; kva—where; asau—that one; yadi—if; saḥ—He; sarvatra—everywhere (all-pervading); kasmāt—why; stambhe—in the pillar before me; na dṛśyate—not seen.
O most unfortunate Prahlāda, you have always described a supreme being other than me, a supreme being who is above everything, who is the controller of everyone, and who is all-pervading. But where is He? If He is everywhere, then why is He not present before me in this pillar?
Demons sometimes declare to a devotee that they cannot accept the existence of God because they cannot see Him. But what the demon does not know is stated by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (7.25): nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya yogamāyā-samāvṛtaḥ. “I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by yogamāyā.” The Lord is open to being seen by devotees, but nondevotees cannot see Him. The qualification for seeing God is stated in Brahma-saṁhitā (5.38): premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti. A devotee who has developed a genuine love for Kṛṣṇa can always see Him everywhere, whereas a demon, not having a clear understanding of the Supreme Lord, cannot see Him. When Hiraṇyakaśipu was threatening to kill Prahlāda Mahārāja, Prahlāda certainly saw the column standing before him and his father, and he saw that the Lord was present in the pillar to encourage him not to fear his demoniac father’s words. The Lord was present to protect him. Hiraṇyakaśipu marked Prahlāda’s observation and asked him, “Where is your God?” Prahlāda Mahārāja replied, “He is everywhere.” Then Hiraṇyakaśipu asked, “Why is He not in this pillar before me?” Thus in all circumstances the devotee can always see the Supreme Lord, whereas the nondevotee cannot.
Prahlāda Mahārāja has here been addressed by his father as “the most unfortunate.” Hiraṇyakaśipu thought himself extremely fortunate because he possessed the property of the universe. Prahlāda Mahārāja, his legitimate son, was to have inherited this vast property, but because of his impudence, he was going to die at his father’s hands. Therefore the demoniac father considered Prahlāda the most unfortunate because Prahlāda would not be able to inherit his property. Hiraṇyakaśipu did not know that Prahlāda Mahārāja was the most fortunate person within the three worlds because Prahlāda was protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such are the misunderstandings of demons. They do not know that a devotee is protected by the Lord in all circumstances (kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati).
so ’haṁ vikatthamānasya
śiraḥ kāyād dharāmi te
gopāyeta haris tvādya
yas te śaraṇam īpsitam
saḥ—he; aham—I; vikatthamānasya—who are speaking such nonsense; śiraḥ—the head; kāyāt—from the body; harāmi—I shall take away; te—of you; gopāyeta—let Him protect; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tvā—you; adya—now; yaḥ—He who; te—your; śaraṇam—protector; īpsitam—desired.
Because you are speaking so much nonsense, I shall now sever your head from your body. Now let me see your most worshipable God come to protect you. I want to see it.
Demons always think that the God of the devotees is fictitious. They think that there is no God and that the so-called religious feeling of devotion to God is but an opiate, a kind of illusion, like the illusions derived from LSD and opium. Hiraṇyakaśipu did not believe Prahlāda Mahārāja when Prahlāda asserted that his Lord is present everywhere. Because Hiraṇyakaśipu, as a typical demon, was convinced that there is no God and that no one could protect Prahlāda, he felt encouraged to kill his son. He challenged the idea that the devotee is always protected by the Supreme Lord.
evaṁ duruktair muhur ardayan ruṣā
sutaṁ mahā-bhāgavataṁ mahāsuraḥ
khaḍgaṁ pragṛhyotpatito varāsanāt
stambhaṁ tatāḍātibalaḥ sva-muṣṭinā
evam—thus; duruktaiḥ—by harsh words; muhuḥ—constantly; ardayan—chastising; ruṣā—with unnecessary anger; sutam—his son; mahā-bhāgavatam—who was a most exalted devotee; mahā-asuraḥ—Hiraṇyakaśipu, the great demon; khaḍgam—sword; pragṛhya—taking up; utpatitaḥ—having gotten up; vara-āsanāt—from his exalted throne; stambham—the column; tatāḍa—struck; ati-balaḥ—very strong; sva-muṣṭinā—by his fist.
Being obsessed with anger, Hiraṇyakaśipu, who was very great in bodily strength, thus chastised his exalted devotee-son Prahlāda with harsh words. Cursing him again and again, Hiraṇyakaśipu took up his sword, got up from his royal throne, and with great anger struck his fist against the column.
tadaiva tasmin ninado ’tibhīṣaṇo
babhūva yenāṇḍa-kaṭāham asphuṭat
yaṁ vai sva-dhiṣṇyopagataṁ tv ajādayaḥ
śrutvā sva-dhāmātyayam aṅga menire
tadā—at that time; eva—just; tasmin—within (the pillar); ninadaḥ—a sound; ati-bhīṣaṇaḥ—very fearful; babhūva—there was; yena—by which; aṇḍa-kaṭāham—the covering of the universe; asphuṭat—appeared to crack; yam—which; vai—indeed; sva-dhiṣṇya-upagatam—reaching their respective abodes; tu—but; aja-ādayaḥ—the demigods, headed by Lord Brahmā; śrutvā—hearing; sva-dhāma-atyayam—the destruction of their abodes; aṅga—my dear Yudhiṣṭhira; menire—thought.
Then from within the pillar came a fearful sound, which appeared to crack the covering of the universe. O my dear Yudhiṣṭhira, this sound reached even the abodes of the demigods like Lord Brahmā, and when the demigods heard it, they thought, “Oh, now our planets are being destroyed!”
As we sometimes become very much afraid at the sound of a thunderbolt, perhaps thinking that our houses will be destroyed, the great demigods like Lord Brahmā feared the thundering sound that came from the pillar in front of Hiraṇyakaśipu.
sa vikraman putra-vadhepsur ojasā
niśamya nirhrādam apūrvam adbhutam
antaḥ-sabhāyāṁ na dadarśa tat-padaṁ
vitatrasur yena surāri-yūtha-pāḥ
saḥ—he (Hiraṇyakaśipu); vikraman—exhibiting his prowess; putra-vadha-īpsuḥ—desirous of killing his own son; ojasā—with great strength; niśamya—hearing; nirhrādam—the fierce sound; apūrvam—never heard before; adbhutam—very wonderful; antaḥ-sabhāyām—within the jurisdiction of the great assembly; na—not; dadarśa—saw; tat-padam—the source of that tumultuous sound; vitatrasuḥ—became afraid; yena—by which sound; sura-ari-yūtha-pāḥ—the other leaders of the demons (not only Hiraṇyakaśipu).
While showing his extraordinary prowess, Hiraṇyakaśipu, who desired to kill his own son, heard that wonderful, tumultuous sound, which had never before been heard. Upon hearing the sound, the other leaders of the demons were afraid. None of them could find the origin of that sound in the assembly.
In Bhagavad-gītā (7. 8), Kṛṣṇa explains Himself by saying:
raso ’ham apsu kaunteya
prabhāsmi śaśi sūryayoḥ
śabdaḥ khe pauruṣaṁ nṛṣu
“O son of Kuntī [Arjuna], I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.” Here the Lord exhibited His presence everywhere by the tumultuous sound in the sky (śabdaḥ khe). The tumultuous thundering sound was proof of the Lord’s presence. The demons like Hiraṇyakaśipu could now realize the supreme ruling power of the Lord, and thus Hiraṇyakaśipu became afraid. However powerful a man may be, he always fears the sound of a thunderbolt. Similarly, Hiraṇyakaśipu and all the demons who were his associates were extremely afraid because of the presence of the Supreme Lord in the form of sound, although they could not trace out the source of the sound.
satyaṁ vidhātuṁ nija-bhṛtya-bhāṣitaṁ
vyāptiṁ ca bhūteṣv akhileṣu cātmanaḥ
stambhe sabhāyāṁ na mṛgaṁ na mānuṣam
satyam—true; vidhātum—to prove; nija-bhṛtya-bhāṣitam—the words of His own servant (Prahlāda Mahārāja, who had said that his Lord is present everywhere); vyāptim—the pervasion; ca—and; bhūteṣu—among the living entities and elements; akhileṣu—all; ca—also; ātmanaḥ—of Himself; adṛśyata—was seen; ati—very; adbhuta—wonderful; rūpam—form; udvahan—taking; stambhe—in the pillar; sabhāyām—within the assembly; na—not; mṛgam—an animal; na—nor; mānuṣam—a human being.
To prove that the statement of His servant Prahlāda Mahārāja was substantial—in other words, to prove that the Supreme Lord is present everywhere, even within the pillar of an assembly hall—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, exhibited a wonderful form never before seen. The form was neither that of a man nor that of a lion. Thus the Lord appeared in His wonderful form in the assembly hall.
