Chapter 31 — Prahlada Bemoans the Demon’s Loss and Praises Vishnu

Vasishta continued:—

Prahlada remained unhappy in his underground region, brooding over sad thoughts of the destruction of the Danava demons and their homes.

Prahlada thinking to himself:—

Ah, what is to become of us when this Vishnu is bent to destroy the best amongst us, like a monkey pulling out shoots and sprouts of trees? Nowhere on earth or in the infernal regions do I see any Daitya demons left to enjoy their properties. They are all stunted in their growth like lotuses growing on mountain tops. They rise only to fall like the loud beating of a drum. Their rising and falling are like the waves of the sea. Sorrow to us who are so miserable in both our inner and outer circumstances. Happy are our enemies of light, the gods who have overcome us. O the terrors of darkness!

Our friends of the dark infernal regions are all darkened in their souls with loss of courage. Their fortune is as transitory as the expansion of the lotus leaf by day and its contraction at night. We see the gods, who were mean servants at the feet of our father, have usurped his kingdom in the way timid deer usurp the sovereignty of the lion in the forest. We find our friends all disfigured and effortless, sitting melancholy and dejected in their hopelessness like lotuses with their withered leaves and petals. We see the houses of our gigantic demons filled with clouds of dust and frost, blown by gusts of wind by day and night, and resembling the fumes of fire which burnt them down. 10 The inner apartments are laid open without doors or enclosures, overgrown with the sprouts of barley shooting out as blades of sapphires from underneath the ground.

11 Ah, there is nothing impossible to irresistible fate that has so reduced the mighty demons who used to pluck flowers from the mountain tops of Meru like big elephants. Now we have come to this sad condition of the wandering gods of the past. 12 Our ladies cringe like frightened deer at the rustling of the breeze amidst the leaves of trees. They fear enemy arrows whistling and hurling through the open air. 13 O, the shining guluncha blossoms that decorated our women’s ears are now shorn, torn and left desolate by the hands of Vishnu, like the lonesome plains of the desert. 14 They have robbed us of the all-producing wish-fulfilling kalpa trees and planted them in their Nandana pleasure gardens now teeming with their shooting gems and green leaflets in the ethereal sphere. 15 The eyes of haughty demons that formerly looked with pity on the faces of their captured gods are now indignantly looked upon by victorious gods who have made captives of them.

16 It is known that the fluids pouring from the mouths of spouting elephants of heaven on the tops of the mountains fall down in the form of cascades and gives rise to rivers on earth. 17 But the foam flowing from the faces of our elephant-like giants is as dry as dust at the sights of the gods, just like a channel is sucked up in the dry and dreary desert of sand. 18 Ah, where have those Daitya demons fled whose bodies were once as big as the peaks of Mount Meru and were fanned by fragrant breezes breathing with the scented dust of mandara flowers?

19 The beautiful ladies of the gods and gandharvas, once kept as captives in the inner apartments of demons, are now snatched from us and placed on Meru as if they were transplanted to grow there as heavenly plants. 20 O how painful is it to think that the fading graces of our captured girls are now mocked by heavenly apsara nymphs in their disdainful dance over their defeat and disgrace. 21 O it is painful to think that the lady attendants who fanned my father are now waiting upon the thousand-eyed Indra in their servile toil.

22 O, the greatest of our grief is our sad and distressing fall at the hands of a single Vishnu who has reduced us to this state of helpless impotency. 23 The gods resting under the thick and cooling shades of trees are as cool as the rocks of the icy Himalayas. They do not burn with rage or complain in grief like we. 24 The gods protected by the power of Vishnu are raised to the height of prosperity. They mock and restrain us in these caves, as apes on trees do dogs below. 25 The faces of our fairies, though decked with ornaments, are now bedewed with drops of their tears, like lotus leaves with the cold dew of night. 26 The old stage of this aged world, which was defeated and about to be pulled down by our might, is now supported upon the blue arms of Vishnu, like the roof of heaven standing upon the blue arches of the blue sky. 27 Vishnu has become the support of the celestial host when it was about to be hurled into the depth of hell. Vishnu supports in the same manner as the great tortoise supported Mount Mandara as it churned and sank in the Milky Ocean.

28 Our great father and these mighty demons under him have been laid down to dust like the lofty hills that were leveled to the ground by the blasts of heaven at the end of the kalpa age. 29 The leader of the celestial forces, the peerless destroyer of Vishnu, is able to destroy all and everything by the fire in his hands. 30 His elder brother Indra, by the force of the thunderbolts held by his mightier arms, baffles battle-axes in the hands of the mighty demons, like big male monkeys killing their male offspring. 31 The lightning weapons of the lotus-eyed Vishnu are invincible, and there is no weapon which can foil the force of Indra’s thunder.

32 This Vishnu is invincible in warfare. He defeated our forefathers in previous battles in which they uprooted and flung great rocks at him and waged many dreadful campaigns. 33 He who stood victorious in those long, dreadful and destructive wars of times past cannot be expected to be afraid of us.

