From Krishna.org, link: http://krishna.org/sudarsana/a038.html
A great little article that showcases a supreme example of divine anger. This story should be familiar to people in hardcore, since it is depicted on Cro Mags' 'Best Wishes' iconic album cover.
A great little article that showcases a supreme example of divine anger. This story should be familiar to people in hardcore, since it is depicted on Cro Mags' 'Best Wishes' iconic album cover.
There was a great demon called Hiranyakasipu, he was so powerful that he was able to control practically all the planets in the universe. There were only a few people in the universe who could escape the rule of Hiranyakasipu.
Everyone else, even some of the great devotees were forced to serve him because he was so powerful. So how did he get this power? He got it by following the Vedic process of performing austerities.
He went to a place called Mandara Hill which is a sacred place, a holy place, and he performed very great austerities there for many thousands of years. He was standing there, meditating, and his austerities were so powerful that, as he was there for such a long time, some ants built their ant-hill around his body and ate all of his flesh. Even though all his flesh was gone he kept his life within the bones of his body only. So this is amazing. He was performing such great austerities, so much so that ultimately, as a result of his austerity, an immense heat emanated from his body.
Because of this heat even the heavenly planets became unbearable to live on. So all the residents of the heavenly planets, The demigods, approached Lord Brahma and asked him to do something about Hiranyakasipu. They told Brahma Hiranyakasipu's austerity was making the whole universe intolerable for them. Here is another point. We think on such a small scale. We think if somebody drops an atomic bomb on Australia, that will make it very uncomfortable but here we see Hiranyakasipu had become so powerful he is able to make the whole universe uncomfortable. So what is our tiny atomic bomb?
We're so proud, we've made these huge atomic bombs that can wipe out one country or even the whole planet but what's this whole planet? When we look in the sky there are so many planets. What is our insignificant atomic bomb? It's nothing. Hiranyakasipu, by dint of his powerful austerities, was able to make the whole universe uncomfortable. What to speak of one tiny planet.
So all the demigods came to Lord Brahma and prayed to him, "Please do something about Hiranyakasipu because it's unbearable for us. What can we do?" After Lord Brahma received this request he thought, "Well I have to do something, because Hiranyakasipu is my devotee."
The demons don't worship Krishna, they worship the demigods because they know that by worshiping the demigods they can become powerful within the material world. Whereas the devotees worship Krishna, they are not interested in becoming powerful in the material world, they are not interested in anything except trying to please Krishna. Devotees have no desire other than the service of Krishna. We have to please Krishna. Devotees are not interested in anything within this material world. But the demons are totally consumed by the desire for power, fame, strength, wealth and opulence within the material world. So they worship the demigods.
So Hiranyakasipu was worshiping Lord Brahma to become very powerful. Therefore Lord Brahma saw Hiranyakasipu had performed all these austerities to please him so he had to go there and give him some benedictions because this is the process for the demigod worshippers. It's very different from the devotees of Krishna. The demigod worshippers are materialists who worship for some gain. They understand, "If I worship Lord Brahma in a certain way and perform certain austerities then Lord Brahma will become obliged to give me some benediction." This is the mentality of the demigod worshippers. There is no love. They don't love the demigod they are worshiping, it's a business transaction. They are approaching the demigod and undergoing some penance and austerity and performing some ritualistic ceremonies with the object of getting something in return. The devotees of Krishna, on the other hand, don't want anything.
na dhanam na janam na sundarim
kavitam va jagadisa kamaye
mama janmani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaiuki tvayi
This is one of the prayers left by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared five hundred years ago in West Bengal, in India. He is Krishna Himself and He appeared in the mood of Radharani, Krishna's most intimate companion, because He wanted to taste the mood of Radharani. He preached very widely in India but He only wrote down one set of eight verses called the Siksastaka. The verse quoted above states that, "I don't want any wealth, I don't want any beautiful women, I don't want any number of followers. All I want my Lord is Your devotional service birth after birth."
As Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in the mood of a devotee of Krishna, even though He is Krishna Himself, He is showing us how the perfect devotee of Krishna behaves, how he feels. This is the feeling of a pure devotee of Krishna, "I don't want anything, I don't want wealth, I don't want followers, I don't want women, I don't want fame, I don't want any of these things. All I want is Your service birth after birth." So that's the devotee. But the demon, the nondevotee, the materialist, he wants all these things. He wants wealth, he wants followers, he wants fame, he wants women. In this way he thinks, "I'll be happy.
The demons in their search for wealth, fame, followers and women approach the demigods. So Lord Brahma was obliged to go to Hiranyakasipu and offer him benedictions because Hiranyakasipu had performed such severe austerities with the view of pleasing Lord Brahma.
