Prahlada's Virtuous Character

After returning from Sage Narada's ashram, young Prahlada's behavior underwent a significant transformation. He implemented Narada's teachings in his life, embodying the virtues expected of a great devotee or 'Bhagavatottama' even at the young age of five. He began to shape his character in a remarkable way.

Prahlada's merits were extraordinary. He was foremost among devotees of the Lord, his devotion to Hari never wavered; it was eternal and constant. From the time he was in his mother's womb, he was devoted to Hari, becoming a lifelong Vaishnava. Even as Prahlada was conceived, the utterance of 'Narayana' from his father Hiranyakashipu's mouth made him a born Vaishnava. His entire life was sanctified by devotion to Sri Hari. His blood and bones were infused with devotion, and his every breath was the name and mantra of the Lord. Every action, word, and thought of Prahlada was related to the Supreme Being.

Prahlada was a man of peace, endowed with virtues like self-control and goodness, always truthful, master of his senses, and constantly immersed in thoughts of the Supreme. Each of these attributes was fully realized in him. Thus, his life was marked by uniqueness.

Prahlada's sole activity as a child was meditation on God. He had no interest in food, snacks, or sleep. His life was defined by his love for Achyuta, the unchanging one. Always absorbed in divine contemplation, he showed no interest in play or studies. Prahlada would spontaneously cry, laugh, or dance while contemplating the qualities of the Almighty. He was possessed by a 'Krishna-graha', a divine obsession. From birth, he was an exalted devotee.

The world's beings can be divided into two groups - gods and demons. Devotees of the Lord are considered gods, and those without devotion are demons. This classification is also scripturally endorsed. Devotion to Lord Vishnu is the most crucial mantra in the world; without it, everything else is futile. Vishnu devotion is the measure of all actions; nothing can be considered righteous without it. Everything accompanied by devotion is righteous! When Prahlada's merits are assessed by this standard, his greatness becomes evident. His position is clearly distinguished as supremely exalted.

Hiranyakashipu had four sons: Prahlada, Sahhlada, Anuhlada, and Hlada. Among them, Prahlada was a devotee of Lord Narayana. He was known for his good conduct, love for Brahmins, control over his senses, and truthfulness. He showed compassion like the Almighty (akin to God), displaying affection towards all creatures. He served his elders like a servant, was paternal towards the needy, brotherly to his peers, and held his teachers in high regard, dutifully fulfilling his worldly responsibilities.

Prahlada never boasted about his wealth, good looks, prosperity, or royal lineage. Even in difficult times, he maintained a peaceful mind and a discerning intellect, controlling his senses, mind, and life force. He was free from worldly desires and deeply detached. Although born in the demon race, he did not follow demonic practices and had a divine disposition. His virtues, akin to those of Lord Hari, are too numerous to be fully described. Even the gods, who are natural enemies of the demons, would cite Prahlada as an example of righteousness.

Prahlada's devotion to the omnipresent and fully virtuous Lord Narayana was innate and spontaneous. Even as a five-year-old, he was not engrossed in typical childish activities but was like the great sage Jadabharata, always immersed in meditation on Sri Hari. As previously described, Prahlada was deeply affected by 'Krishna-graha' (a divine obsession), disconnected from the external world. Whether sitting, walking, eating, or drinking, he would bring every experience back to the realization of Lord Narayana. At times, he would weep, sing vigorously about the Lord's qualities, smile in meditation, and dance without inhibition. Immersed in Hari's meditation, filled with the knowledge imparted by sages like Narada, he exhibited unbroken devotion, disinterest in worldly matters, and continually engaged in glorifying the Lord, overwhelmed with spiritual emotion.

No matter how much one describes Prahlada's virtues, it always seems inadequate. His every quality signifies his greatness. His life was a testament to steadfast devotion to Sri Hari, marked by peace and profound understanding.