When Hiraṇyakaśipu asked Prahlāda Mahārāja, “Where is your Lord? Is He present in this pillar?” Prahlāda Mahārāja fearlessly replied, “Yes, my Lord is present everywhere.” Therefore, to convince Hiraṇyakaśipu that the statement of Prahlāda Mahārāja was unmistakably true, the Lord appeared from the pillar. The Lord appeared as half lion and half man so that Hiraṇyakaśipu could not understand whether the great giant was a lion or a human being. To substantiate Prahlāda’s statement, the Lord proved that His devotee, as declared in Bhagavad-gītā, is never vanquished (kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati). Prahlāda Mahārāja’s demoniac father had repeatedly threatened to kill Prahlāda, but Prahlāda was confident that he could not be killed, since he was protected by the Supreme Lord. By appearing from the pillar, the Lord encouraged His devotee, saying in effect, “Don’t worry. I am present here.” By manifesting His form as Nṛsiṁhadeva, the Lord also preserved the truth of Lord Brahmā’s promise that Hiraṇyakaśipu was not to be killed by any animal or any man. The Lord appeared in a form that could not be said to be fully a man or a lion.
sa sattvam enaṁ parito vipaśyan
stambhasya madhyād anunirjihānam
nāyaṁ mṛgo nāpi naro vicitram
aho kim etan nṛ-mṛgendra-rūpam
saḥ—he (Hiraṇyakaśipu, the King of the Daityas); sattvam—living being; enam—that; paritaḥ—all around; vipaśyan—looking; stambhasya—of the pillar; madhyāt—from the midst; anunirjihānam—having come out; na—not; ayam—this; mṛgaḥ—animal; na—not; api—indeed; naraḥ—human being; vicitram—very wonderful; aho—alas; kim—what; etat—this; nṛ-mṛga-indra-rūpam—the form of both a man and the king of the beasts, the lion.
While Hiraṇyakaśipu looked all around to find the source of the sound, that wonderful form of the Lord, which could not be ascertained to be either a man or a lion, emerged from the pillar. In amazement, Hiraṇyakaśipu wondered, “What is this creature that is half man and half lion?”
A demon cannot calculate the unlimited potency of the Supreme Lord. As stated in the Vedas, parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate svābhāvikī jñāna-bala-kriyā ca: the different potencies of the Lord are always working as an automatic exhibition of His knowledge. For a demon it is certainly wonderful that the form of a lion and the form of a man can be united, since a demon has no experience of the inconceivable power for which the Supreme Lord is called “all-powerful.” Demons cannot understand the omnipotence of the Lord. They simply compare the Lord to one of them (avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam [Bg. 9.11]). Mūḍhas, rascals, think that Kṛṣṇa is an ordinary human being who appears for the benefit of other human beings. paraṁ bhāvam ajānantaḥ: fools, rascals and demons cannot realize the supreme potency of the Lord, but He can do anything and everything; indeed, He can do whatever He likes. When Hiraṇyakaśipu received benedictions from Lord Brahmā, he thought that he was safe, since he received the benediction that he would not be killed either by an animal or by a human being. He never thought that an animal and human being would be combined so that demons like him would be puzzled by such a form. This is the meaning of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s omnipotence.
mīmāṁsamānasya samutthito ’grato
nṛsiṁha-rūpas tad alaṁ bhayānakam
divi-spṛśat kāyam adīrgha-pīvara-
candrāṁśu-gauraiś churitaṁ tanūruhair
viṣvag bhujānīka-śataṁ nakhāyudham
mīmāṁsamānasya—of Hiraṇyakaśipu, who was contemplating the wonderful form of the Lord; samutthitaḥ—appeared; agrataḥ—in front; nṛsiṁha-rūpaḥ—the form of Nṛsiṁhadeva (half lion and half man); tat—that; alam—extraordinarily; bhayānakam—very fearful; pratapta—like molten; cāmīkara—gold; caṇḍa-locanam—having fierce eyes; sphurat—flashing; saṭā-keśara—by His mane; jṛmbhita-ānanam—whose face was expanded; karāla—deadly; daṁṣṭram—with a set of teeth; karavāla-cañcala—waving like a sharp sword; kṣura-anta—and as sharp as a razor; jihvam—whose tongue; bhrukuṭī-mukha—due to His frowning face; ulbaṇam—dreadful; stabdha—motionless; ūrdhva—extending upward; karṇam—whose ears; giri-kandara—like the caves of a mountain; adbhuta—very wonderful; vyāttāsya—with a widely opened mouth; nāsam—and nostrils; hanu-bheda-bhīṣaṇam—causing fear due to the separation of the jaws; divi-spṛśat—touching the sky; kāyam—whose body; adīrgha—short; pīvara—fat; grīva—neck; uru—broad; vakṣaḥ-sthalam—chest; alpa—small; madhyamam—middle portion of the body; candra-aṁśu—like the rays of the moon; gauraiḥ—whitish; churitam—covered; tanūruhaiḥ—with hairs; viṣvak—in all directions; bhuja—of arms; anīka-śatam—with a hundred rows; nakha—having nails; āyudham—as fatal weapons; durāsadam—very difficult to conquer; sarva—all; nija—personal; itara—and other; āyudha—of weapons; praveka—by use of the best; vidrāvita—caused to run; daitya—by whom the demons; dānavam—and the rogues (atheists).
Hiraṇyakaśipu studied the form of the Lord, trying to decide who the form of Nṛsiṁhadeva standing before him was. The Lord’s form was extremely fearsome because of His angry eyes, which resembled molten gold; His shining mane, which expanded the dimensions of His fearful face; His deadly teeth; and His razor-sharp tongue, which moved about like a dueling sword. His ears were erect and motionless, and His nostrils and gaping mouth appeared like caves of a mountain. His jaws parted fearfully, and His entire body touched the sky. His neck was very short and thick, His chest broad, His waist thin, and the hairs on His body as white as the rays of the moon. His arms, which resembled flanks of soldiers, spread in all directions as He killed the demons, rogues and atheists with His conchshell, disc, club, lotus and other natural weapons.
prāyeṇa me ’yaṁ hariṇorumāyinā
vadhaḥ smṛto ’nena samudyatena kim
evaṁ bruvaṁs tv abhyapatad gadāyudho
nadan nṛsiṁhaṁ prati daitya-kuñjaraḥ
prāyeṇa—probably; me—of me; ayam—this; hariṇā—by the Supreme Lord; uru-māyinā—who possesses the great mystic power; vadhaḥ—the death; smṛtaḥ—planned; anena—with this; samudyatena—endeavor; kim—what use; evam—in this way; bruvan—murmuring; tu—indeed; abhyapatat—attacked; gadā-āyudhaḥ—armed with his weapon, the club; nadan—loudly roaring; nṛ-siṁham—the Lord, appearing in the form of half lion and half man; prati—toward; daitya-kuñjaraḥ—Hiraṇyakaśipu, who was like an elephant.
Hiraṇyakaśipu murmured to himself, “Lord Viṣṇu, who possesses great mystic power, has made this plan to kill me, but what is the use of such an attempt? Who can fight with me?” Thinking like this and taking up his club, Hiraṇyakaśipu attacked the Lord like an elephant.
In the jungle there are sometimes fights between lions and elephants. Here the Lord appeared like a lion, and Hiraṇyakaśipu, unafraid of the Lord, attacked Him like an elephant. Generally the elephant is defeated by the lion, and therefore the comparison in this verse is appropriate.
alakṣito ’gnau patitaḥ pataṅgamo
yathā nṛsiṁhaujasi so ’suras tadā
na tad vicitraṁ khalu sattva-dhāmani
sva-tejasā yo nu purāpibat tamaḥ
alakṣitaḥ—invisible; agnau—in the fire; patitaḥ—fallen; pataṅgamaḥ—an insect; yathā—just as; nṛsiṁha—of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva; ojasi—in the effulgence; saḥ—he; asuraḥ—Hiraṇyakaśipu; tadā—at that time; na—not; tat—that; vicitram—wonderful; khalu—indeed; sattva-dhāmani—in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in pure goodness; sva-tejasā—by His own effulgence; yaḥ—He who (the Lord); nu—indeed; purā—formerly; apibat—swallowed up; tamaḥ—the darkness within the material creation.
Just as a small insect falls forcefully into a fire and the insignificant creature becomes invisible, when Hiraṇyakaśipu attacked the Lord, who was full of effulgence, Hiraṇyakaśipu became invisible. This is not at all astonishing, for the Lord is always situated in pure goodness. Formerly, during creation, He entered the dark universe and illuminated it by His spiritual effulgence.
The Lord is situated transcendentally, in pure goodness. The material world is generally controlled by tamo-guṇa, the quality of ignorance, but the spiritual world, because of the presence of the Lord and His effulgence, is free from all contamination by darkness, passion or contaminated goodness. Although there is a tinge of goodness in this material world in terms of the brahminical qualifications, such qualifications sometimes become invisible because of the strong prevalence of the modes of passion and ignorance. But because the Lord is always transcendentally situated, the material modes of passion and ignorance cannot touch Him. Whenever the Lord is present, there cannot be any darkness from the mode of ignorance.