Lord Brahma went to the place where Hiranyakasipu was performing austerities, it is called Mandara Hill. Initially he could not see Hiranyakasipu because as I described before he had been covered by the ant-hill. But there was a huge effulgence, a great heat emanating from this ant-hill so Lord Brahma could understand, "Here is Hiranyakasipu." He uncovered Hiranyakasipu and poured some water onto him with his kamandalu (his water pot) and immediately Hiranyakasipu's body, which was at that time just bones, was transformed into a most beautiful man. He was described as having a beautiful golden complexion, beautiful eyes, well-built body, so he was a very beautiful man, a very attractive man. That was the first result of his austerities Then Lord Brahma said to Hiranyakasipu, "Well you have performed all these great austerities to please me, now what benedictions would you like? I am obliged to give you some benediction." This is the transaction between the demigods and their devotees.
Actually Hiranyakasipu had no love for Lord Brahma. He wanted to take Lord Brahma's position. His mood was, "Yes now you have appeared in front of me to give me benedictions. Now I want to take over your position." So this is the demons mood.
Hiranyakasipu fist asked Lord Brahma for the benediction of immortality. He didn't want to die. This is the wish of all the materialists, they want immortality. They want to stay eternally in the material world with their youth and enjoy forever wealth, women, fame, beauty. opulence, all these things. They want to stay here and enjoy eternal life. But Lord Brahma replied, "It is impossible because even I don't have eternal life. At the end of the creation I will also have to die. So because I don't have eternal life how can I possibly give you eternal life?"
In response to this Hiranyakasipu tried to get immortality in an indirect way. So he asked for many benedictions. He asked that, "I should not be killed on the land or in the water," and Lord Brahma said, "Yes, I can grant you that benediction." Then he asked, "I do not want to be killed by any man or any animal," and Lord Brahma replied, "Yes, I can give you that benediction," I do not want to be killed inside or outside," "Yes," and so on. So many benedictions were given by Lord Brahma. Indirectly Hiranyakasipu was thinking, "Because I have covered all the possibilities, how can I be killed? If I can't be killed on land or in the water how can I be killed? What else is there? I can't be killed inside or outside, what else is there?" So Hiranyakasipu thought he had covered everything by these benedictions of Lord Brahma.
Hiranyakasipu went off very happily to conquer the universe. And he was successful. He conquered practically the whole universe. He became very proud of course, that is the nature of the demons. Once they has a little success in conquering they think they are invincible, they think, "Nobody can stop me, I'm invincible." So Hiranyakasipu was very puffed-up thinking nobody could stop him.
Hiranyakasipu had one son, whose name was Prahlada Maharaja and he was a pure devotee of Krishna. This is an amazing story also. How did it happen that a great devotee could be born in the home of the greatest demon? There was a reason for this also. There is a reason for everything. Nothing happens without a cause. So how did Prahlada Maharaja become a great devotee? This happened because the wife of Hiranyakasipu was pregnant at the time her husband went to Mandara Hill to perform his very severe austerities. So she was left at home and the demigods knew she was pregnant. They thought the child would be another Hiranyakasipu so they thought, "We'd better get her and kill the child. In that way we will be saved from the terrible situation of having two Hiranyakasipu's to deal with," so they abducted the wife of Hiranyakasipu. As they were taking her away Narada Muni appeared and said, "The child within the womb of this woman is not a demon at all. This child is a great devotee so you can't kill him" As a result of this incident Narada Muni took the wife of Hiranyakasipu to his asrama to protect her, to give her shelter, while Hiranyakasipu was performing his austerities at Mandara Hill. Hiranyakasipu's wife asked for one benediction, "I don't want my son to take birth until my husband comes back home."
So Prahlada Maharaja stayed within the womb of his mother for the whole time Hiranyakasipu was performing his austerities. While she was at the asrama of Narada Muni, Narada Muni instructed her very systematically in the science of Krishna consciousness. He was of course chanting Hare Krishna in the mornings and evenings and speaking the philosophy of the Bhagavatam. Hiranyakasipu's wife couldn't assimilate the knowledge but from within her womb Prahlada Maharaja was hearing the science of Krishna consciousness from Narada Muni. So he was becoming spiritually advanced. This is a very interesting subject. It wasn't that Prahlada automatically became a devotee. He became a devotee because he was initiated by Narada Muni and he took instruction from Narada Muni within the womb of his mother. So when he took birth he was already a pure devotee of Krishna.
