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Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) :: Conto 7

Prahlâda, the Saintly Son of Hiranyakas'ipu

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Srimad Bhagavatam » Conto 7   

 Prahlâda, the Saintly Son of Hiranyakas'ipu

(1) S'rî Nârada said: 'To serve as their priest was by the Asuras the mightiest around, S'ukrâcârya ['the seminal teacher'], chosen. His two sons Shanda and Amarka lived near the residence of the daitya king. (2) The king sent the boy Prahlâda, well known with the moral code, to them to receive, together with other asura children, instruction from the textbooks of material knowledge.  (3) Hearing and repeating what the teachers instructed on what all should be considered the good and bad of oneself and others, he considered it a case of bad philosophy. (4) When once the asura ruler placed his son on his lap, o son of Pându, inquired he: 'Tell me my son, what do you yourself think would be the best?'

(5) S'rî Prahlâda ['the joy of understanding'] said: 'O holiest excellency of the Asuras, I think that all those who are embodied, because of taking the temporary for real, have an intelligence that is always full of anxieties; giving up that cloaking of the soul, that household concern which is nothing but a blind well, may one be sure to go to the forest and seek refuge with the Lord.'

(6) S'rî Nârada said: 'The Daitya hearing how his son full faith with his words stood at the side of the enemy, laughed at the intelligence of the small boy and assumed he was polluted by the wrong spirit: (7) 'Let this little boy better be protected at school so that his intelligence stays free from the influence of Vishnu minded brahmins who present themselves differently from what they are.'

(8) Brought back to the place [the guru-kula], called the daitya priests for Prahlâda and questioned they him, comforting him with a soft voice and pleasant words. (9) 'Dear child, Prahlâda, all fortune to you, tell us the truth and do not lie, which of the other children have given you this wrong way of thinking? (10) Tell us, did this opposing vision originate from evildoers or was it something of yourself; we, all of your teachers are eager to hear about this, o best one of the family.'

(11) S'rî Prahlâda said: 'This reasoning about others in terms of good and bad is something belonging to people in the material conception of life; thinking about what one sees is one simply bewildered by the outer that is created by Him, the Supreme Lord whom I prove my respect [see also B.G. 5: 18]. (12) When He is pleased with the person is the animal notion of this timebound way of discriminating between the 'I' of someone else and the 'I' of oneself destroyed. (13) He, this Supersoul is most difficult to ascertain for those whose intelligence and service with the 'I' and 'Thou' vision is spoilt; they, the ones of Brahmâ [here: the false teachers], of whom the followers on the vedic path are bewildered, have indeed placed my intelligence in opposition. (14) O brahmins, just as iron from itself moves to the proximity of a magnet is similarly my consciousness simply bend to the will of the cakra in His hand [see e.g. 5.14: 29].'

(15) S'rî Nârada said: 'After saying all this to the brahmins fell the great mind silent and was he harshly chastised by the servants of the king who, thinking nothing of it, were very angry: (16) 'Oh get me a stick for him, this cinder of the dynasty, who with his corrupted intelligence is defaming us; to him is the fourth diplomatic option of the danda [the rod] the solution called for [after dâna, legally settled charity; sâma, pacification and bheda, dividing posts]. (17) In the sandalwood forest of the Daityas is this boy born a thorn tree that serves as a handle to the ax that is Vishnu cutting us by the roots!'

(18) This way by various means threatening him in words and deeds, instructed they Prahlâda in what the scriptures offered concerning the [first] three goals of life [the purusârthas of dharma, artha and kâma]. (19) After his teachers had taught him all there was to be known about the four principles of diplomacy was he, bathed and ornamented by his mother, taken to the daitya ruler. (20) The boy fallen at his feet was by the Asura encouraged with blessings and from embracing him for a long time with his two arms, derived he a great joy. (21) Putting him on his lap smelled he his head and wetted he him with the water of his tears, and with a smile on his face said he the following, o Yudhishthhira.

(22) Hiranyakas'ipu said. 'Now tell me Prahlâda my son, now you're so well taught, something nice about all that you, o love of my life, have been learning all this time from your teachers.'

(23-24) S'rî Prahlâda said: 'Hearing, singing, remembering Vishnu, attending to the feet, offering worship and prayers, becoming a servant, being a friend and to surrender one's soul are of all the people who are of sacrifice the nine ways making up the bhakti that should be performed unto the Supreme Lord of Vishnu; the complete of that I consider the topmost of learning.'

(25) Hearing his son saying this told Hiranyakas'ipu, with lips trembling of anger, thereupon the son of the guru [who was Prahlâda's teacher] the following: (26) 'You degraded brahmin! What is this, are you siding with the enemy so mischievously teaching this nonsense, not taking proper care of my boy, you fool! (27) Really, there are a lot of dishonest people in this world, who, in cheating their friends, dress up for appearances; in the course of time can one of them observe the sin manifesting itself like a disease does with people living wrong.' 

(28) The son of the guru said: 'This what your son says is not what I taught him, nor did anyone else teach him that, o enemy of Indra; this is his natural inclination, o King, don't be angry with us about that obvious mistake of him.'