It is stated in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 22.31):
kṛṣṇa——sūrya-sama, māyā haya andhakāra
yāhāṅ kṛṣṇa, tāhāṅ nāhi māyāra adhikāra
“Godhead is light. Nescience is darkness. Where there is Godhead there is no nescience.” This material world is full of darkness and ignorance of spiritual life, but by bhakti-yoga this ignorance is dissipated. The Lord appeared because of the bhakti-yoga exhibited by Prahlāda Mahārāja, and as soon as the Lord appeared, the influence of Hiraṇyakaśipu’s passion and ignorance was vanquished as the Lord’s quality of pure goodness, or the Brahman effulgence, became prominent. In that prominent effulgence, Hiraṇyakaśipu became invisible, or his influence became insignificant. An example illustrating how the darkness of the material world is vanquished is given in the śāstra. When Brahmā was created from the lotus stem growing from the abdomen of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, Lord Brahmā saw everything to be dark, but when he received knowledge from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, everything became clear, as everything becomes clear when one comes from night to sunshine. The important point is that as long as we are in the material modes of nature, we are always in darkness. This darkness cannot be dissipated without the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which is invoked by the practice of bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga creates a transcendental situation with no tinges of material contamination.
tato ’bhipadyābhyahanan mahāsuro
ruṣā nṛsiṁhaṁ gadayoruvegayā
taṁ vikramantaṁ sagadaṁ gadādharo
mahoragaṁ tārkṣya-suto yathāgrahīt
tataḥ—thereafter; abhipadya—attacking; abhyahanat—struck; mahā-asuraḥ—the great demon (Hiraṇyakaśipu); ruṣā—with anger; nṛsiṁham—Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva; gadayā—by his club; uru-vegayā—moving with great force; tam—him (Hiraṇyakaśipu); vikramantam—showing his prowess; sa-gadam—with his club; gadā-dharaḥ—Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, who also holds a club in His hand; mahā-uragam—a great snake; tārkṣya-sutaḥ—Garuḍa, the son of Tārkṣya; yathā—just as; agrahīt—captured.
Thereafter, the great demon Hiraṇyakaśipu, who was extremely angry, swiftly attacked Nṛsiṁhadeva with his club and began to beat Him. Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, however, captured the great demon, along with his club, just as Garuḍa might capture a great snake.
sa tasya hastotkalitas tadāsuro
vikrīḍato yadvad ahir garutmataḥ
asādhv amanyanta hṛtaukaso ’marā
ghana-cchadā bhārata sarva-dhiṣṇya-pāḥ
saḥ—he (Hiraṇyakaśipu); tasya—of Him (Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva); hasta—from the hands; utkalitaḥ—slipped; tadā—at that time; asuraḥ—the King of the demons, Hiraṇyakaśipu; vikrīḍataḥ—playing; yadvat—exactly like; ahiḥ—a snake; garutmataḥ—of Garuḍa; asādhu—not very good; amanyanta—considered; hṛta-okasaḥ—whose abodes were taken by Hiraṇyakaśipu; amarāḥ—the demigods; ghana-cchadāḥ—situated behind a cover of clouds; bhārata—O great son of Bhārata; sarva-dhiṣṇya-pāḥ—the rulers of the heavenly planets.
O Yudhiṣṭhira, O great son of Bhārata, when Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva gave Hiraṇyakaśipu a chance to slip from His hand, just as Garuḍa sometimes plays with a snake and lets it slip from his mouth, the demigods, who had lost their abodes and who were hiding behind the clouds for fear of the demon, did not consider that incident very good. Indeed, they were perturbed.
When Hiraṇyakaśipu was in the process of being killed by Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, the Lord gave the demon a chance to slip from His clutches. This incident was not very much appreciated by the demigods, for they were greatly afraid of Hiraṇyakaśipu. They knew that if somehow or other Hiraṇyakaśipu escaped from Nṛsiṁhadeva’s hands and saw that the demigods were looking forward to his death with great pleasure, he would take great revenge upon them. Therefore they were very much afraid.
taṁ manyamāno nija-vīrya-śaṅkitaṁ
yad dhasta-mukto nṛhariṁ mahāsuraḥ
punas tam āsajjata khaḍga-carmaṇī
pragṛhya vegena gata-śramo mṛdhe
tam—Him (Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva); manyamānaḥ—thinking; nija-vīrya-śaṅkitam—afraid of his prowess; yat—because; hasta-muktaḥ—freed from the clutches of the Lord; nṛ-harim—Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva; mahā-asuraḥ—the great demon; punaḥ—again; tam—Him; āsajjata—attacked; khaḍga-carmaṇī—his sword and shield; pragṛhya—taking up; vegena—with great force; gata-śramaḥ—his fatigue having gone; mṛdhe—in the battle.
When Hiraṇyakaśipu was freed from the hands of Nṛsiṁhadeva, he falsely thought that the Lord was afraid of his prowess. Therefore, after taking a little rest from the fight, he took up his sword and shield and again attacked the Lord with great force.
When a sinful man enjoys material facilities, foolish people sometimes think, “How is it that this sinful man is enjoying whereas a pious man is suffering?” By the will of the Supreme, a sinful man is sometimes given the chance to enjoy the material world as if he were not under the clutches of material nature, just so that he may be fooled. A sinful man who acts against the laws of nature must be punished, but sometimes he is given a chance to play, exactly like Hiraṇyakaśipu when he was released from the hands of Nṛsiṁhadeva. Hiraṇyakaśipu was destined to be ultimately killed by Nṛsiṁhadeva, but just to see the fun, the Lord gave him a chance to slip from His hands.
taṁ śyena-vegaṁ śata-candra-vartmabhiś
carantam acchidram upary-adho hariḥ
kṛtvāṭṭa-hāsaṁ kharam utsvanolbaṇaṁ
nimīlitākṣaṁ jagṛhe mahā-javaḥ
tam—him (Hiraṇyakaśipu); śyena-vegam—possessing the speed of a hawk; śata-candra-vartmabhiḥ—by the maneuvers of his sword and his shield, which was marked with a hundred moonlike spots; carantam—moving; acchidram—without any weak spot; upari-adhaḥ—up and down; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kṛtvā—making; aṭṭa-hāsam—loud laughter; kharam—extremely shrill; utsvana-ulbaṇam—very fearful due to its great sound; nimīlita—closed; akṣam—eyes; jagṛhe—captured; mahā-javaḥ—the greatly powerful Lord.
Making a loud, shrill sound of laughter, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, who is extremely strong and powerful, captured Hiraṇyakaśipu, who was protecting himself with his sword and shield, leaving no gaps open. With the speed of a hawk, Hiraṇyakaśipu moved sometimes in the sky and sometimes on the earth, his eyes closed because of fear of Nṛsiṁhadeva’s laughter.
viṣvak sphurantaṁ grahaṇāturaṁ harir
vyālo yathākhuṁ kuliśākṣata-tvacam
dvāry ūrum āpatya dadāra līlayā
nakhair yathāhiṁ garuḍo mahā-viṣam
viṣvak—all around; sphurantam—moving his limbs; grahaṇa-āturam—afflicted because of being captured; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nṛsiṁhadeva; vyālaḥ—a snake; yathā—just as; ākhum—a mouse; kuliśa-akṣata—not cut even by the thunderbolt thrown by Indra; tvacam—whose skin; dvāri—on the threshold of the door; ūrum—on His thigh; āpatya—placing; dadāra—pierced; līlayā—very easily; nakhaiḥ—with the nails; yathā—just as; ahim—a snake; garuḍaḥ—Garuḍa, the carrier of Lord Viṣṇu; mahā-viṣam—very venomous.
As a snake captures a mouse or Garuḍa captures a very venomous snake, Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva captured Hiraṇyakaśipu, who could not be pierced even by the thunderbolt of King Indra. As Hiraṇyakaśipu moved his limbs here, there and all around, very much afflicted at being captured, Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva placed the demon on His lap, supporting him with His thighs, and in the doorway of the assembly hall the Lord very easily tore the demon to pieces with the nails of His hand.
Hiraṇyakaśipu had received from Lord Brahmā the benediction that he would not die on the land or in the sky. Therefore, to keep the promise of Lord Brahmā intact, Nṛsiṁhadeva placed Hiraṇyakaśipu’s body on His lap, which was neither land nor sky. Hiraṇyakaśipu had received the benediction that he would not die either during the day or at night. Therefore, to keep this promise of Brahmā, the Lord killed Hiraṇyakaśipu in the evening, which is the end of day and the beginning of night but is neither day nor night. Hiraṇyakaśipu had taken a benediction from Lord Brahmā that he would not die from any weapon or be killed by any person, dead or alive. Therefore, just to keep the word of Lord Brahmā, Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva pierced Hiraṇyakaśipu’s body with His nails, which were not weapons and were neither living nor dead. Indeed, the nails can be called dead, but at the same time they can be said to be alive. To keep intact all of Lord Brahmā’s benedictions, Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva paradoxically but very easily killed the great demon Hiraṇyakaśipu.
vyāttānanāntaṁ vilihan sva-jihvayā
yathāntra-mālī dvipa-hatyayā hariḥ
saṁrambha—because of great anger; duṣprekṣya—very difficult to look at; karāla—very fearful; locanaḥ—eyes; vyātta—expanded; ānana-antam—the edge of the mouth; vilihan—licking; sva-jihvayā—with His tongue; asṛk-lava—with spots of blood; ākta—smeared; aruṇa—reddish; keśara—mane; ānanaḥ—and face; yathā—just as; antra-mālī—decorated with a garland of intestines; dvipa-hatyayā—by the killing of an elephant; hariḥ—the lion.
Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva’s mouth and mane were sprinkled with drops of blood, and His fierce eyes, full of anger, were impossible to look at. Licking the edge of His mouth with His tongue, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nṛsiṁhadeva, decorated with a garland of intestines taken from Hiraṇyakaśipu’s abdomen, resembled a lion that has just killed an elephant.
The hair on Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva’s face, being sprinkled with drops of blood, was reddish and looked very beautiful. Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva pierced Hiraṇyakaśipu’s abdomen with His nails, pulled out the demon’s intestines and wore them as a garland, which enhanced His beauty. Thus the Lord became very fearsome, like a lion engaged in fighting an elephant.
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visṛjya tasyānucarān udāyudhān
ahan samastān nakha-śastra-pāṇibhir
dordaṇḍa-yūtho ’nupathān sahasraśaḥ
nakha-aṅkura—by the pointed nails; utpāṭita—torn out; hṛt-saroruham—whose heart, which was like a lotus flower; visṛjya—leaving aside; tasya—of him; anucarān—the followers (soldiers and bodyguards); udāyudhān—having raised weapons; ahan—He killed; samastān—all; nakha-śastra-pāṇibhiḥ—with His nails and other weapons in His hands; dordaṇḍa-yūthaḥ—having unlimited arms; anupathān—the attendants of Hiraṇyakaśipu; sahasraśaḥ—by thousands.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had many, many arms, first uprooted Hiraṇyakaśipu’s heart and then threw him aside and turned toward the demon’s soldiers. These soldiers had come in thousands to fight with Him with raised weapons and were very faithful followers of Hiraṇyakaśipu, but Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva killed all of them merely with the ends of His nails.
Since the creation of the material world, there have been two kinds of men—the devas and the asuras. The devas are always faithful to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whereas the asuras are always atheists who defy the supremacy of the Lord. At the present moment, throughout the entire world, the atheists are extremely numerous. They are trying to prove that there is no God and that everything takes place due to combinations and permutations of material elements. Thus the material world is becoming more and more godless, and consequently everything is in a disturbed condition. If this continues, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will certainly take action, as He did in the case of Hiraṇyakaśipu. Within a second, Hiraṇyakaśipu and his followers were destroyed, and similarly if this godless civilization continues, it will be destroyed in a second, simply by the movement of one finger of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demons should therefore be careful and curtail their godless civilization. They should take advantage of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and become faithful to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; otherwise they are doomed. As Hiraṇyakaśipu was killed in a second, the godless civilization can be destroyed at any moment.
saṭāvadhūtā jaladāḥ parāpatan
grahāś ca tad-dṛṣṭi-vimuṣṭa-rociṣaḥ
ambhodhayaḥ śvāsa-hatā vicukṣubhur
nirhrāda-bhītā digibhā vicukruśuḥ
saṭā—by the hair on Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva’s head; avadhūtāḥ—shaken; jaladāḥ—the clouds; parāpatan—scattered; grahāḥ—the luminous planets; ca—and; tat-dṛṣṭi—by His glaring glance; vimuṣṭa—taken away; rociṣaḥ—whose effulgence; ambhodhayaḥ—the water of the oceans and seas; śvāsa-hatāḥ—being struck by Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva’s breathing; vicukṣubhuḥ—became turbulent; nirhrāda-bhītāḥ—frightened by Nṛsiṁhadeva’s roaring; digibhāḥ—all the elephants guarding the quarters; vicukruśuḥ—cried out.
The hair on Nṛsiṁhadeva’s head shook the clouds and scattered them here and there, His glaring eyes stole the effulgence of the luminaries in the sky, and His breathing agitated the seas and oceans. Because of His roaring, all the elephants in the world began to cry in fear.
As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (10.41):
yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ
śrīmad ūrjitam eva vā
tat tad evāvagaccha tvaṁ
“Know that all beautiful, glorious and mighty creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.” The illumination of the planets and stars in the sky is but a partial manifestation of the Lord’s effulgence. There are many wonderful qualities of different living entities, but whatever extraordinary things exist are but part of the Lord’s tejas, His illumination or brilliance. The deep waves of the seas and oceans and the many other wonders within the creation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead all become insignificant when the Lord, in His special feature, incarnates within this material world. Everything is insignificant in comparison to His personal, all-defeating transcendental qualities.
protsarpata kṣmā ca padābhipīḍitā
śailāḥ samutpetur amuṣya raṁhasā
tat-tejasā khaṁ kakubho na rejire
dyauḥ—outer space; tat-saṭā—by His hair; utkṣipta—thrown up; vimāna-saṅkulā—filled with airplanes; protsarpata—slipped out of place; kṣmā—the planet earth; ca—also; pada-abhipīḍitā—distressed due to the heavy weight of the lotus feet of the Lord; śailāḥ—the hills and mountains; samutpetuḥ—sprang up; amuṣya—of that one (the Lord); raṁhasā—due to the intolerable force; tat-tejasā—by His effulgence; kham—the sky; kakubhaḥ—the ten directions; na rejire—did not shine.
Airplanes were thrown into outer space and the upper planetary system by the hair on Nṛsiṁhadeva’s head. Because of the pressure of the Lord’s lotus feet, the earth appeared to slip from its position, and all the hills and mountains sprang up due to His intolerable force. Because of the Lord’s bodily effulgence, both the sky and all directions diminished in their natural illumination.
That there were airplanes flying in the sky long, long ago can be understood from this verse. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was spoken five thousand years ago, and the statements of this verse prove that the symptoms of a very advanced civilization then existed, even in the upper planetary systems, as well as in the lower planetary systems. Modern scientists and philosophers foolishly explain that there was no civilization prior to three thousand years ago, but the statement of this verse nullifies such whimsical judgments. The Vedic civilization existed millions and millions of years ago. It existed since the creation of this universe, and it included arrangements all over the universe with all the modern amenities and even more.
tataḥ sabhāyām upaviṣṭam uttame
nṛpāsane sambhṛta-tejasaṁ vibhum
pracaṇḍa-vaktraṁ na babhāja kaścana
tataḥ—thereafter; sabhāyām—in the assembly house; upaviṣṭam—seated; uttame—on the best; nṛpa-āsane—throne (upon which King Hiraṇyakaśipu used to sit); sambhṛta-tejasam—in full effulgence; vibhum—the Supreme Lord; alakṣita-dvairatham—whose challenger or enemy was not seen; ati—very much; amarṣaṇam—fearsome (due to His anger); pracaṇḍa—terrible; vaktram—face; na—not; babhāja—worshiped; kaścana—anyone.
Manifesting a full effulgence and a fearsome countenance, Lord Nṛsiṁha, being very angry and finding no contestant to face His power and opulence, then sat down in the assembly hall on the excellent throne of the king. Because of fear and obedience, no one could come forward to serve the Lord directly.
When the Lord sat on the throne of Hiraṇyakaśipu, there was no one to protest; no enemy came forward on behalf of Hiraṇyakaśipu to fight with the Lord. This means that His supremacy was immediately accepted by the demons. Another point is that although Hiraṇyakaśipu treated the Lord as his bitterest enemy, he was the Lord’s faithful servant in Vaikuṇṭha, and therefore the Lord had no hesitation in sitting on the throne that Hiraṇyakaśipu had so laboriously created. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura remarks in this connection that sometimes, with great care and attention, great saintly persons and ṛṣis offer the Lord valuable seats dedicated with Vedic mantras and tantras, but still the Lord does not sit upon those thrones. Hiraṇyakaśipu, however, had formerly been Jaya, the doorkeeper at the Vaikuṇṭha gate, and although he had fallen because of the curse of the brāhmaṇas and had gotten the nature of a demon, and although he had never offered anything to the Lord as Hiraṇyakaśipu, the Lord is so affectionate to His devotee and servant that He nonetheless took pleasure in sitting on the throne that Hiraṇyakaśipu had created. In this regard it is to be understood that a devotee is fortunate in any condition of his life.
tam ādi-daityaṁ hariṇā hataṁ mṛdhe
prasūna-varṣair vavṛṣuḥ sura-striyaḥ
niśāmya—hearing; loka-traya—of the three worlds; mastaka-jvaram—the headache; tam—him; ādi—the original; daityam—demon; hariṇā—by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; hatam—killed; mṛdhe—in battle; praharṣa-vega—by an outburst of ecstasy; utkalita-ānanāḥ—whose faces blossomed; muhuḥ—again and again; prasūna-varṣaiḥ—with showers of flowers; vavṛṣuḥ—rained; sura-striyaḥ—the wives of the demigods.
