The Reign of Hiranyakashipu

At that time, Brihaspati, the preceptor of the gods, advised Lord Indra, "This is a period of ascendancy for the demons. We must endure patiently for now, as Hiranyakashipu, who has received a boon from Lord Brahma, has conquered heaven and defeated the gods. We need to strategize to destroy this demon."

Following this advice, Indra, along with the gods, vanished from heaven. Hiranyakashipu, who harbored hatred for Lord Vishnu, despised the Supreme Being despite his own inherent devotion. He conquered all directions, defeating gods, humans, Gandharvas, Garudas, Nagas, Siddhas, Charanas, Vidyadharas, and various other beings. Having subdued the Lokapalas (guardians of the world), he conquered heaven and celebrated his victory over Indra's Amaravati. Basking in the luxuries of heaven and demanding tributes from the gods, including Adityas, Vasus, and Rudras, Hiranyakashipu became intoxicated with power and began his reign as a tyrannical ruler.

Hiranyakashipu, who was once Jayanama, a gatekeeper cursed by the Sanaka sages, was born as a demon due to the curse and began ruling with arrogance and terror, causing distress to the Lokapalas and all beings. Unable to bear his oppressive rule, the Lokapalas sought refuge in Lord Vishnu.

The gods, practicing self-restraint and purity of mind, gave up sleep and sustained themselves on air alone, earnestly worshipping Lord Narayana, seeking his protection and intervention against the tyranny of Hiranyakashipu.

Om Namo Bhagavate Mahapurushaya Mahatmane |

Vishuddhanubhavaanandasandohaya Yato'bhayam ||

The gods prayed with utmost devotion and faith. Pleased with their devotion, Lord Narayana, through the celestial voice (Sri Vayudeva), blessed them with these words of assurance:

"O best among the gods, may all be well with you. My darshan indeed leads to the supreme welfare of all beings. The tyrannical acts of the demon Hiranyakashipu are known to me. I will bring peace to this situation; please be patient for the time being. When there is enmity towards gods, the Vedas, cows, Brahmins, righteous people, and towards Dharma itself in me, such hostility will soon perish. To Prahlada, the great soul, who is without enemies and peaceful, if anyone shows hostility, even though they are empowered with boons, they will be destroyed.

O best among the gods! Do not fear, may all be well with you. My vision (knowledge about me) is the cause of the supreme welfare of all beings. I am aware of the outrageous and wicked acts of Hiranyakashipu, the evil soul. I will make the appropriate remedy. Please wait for the right time. When he excessively despises the Vedas, the gods, cows, Brahmins, righteous people, Dharma, and especially me, his destruction will happen by itself! Particularly, when he intensifies his hatred and torment towards Prahlada, who is without enemies, peaceful, and full of all virtues, and devoted to me, I will destroy the crazed Hiranyakashipu empowered with boons.

Hearing this reassuring and profound divine promise (nectar-like words), the gods were overwhelmed with supreme joy and praised the glory of Sri Hari. They believed that their efforts would be successful and that the demon would be annihilated. They were reassured by Sri Hari’s decree, especially the emphasis on 'when he torments Prahlada,' which is notably significant.

It is evident that Sri Hari has declared, 'I will incarnate for Prahlada's sake,' which highlights Prahlada as the foremost devotee of Sri Hari, and the immense affection and grace the Lord has for him. Prahlada's fame will shine, and through it, the devotion and favored status of Sri Hari's devotees will also become renowned. It is essential to understand that Lord Narayana, in front of the gods, specifically singled out Prahlada, clearly indicating his devotion-dependence – this should be recognized.