This was a very difficult thing for Hiranyakasipu because Hiranyakasipu's greatest enemy was Visnu or Krishna. The reason Hiranyakasipu was performing such great austerities, the reason he wanted to become so powerful, was to kill Visnu, because Visnu had previously killed his brother, another great demon called Hiranyaksa. So Hiranyakasipu was furious and he vowed to kill Visnu. That was the whole purpose of these austerities, the motivation for all of his activities was to kill Visnu. He wanted to become so powerful that he could kill Krishna. Then his son is born as a pure devotee of Krishna. So for him this is a very difficult situation. But he's only a small child, so Hiranyakasipu thought that, "Well I can train him up. Maybe he has some attraction for Visnu but I'll send him to school. I have a school run by my expert demoniac Brahmans, Sanda and Amarka."
He had a school for the sons of the demoniac residents of his kingdom. All the students were more or less demoniac because their parents were demoniac. So Sanda and Amarka were teaching politics and diplomacy, the philosophy of differentiating between friends and enemies, because in politics you have to differentiate the enemy's camp from the friendly camp. But this philosophy isn't attractive to a devotee. Because a devotee doesn't see anyone as a friend or enemy. He sees everyone as a servant of Krishna, he sees everyone as a spirit soul. He doesn't see, "This is my friend and this is my enemy."
This political teaching, demoniac teaching, wasn't at all attractive to Prahlada Maharaja. So when the teachers went out of the classroom immediately Prahlada Maharaja would take the opportunity to preach Krishna consciouses. He would stand on the tables and preach:"One who is sufficiently intelligent should use the human form of body from the very beginning of life--in other words, from the tender age of childhood--to practice the activities of devotional service. giving up all other engagements The human body is most rarely achieved, and although temporary like other bodies, it is meaningful because in human life one can perform devotional service. Even a slight amount of sincere devotional service can give one complete perfection."
His preaching was, "Don't waste your life in material sense enjoyment. You have come to the human form after many, many births. So right from the beginning of your life you should start devotional life." He is saying, "Start now, don't wait, because this human birth is such a rare thing. We should start now, from childhood, cultivating this science of Krishna consciousness." Prahlada was preaching like this and gradually all of his classmates became purified and they became devotees of Krishna also. This was unbearable for Hiranyakasipu, not only was his son a great devotee of Krishna, but he is preaching to all of the other sons of the demons that they should also become great devotees of Krishna. So this was unbearable for the demons.
Hiranyakasipu thought his plan to educate Prahlada in politics and diplomacy and squash his devotion to Visnu had failed therefore he wanted to punish Prahlada. This is the political system. Firstly if some citizen won't submit to the King's desire the King tries to convince him with sweet words of persuasion, if that doesn't work the King offers him a very opulent post in the government and finally if these things don't work then the King punishes the citizen. So this is political method of bringing the subjects under control. Prahlada was firmly fixed in Krishna consciousness so none of the attempts of his father or teachers to dissuade him were successful.
So Hiranyakasipu started the third phase of the political system. He wanted to kill Prahlada. He made so many arrangements, he tried to have him trampled by giant elephants, he threw Prahlada from the top of a cliff onto the rocks, he placed Prahlada in a pit full of venomous serpents, he put him into boiling oil. But all the time Prahlada Maharaja was simply chanting, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. And as Krishna promises in the Bhagavad-gita, kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati, "O Son of Kunti (Arjuna) declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes." So Krishna will always protect His devotees.
Prahlada Maharaja was a pure devotee of Krishna so no matter what Hiranyakasipu did, he could not kill Prahlada. This was a terribly difficult thing for Hiranyakasipu because practically speaking he had conquered the whole universe, almost everybody was his servant. But he had this tiny son, a seven year old boy, who was a pure devotee of Visnu and he was flaunting Hiranyakasipu's authority. And he couldn't kill him either. So what to do? Ultimately Hiranyakasipu had Prahlada on his lap and he asked Prahlada, "My dear son, please tell me what is the best thing you have learned from your teachers?" Instead of quoting something he had learned from his teachers Sanda and Amarka about politics and diplomacy Prahlada quoted something he learnt from his spiritual master, Narada Muni; "O best of the asuras, King of the demons, as far as I have learned from my spiritual master, any person who has accepted a temporary body and temporary household life is certainly embarrassed by anxiety because of having fallen into a dark well where there is no water, but only suffering. One should give up this position and go to the forest (vana). More clearly one should go to Vrndavana, where only Krishna consciousness is prevalent, and should thus take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
After hearing this Hiranyakasipu was furious because Lord Visnu is his enemy and his son is praising Krishna consciousness and recommending him to give up the blind well of household life and go to Vrndavana to practice Krishna consciousness. This is unbearable for Hiranyakasipu.