(29) S'rî Nârada said: 'Thus answered by the teacher addressed the Asura his son a second time: 'If you haven't heard it from the mouth of your teacher, then from where came this bad inclination, you fallen one?'

(30) S'rî Prahlâda said: 'Persons attached to their material life develop, because they fail to control their senses in their chewing the chewed again and again, a life that leads to hell; never are they inclined towards Krishna [see B.G. 4: 4-5] because others say so or out of their own understanding, nor will they of a combination of the two [see also B.G. 2: 44]. (31) They who are after the value of the external world have in their ambitions really no idea of the goal of their lives, Vishnu; although they are led are they, like blind men led by the blind, heavily bound in ropes to the dictates of material nature. (32) As long as the consciousness of these people is not in touch with the Feet of Renown, as long as they do not accept the consecration by the rule [or dust] of the feet of those who are free from the bondage, is the disappearance of the unwanted, that is the purpose of all the great, out of their reach.'

(33) Thus having spoken stopped the son. Hiranyakas'ipu blind of anger to the selfrealization, threw him from his lap on the ground. (34) Overpowered by indignation said he angered with bloodshot eyes: 'Men, kill him immediately, take this one away to die! (35) This one here is the murderer of my brother, he, this lowest one giving up his own well-wishers, is like a servant to the feet of Vishnu, the same who has killed his uncle. (36) And to Vishnu he's no good either being only five of age and this untrustworthy having given up on the hard to forsake love of his father and mother. (37) Even stemming from others is a child as beneficial as a medicinal herb coming from elsewhere; but a son born from oneself who is ill-willing should just like a diseased limb be cut off as being deleterious to the well-being of the body that by that removal may live happily. (38) By all means must he be killed, he who eating, lying down and sitting with us, posing as a friend is as much an enemy to us as the uncontrollable senses are to a sage.'

(39-40) The henchmen having taken in all their leader had to say then fearfully roared with the sharpest tridents in their hands, their frightening teeth and faces and their red hairs and mustaches: 'Let's cut him to pieces' and attacked Prahlâda, sitting there silently, with their lances on his tender parts. (41) On him whose mind was absorbed in the Supreme Absolute of the Fortunate One, the Soul of Each that is not perceivable by the senses, had they no effect just as good deeds have no effect with an undeserving person. (42) O Yudhishthhira, the daitya ruler daunted upon seeing how the attempts ran futile, devised with determination for a variety of ways to kill him. (43-44) Crushing him with an elephant, attacking with the king's poisonous snakes, with spells of doom, throwing him from heights, conjuring tricks, imprisoning him, administering venom and subjecting him to starvation, cold, wind, fire and water and with piling rocks upon him, was the demon unable to put his son, the sinless one, to death and because he in that long standing effort had no success, was he in great anxiety:

(45) 'From the many of these unholy expressions and different ways devised to kill him, from all these treacheries and abominations he found relief by his own strength! (46) So near to me and only a child really, he is nevertheless rooted in complete fearlessness; just like a mistreated dog that always keeps its tail curved, will he never forget the wrong I did to him. (47) Definitely will this unlimited glory and immortality of his lack of fear for whatever, from wherever he was opposed, be the cause of my death sooner or later.'

(48) Thus ruminating face downward he lost a great deal of his splendor. Shanda and Amarka, the two sons of the preceptor, then spoke secretively to him. (49) 'Conquered by you alone do all the leaders of the three worlds tremble when you lift your eyebrows; you have nothing to fear from him o master, nor do we see the point really of worrying about the qualities and faults of this or that child. (50) Just keep him bound in the ropes of Varuna until our guru S'ukrâcârya returns, so that he, afraid, may not run off; helped by the more experienced will the intelligence be found when his person grows older.'

(51) This way being advised he took heed of what the sons of the spiritual master had told him and thus was Prahlâda practically taught what the civil virtues of kings are. (52) The formal duty, the economy and the regulation of desire were time and again systematically laid out before Prahlâda o King, who was as humble as he was submissive [compare B.G. 14: 20 & 26]. (53) What the teachers related to him about the three paths - the education he received from people who were delving in a prescribed duality, he considered not a really good instruction at all [compare 6.3: 20-25]. (54) When the teachers were busy with their own civil duties took the boys of the same age there the opportunity to call for him. (55) He then, the great intelligence, addressed them in pleasing words telling them smilingly and learned how merciful it is to stay with God. (56-57) They, the boys giving up their playthings, indeed all in awe for his words, had their minds cleared from the instructions and the modeling from those [teachers] who took pleasure in talks of duality. They sat around him o king of rule, with their hearts and eyes freed now fixed on him who was speaking compassionately as a real friend and a great example of an Asura in devotion.

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SOURCE: Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu, http://bhagavata.org/

Production: the Filognostic Association of The Order of Time, with special thanks to Sakhya Devi Dasi for proofreading and correcting the manuscript. http://theorderoftime.com/info/guests-friends.html

The sourcetexts, illustrations and music to this translation one can find following the links from: http://bhagavata.org/