Hiraṇyakaśipu had been exactly like a fever of meningitis in the head of the three worlds. Thus when the wives of the demigods in the heavenly planets saw that the great demon had been killed by the personal hands of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, their faces blossomed in great joy. The wives of the demigods again and again showered flowers from heaven upon Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva like rain.
tadā vimānāvalibhir nabhastalaṁ
didṛkṣatāṁ saṅkulam āsa nākinām
surānakā dundubhayo ’tha jaghnire
gandharva-mukhyā nanṛtur jaguḥ striyaḥ
tadā—at that time; vimāna-āvalibhiḥ—with different types of airplanes; nabhastalam—the sky; didṛkṣatām—desirous of seeing; saṅkulam—crowded; āsa—became; nākinām—of the demigods; sura-ānakāḥ—the drums of the demigods; dundubhayaḥ—the kettledrums; atha—as well; jaghnire—were sounded; gandharva-mukhyāḥ—the chiefs of Gandharvaloka; nanṛtuḥ—began to dance; jaguḥ—sang; striyaḥ—heavenly society women.
At that time, the airplanes of the demigods, who desired to see the activities of the Supreme Lord, Nārāyaṇa, crowded the sky. The demigods began beating drums and kettledrums, and upon hearing them the angelic women began to dance, while the chiefs of the Gandharvas sang sweetly.
ṛṣayaḥ pitaraḥ siddhā
manavaḥ prajānāṁ patayo
yakṣāḥ kimpuruṣās tāta
te viṣṇu-pārṣadāḥ sarve
tatra—there (in the sky); upavrajya—coming (in their respective airplanes); vibudhāḥ—all the different demigods; brahma-indra-giriśa-ādayaḥ—headed by Lord Brahmā, King Indra and Lord Śiva; ṛṣayaḥ—the great saintly sages; pitaraḥ—the inhabitants of Pitṛloka; siddhāḥ—the residents of Siddhaloka; vidyādhara—the residents of Vidyādharaloka; mahā-uragāḥ—the residents of the planets where great serpents reside; manavaḥ—the Manus; prajānām—of the living entities (on different planets); patayaḥ—the chiefs; gandharva—the residents of Gandharvaloka; apsara—the residents of the angelic planet; cāraṇāḥ—the residents of Cāraṇaloka; yakṣāḥ—the Yakṣas; kimpuruṣāḥ—the Kimpuruṣas; tāta—O dear one; vetālāḥ—the Vetālas; saha-kinnarāḥ—along with the Kinnaras; te—they; viṣṇu-pārṣadāḥ—the personal associates of Lord Viṣṇu (in the Vaikuṇṭhalokas); sarve—all; sunanda-kumuda-ādayaḥ—headed by Sunanda and Kumuda; mūrdhni—on their heads; baddha-añjali-puṭāḥ—with folded hands; āsīnam—who was sitting on the throne; tīvra-tejasam—exposing His great spiritual effulgence; īḍire—offered respectful worship; nara-śārdulam—unto the Lord, who had appeared as half man and half lion; na ati-dūracarāḥ—coming near; pṛthak—individually.
My dear King Yudhiṣṭhira, the demigods then approached the Lord. They were headed by Lord Brahmā, King Indra and Lord Śiva and included great saintly persons and the residents of Pitṛloka, Siddhaloka, Vidyādhara-loka and the planet of the snakes. The Manus approached, and so did the chiefs of various other planets. The angelic dancers approached, as did the Gandharvas, the Cāraṇas, the Yakṣas, the inhabitants of Kinnaraloka, the Vetālas, the inhabitants of Kimpuruṣa-loka, and the personal servants of Viṣṇu like Sunanda and Kumuda. All of them came near the Lord, who glowed with intense light. They individually offered their obeisances and prayers, their hands folded at their heads.
nato ’smy anantāya duranta-śaktaye
viśvasya sarga-sthiti-saṁyamān guṇaiḥ
sva-līlayā sandadhate ’vyayātmane
śrī-brahmā uvāca—Lord Brahmā said; nataḥ—bowed down; asmi—I am; anantāya—unto the unlimited Lord; duranta—very difficult to find an end to; śaktaye—who possesses different potencies; vicitra-vīryāya—having varieties of prowess; pavitra-karmaṇe—whose actions have no reaction (even though doing contrary things, He remains without contamination by the material modes); viśvasya—of the universe; sarga—creation; sthiti—maintenance; saṁyamān—and annihilation; guṇaiḥ—by the material qualities; sva-līlayā—very easily; sandadhate—performs; avyaya-ātmane—whose personality never deteriorates.
Lord Brahmā prayed: My Lord, You are unlimited, and You possess unending potencies. No one can estimate or calculate Your prowess and wonderful influence, for Your actions are never polluted by the material energy. Through the material qualities, You very easily create the universe, maintain it and again annihilate it, yet You remain the same, without deterioration. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You.
The activities of the Lord are always wonderful. His personal servants Jaya and Vijaya were confidential friends, yet they were cursed, and they accepted bodies of demons. Again, in the family of one such demon, Prahlāda Mahārāja was caused to take birth to exhibit the behavior of an exalted devotee, and then the Lord accepted the body of Nṛsiṁhadeva to kill that same demon, who by the Lord’s own will had taken birth in a demoniac family. Therefore, who can understand the Lord’s transcendental activities? Not to speak of understanding the transcendental activities of the Lord, no one can understand even the activities of His servants. In Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 23.39) it is said, tāṅra vākya, kriyā, mudrā vijñeha nā bhujhaya: no one can understand the activities of the Lord’s servants. Therefore, what to speak of the activities of the Lord? Who can understand how Kṛṣṇa is benefiting the entire world? The Lord is addressed as duranta-śakti because no one can understand His potencies and how He acts.
kopa-kālo yugāntas te
hato ’yam asuro ’lpakaḥ
tat-sutaṁ pāhy upasṛtaṁ
bhaktaṁ te bhakta-vatsala
śrī-rudraḥ uvāca—Lord Śiva offered his prayer; kopa-kālaḥ—the right time for Your anger (for the purpose of annihilating the universe); yuga-antaḥ—the end of the millennium; te—by You; hataḥ—killed; ayam—this; asuraḥ—great demon; alpakaḥ—very insignificant; tat-sutam—his son (Prahlāda Mahārāja); pāhi—just protect; upasṛtam—who is surrendered and standing nearby; bhaktam—devotee; te—of Your Lordship; bhakta-vatsala—O my Lord, who are so affectionate to Your devotee.
Lord Śiva said: The end of the millennium is the time for Your anger. Now that this insignificant demon Hiraṇyakaśipu has been killed, O my Lord, who are naturally affectionate to Your devotee, kindly protect his son Prahlāda Mahārāja, who is standing nearby as Your fully surrendered devotee.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the creator of the material world. There are three processes in creation—namely creation, maintenance and finally annihilation. During the period of annihilation, at the end of each millennium, the Lord becomes angry, and the part of anger is played by Lord Śiva, who is therefore called Rudra. When the Lord appeared in great anger to kill Hiraṇyakaśipu, everyone was extremely afraid of the Lord’s attitude, but Lord Śiva, knowing very well that the Lord’s anger is also His līlā, was not afraid. Lord Śiva knew that he would have to play the part of anger for the Lord. Kāla means Lord Śiva (Bhairava), and kopa refers to the Lord’s anger. These words, combined together as kopa-kāla, refer to the end of each millennium. Actually the Lord is always affectionate toward His devotees, even though He may appear very angry. Because He is avyayātmā—because He never falls down—even when angry the Lord is affectionate toward His devotees. Therefore Lord Śiva reminded the Lord to act like an affectionate father toward Prahlāda Mahārāja, who was standing by the Lord’s side as an exalted, fully surrendered devotee.
pratyānītāḥ parama bhavatā trāyatā naḥ sva-bhāgā
daityākrāntaṁ hṛdaya-kamalaṁ tad-gṛhaṁ pratyabodhi
kāla-grastaṁ kiyad idam aho nātha śuśrūṣatāṁ te
muktis teṣāṁ na hi bahumatā nārasiṁhāparaiḥ kim
śrī-indraḥ uvāca—Indra, the King of heaven, said; pratyānītāḥ—recovered; parama—O Supreme; bhavatā—by Your Lordship; trāyatā—who are protecting; naḥ—us; sva-bhāgāḥ—shares in the sacrifices; daitya-ākrāntam—afflicted by the demon; hṛdaya-kamalam—the lotuslike cores of our hearts; tat-gṛham—which is actually Your residence; pratyabodhi—it has been illuminated; kāla-grastam—devoured by time; kiyat—insignificant; idam—this (world); aho—alas; nātha—O Lord; śuśrūṣatām—for those who are always engaged in the service; te—of You; muktiḥ—liberation from material bondage; teṣām—of them (the pure devotees); na—not; hi—indeed; bahumatā—thought very important; nāra-siṁha—O Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, half lion and half human being; aparaiḥ kim—then what is the use of other possessions.
