Seven Statements from Prahalada Stuti
The manifestation of Lord Narasiṃha from a pillar as half-Lion and half-man, is a glorious testament to the firm faith of His exalted devotee Prahalāda.
What are some of the remarkable sentiments in his hymn of praise (stutī) that reveal his unique character (caritra), just as a flower is known by its fragrance?
1 Devotion- The Key To God’s Heart
‘bhaktyā tutoṣa bhagavān gaja-yūtha-pāya’
Whilst humbly submitting his own birth in a demonic clan in comparison to the excellence of birth and qualifications of all those who have praised the Lord before Him; Bhakta Prahalāda proceeds to cite the example of the elephant-devotee, Gajendra!
Prahalāda proclaims that the Lord can, in fact, be fully satisfied simply with pure devotion.
He states, ‘a low-born devotee who has dedicated all four- his mind, words, actions and life-breaths to the Lord – is superior to a learned person endowed with twelve* excellent qualifications (*see SB 7.9.10).
Such a devotee is able to liberate his entire family whilst a person filled with false prestige can not purify even himself!
2 Fearful- yet Fearless- before the Fierce Form!
‘nāhaṃ bibhemyajita te ‘tibhayānakāsya jihvārka netra bhrukuṭī rabhasogra daṃṣṭrāt’’
Prahalāda describes the fierce appearance of the Lord’s sharp nails, garland of father Hiraṇyakaṣipu’s intestines, bloodied mane, frowning brows, piercingly bright eyes and spear-like sharp ears.
Yet, he proclaims his fearlessness seeing this supremely ferocious form of the Lord Narasiṃha, whilst professing his fear solely towards the misery of the material world waiting to crush him!
When- oh when- will the Lord call him to the shelter of His lotus feet, service of which are the only source of complete deliverance from material life?
3 Mind- Harrassed Master of Many Wives
‘bahvyaḥ sapatnya iva geha patiṃ lunanti’
Prahalāda describes the pitiable state of his polluted mind and seeks refuge in the Lord of Vaikuṇṭa (the abode free of all anxieties). He describes his plight to be akin to that of a householder who has many wives all seeking to attract him towards themselves at the same time.
This refers to the sorrowful state of a sensually inclined mind that, as the master of the ten senses (of knowledge and action), finds itself pulled towards the different fields of indulgences such as sound, touch, form, taste, smell.
Forbearance of the sensual urge for indulgence by the sober is the only solution to the ‘sex-itch’, which appears to give happiness whilst only giving distress.
4 Seeking Shelter in the Supreme Being
tvad vīrya gāyana mahāmṛta magna cittaḥ
The embodiment of the code of conduct of complete surrender on the path of devotion (śaraṇāgati dharma), Bhakta Prahalāda describes the greatness of the Lord’s essence and the fleeting futility of all material gains.
As the son of the mighty demon King, Prahalāda saw first-hand how little all the opulence at his father’s command meant in the face of death. Instead, he seeks refuge in the Lord as the only source of protection.
5 Do not wish to be liberated alone!
‘naitān vihāya kṛpaṇān vimumukṣa eko’
Disciple of Nārada, Śri Prahalāda possesses not an ounce of selfishness and does not seek his individual emancipation. He beseeches the Lord – as the true friend of all of humanity- to first uplift all the helpless, foolish living beings who are lost and wandering in the material world and have no source of salvation, save for the Lord’s grace!
In fact, Prahalāda’s qualities of equanimity and magnanimity are further revealed when he seeks pardon from the Lord for his ‘unlearned’ (avidvāna) dead father. The demon King Hiraṇyakaśipu heatedly detested the Lord and attempted to repeatedly kill Prahalāda for worshipping the enemy; simply because ‘did not know any better’, says the exalted devotee Prahalāda.
6 Six-Limbs of Devotional Service
‘saṃsevayā tvayi vineti ṣaḍ-aṅgayā kiṃ
Prahalāda says the Lord can not be attained without devotion (Bhakti) which can not be revealed without rendering these six forms of devotional service (ṣaḍ-aṇghrībhakti)-
1. Namaskāra – offering homage;
2. Stutī – singing praise;
3. Karma Samarpaṇa – surrendering all actions and their results;
4. Sevā-Pūjā – service and worship;
5. Caraṇa cintana – contemplation of the Lord’s Lotus Feet;
6. Līlā-Kathā śravaṇa
7 Our relationship is of servant and Master; not of merchant and profit!
‘yas ta āśiṣa āśāste na sa bhṛtyaḥ sa vai vaṇik’
Prahalāda emphasizes the duty of a devotee to seek the Lord for the Lord’s sake alone and disavows any motive to gain anything from the Lord in exchange for devotional service. He considered all the benedictions offered by the Lord to be impediments on the path and gently smiles as he responds to the Lord.
Desires are at the core of everyone’s heart and the cause of countless births; but the Lord is so kind to His devotee that He does not induce him to do or want anything that is not beneficial for him.
Prahalādaji concludes with a joyful proclamation of being a satisfied servant of the Lord who wants for nothing and serves a Master who seeks nothing from His servant- not even his service!
Did-you-know: The Lord incarnates for the Sanatkumāras who have together accepted birth as Prahalāda and also for the upliftment of both demon brothers and sons of Dītī (Hiraṇyākṣa and Hiranyakaṣipu)- who are in fact Lord Viṣṇu’s eternal and personal attendants, Jaya-Vijaya, cursed by to be born on earth in demonic forms and liberated thrice.
Source: The ninth and tenth chapters of the seventh canto of the Śrimad Bhāgavat Mahāpurāṇa describe the eulogy and exchange between the beloved devotee Prahalāda and Lord Narasiṃha, who manifested from a pillar, due to the unflinching faith of his young-yet wise-devotee!
The sixteenth chapter of the third canto of the Śrimad Bhāgavat Mahāpurāṇa describes the incident which leads to the downfall of the Lord’s attendants from His eternal abode of Vaikuṇṭa to be born on earth thrice.
Don’t miss this Sandesh to learn how:
▪️The causeless grace of the Lord is ceaselessly flowing upon all! How then does one realize this?
▪️ What does the advent of the Lord in this distinct form of half-man and half-Lion at dusk mean?
▪️What do Hiranyaksha, Hiranyakashipu and Bali Maharaja represent in the varying states of consciousness?
🔔Watch the entire worship of Shri Lakshmi Narsimha Bhagavan by Pujya Bhaishri on Vaishakha Shukla Chaturdashi from ShriHari Mandir here
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Article compiled by Nimisha Sadhu