Sri Prahlada Rajaru Shankukarna Enters the womb of Kayadu

Upon learning that the demon king Hiranyakashipu, with ears shaped like conch shells, had gone to Mandarachala Mountain for penance, the gods became anxious and rushed to Satyaloka to inform Lord Brahma about all the matters. They implored, 'O great ancestor! The demon king Hiranyakashipu has gone to Mandarachala to perform penance to obtain immortality. Currently, we are already troubled by him, and if he attains immortality, what will become of us, O Lord? What is unknown to you, who are all-knowing? O great being, you must think of some way to protect the gods and prevent the greater dangers that the demon could cause to the righteous.'

Lord Brahma comforted the gods with timely words and sent them away. As Brahma, born from a lotus, sat there deeply contemplative, Sage Narada from the mountains arrived and greeted him. Mountain-Sage Narada said, 'O great lord, Brahma! It appears you are deeply worried. What concerns you, the great grandfather of all worlds? If you reveal the cause of your concern to this servant, we desire to address it to the best of our ability.'

Then Brahma revealed to Sage Narada that Hiranyakashipu was attempting penance with the intention of gaining dominion over all worlds, and about the prayers of the gods. He commanded Narada to create obstacles in Hiranyakashipu's penance. Sage Narada responded, 'O great ancestor! What a significant task! We will indeed create obstacles in the demon's penance. You need not worry,' and having received Brahma's blessings, they left. Lord Brahma was pleased, knowing that the will of Lord Vishnu would be fulfilled.

The beautiful region of Mount Mandara was resplendent with various trees, plants, and creepers. The auspicious river Tarangini flowed down from the upper parts of the mountain, gurgling along its course. With the sunrise, the reddish rays bathed the entire area in a beautiful hue. The natural beauty of Mount Mandara, which brought joy to everyone's heart, was where the great demon king Hiranyakashipu came to perform his penance. Leaving his royal attire, ornaments, mace, and bows and arrows aside, he bathed in the river, donned fresh clothes, and sat down with a firm resolution to begin his penance. As he commenced his vow, he declared his intention to attain immortality and sovereignty over all worlds until he received his boon.

Just then, Sage Narada, in the form of a sparrow, arrived and observed Hiranyakashipu's preparations. Landing on a branch in front of the demon, he loudly chanted 'Om Namo Narayanaya'. Hearing the name of Narayana, Hiranyakashipu's water of resolve spilled from his hands, and his heart was pierced as if by a spear. The demon king, agitated by rage, covered his ears and reinitiated his penance after calming himself.

The sparrow continued to chant 'Om Namo Narayanaya', further infuriating Hiranyakashipu. He threw the water of resolve, cursing the irony of hearing his enemy's name during his sacred penance. Wondering who dared to pronounce his enemy's name in his presence, he spotted the sparrow sitting on the branch. Preparing to shoot them with his bow and arrow, the sparrow, revealed as Sage Narada, vanished instantly.

Seeing the bird fly away, Hiranyakashipu sat down, his anger subsiding. With a sense of victory, he unwittingly began to repeat 'Narayana', the name of his archenemy, as he found his mind becoming peaceful. At this moment, Shankukarna entered through Hiranyakashipu's mouth, and the original demon spirit within him re-emerged powerfully.

Angry and frustrated at the sparrow for chanting the name of his arch-enemy Narayana and then disappearing, the demon king Hiranyakashipu became distressed, pondering over what to do next. In a dilemma about whether to continue or abandon the great penance he had intended to undertake, he concluded that hearing the enemy's name was an ill omen and decided to give up the penance, thinking, 'The hearing of the enemy's name has caused a hindrance to the penance. Ah, it's an ill omen now; I shall start the penance again at an auspicious time.' With this decision, he returned to his capital.

Upon his arrival at the capital, Hiranyakashipu went to his queen Kayadhu's quarters. Seeing her beloved husband return, a gentle smile lit up her face. She had just completed her seasonal rituals. Approaching him, she said with a teasing glance and a smiling face, 'My dear life! You went to please the great grandfather [Brahma] and gain a boon. Why have you returned so soon? Did you not perform the penance? Or was there some hindrance? Or did you return because you missed me, who is dearer to you than life itself?'

The demon king, with a faint smile, replied, 'Dear, I will tell you about it leisurely,' and then went to perform his ablutions and other rituals, immersing himself in those activities. After completing his afternoon duties, having his meal, and conversing with his ministers and commanders, he took some rest. At night, he visited Kayadhu's quarters.

It was a beautiful night! The moon seemed to be smiling gently in the sky, spreading joy all around. In the solitary moment, lying in the embrace of his beautiful wife on the swan-bed, Hiranyakashipu was enjoying the moonlight. The gentle breeze, carrying various floral fragrances, made him forget everything, and he reveled in the empire of love. His mind was at peace.

In the comfort of his beloved's embrace, with a contented heart, Kayadhu, lost in her husband's affectionate embrace, let out a gentle laugh and said, 'My dear lord! It happened just as I said that day. When I asked you, 'When will you return from your penance, Lord?' you replied, 'I have now renounced the vow for some important reason.' So why did you abandon that form of penance and return? I am asking this out of love, as you are my dear life. Please tell me the truth.

Listening to his beloved wife's words and smiling faintly, Hiranyakashipu said, 'My queen, I will tell you why I returned without completing my penance, listen. While I was making a vow for my penance in that blissful and serene place of penance, two sparrows arrived and perched on a tree in front of me. They chanted 'Om Namo Narayanaya' three times and flew away. Considering it an ill omen to hear the name of my enemy Narayana, I decided to return to the capital,' he explained.

While enjoying a private moment with his wife, just as he was uttering 'Om Namo Narayanaya', at that very moment, as if waiting for the right time, Shankukarna entered the womb of Kayadhu from the body of the demon king though the sperm. Thus, the devotee of Lord Vishnu, Karmajayadeva Shankukarna, entered the womb of the queen of the demon empire during the chanting of 'Om Namo Narayanaya', as per the will of Lord Vishnu.

Days passed, and eventually, one day, Hiranyakashipu left his pregnant wife Kayadhu, who was carrying a child destined to receive the boon of invincibility, and set out for Mandarachala Mountain to commence his penance.