The Affection and Boon Granting of Lord Srihari

Seeing Prahlada, who had fallen at His feet in complete devotion and submission, Lord Sri Prabhu looked upon him. Prahlada, having described the glories of the Lord in various ways with utmost devotion, offering everything at His lotus feet, and eagerly waiting for His grace, was embraced by Lord Narasimha, the friend of devotees, whose heart melted with compassion. The Lord, with love and a merciful gaze, gently lifted Prahlada up as a mother would pick up her tired child and cuddle in her lap. Similarly, He took the dear child, devotee Prahlada, onto His lap, and with His divine hands, caressed him repeatedly, smelling his head, and placing His lotus hand on Prahlada's head, He spoke with great affection.

Sri Narasimha: "My dear Prahlada, you have endured so many hardships for My sake. How you, a mere child, bore the torturous punishments inflicted by the wicked Hiranyakashipu! How much your delicate body must have suffered, how much love and devotion you have for Me! Ah, my boy! How much you strove to declare My supremacy, My lordship, and My omnipresence, O king of devotees! Did you feel I delayed My coming?"

Prahlada: "O Lord! Jagannatha! Kamalakanta! To me, who is like a bee always drinking the nectar of Your lotus feet, what is pain, O Master? Where is the distress for Your devotees?"

Sri Narasimha (to Prahlada): "My dear Prahlada, I am pleased with you. May you be blessed, O best among Asuras! Ask for any boon you desire. I am the fulfiller of all desires of devotees; without the love and devotion of My devotees, My vision cannot be sought, and one who has realized Me, the hard to attain, does not deserve to suffer the torments of samsara. Those who please Me with their heart, honoring Me in every form, are not ordinary, but the brave and the most virtuous."

Despite Sri Narahari's willingness to grant boons, Prahlada, the exclusive devotee, did not ask for tempting boons. He did not succumb to the temptations tested by the Lord! Prahlada desired no boons from Lord Srihari, who is endowed with six divine attributes, as the enjoyment of boons could hinder the uninterrupted path of exclusive devotion. Likewise, Prahlada did not fall prey to enhancing desires and pleasures.

Though Sri Narasimha Deva knew what was fit for Prahlada, He pretended to tempt him, to which Prahlada, smiling, said, "Lord, from birth, I have not sought material pleasures, have embraced detachment from worldly fears, and sought liberation by taking refuge in You. I am Your servant, You are my Master. I, as a devotee, serve You unconditionally. You are the affectionate Lord to Your devotees, not like a king who, though witnessing servants dance as per commands, expecting wages in return, we are not those kinds of servants and masters; between us exists a bond beyond reasons, a relationship of the served and the servant without expectations."

However, Prahlada refused the boon offered by the Lord, saying, "O Lord, as Your devotee, I seek no other boon but to serve You across lifetimes, just like Garuda, with unwavering devotion."

To this, Sri Narasimha replied, "Oh, jewel among devotees, what a dilemma you present to me. "I wish to give Myself to you, seeking steadfastness."

Prahlada, humbly replied, "May it be so, O Lord! All I seek is unwavering, pure devotion towards You, nothing else is needed!"

Sri Narasimha blessed Prahlada, "So be it! May it happen according to your wish! Such exclusive devotees as you do not desire worldly pleasures or liberation. Truly, you shall rule this demon kingdom for one Manvantara (era) as I command, and thereafter, by accumulating great virtues, you shall attain My special grace."

Prahlada questioned the Lord on pushing him towards earthly duties even after seeing the Lord, to which Sri Narasimha assured that fulfilling the duties as a king as per His command would not be a bondage for Prahlada.

Lord Sri Narasimha also commanded Prahlada to listen to all the auspicious stories of His avatars, meditate on Him, perform prescribed duties, and worship Him as the Supreme Lord, omnipresent in all beings. The enjoyments and experiences that come under Prahlada's rule are not obstacles to liberation.

Prahlada felt blessed and expressed his gratitude, acknowledging the Lord.