It was an auspicious day when a great personage, the embodiment of universal friendship and dedicated to the welfare of all beings, the harbinger of auspiciousness for the world, descended to earth. It was a day when all the planets were in favorable positions, eagerly awaiting the avatar of the foremost devotee. With the lotus-eyed Lord (Vishnu) pleased and ever-ready to assist, it was no surprise that all the planets looked on with auspicious gaze as the avatar of the foremost devotee took place.
Queen Kayadhu, the empress of demons, gave birth to a blessed son, an ardent devotee of Lord Hari, a devotee born out of the curse-turned-boon of Brahma, and the one blessed by Vayu. His birth marked the avatar of the Sun of Fortune, destined to rejuvenate the philosophical, religious, and historical fabric of Bharata. He was the supreme Bhagavata, the propagator of Bhagavata Dharma, embodying truth, devotion, and detachment.
The celestial drums sounded, the gods showered flowers, the Gandharvas sang, and the Apsaras danced. Sages and virtuous people were immersed in a sea of joy. Seeing the celestials showering flowers and the divine drums sounding, the Demon Emperor, in his arrogance, mistook it as a celebration of his future heir's birth and rejoiced, believing that his valor made the three worlds tremble.
In the demon's capital, there was great excitement; everyone participated in the celebration, from the great to the small, without distinction of gender. Everyone’s face shone with happiness, congratulating the emperor. Hiranyakashipu was swimming in a sea of joy.
After the auspicious bath, the demons, under the guidance of Shukracharya, performed the naming ceremony and other festivities for the prince, who by his mere presence delighted everyone’s hearts and eyes. Perhaps for this reason, the prince was named 'Prahlada' during the naming ceremony. Hiranyakashipu affectionately named his son 'Prahlad Raj,' adding significance to his name. During this time of joy, the empire was filled with acts of charity, including the distribution of food, clothes, and gifts. To celebrate the birth of Sri Prahlad Raj, our protagonist, the kingdom observed fifteen days of festivities.
As days passed, Prahlada, like the waxing moon of the bright fortnight, grew in grace and beauty, soothing everyone's eyes and minds. After Prahlada's birth, Kayadhu bore three more sons named Anuhlada, Sahlada, and Hlada. As time went by, contrasting traits became evident between the father and sons, marking a divergence in their actions and values.
Emperor Hiranyakashipu, after conquering several realms and fortifying his demon empire, was filled with pride, thinking himself invincible. He ruthlessly subdued anyone who opposed his demonic ambitions, oppressed the meek and the saintly, and indulged in vices, becoming a fierce antagonist to gods and holy men. Meanwhile, Prahlada, influenced by the teachings of Sage Narada, imbibed various virtues, establishing a realm of devotion and righteousness.
While Hiranyakashipu vanquished his enemies through sheer physical power and reveled in his demonic glory, Prahlada won hearts with love, showcasing the invincibility of divine devotion and virtues. He revered the downtrodden and the sages, venerating gods and the holy men with faith and devotion, thereby becoming a symbol of compassion, nobility, and benevolence.
After acquiring his boon, Hiranyakashipu aimed to conquer the heavens and seize the celestial throne. He shared his plans with Queen Kayadhu and sought her approval to embark on the conquest. Despite Kayadhu suggesting postponing the conquest until after their son Prahlada’s upcoming fifth birthday celebration, Hiranyakashipu was adamant about his decision.
Hiranyakashipu reassured his wife and reminded her of their wish to seek Sage Narada's blessings for Prahlada, proposing that she celebrate Prahlada's birthday at Narada's hermitage. He believed it would be most fitting to celebrate there and departed for his celestial conquest after bidding farewell to Kayadhu.
The next day, Kayadhu, along with a small entourage, took young Prahlada to Sage Narada's hermitage. Their arrival brought immense joy to the sage. Narada warmly welcomed the queen and the young prince, making appropriate arrangements for their stay.