Canto 7: The Science of GodChapter 9: Prahlāda Pacifies Lord Nṛsiḿhadeva with Prayers

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.9.26

kvāhaḿ rajaḥ-prabhava īśa tamo 'dhike 'smin

jātaḥ suretara-kule kva tavānukampā

na brahmaṇo na tu bhavasya na vai ramāyā

yan me 'rpitaḥ śirasi padma-karaḥ prasādaḥ

SYNONYMS

kva — where; ahamI (am); rajaḥ-prabhavaḥ — being born in a body full of passion; īśaO my Lord; tamaḥ — the mode of ignorance; adhike — surpassing in; asminin this; jātaḥ — born; sura-itara-kulein a family of atheists or demons (who are subordinate to the devotees); kva — where; tava — Your; anukampā — causeless mercy; na — not; brahmaṇaḥ — of Lord Brahmā; na — not; tu — but; bhavasya — of Lord Śiva; na — nor; vai — even; ramāyāḥ — of the goddess of fortune; yat — which; me — of me; arpitaḥ — offered; śirasi — on the head; padma-karaḥ — lotus hand; prasādaḥ — the symbol of mercy.

TRANSLATION

O my Lord, O Supreme, because I was born in a family full of the hellish material qualities of passion and ignorance, what is my position? And what is to be said of Your causeless mercy, which was never offered even to Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva or the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī? You never put Your lotus hand upon their heads, but You have put it upon mine.

PURPORT

Prahlāda Mahārāja was surprised at the causeless mercy of the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, for although Prahlāda was born in a demoniac family and although the Lord had never before placed His lotus hand on the head of Brahmā, Śiva or the goddess of fortune, His constant companion, Lord Nṛsiḿhadeva kindly placed His hand on the head of Prahlāda. This is the meaning of causeless mercy. The causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead may be bestowed upon anyone, regardless of his position in this material world. Everyone is eligible to worship the Supreme Lord, irrespective of his material position. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):

māḿ ca yo 'vyabhicāreṇa

bhakti yogena sevate

sa guṇān samatītyaitān

brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman." Anyone who engages in continuous devotional service to the Lord is situated in the spiritual world and has nothing to do with the material qualities (sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa).

Because Prahlāda Mahārāja was situated on the spiritual platform, he had nothing to do with his body, which had been born of the modes of passion and ignorance. The symptoms of passion and ignorance are described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.19) as lust and hankering (tadā rajas tamo-bhāvāḥ kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye). Prahlāda Mahārāja, being a great devotee, thought the body born of his father to be born of passion and ignorance, but because Prahlāda was fully engaged in the service of the Lord, his body did not belong to the material world. The pure Vaiṣṇava's body is spiritualized even in this life. For example, when iron is put into a fire it becomes red-hot and is no longer iron but fire. Similarly, the so-called material bodies of devotees who fully engage in the devotional service of the Lord, being constantly in the fire of spiritual life, have nothing to do with matter, but are spiritualized.

Śrīla Madhvācārya remarks that the goddess of fortune, the mother of the universe, could not get mercy similar to that which was offered to Prahlāda Mahārāja, for although the goddess of fortune is always a constant companion of the Supreme Lord, the Lord is more inclined to His devotees. In other words, devotional service is so great that when it is offered even by those born in low families, the Lord accepts it as being more valuable than the service offered by the goddess of fortune. Lord Brahmā, King Indra and the other demigods living in the upper planetary systems are situated in a different spirit of consciousness, and therefore they are sometimes troubled by demons, but a devotee, even if situated in the lower planets, enjoys life in Kṛṣṇa consciousness under any circumstances. parataḥ svataḥ karmataḥ: as he acts himself, as he is instructed by others or as he performs his material activities, he enjoys life in every respect. In this regard, Madhvācārya quotes the following verses, which are mentioned in the Brahma-tarka:

śrī-brahma-brāhmīvīndrādi-

tri-katat strī-puru-ṣṭutāḥ

tad anye ca kramādeva

sadā muktau smṛtāv api

hari-bhaktau ca taj-jñāne

sukhe ca niyamena tu

parataḥ svataḥ karmato

na kathañcit tad anyathā

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