After Hiranyakasipu was annihilated by the Supreme Lord, Prahlada prayed to Narasimhadeva to forgive Hiranyakasipu. Hiranyakasipu , the cruel demon, had tried his best to torture and kill Prahlada who was just five years old. Prahlada was his son but still the demon despised him. But Prahlada whose heart was pure because he always meditated on the lotus feet of Lord Vshnu had no ill feelings towards him. He always wanted good for the demon. Prahlad knew that Hiranyakasipu has indulged in many sinful activities. He has committed severe atrocities against the devotees of the Lord and had also desired to kill the Lord. For this he will have to suffer terribly. Prahlada, a kind-hearted soul, felt great compassion for him. He did not want the atrocious emperor to rot in hell. And so Prahlada earnestly prayed to Narasimhadeva to forgive Hiranyakasipu.
Why Hiranyakashipu wanted to kill Prahlada?
Hiranyakasipu wanted to kill Lord Vishnu and become God. For that he did severe austerities and got benediction from Brahma which made him an extremely powerful ruler in this universe. Foolishly, Hiranyakasipu started believing that he has become more powerful than Lord Vishnu. He forced people to worship him and not Vishnu. He was such a cruel king that out of fear everyone obeyed him. But his own son Prahlada refused to accept him as God. Instead, he said that Lord Vishnu is the Supreme Lord.
This infuriated the demon. “How can my own son disobey me? If my own son will refuse to accept me as God, then eventually my citizens will stop worshipping me as God. Either Prahlada has to accept me as God, or he should be killed.”
Prahlada refused to follow this ungodly order. And so, the king employed all means to kill Prahlada who was just five years old at that time. He subjected Prahlada to severe physical and mental torture. He tried to burn him alive with the help of his sister Holika, poisoned him, attacked him with lethal weapons, threw him from the top of the mountain.
But the powerful demon whom even the demigods feared failed to instil fear in the heart of the little child. Prahlad had firm faith that Lord Vishnu will protect him. The Supreme Lord always protects those who seeks his protection. The Supreme Lord never fails to give shelter to the surrendered souls. The Lord protected him from all the atrocities. Hiranyakasipu badly failed in his mission of becoming God. And eventually Lord Vishnu killed him in the form of Lord Narasimhadeva.
Prahlada pleads Narasimhadeva to free Hiranyakasipu of all the sins
Prahlada had all the reasons to hate his father. He should have danced in joy seeing the dead body of his father who wanted him dead. But Prahlada’s heart was free of all the vices. He did not abhor the demon – hate the sin, not the sinner. He knew that Hiranyakasipu had committed so many sins that he was destined to suffer in hell forever. He feared the fate of the demon. Prahlada knew the Lord is merciful, but he also knew the gravity of sin committed by his sinful father.
So, he decided to beg the Lord to forgive his father. With folded hands he stood in front of the most ferocious incarnation of the Supreme Lord and prayed, “O Supreme Lord, I know my father has committed unpardonable sins, but I beseech you to forgive him and free him from all the sins.” Srimad Bhagavatam 7.10.15-17
Lord Narasimhadev purifies Hiranyakasipu
Lord Narasimhadev had just ripped apart the chest of the vicious demon. In utter anger the Lord had pulled out Hiranyakasipu’s intestine and wore it as a garland. He was now sitting on the same throne which once the demon thought belonged to him.
The half-man-half-lion Lord saw innocent Prahlada standing in front of him. He looked into the eyes of his little devotee. He smiled gently. Prahlada’s prayerful words gave joy to the Lord. He spoke lovingly, “My dear child, your father has already been purified just by the touch of My body at the time of his death.” Śrimad Bhagavatam 7.10.22. Little Prahlada felt relieved.
Lord’s punishment is blessing in disguise. Just like the rays of the sun purifies a filthy place similarly Lord’s mere touch or glance burns all the sins of a great sinner. So, Śrī Īśopaniṣad describes the Supreme Lord as śuddham (antiseptic). Srila Prabhupada explains, “He [Supreme Lord] is antiseptic in the sense that even an impure thing can become purified just by touching Him.”
Devotees of the Supreme Lord are most merciful
Devotees of the Lord show great compassion towards all living beings. They understand Lord’s heart – Lord does not want even a sinner to suffer. Lord wants everyone to become pure and come back to him. So, the devotees always pray to the Lord to free everyone from their sins and forgive everyone for their mistakes.
Srila Prabhupada explains, “..the devotees of the Lord are more kind than the Lord because they understand the purpose of the Lord. Consequently, they undertake all kinds of risks, even to the point of approaching ignorant men to try to engage them in the acts of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which are absolutely necessary for the human being.” Bhagavad Gita 3.29 Purport
Devotees suffer when they see other’s suffering. They want everyone to reunite with God. In fact, they are ready to suffer for the sins of others. The supreme Lord had appeared to show mercy upon Prahlad. Prahlad would have prayed only for himself. He could have asked anything from the Lord. Lord owns, controls and maintains everything of this world. So, the Lord could have fulfilled any desire of Prahlada who was very dear to him.
But Prahlada wanted nothing for himself. He was satisfied. He was free from all the miseries of this miserable world. He did not fear hell, he did not long for heaven because in any situation he was always happy as he always meditated on Lord Vishnu. Srimad Bhagavatam 6.17.28 describes the characteristics of a pure devotee like Prahlada, “Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord.”
Pure devotees pray for everyone’s deliverance
However, the pure devotees of the Lord have one desire. And the desire is to see everyone happy. They want to deliver every suffering soul For this they are ready to take any risk.
Prahlada, the foremost devotee, expressed his heart’s desire to Lord Narasimhadeva.
“My dear Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himālayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence [mauna-vrata]. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all these poor fools and rascals. I know that without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy. Therefore I wish to bring them back to shelter at Your lotus feet.”
Prahlada not just prayed to Narasimhadeva to forgive Hiranyakasipu, the demon but he was praying for you and me too. We all are suffering because we have committed many sins knowingly and unknowingly. Pure devotees like Prahlad are so kind that they are begging Lord for our deliverance.
Chaitanya Charitamrita tells about Vasudeva Dutta who was compassionate like Prahlada. He was a great devotee of Lord Krishna and wanted no one to suffer. He would always pray to Lord Chaitanya to free all the people of this material world from all the sins which is the cause of all the sufferings. In fact, Vasudev Datta Thakura was willing to suffer for the sinful activities of all the people of the world so that Lord Chaitanya forgives them and delivers them. Śrī Caitanya-Caritāmṛta Adi 10.42.
Lord Chaitanya was so pleased with him. He embraced Vasudev Datta and said, “You are none other than Prahlada.”