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Great Devotees
Sakhubai Meerabai
Prahlada Dhruva
Ambareesha Andal
Vibheeshana Hanumantha
Bali
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PRAHLADA

'What Have You Learnt, Dear Child?’

"Who is a friend and who is a foe?" - this was the question that troubled the mind of little Prahlada. That peaceful boy of beautiful curls was walking to and fro before the house of his teacher. He was absentminded. The house belonged to Chanda and Amarka, the sons of Sukra- charya, the great teacher of theRakshasas, evil beings. Prahlada together with other Rakshasa boys was taught there. Prahlada was earnest, dignified and modest. So the  teachers were very much pleased. Besides, he was the son of Hiranyakasipu, the most powerful king of the demons. Eight gods guard eight points of the universe. Hiranyakasipu had crushed them. He had pleased Brahma Himself and got boons from Him. Gods trembled with fear at his name. Prahlada was the son of that' glorious king. Sukracharya had greater pride in him for this reason. The teachers used to teach how he should treat friends and how he should treat enemies.Prahlada listened to the lessons. But all the while
he thought, 'What is R these teachers say? Hari is present everywhere in the world. We are all sparks of that glowing fire. Who, then, is an enemy and who a friend? Why have any fears?’

Just then the king's servants came to take him to the palace. His father loved the son very dearly. He was eager to know what the child had learnt. Prahlada went up to the throne. Hiranyakasipu called his son with tender love. He took him on his knee and pressed soft and loving kisses on his cheek. He said, "Well child, tell me what you have learnt from your teachers." Prahlada said: "Father, they teach me that one person is my friend and another my enemy. I do not like this. I want to leave all this and go to the forest. I want to meditate on. Lord Srihari." At these words the father felt as if hot lead was poured into his heart. God Srihari was his enemy; and his own son was speaking about him! That son
wanted to meditate on him!

But still he sent away the boy with a smiling face. Then he sent for his teachers. He said, "Sirs, some enemy has crept into your school; he has been poisoning the tender mind of my son with devotion to Vishnu. Pray be careful and correct him." Then he took leave of them.

The teachers Chanda and Amarka were filled with fear when they learnt that Srihari was the beloved Lord of Prahlada. They palled him near and spoke very tenderly: "Child! Don't tell a lie; speak the truth. No other boy has such thoughts here. How did these thoughts come to you? Did anyone teach them? Or, are they your own thoughts?" Then Prahlada told them, "Sirs, I do not understand what you say. That I am different from others is a false belief. By the grace of Narayana I am free from such false beliefs. I have myself learnt this; nobody taught me."

When they heard these words, they lost all hope. "Oh, you cursed being! You are a shame to the race of the Rakshasas. Don't you know that the same Hari is the deadly axe at the very root of the race of Rakshasas? It is he who killed your uncle." So they tried to frighten him, They also hoped he would forget Srihari if they taught him new subjects. They taught him the principles of the art of ruling; they taught him the ways of defeating enemies by peaceful persuasion, giving gifts to win over others, creating quarrels among enemies and, finally, the use of force. They hoped that these studies would turn Prahlada's mind away from Vishnu.

Still there was some fear in their minds. So before they sent him to the king of the
Rakshasas, they took him to his mother Kayadhu. She gave him a holy bath and dressed him in new and lovely clothes. The boy looked charming. With love and obedience the boy touched his father's
feet.

Hiranyakasipu asked him tenderly, "Child, what is the highest thing you have learnt?"
Prahlada expressed his innermost thoughts: "Dear father, to hear with my ears the holy names of Srihari, to have a song to Him on my lips, a thought of Him in my mind, to worship only Him and to bow to Him, to be His servant and His friend, to offer myself to Him in devotion - this is the
highest knowledge."

It was as if liquid fire raced through Hiranyakashipu's body. He called his teachers and thundered at them: "You wicked Brahmins, you have taught my son bad things and ruined him! You seem to have joined my enemies and to have no fear of meat at all!"

The poor teachers! Their heart was heavy with grief and fear. Trembling in fear they
prayed to him thus: "Great King, we beg of you, be not angry with us. This is not what we have taught. The prince himself says that he learnt it by himself. Do not say we have secretly worked against you."

The anger of the King of the Rakshasas now turned on his son. He said, "Wretched fellow, how did you learn such evil?"

Prahlada had no fear whatever. "Father, this I have said is not evil. No one taught this to me. It is wrong to think that I am different from others this wisdom came to me by the grace of Vishnu."

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Prahlada - A Great Devotee of Lord Vishnu
About Prahlada
Introduction
You are Here! 'What Have You Learnt, Dear Child?'
He Must be Killed
'Narada Taught Me'
Vishnu In The Form Of Varaha
'This Boon I Seek...'
"Brahma Granted The Boon
The Saviour Comes From The Spilt Pillar
The Story behind The Story
The King Of The Gods Becomes A Disciple

 

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