As a result of this Hiranyakasipu took a huge chopper in his hands and as if to taunt Prahlada he said, "Prahlada, is your God everywhere?" So Prahlada replied, "Yes, my God is everywhere." Hiranyakasipu could see Prahlada was getting some comfort from somewhere, because he wasn't the slightest bit disturbed. Prahlada was very happy. So Hiranyakasipu asked Prahlada, "Is your God in this pillar?" They were sitting in a very big palace, Hiranyakasipu's palace, and there was a huge marble pillar there. So Prahlada answered, "Yes, my God is everywhere." So Hiranyakasipu immediately took his huge chopper and he began to smash the pillar, as if to smash Prahlada's God. As if to say, "Well what can your God do to me? I'm the most powerful person in the universe. Who can touch me?"
Hiranyakasipu believes in Visnu, because Visnu is his enemy, so he understands there is a God, but he thinks he's more powerful, that he can kill Visnu. He thinks it's possible for him to kill God. So he smashed this pillar, and then Lord Nrsimhadeva appeared. Lord Nrsimhadeva appeared in a huge form. He appeared to be touching the sky, so huge, and He is such a ferocious form of the Lord. Lord Nrsimhadeva in this mood is called ugra Nrsimha, it means angry, wild Nrsimhadeva because He appeared in an extremely angry mood. He appeared as half man and half lion. The bottom half of His body is human-like and the other part of His body is a lion. He has a lion's head and big teeth, big claws and many hands carrying many different types of weapons.
Then there ensued a very great fight between Lord Nrsimhadeva and Hiranyakasipu. So here is another interesting point. Why didn't Lord Nrsimhadeva immediately kill Hiranyakasipu? He could have done because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He didn't even have to appear. He could have just caused him to have a heart attack or something like that, He didn't have to come there. But He appeared for two purposes, He always appears for two purposes: "In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to re-establish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium." Krishna says He appears millennium after millennium for two purposes, protecting the devotees and killing the demons.
Krishna actually appears more to protect the devotees and to give the devotees inspiration rather than killing the demons because killing the demons is not a very difficult thing for Krishna. He can make one earthquake and He can kill so many demons, just like that, He can make a cyclone, a tidal wave and that can wipe out a whole city immediately. So Krishna can kill millions of demons like that without having to personally appear. But when His devotees are involved, He likes to appear to protect the devotee and to give the devotee inspiration and strength.
There is another reason for Krishna's appearance. We like to talk about Krishna. For devotees our business is Krishna, talking about Krishna. Everybody is talking about something. Everywhere you go people are talking about something. Most people are talking about what they saw at the movies, what they watched on the television, what's happening in the news, what the politicians are doing, what their friends are doing. There are so many mundane topics of conversation. Devotees are also talking but they are talking about the activities of Krishna. So if Krishna didn't appear and Krishna didn't have activities within this material world then what would we talk about? So for these purposes Krishna appears, to protect the devotees and to exhibit His pastimes in the material world so as to reclaim the fallen conditioned souls, back home, back to Godhead.
Krishna actually enjoys fighting. In the same way we sometimes enjoy fighting, there are some martially spirited people who enjoy fighting. So Krishna also enjoys a good fight. He's fighting here with Hiranyakasipu and quite enjoying the fight. This is another indication of the personality of God. God is a person in the same way we are persons. He has all the personal qualities, so he sometimes likes to fight.
When Krishna does something so many purposes are served by His one action. In one action He is appearing and killing the demon Hiranyakasipu, He's protecting His devotee Prahlada, He's giving inspiration and energy to all the demigods and other devotees, He's performing some very great and interesting activities which can be written down and spoken about by the devotees in the future who can remember the activities of Lord Nrsimhadeva appearing to kill Hiranyakasipu and to protect Prahlada, and at the same time He enjoys the fight. So many different things are achieved by one action of Krishna.
Lord Nrsimhadeva killed Hiranyakasipu and in this way the world was relieved of the terrible condition it was in because of Hiranyakasipu's demoniac activities. Lord Nrsimhadeva also killed Hiranyakasipu while keeping all the benedictions Lord Brahma had given him in tact. Hiranyakasipu had the benediction of not being killed inside or outside so Lord Nrsimhadeva killed him in the doorway... not inside or outside. He had the benediction of not being killed in the daytime or at night so he was killed at dusk... not day or night. He was not to be killed by any man or any animal and Lord Nrsimhadeva, as half man, half lion, could not be said to be either man or animal. In this way Krishna appeared and killed Hiranyakasipu, protected His devotee Prahlada and kept all of Lord Brahma's benedictions in tact.
The whole point of this narration is Hiranyakasipu was a great scholar of the Vedic literature and he was a strict follower of the Vedic principles. He was very expert in the philosophy. He could preach very nicely. But he wanted to kill Krishna. So the Bhagavad-gita can only be understood by real devotees who have developed love and devotion towards Krishna by serving Krishna in the association of pure devotees. HARE KRISHNA!!