King Indra said: O Supreme Lord, You are our deliverer and protector. Our shares of sacrifices, which are actually Yours, have been recovered from the demon by You. Because the demoniac king Hiraṇyakaśipu was most fearsome, our hearts, which are Your permanent abode, were all overtaken by him. Now, by Your presence, the gloom and darkness in our hearts have been dissipated. O Lord, for those who always engage in Your service, which is more exalted than liberation, all material opulence is insignificant. They do not even care for liberation, not to speak of the benefits of kāma, artha and dharma.
In this material world there are two kinds of people—the devatās (demigods) and the asuras (demons). Although the demigods are attached to material enjoyment, they are devotees of the Lord who act according to the rules and regulations of the Vedic injunctions. During the reign of Hiraṇyakaśipu, everyone was disturbed in the routine duties of Vedic civilization. When Hiraṇyakaśipu was killed, all the demigods, who had always been disturbed by Hiraṇyakaśipu, felt relief in their general way of life.
Because the government in Kali-yuga is full of demons, the living conditions of devotees are always disturbed. Devotees cannot perform yajña, and thus they cannot partake of the remnants of food offered in yajña for the worship of Lord Viṣṇu. The hearts of the demigods are always filled with fear of the demons, and therefore they cannot think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The engagement of the demigods is to think of the Lord always within the cores of their hearts. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (6.47):
yoginām api sarveṣāṁ
śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ
sa me yuktatamo mataḥ
“And of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.” The demigods fully absorb themselves in meditation upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead to become perfect yogīs, but because of the presence of demons, their hearts are filled with the activities of the demons. Thus their hearts, which are meant to be the abode of the Supreme Lord, are practically occupied by the demons. All the demigods felt relieved when Hiraṇyakaśipu was dead, for they could easily think of the Lord. They could then receive the results of sacrifices and become happy even though in the material world.
tvaṁ nas tapaḥ paramam āttha yad ātma-tejo
yenedam ādi-puruṣātma-gataṁ sasarktha
tad vipraluptam amunādya śaraṇya-pāla
rakṣā-gṛhīta-vapuṣā punar anvamaṁsthāḥ
śrī-ṛṣayaḥ ūcuḥ—the great sages said; tvam—You; naḥ—our; tapaḥ—austerity; paramam—topmost; āttha—instructed; yat—which; ātma-tejaḥ—Your spiritual power; yena—by which; idam—this (material world); ādi-puruṣa—O supreme original Personality of Godhead; ātma-gatam—merged within Yourself; sasarktha—(You) created; tat—that process of austerity and penance; vipraluptam—stolen; amunā—by that demon (Hiraṇyakaśipu); adya—now; śaraṇya-pāla—O supreme maintainer of those who need to be sheltered; rakṣā-gṛhīta-vapuṣā—by Your body, which You accept to give protection; punaḥ—again; anvamaṁsthāḥ—You have approved.
All the saintly persons present offered their prayers in this way: O Lord, O supreme maintainer of those sheltered at Your lotus feet, O original Personality of Godhead, the process of austerity and penance, in which You instructed us before, is the spiritual power of Your very self. It is by austerity that You create the material world, which lies dormant within You. This austerity was almost stopped by the activities of this demon, but now, by Yourself appearing in the form of Nṛsiṁhadeva, which is meant just to give us protection, and by killing this demon, You have again approved the process of austerity.
The living entities wandering within the jurisdiction of the 8,400,000 species of life get the opportunity for self-realization in the human form and gradually in such other elevated forms as those of the demigods, Kinnaras and Cāraṇas, as will be described below. In the higher statuses of life, beginning from human life, the main duty is tapasya, or austerity. As Ṛṣabhadeva advised His sons, tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena sattvaṁ śuddhyet. To rectify our material existence, austerity (tapasya) is absolutely necessary. However, when people in general come under the control of a demon or a demoniac ruling power, they forget this process of tapasya and gradually also become demoniac. All the saintly persons, who were generally engaged in austerity, felt relieved when Hiraṇyakaśipu was killed by the Lord in the form of Nṛsiṁhadeva. They realized that the original instruction concerning human life—that it is meant for tapasya for self-realization—was reaffirmed by the Lord when He killed Hiraṇyakaśipu.
śrāddhāni no ’dhibubhuje prasabhaṁ tanūjair
dattāni tīrtha-samaye ’py apibat tilāmbu
tasyodarān nakha-vidīrṇa-vapād ya ārcchat
tasmai namo nṛharaye ’khila-dharma-goptre
śrī-pitaraḥ ūcuḥ—the inhabitants of Pitṛloka said; śrāddhāni—the performances of the śrāddha ceremony (offering of food grains to dead forefathers by a particular process); naḥ—our; adhibubhuje—enjoyed; prasabham—by force; tanūjaiḥ—by our sons and grandsons; dattāni—offered; tīrtha-samaye—at the time of bathing in the holy places; api—even; apibat—drank; tila-ambu—offerings of water with sesame seeds; tasya—of the demon; udarāt—from the abdomen; nakha-vidīrṇa—pierced by the nails of the hand; vapāt—the skin of the intestines of which; yaḥ—He who (the Personality of Godhead); ārcchat—obtained; tasmai—unto Him (the Supreme Personality of Godhead); namaḥ—respectful obeisances; nṛ-haraye—who has appeared as half lion and half man (Nṛhari); akhila—universal; dharma—religious principles; goptre—who maintains.
The inhabitants of Pitṛloka prayed: Let us offer our respectful obeisances unto Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, the maintainer of the religious principles of the universe. He has killed Hiraṇyakaśipu, the demon who by force enjoyed all the offerings of the śrāddha ceremonies performed by our sons and grandsons on the anniversaries of our death and who drank the water with sesame seeds offered in holy places of pilgrimage. By killing this demon, O Lord, You have taken back all this stolen property from his abdomen by piercing it with Your nails. We therefore wish to offer our respectful obeisances unto You.
It is the duty of all householders to offer food grains to all their departed forefathers, but during the time of Hiraṇyakaśipu this process was stopped; no one would offer śrāddha oblations of food grains to the forefathers with great respect. Thus when there is a demoniac rule, everything concerning the Vedic principles is turned upside down, all the religious ceremonies of yajña are stopped, the resources meant to be spent for yajña are taken away by the demoniac government, everything becomes chaotic, and consequently the entire world becomes hell itself. When the demons are killed by the presence of Nṛsiṁhadeva, everyone feels comfortable, irrespective of the planet upon which he lives.
yo no gatiṁ yoga-siddhām asādhur
nānā darpaṁ taṁ nakhair vidadāra
tasmai tubhyaṁ praṇatāḥ smo nṛsiṁha
śrī-siddhāḥ ūcuḥ—the inhabitants of Siddhaloka said; yaḥ—the person who; naḥ—our; gatim—perfection; yoga-siddhām—achieved by mystic yoga; asādhuḥ—most uncivilized and dishonest; ahārṣīt—stole away; yoga—of mysticism; tapaḥ—and austerities; balena—by the power; nānā darpam—proud due to wealth, opulence and strength; tam—him; nakhaiḥ—by the nails; vidadāra—pierced; tasmai—unto him; tubhyam—unto You; praṇatāḥ—bowed down; smaḥ—we are; nṛsiṁha—O Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva.
The inhabitants of Siddhaloka prayed: O Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, because we belong to Siddhaloka, we automatically achieve perfection in all eight kinds of mystic power. Yet Hiraṇyakaśipu was so dishonest that by the strength of his power and austerity, he took away our powers. Thus he became very proud of his mystic strength. Now, because this rogue has been killed by Your nails, we offer our respectful obeisances unto You.
On earth there are many yogīs who can exhibit some feeble mystic power by manufacturing pieces of gold like magic, but the inhabitants of the planet Siddhaloka are actually extremely powerful in mysticism. They can fly from one planet to another without airplanes. This is called laghimā-siddhi. They can actually become very light and fly in the sky. By a severe type of austerity, however, Hiraṇyakaśipu excelled all the inhabitants of Siddhaloka and created disturbances for them. The residents of Siddhaloka were also beaten by the powers of Hiraṇyakaśipu. Now that Hiraṇyakaśipu had been killed by the Lord, the inhabitants of Siddhaloka also felt relieved.
vidyāṁ pṛthag dhāraṇayānurāddhāṁ
nyaṣedhad ajño bala-vīrya-dṛptaḥ
sa yena saṅkhye paśuvad dhatas taṁ
māyā-nṛsiṁhaṁ praṇatāḥ sma nityam
śrī-vidyādharāḥ ūcuḥ—the inhabitants of Vidyādhara-loka prayed; vidyām—mystic formulas (by which one can appear and disappear); pṛthak—separately; dhāraṇayā—by various meditations within the mind; anurāddhām—attained; nyaṣedhat—stopped; ajñaḥ—this fool; bala-vīrya-dṛptaḥ—puffed up by bodily strength and his ability to conquer anyone; saḥ—he (Hiraṇyakaśipu); yena—by whom; saṅkhye—in battle; paśu-vat—exactly like an animal; hataḥ—killed; tam—unto Him; māyā-nṛsiṁham—appearing as Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva by the influence of His own energy; praṇatāḥ—fallen; sma—certainly; nityam—eternally.