34 I have thought of only one way to oppose the rage of Vishnu, besides which I find no other way for our safety. 35 Therefore with all possible speed, let us go to him for help, with full contriteness of our souls and understanding, because that god is the true refuge of the pious and the only resort of everybody. 36 There is no one greater than he in all the three worlds. I have come to know that only Vishnu is the cause of the creation, preservation and destruction or reproduction of the world.

37 From this moment therefore, I will think only of that unborn Narayana for ever more. I must rely on that Narayana, who is present in all places and is full in myself and filling all space. 38 Worship of Narayana forms my faith and profession for my success in all undertakings. May this faith of mine ever abide in my heart, as the wind has its place in the midst of empty air.

39 Vishnu is to be known to fill all sides of space and vacuum, and every part of this earth, and all these worlds. My ego is the immeasurable Spirit of Vishnu. My inborn soul is full of Vishnu. 40 He who is not full with Vishnu in himself does not benefit by his adoration of Vishnu, but he who worships Vishnu by thinking himself as such finds himself assimilated with his god and becomes one with him. 41 He who knows Vishnu to be the same with Prahlada, and not different from him, finds Vishnu to fill his inward soul with his spirit.

42 Vishnu’s garuda eagle flies through the infinite space of the sky as the presence of Vishnu fills all infinity. His golden light of his body is the seat of my Vishnu also. 43 The claws of this bird serve as Vishnu’s weapons. The flash of his nails is the flash of Vishnu’s weapons. 44 Vishnu has four arms wearing armlets representing the four shining heights of Mount Mandara with which Vishnu churned the Milky Ocean.

45 This moonlike figure with the flapper fan in her hand and rising from the depth of the Milky Ocean is the goddess of prosperity (Lakshmi), the consort of Vishnu. 46 She is Vishnu’s brilliant glory which he easily acquires. She is ever attendant on his person with undiminished luster. She illuminates the three worlds like a radiant medicinal tree (mahaushadhi).

47 Vishnu’s other companion is called Illusion (Maya) which is ever busy in the creation of worlds upon worlds, and in stretching a magical enchantment all about them. 48 The goddess Victory (Jaya) is an easily earned attendant for Vishnu. She shines as a shoot of the wish-fulfilling kalpa tree, extending to the three worlds as an all-pervading plant. 49 These two warming and cooling luminaries of the sun and moon serve to manifest all the worlds to view. They are the two eyes situated on the forehead of my Vishnu.

50 This azure sky is the blue color of the body of my Vishnu, which is as dark as a mass of watery cloud and darkens the sphere of heaven with its sky blue radiance. The meaning of the word Vishnu was afterward changed to the residing divinity in all things from the root vish (white). 51 Here is the whitish conch in the hand of my Vishnu which blows its fivefold notes (panchajanya) and is as bright as the vacuum, the receptacle of sound, and as white as the Milky Ocean of heavens. 52 Here I see the lotus in the hand of Vishnu, representing the lotus of his navel, the seat of Brahma, who rose from and sat upon it like a bee to form his hive of the world.

53 I see the club of my Vishnu’s hand, studded with gems, in the lofty peak of Mount Sumeru beset by its shining stones and hurling down demons from its precipice. 54 I see here the discus of my Vishnu in the rising luminary of the sun which fills all sides of the infinite space with the radiant beams that emanate from it. 55 I see there in the flaming fire the flashing sword of Vishnu, which like an axe has cut down the gigantic bodies of daitya demons like trees, giving great joy to the gods. 56 I also see Vishnu’s great bow in the variegated rainbow of Indra, and also the quiver of his arrows in the pushkara and avarta clouds pouring down their rains from above like piercing arrows.

57 Vishnu’s big belly is the vast emptiness of the sky which contains all worlds and all past, present, and future creations in its spacious womb. 58 I see the earth as the footstool of Brahma and the high sky as the canopy on his head. His body is the stupendous fabric of the universe and his sides are the sides of the compass. 59 I see the great Vishnu visibly manifest shining under the blue dome of heaven, mounted on his mountain-like eagle and holding his conch shell, discus, cudgel and the lotus in his hands.

60 I see wicked and evil minded demons flying from me like straw blown and carried away by the winds. 61 This dark deity with his blue sapphire color and yellow covering, holding the club and mounted on the garuda eagle and accompanied by Lakshmi, is nothing other than the identical Imperishable One. 62 What adverse spirit can dare approach this all-devouring flame without being burnt to death, like a flight of moths falling on a great fire? 63 None of these hosts of gods or demigods that I see before me is able to withstand the irresistible course of the determination of Vishnu. All attempts to oppose it will be as vain as for our weak-sighted eyes to shut out the light of the sun.

64 I know the gods Brahma, Indra, Shiva and Agni (the god of fire) praise Vishnu as their Lord in endless verses and many tongues. 65 This Lord is ever resplendent with his dignity and is invincible in his might. He is the Lord beyond all doubt, dispute and duality, and is joined with transcendent majesty. 66 I bow down to that person who stands like a firm rock amidst the forest of the world and is a defense from all fears and dangers. Vishnu is a stupendous body having all the worlds situated in its womb and forming the essence and substance of every distinct object of vision.