by
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
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Today is the appearance day of Lord Nrsimhadeva. It is called Nrsimha-caturdasi. So this is very instructive struggle between the atheist and the theist. This story of Prahlad Maharaj is eternally true. There is always a struggle between the atheist and the theist. If a person becomes God conscious, Krishna conscious, so he will find many enemies because the world is full of demons. What to speak of the devotee of Krishna, even Krishna, when He personally came, He had to kill so many demons. There was His maternal uncle, His mother's brother, very keenly related. Still, he wanted to kill Krishna. As soon as any son was born to Devaki, immediately he killed, because he did not know who will be Krishna. The prediction was that the eighth child of his sister will kill Kamsa. So he began to kill all the children. At last, Krishna came. But he could not kill Krishna. He was killed by Krishna.

So nobody can kill God. The demons, Godless society, they simply want to kill God. But actually, God is never killed, but the demon is killed by God. That is the law of nature. This is the instruction from Prahlad Maharaj's life. We can understand that as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, mrtyuh sarva-haras caham. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that "I am also death in the shape of taking away everything, whatever you possess." We are very much proud of possessing material things, material acquisition, but when Krishna comes... just like Maharaj, Prahlad Maharaj saw Hiranyakasipu. His father also saw Nrsimhadeva. This Hiranyakasipu was very clever as the materialists, scientists, are very clever. Cleverly they are inventing so many things. What is the idea? The idea is "We shall live forever and enjoy sense gratification more and more." This is called atheistic advancement of civilization. So Hiranyakasipu was typical materialist. Hiranya means gold, and kasipu means soft bed, cushion. So materialist persons, they are very much fond of gold and enjoying sex. That is their business. So Hiranyakasipu is the typical example of this materialistic person. And Prahlad Maharaj, prakrsta-rupena ahlada. Ahlada means transcendental bliss. Ananda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhavitabhih. Living entities' real identification is prahlad, blissfulness. But on account of material association, we are in miserable condition of life. So this Hiranyakasipu wanted to become immortal, and he underwent penances, severe penances, so much so, the whole universe became trembled. So that Brahma, Lord Brahma, had to come to pacify him, "What do you want?" So he wanted to become immortal. Lord Brahma said that "Although I have got very long duration of life..." The duration of life of Brahmaji is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, sahasra-yuga-paryantam arhad yad brahmano viduh. Sahasra-yuga, one group of yugas... Satya, Treta, Dvapara, Kali... it becomes about forty-three lakhs of years. And multiply these forty-three lakhs of years by one thousand, that duration of time is Brahma's twelve hours, one day. Sahasra-yuga-paryantam arhad yad brahmano viduh. So that Brahma who lives for millions of trillions of years, still, he has to die. Janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanu-darsanam. Wherever you go within this material world, either in the Brahmaloka or in the Patala-loka, you have to die. That is the problem. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, "Real problem is janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi, birth, death, old age and disease." Just try to... So Hiranyakasipu wanted to solve these in a materialstic way, but that is not possible. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati. Kaunteya pratijanihi: "Arjuna, you can declare it all over the world that anyone who has taken shelter at My lotus feet, become devotee, he will never be vanquished." Aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah. So these are the assurances. But the atheist class of men like Hiranyakasipu cannot understand this. That is the defect. They challenge always God. The dissension between the father and the son was that the son was believer in God, Krishna, and the father was not. So at the end the father saw what is God in the form of death. At that time he could not save him. So that is the difference between theist and atheist. The atheist always challenges, "Where is God? Can you show me?" Well, you will see. Not now. Just at the maturation of your all sinful activities, when death will come, you will see Him. This is going on.

So it is very instructive lesson, Prahlad Maharaj. Now it is getting late. Otherwise, I would have recited some of the verses recited by Sri Prahlad Maharaj. Prahlad Maharaj is one of our gurus. There are twelve gurus, or mahajana.

svayambhur naradah sambhuh
  kaumarah kapilo manuh
prahlado janako bhismo
  balir vaiyasakhir vayam

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 6.3.20)

Actually, if we want to make progress in spiritual life, we have to follow the mahajanas, the great personalities. They are mentioned in the sastras. Without father and mother, he became manifest. Therefore his name is Svayambhu. Without father and mother, he became manifest. Therefore his name is Svayambhu. Of course, his father is Narayana, but not in the usual way. Therefore his name is Svayambhu. Narada... Narada Muni is also one of the mahajanas. And Sambhu, Lord Siva. Kapila, Kapiladeva, the son of Devahuti. Svayambhur naradah sambhuh kapilo manuh. And Prahlad Maharaj. Prahlad Maharaj is our guru in the disciplic succession. So mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. Dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. We cannot chalk out what is the path of religion. It is very difficult to find out because there are many different scriptures and there are many philosophers. Nasau munir yasya matam na bhinnam. Each philosopher has got different opinion. So how to get real path of religious way? That is recommended in the sastra that mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. You have to follow the footsteps of great personalities. And Prahlad Maharaj is one of them.