The inhabitants of Vidyādhara-loka prayed: Our acquired power to appear and disappear in various ways according to varieties of meditation was banned by that foolish Hiraṇyakaśipu because of his pride in his superior bodily strength and his ability to conquer others. Now the Supreme Personality of Godhead has killed him just as if the demon were an animal. Unto that supreme pastime form of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, we eternally offer our respectful obeisances.
yena pāpena ratnāni
strī-ratnāni hṛtāni naḥ
dattānanda namo ’stu te
śrī-nāgāḥ ūcuḥ—the inhabitants of Nāgaloka, who look like serpents, said; yena—by which person; pāpena—the most sinful (Hiraṇyakaśipu); ratnāni—the jewels on our heads; strī-ratnāni—beautiful wives; hṛtāni—taken away; naḥ—our; tat—his; vakṣaḥ-pāṭanena—by the piercing of the chest; āsām—of all the women (who were kidnapped); datta-ānanda—O Lord, You are the source of the pleasure; namaḥ—our respectful obeisances; astu—let there be; te—unto You.
The inhabitants of Nāgaloka said: The most sinful Hiraṇyakaśipu took away all the jewels on our hoods and all our beautiful wives. Now, since his chest has been pierced by Your nails, You are the source of all pleasure to our wives. Thus we together offer our respectful obeisances unto You.
No one is peaceful if his wealth and wife are forcibly taken away. All the inhabitants of Nāgaloka, which is situated below the earthly planetary system, were in great anxiety because their wealth had been stolen and their wives kidnapped by Hiraṇyakaśipu. Now, Hiraṇyakaśipu having been killed, their wealth and wives were returned, and their wives felt satisfied. The inhabitants of various lokas, or planets, offered their respectful obeisances unto the Lord because they were relieved by the death of Hiraṇyakaśipu. Disturbances similar to those created by Hiraṇyakaśipu are now taking place all over the world because of demoniac governments. As stated in the Twelfth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the men of the governments of Kali-yuga will be no better than rogues and plunderers. Thus the populace will be harassed on one side by scarcity of food and on another by heavy taxation by the government. In other words, the people in most parts of the world in this age are harassed by the ruling principles of Hiraṇyakaśipu.
manavo vayaṁ tava nideśa-kāriṇo
ditijena deva paribhūta-setavaḥ
bhavatā khalaḥ sa upasaṁhṛtaḥ prabho
karavāma te kim anuśādhi kiṅkarān
śrī-manavaḥ ūcuḥ—all the Manus offered their respectful obeisances by saying; manavaḥ—the leaders of the universal affairs (especially in connection with giving knowledge to humanity about how to live lawfully under the protection of the Supreme Personality of Godhead); vayam—we; tava—of Your Lordship; nideśa-kāriṇaḥ—the carriers of the orders; diti-jena—by Hiraṇyakaśipu, the son of Diti; deva—O Lord; paribhūta—disregarded; setavaḥ—whose laws of morality concerning the varṇāśrama system in human society; bhavatā—by Your Lordship; khalaḥ—the most envious rascal; saḥ—he; upasaṁhṛtaḥ—killed; prabho—O Lord; karavāma—shall we do; te—Your; kim—what; anuśādhi—please direct; kiṅkarān—Your eternal servants.
All the Manus offered their prayers as follows: As Your order carriers, O Lord, we, the Manus, are the law-givers for human society, but because of the temporary supremacy of this great demon, Hiraṇyakaśipu, our laws for maintaining varṇāśrama-dharma were destroyed. O Lord, now that You have killed this great demon, we are in our normal condition. Kindly order us, Your eternal servants, what to do now.
In many places in Bhagavad-gītā, the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, refers to the varṇāśrama-dharma of four varṇas and four āśramas. He teaches people about this varṇāśrama-dharma so that all of human society can live peacefully by observing the principles for the four social divisions and four spiritual divisions (varṇa and āśrama) and thus make advancement in spiritual knowledge. The Manus compiled the Manu-saṁhitā. The word saṁhitā means Vedic knowledge, and manu indicates that this knowledge is given by Manu. The Manus are sometimes incarnations of the Supreme Lord and sometimes empowered living entities. Formerly, many long years ago, Lord Kṛṣṇa instructed the sun-god. The Manus are generally sons of the sun-god. Therefore, while speaking to Arjuna about the importance of Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa said, imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam vivasvān manave prāha: [Bg. 4.1] “This instruction was given to Vivasvān, the sun-god, who in turn instructed his son Manu.” Manu gave the law known as Manu-saṁhitā, which is full of directions based on varṇa and āśrama concerning how to live as a human being. These are very scientific ways of life, but under the rule of demons like Hiraṇyakaśipu, human society breaks all these systems of law and order and gradually becomes lower and lower. Thus there is no peace in the world. The conclusion is that if we want real peace and order in the human society, we must follow the principles laid down by the Manu-saṁhitā and confirmed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa.
prajeśā vayaṁ te pareśābhisṛṣṭā
na yena prajā vai sṛjāmo niṣiddhāḥ
sa eṣa tvayā bhinna-vakṣā nu śete
jagan-maṅgalaṁ sattva-mūrte ’vatāraḥ
śrī-prajāpatayaḥ ūcuḥ—the great personalities who created the various living beings offered their prayers by saying; prajā-īśāḥ—the prajāpatis created by Lord Brahmā, who have created generations of living entities; vayam—we; te—of You; para-īśa—O Supreme Lord; abhisṛṣṭāḥ—born; na—not; yena—by whom (Hiraṇyakaśipu); prajāḥ—living entities; vai—indeed; sṛjāmaḥ—we create; niṣiddhāḥ—being forbidden; saḥ—he (Hiraṇyakaśipu); eṣaḥ—this; tvayā—by You; bhinna-vakṣāḥ—whose chest has been split; nu—indeed; śete—lies down; jagat-maṅgalam—for the auspiciousness of the whole world; sattva-mūrte—in this transcendental form of pure goodness; avatāraḥ—this incarnation.
The prajāpatis offered their prayers as follows: O Supreme Lord, Lord of even Brahmā and Śiva, we, the prajāpatis, were created by You to execute Your orders, but we were forbidden by Hiraṇyakaśipu to create any more good progeny. Now the demon is lying dead before us, his chest pierced by You. Let us therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto You, whose incarnation in this form of pure goodness is meant for the welfare of the entire universe.
vayaṁ vibho te naṭa-nāṭya-gāyakā
yenātmasād vīrya-balaujasā kṛtāḥ
sa eṣa nīto bhavatā daśām imāṁ
kim utpathasthaḥ kuśalāya kalpate
śrī-gandharvāḥ ūcuḥ—the inhabitants of Gandharvaloka (who are usually engaged as musicians of the heavenly planets) said; vayam—we; vibho—O Lord; te—Your; naṭa-nāṭya-gāyakāḥ—dancers and singers in dramatic performances; yena—by whom; ātmasāt—under subjection; vīrya—of his valor; bala—and bodily strength; ojasā—by the influence; kṛtāḥ—made (brought); saḥ—he (Hiraṇyakaśipu); eṣaḥ—this; nītaḥ—brought; bhavatā—by Your Lordship; daśām imām—to this condition; kim—whether; utpathasthaḥ—anyone who is an upstart; kuśalāya—for auspiciousness; kalpate—is capable.
The inhabitants of Gandharvaloka prayed: Your Lordship, we ever engage in Your service by dancing and singing in dramatic performances, but this Hiraṇyakaśipu, by the influence of his bodily strength and valor, brought us under his subjugation. Now he has been brought to this low condition by Your Lordship. What benefit can result from the activities of such an upstart as Hiraṇyakaśipu?
By being a very obedient servant of the Supreme Lord, one becomes extremely powerful in bodily strength, influence and effulgence, whereas the fate of demoniac upstarts is ultimately to fall down like Hiraṇyakaśipu. Hiraṇyakaśipu and persons like him may be very powerful for some time, but the obedient servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead like the demigods remain powerful always. They are victorious over the influence of Hiraṇyakaśipu by the grace of the Supreme Lord.
yad eṣa sādhu-hṛc-chayas
śrī-cāraṇāḥ ūcuḥ—the inhabitants of the Cāraṇa planet said; hare—O Lord; tava—Your; aṅghri-paṅkajam—lotus feet; bhava-apavargam—the only shelter for becoming free from the contamination of material existence; āśritāḥ—sheltered at; yat—because; eṣaḥ—this; sādhu-hṛt-śayaḥ—stake in the hearts of all honest persons; tvayā—by Your Lordship; asuraḥ—the demon (Hiraṇyakaśipu); samāpitaḥ—finished.
