is Symbolic of Virtue, Righteousness and Truth
Prahlada was a virtuous, righteous
boy. Virtue means good character and good behavior. With the help of virtue
the three worlds fell into his hands. Indra became sad, went to his teacher
Brihaspati and narrated his difficulty. Said Brihaspati: Indra, Rajyalakshmi
will reside in a place of virtue. You did not maintain your virtue. Prahlada
is a virtuous man. Therefore he secured heaven." "Then tell me the nature
of virtue," requested Indra. Brihaspati told him a few precepts and asked
him to go to Shukra- charya if he wanted to know more.
Indra went to Shukracharya and requested
him to explain virtue. Shukracharya briefly described virtue and said:
"Prahlada knows well the real nature of virtue. He knows it and practises
it. Please ask him."Indra disguised himself as a Brahmin, went to Prahlada
and requested him to expound the nature of virtue. Accepting him as a teacher,
he was rendering service to Prahlada. After sometime Prahlada was pleased
and explained fully the nature of virtue. Prahlada had full control over
his body, conquered anger and maintained good behavior. Indra was convinced
that it was only due to virtue that Prahlada got the kingdom of heaven.
Indra then decided that he could not hope to get the kingdom of heaven
unless Prahlada was diverted from the path of virtue.
One day Prahlada, pleased about Indra's
enthusiasm and devotion, said: "Dear Brahmin, I admire your devotion. What
do you want? Make a request and I will grant it." Indra who was waiting
for such an
opportunity and he said:'Will you
give whatever I ask for?" Said Prahlada: "Sure as anything, I will give
it. I have never uttered a lie." Then Indra sought a boon: "Maharaja, make
me a gift of your virtue." Bound by his promise, Prahlada said: "All right.
I hereby gift to you my virtue."
The question here arises: How to give
away virtue? What is meant by saying that Prahlada made a gift of virtue
is - Teacher Prahlada blessing Indra always to be virtuous, and Prahlada
agreeing not to be always bound by righteousness and further that he is
prepared to tread theunrighteous way if necessity arises; on the whole,
losing his firm resolve regarding virtue.
Indra gladly walked away. On the other
side Prahlada was sorry and afraid. "For a long time I have led a virtuous
and righteous life. I have now been unfaithful to it," he grieved. Suddenly,
a super-brilliance came out of his body and formed a separate body. Asked
Prahlada: "Who are you?" In answer the man of the super- brilliance said,
"I am the god of virtue. You forsook me. You have given me as a gift to
that Brahmin. In future I will stay with that Brahmin," and vanished. Likewise,
righteousness and truth appeared in the form of a man and left him.
Then a heap of brilliance appeared
to flow out of Prahlada's body. A goddess was seen in front of him. When
Prahlada asked 'Who are you?" That goddess said: "Prahlada, I am Lakshmidevi.
I am to be found where there are virtue,righteousness and truth." Then
Prahlada asked: "Goddess, you are Lakshmi the goddess of the world. Why
do you want to go away from me? Who was that Brahmin who was serving me?"
Then Lakshmi informed him that Indra himself had come in the guise of a
Brahmin, and walked away.
Within a few days, Indra was against
Prahlada in a war. Prahlada looted the kingdom of heaven. By the grace
of Lakshmi, Indra again became the king of heaven.
From these stories we learn the moral:
Lakshmi resides in those who uphold virtue, righteousness and truth. Lakshmi
forsakes those who give up good conduct.
There is another such story.
Prahlada' son was Virochana. His son
was emperor Bali. Being a very powerful man, he defeated Devendra and took
possession of heaven. As stated earlier, gods became strong by drinking
the ambrosia produced during the churning of the sea. Then Indra defeated
emperor Bali -and took possession of heaven again. Bali went into hiding.
Once when Devendra had come to the
banks of the Ganga, he saw sage Narada also there. Indra went near and
saluted Narada. When both had enquired about the welfare of each other,
as it was morning, they observed religious rites of the morning. By that
time the sun's orb appeared brightly in the east. Both Indra and Narada
were looking at the sun's orb and were offering prayer. At that time a
radiant goddess was seen in the sky. She
was adorned with a pearl necklace
and holding a lotus in her hand. While Indra and Narada were looking in
wonder, that goddess came down from the sky and approached them. Devendra
and Narada saluted her and eulogised her. Indra addressed her: "0 Goddess,
who are you? What is the reason for your coming here?" Said she: Indra,
I am Dhanalakshmi. Everybody in this world tries to seek my favor. I reside
in righteous people. The
demons were so far righteous; their
king Bali was virtuous. I was residing in him. Now, as all of them are
unrighteous and devoid of virtue, I have abandoned them and come here to
live with you." Indra devotedly saluted her and requested: "0 Mother, kindly
tell me the places in which you wish to stay."
Then Lakshmi said: "I admire the brave
and those who show determination to do any work undertaken by them satisfactorily.
I stay in the houses of person that pursue education devotedly, those who
teacher, and devotees of God. I bless
those who have conquered anger, people who are not envious, those who take
pity on others in difficulties and help them. I do not approach lazy, short-tempered
and ambitious people. I stay away from people whose houses are not clean,
and who are lazy. I love people who are clean, virtuous and hard-working."
There are some stories connected with
incarnations of Lakshmi.