Pious virtues of Prahlada: – The youngest son of the demon king Hiranykashipu, Prahlada was very virtuous. He used to serve the sages with love. He treated all the beings equally and did never differentiate them as separate from him. He had a respect for the elders. Despite having knowledge, wealth, beauty, and nobility, Prahlada didn’t have any ego. He never lost patience even in most adverse conditions. He also regarded the world as false and worthless. He had no desire for anything, but had full restraint on his mind, organ, breath, and body. Despite having born in demon family, he didn’t have any demonic virtues. Narada says: ‘O Yudhisthira, as the virtues of the God are endless, similarly the virtues of Prahlada had no limit. But a natural and congenital love for Lord Sri Krishna was his greatest merit.
Since his childhood, Prahlada had no inclination for childish plays. Often he used to meditate silently. During his meditation, he used to become quite motionless. More than often he felt as if God himself was fondling him taking him in His lap. At times when he experienced an absence of God, Prahlada would cry loudly, and at other times he would laugh with joy seeing God before him. He also used to sing, shout and even dance whenever he felt God nearby. Occasionally, Prahlada used to mimic God, or feeling the soft touch of God, sit peacefully without movement. Such was the trance like condition of Prahlada who had a complete submersion in devotion for God.
Shukracharya was the teacher of the demons. Sukhracharya’s two sons had been appointed to teach the boys of the royal family. Staying at a place closer to the royal palace, these two brothers taught the boys in politics, economics etc. Prahlada too was sent to them for formal education. There he used to listen to his teachers carefully and recite what he had been taught.
But Prahlada did not like the education, which was based on falsehood. One day Hiranykashipu took Prahlada in his lap and asked lovingly: ‘My son, tell me, what you like the most.’ Prahlada said: ‘Father, in my opinion, this world is nothing but full of sorrow. Hence it is just for every being that they should give up this blind-pit like world and go to the forests and take shelter in God, to be free of miseries.’ Alarmed by these words, Hiranykashipu warned the teachers, the sons of Shukracharya, to look after Prahlada well, and to remove that mean thoughts of devotion from his mind. He also cautioned the teachers to guard Prahlada against any possible approach by a god, ascetic or Brahmin.
Guruputras (the teacher of Prahlada) tried their best and trained Prahlada in policies of Sama, Dama, Dand, Bhed (conviction, temptation, fear of punishment and partiality.) Then they trained him in Arth, Dharma and Kama (economic matters, religion and carnal knowledge.) When they felt satisfied with their efforts the Guruputras brought Prahald again to his father, the demon king Miranykasipu.
Hiranykashipu kissed Prahlada’s head and took him in his lap and asked, “My son Prahlada, tell me in detail what you have learned from your teacher during your stay with them.” Prahlada said, “Father there are nine kinds of devotion for Lord Vishnu. If one develops these nine kinds of devotion with dedication, I understand, it would be the best education.” Infuriated by these words, Hiranykashipu threw Prahlada on the floor and began to scoff at Guruputras.
Hearing his father scoffing at Guruputras, Prahlada said, “Father it was not taught to me by them, it is my natural inclination.” These words further infuriated Hiranykashipu. Blinded by anger he ordered his soldiers to kill Prahlada at once. Formidable demons hit Prahlada with their arms. At that time Prahlada’s conscience was focused in God. All the blows of the demons yielded no result. Thereafter, Prahlada was trampled by intoxicated elephants, bitten by poisonous snakes thrown from the high cliffs into the sea and even in fire, buried under the mountain but all in vain. None of the attempts could do any harm to the sinless Prahlada.
Now, Hirankashipu began to feel worried because of his inability. Seeing him worried the teacher assured him, “Be free of worries, O king. Keep your son tied in Varunapash (the noose of Varuna) until our father Shukracharya returns.” Then they again took Prahlada to their hermitage to teach him Grihasthdharm (duties of a married man). One day the teachers were away for some urgent work. Prahlada called his classmates and began to preach them about Lord Vishnu.