The inhabitants of the Cāraṇa planet said: O Lord, because You have destroyed the demon Hiraṇyakaśipu, who was always a stake in the hearts of all honest men, we are now relieved, and we eternally take shelter of Your lotus feet, which award the conditioned soul liberation from materialistic contamination.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead in His transcendental form of Narahari, Nṛsiṁhadeva, is always ready to kill the demons, who always create disturbances in the minds of honest devotees. To spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, devotees have to face many dangers and impediments all over the world, but a faithful servant who preaches with great devotion to the Lord must know that Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva is always his protector.
vayam anucara-mukhyāḥ karmabhis te mano-jñais
ta iha diti-sutena prāpitā vāhakatvam
sa tu jana-paritāpaṁ tat-kṛtaṁ jānatā te
narahara upanītaḥ pañcatāṁ pañca-viṁśa
śrī-yakṣāḥ ūcuḥ—the inhabitants of the Yakṣa planet prayed; vayam—we; anucara-mukhyāḥ—the chief among Your many servants; karmabhiḥ—by services; te—unto You; mano-jñaiḥ—very pleasing; te—they; iha—at the present moment; diti-sutena—by Hiraṇyakaśipu, the son of Diti; prāpitāḥ—forced to engage as; vāhakatvam—the palanquin carriers; saḥ—he; tu—but; jana-paritāpam—the miserable condition of everyone; tat-kṛtam—caused by him; jānatā—knowing; te—by You; nara-hara—O Lord in the form of Nṛsiṁha; upanītaḥ—is put to; pañcatām—death; pañca-viṁśa—O twenty-fifth principle (the controller of the other twenty-four elements).
The inhabitants of Yakṣaloka prayed: O controller of the twenty-four elements, we are considered the best servants of Your Lordship because of rendering services pleasing to You, yet we engaged as palanquin carriers by the order of Hiraṇyakaśipu, the son of Diti. O Lord in the form of Nṛsiṁhadeva, You know how this demon gave trouble to everyone, but now You have killed him, and his body is mixing with the five material elements.
The Supreme Lord is the controller of the ten senses, the five material elements, the five sense objects, the mind, the intelligence, the false ego and the soul. Therefore He is addressed as pañca-viṁśa, the twenty-fifth element. The inhabitants of the Yakṣa planet are supposed to be the best of all servants, but Hiraṇyakaśipu engaged them as palanquin carriers. The entire universe was in trouble because of Hiraṇyakaśipu, but now that Hiraṇyakaśipu’s body was mixing with the five material elements—earth, water, fire, air and sky—everyone felt relief. Upon Hiraṇyakaśipu’s death, the Yakṣas were reinstated in their original service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus they felt obliged to the Lord and offered their prayers.
vayaṁ kimpuruṣās tvaṁ tu
ayaṁ kupuruṣo naṣṭo
dhik-kṛtaḥ sādhubhir yadā
śrī-kimpuruṣāḥ ūcuḥ—the inhabitants of Kimpuruṣa-loka said; vayam—we; kimpuruṣāḥ—the inhabitants of Kimpuruṣa-loka, or insignificant living entities; tvam—Your Lordship; tu—however; mahā-puruṣaḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; īśvaraḥ—the supreme controller; ayam—this; ku-puruṣaḥ—most sinful person, Hiraṇyakaśipu; naṣṭaḥ—slain; dhik-kṛtaḥ—being condemned; sādhubhiḥ—by the saintly persons; yadā—when.
The inhabitants of Kimpuruṣa-loka said: We are insignificant living entities, and You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supreme controller. Therefore how can we offer suitable prayers unto You? When this demon was condemned by devotees because they were disgusted with him, he was then killed by You.
The cause of the Supreme Lord’s appearance upon this earth is stated in Bhagavad-gītā (4.7–8) by the Lord Himself:
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
sambhavāmi yuge yuge
“Whenever and wherever there is a decrease in religious principles and a predominant rise in irreligion, at that time I descend Myself. To deliver the pious and annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself, millennium after millennium.” The Lord appears in order to execute two kinds of activities—to kill the demons and to protect the devotees. When the devotees are too disturbed by the demons, the Lord certainly appears in different incarnations to give the devotees protection. The devotees following in the footsteps of Prahlāda Mahārāja should not be disturbed by the demoniac activities of the nondevotees. Rather, they should stick to their principles as sincere servants of the Lord and rest assured that the demoniac activities directed against them will not be able to stop their devotional service.
sabhāsu satreṣu tavāmalaṁ yaśo
gītvā saparyāṁ mahatīṁ labhāmahe
yas tām anaiṣīd vaśam eṣa durjano
dviṣṭyā hatas te bhagavan yathāmayaḥ
śrī-vaitālikāḥ ūcuḥ—the inhabitants of Vaitālika-loka said; sabhāsu—in great assemblies; satreṣu—in the arenas of sacrifice; tava—Your; amalam—without any spot of material contamination; yaśaḥ—reputation; gītvā—singing; saparyām—respectful position; mahatīm—great; labhāmahe—we achieved; yaḥ—he who; tām—that (respectful position); anaiṣīt—brought under; vaśam—his control; eṣaḥ—this; durjanaḥ—crooked person; dviṣṭyā—by great fortune; hataḥ—killed; te—by You; bhagavan—O Lord; yathā—exactly like; āmayaḥ—a disease.
The inhabitants of Vaitālika-loka said: Dear Lord, because of chanting Your spotless glories in great assemblies and arenas of sacrifice, we were accustomed to great respect from everyone. This demon, however, usurped that position. Now, to our great fortune, You have killed this great demon, exactly as one cures a chronic disease.
vayam īśa kinnara-gaṇās tavānugā
ditijena viṣṭim amunānukāritāḥ
bhavatā hare sa vṛjino ’vasādito
narasiṁha nātha vibhavāya no bhava
śrī-kinnarāḥ ūcuḥ—the inhabitants of the Kinnara planet said; vayam—we; īśa—O Lord; kinnara-gaṇāḥ—the inhabitants of the Kinnara planet; tava—Your; anugāḥ—faithful servants; diti-jena—by the son of Diti; viṣṭim—service without remuneration; amunā—by that; anukāritāḥ—caused to perform; bhavatā—by You; hare—O Lord; saḥ—he; vṛjinaḥ—most sinful; avasāditaḥ—destroyed; narasiṁha—O Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva; nātha—O master; vibhavāya—for the happiness and opulence; naḥ—of us; bhava—You please be.
The Kinnaras said: O supreme controller, we are ever-existing servants of Your Lordship, but instead of rendering service to You, we were engaged by this demon in his service, constantly and without remuneration. This sinful man has now been killed by You. Therefore, O Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, our master, we offer our respectful obeisances unto You. Please continue to be our patron.
adyaitad dhari-nara-rūpam adbhutaṁ te
dṛṣṭaṁ naḥ śaraṇada sarva-loka-śarma
so ’yaṁ te vidhikara īśa vipra-śaptas
tasyedaṁ nidhanam anugrahāya vidmaḥ
śrī-viṣṇu-pārṣadāḥ ūcuḥ—the associates of Lord Viṣṇu in Vaikuṇṭhaloka said; adya—today; etat—this; hari-nara—of half lion and half human being; rūpam—form; adbhutam—very wonderful; te—Your; dṛṣṭam—seen; naḥ—of us; śaraṇa-da—the everlasting bestower of shelter; sarva-loka-śarma—which brings good fortune to all the various planets; saḥ—he; ayam—this; te—of Your Lordship; vidhikaraḥ—order carrier (servant); īśa—O Lord; vipra-śaptaḥ—being cursed by the brāhmaṇas; tasya—of him; idam—this; nidhanam—killing; anugrahāya—for the special favor; vidmaḥ—we understand.
The associates of Lord Viṣṇu in Vaikuṇṭha offered this prayer: O Lord, our supreme giver of shelter, today we have seen Your wonderful form as Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, meant for the good fortune of all the world. O Lord, we can understand that Hiraṇyakaśipu was the same Jaya who engaged in Your service but was cursed by brāhmaṇas and who thus received the body of a demon. We understand that his having now been killed is Your special mercy upon him.
Hiraṇyakaśipu’s coming to this earth and acting as the Lord’s enemy was prearranged. Jaya and Vijaya were cursed by the brāhmaṇas Sanaka, Sanat-kumāra, Sanandana and Sanātana because Jaya and Vijaya checked these four Kumāras. The Lord accepted this cursing of His servants and agreed that they would have to go to the material world and would then return to Vaikuṇṭha after serving the term of the curse. Jaya and Vijaya were very much perturbed, but the Lord advised them to act as enemies, for then they would return after three births; otherwise, ordinarily, they would have to take seven births. With this authority, Jaya and Vijaya acted as the Lord’s enemies, and now that these two were dead, all the Viṣṇudūtas understood that the Lord’s killing of Hiraṇyakaśipu was special mercy bestowed upon them.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Seventh Canto, Eighth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva Slays the King of the Demons.”