So Prahlad Maharaj was born in a demon's family. His father was a demon. Prahlad Maharaj used to address his father as Asura-varya, "the best of the demons." You have seen... he was patting his son, "My dear son, do like this, do like that. Tell me what you have learned the best thing?" So Prahlad Maharaj said, tat sadhu manye 'sura-varya dehinam. He didn't, never said, "My dear father." "My dear the best of the demons." Tat sadhu manye. "I think that is very nice." What is that? Hitvatma-patam grham andha-kupam vanam gato yad dharim asrayeta. "That this worldly life, materialistic life, is self-killing just like a dark well. So one should give it up and go to the forest and take shelter of Krishna. That is the best way of life." So his father became very angry. So the atheist and the theist, they will never agree. But theist also never will submit to the atheist. This is the principle. Prahlad Maharaj was put into so many troubles by his father, but he never forgot chanting namo bhagavate vasudevaya namah. He never forgot.

So we should take lessons from this story that even in dangerous position, we should not be forgetful of Krishna. Krishna will save us. It is said in the Bhagavad-gita,

yam labdhva caparam labham
  manyate nadhikam tatah
yasmin sthite gurunapi
  duhkhena na vicalyate

(Bhagavad-gita, 6.20-23)

Krishna consciousness is so nice that if one gets Krishna consciousness, yam labdhva caparam labham, aparam labham, any other benefit or gain is never considered. This is so nice. We are hankering after getting this, that, this, that, this, that, so many things. Dehi, dehi, dehi, dehi. But as soon as you get Krishna consciousness, you will be satisfied. As Dhruva Maharaj said, svamin krtartho 'smi varam na yace. Just like Prahlad Maharaj. He was offered all benediction: "My dear Prahlad, whatever you like, you can ask." He never asked anything. But he was so kind. That is the example of a Vaisnava son in the family. Despite so much troubles given by his father, still, he begged from Nrsimhadeva, "My Lord, my father has committed so many offenses. Kindly give him liberation." He did not ask anything for himself. So Narahari, Nrsimhadeva, immediately said, "Why do you speak of your father? Your father's father, his father, fourteen generations... all liberated because a son like you is in this family." So this is the benefit. If a son becomes a pure Vaisnava, devotee, he can deliver fourteen generation. That is a special prerogative because he is born in a certain family. So what we can give service to the family, nation, materially? If we become devotee, we can give best service to the nation, to the family, to the humanity. That is the philosophy.

So our Krishna consciousness movement is preaching this philosophy that "You take to Krishna consciousness, your life will be perfect." And the method is very simple. It can be... there is no secrecy. Just like this evening I was talking with a boy. He has got a mantra, very secret. But we say have no secret mantra. Our mantra, Hare Krishna, is open to everyone. Why it should be secret? If by chanting Hare Krishna mantra we can approach God, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, why it should remain secret? It should be distributed like anything so that everyone can go. So there is no secrecy. A secret mantra we don't approve. It must be very open. There is no secret. The sastra never says that mantra can be secret.

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha

(Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 17.21)

In this age of Kali... Kali means the age of quarrel, age of misunderstanding, age of disagreement. So in this age it is very difficult to come to the right conclusion by philosophy and other methods. Therefore in the sastra it has been openly declared,

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha

(Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 17.21)

Three times. Three times means yajna-dana-tapah-kriya. There are many other things: meditation, sacrifices, worship in the temple. So in this age all these things are impossible to be performed, but even a child can chant Hare Krishna maha-mantra. That is proved here. Whenever there is Hare Krishna maha-mantra, even the child can take part, old man can take part. So this is the only method for God realization. There is no expenditure, but the gain is very, very great. That was the teaching of Sri Prahlad Maharaj, and we are following his footsteps. Let us stick to his principle, mahajano yena gatah sa panthah, and thus become more and more advanced in Krishna consciousness.

Thank you very much.
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(Srila Prabhupada lecture, Bombay, May 5, 1974)
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