Faith

Prahlada’s wise words

Although Kamban’s Tamil version of Lord Rama’s story was largely inspired by Valmiki, Kamban’s work has many differences from the original. For instance, he includes the story of Prahlada, the child devotee, whereas this is not the case with Valmiki’s Ramayanam. Kamban brings out the bhakti of Prahlada and through his words he also brings out Vedantic truths, said R. Narayanan in a discourse. Hiranyakasipu rages against Prahlada for reciting Lord Narayana’s name and warns him not to do so. But the child extols the Lord’s greatness. Prahlada says the name of the Lord will open the doors of heaven to a person who utters it. Prahlada says that the Ashtakshara mantra is the boat that will help us navigate the ocean of samsara. This mantra is the essence of the Vedas.

Prahlada says that the Lord is not known easily, for the Upanishads say that He is beyond being understood by mere reason or logic. But whoever enshrines His greatness in his heart will get out of the repetitive cycle of births and deaths. The world is like a vina that He plays. He is the Pranava. Prahlada tells Hiranyakasipu that through his contempt for the Lord, he might end up losing all his power and fame. Prahlada hopes that his chanting the name of the Lord many times will save his father. Hiranyakasipu then orders his men to kill Prahlada, but none of these attempts is successful. They try to burn down the boy, but the fire does not harm him.

Sita’s words had cooled down Hanuman’s anger. The same way, Prahlada’s repetition of the Lord’s name makes the fire feel cool! Kamban also mentions the Gajendra moksha story. When elephants are sent to trample Prahlada, he recalls how the elephant Gajendra was saved from the jaws of the crocodile.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 2:07:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/prahladas-wise-words/article25790871.ece

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