|“P” for Prahlad|
Just like Nachiketa, another young character from our scriptures which inspires us to be truthful, fearless and righteous, is the character of Prahlad.
There was once a mighty demon king named Hiranyakashipu who wanted to rule all the three worlds of heaven, earth and netherworld. He prayed to Lord Brahma and got a boon from him. He asked that he be killed neither by a man nor a beast, neither in the daylight nor during the night, and in a place which is neither inside nor outside.
Thus receiving this boon, he became invincible and considered himself God. He assumed that he could defeat even Lord Vishnu with his power. He went to the extent of asking everyone to stop worshipping or praying to other Gods and enforced a law whereby anybody who worshipped other gods or deities instead of him would be punished with death.
However, destiny had written different chapters in his life. His own son Prahlad turned out to be a strong devotee of Lord Vishnu and dedicated his life to the work of Lord Vishnu, which was completely unacceptable to his father. Prahlad refused to accept his father’s commands and continued to worship Lord Vishnu with complete devotion. He not only worshiped Lord Vishnu but also told his own father, teacher, fellow students, friends and others not to deviate from the path of truth and divine knowledge.
Hiranyakashipu had a soaring ego and did not even mind killing his own son. He attempted to kill Prahlad innumerable times but his every attempt failed. He ordered his soldiers to throw him down a hill, tried crushing him by an elephant, and finally asked his sister Holika who had the boon of not getting burnt by fire to make Prahlad sit in her lap in the fire. Each time. by praying fervently and having full faith in Lord Vishnu, Prahlad did not retract from his path. True to his faith, Lord Vishnu rescued him every time. Prahlad explained to his father that it was God who was saving him all the time. Hiranyakashipu was enraged and asked Prahlad to show God if He was present there. Prahlad said, “God is everywhere.” Further enraged, Hiranyakashipu asked if God was in a pillar and knocked down the pillar. It is said that Lord Vishnu then emerged as Narsimha - half lion and half human. The pillar was neither inside the house, nor outside and it was the twilight hour, neither daylight nor night. Hiranyakashipu was thus killed by Narsimha Avatar and the Lord saved the life of his devotee Prahlad.
Prahlad is an example and inspiration for all those who try to walk on the path of GOD. God is there to help us provided we are true to him.
What would I like to learn from Prahlad?
a) Absolute Devotion and Faith in God
b) Dedication to Truth