Lord Narsimha and Prahlada’s story teaches us about the greatness of God and how God comes to the rescue of His pure devotee. Here is my poem based on this beautiful story of unalloyed devotion:
Virtuous Devas and the Asuras deceitful
Personifying the Good and the Evil
Both sons of the great sage Kashyapa
Through his two wives Aditi and Diti.
Hiranyakashipu the strong and valiant demon
Forgetting Sage Kashyapa’s teachings and reason
Rose to be a mighty king yet tyrant
And declared himself God in an act of defiance.
To conquer death, he meditated for years
To gain the boon that could temper his fears.
Moved by his intense prayers, Brahma appeared
And he asked for immortality as the death he feared.
His wish was declined for a mortal is doomed to die
“Ask for another wish,” Brahma replied with a sigh.
Thus he asked for death under certain impossible conditions
Which would make him invincible and strengthen his position.
“I should die at the hands of one who is neither man nor God
Nor demon nor animal, at a time when it’s neither night nor day
And I should not be inside nor outside, not on Earth nor in sky
I should be killed with no weapons .” Brahma approved with a nod.
The Ego soared high with the newly acquired boons
Unknown that his pride will ultimately cause his doom
“Nobody will worship Vishnu in my entire Kingdom”
Declaring him as God, he rejoiced in his foolish wisdom.
But destiny’s mysterious plans were yet to unfold
In his absence the queen was kidnapped, he was told.
Rescuing the queen, Narada took her near the ocean
In the sanctity of his ashram where she heard tales of devotion.
Unborn child in her womb lapped up every word
Growing wiser and more devoted with each word he heard.
By the time Hiranyakashipu came back to claim the queen
The profound effect on the unborn child, how could he have seen?
While Hiranyakashipu was busy unleashing terror on his people
The child Prahlada grew up as a devotee, being happy and gleeful.
His misdeeds of chanting the holy name was reported to the King
All hell broke loose! Who could have thought of such a thing?
Summoned to the court, Prahlada was asked to recite the King’s name
For worshipping Vishnu will only bring his family a bad name.
“No name is more sacred than Lord Vishnu’s,” said Prahlada with a smile
Unwavered by the gentle urgings, threats or the fear of an exile.
In his rage, Hiranyakashipu ordered him to be imprisoned
In a dungeon where no food or water to the child to be given.
Young Prahlada was fed by the Lord with love and affection
A week passed yet the child was alive under the Lord’s protection.
“Crush this errant child under the feet of the an angry elephant,”
But the elephant bowed to Prahlada to everyone’s amazement.
Thrown from a mountain and yet he escaped without any harm
His devotion to the Lord protected him from every storm.
In desperation, Holika sat in fire with Prahlada in her lap
Immune by fire, Holika was sure to escape any mishap
She was reduced to ashes while Prahlada came out unscathed
But from a demonic father, how long he could be saved?
Angry beyond compare, Hiranyakashipu shouted at his son
“Where does this Lord of yours reside? Why doesn’t he come?”
“He is omnipresent. He is everywhere, in every single thing-
Animate or inanimate,” Prahlada replied to the King.
“Oh everywhere? Is he here in this pillar?” Hiranyakashipu sneered
And struck the pillar while the courtiers watched in fear.
The pillar cracked with a thundering sound and there appeared
A creature as none had seen before nor ever heard.
Lord Vishnu as Narsimha with the head of a lion roaring in anger
And the body of a human and claws which evoked terror
Dragging Hiranyakashipu to doorstep which was not inside nor outside
In the twilight hour which was neither day nor night.
Placing the demon on his lap which was not Earth nor sky
Narsimha tore him open using no weapon but his claws
Bestowing him death in the terms he had chosen
Taking a form so menacing, so threatening and fearful .
And then Prahlada sang his glories in his sweet, gentle voice
To pacify the Lord who calmed down and smiled
Taking Prahlada in his lap and announcing him as King
And a great devotee whose tales future generations would sing.
© 2017 Shaloo Walia All rights reserved