Chapter 33 — Vishnu Explains Prahlada to the Gods; Appears to Prahlada

Vasishta said:—

The lord of Lakshmi, seeing the gods clamoring in their accusation of the demons, gave his words to them in sounds as sonorous as those of rainy clouds responding to the loud noise of screaming and thirst-stricken peacocks. The Lord Vishnu said, “You gods, do not marvel at Prahlada’s faith in me as it is because of his virtuous acts in past lives that this pious prince is entitled to his final liberation in this his present life. He shall not have to be born again in the womb of a woman, or be reproduced in any form on earth, but must remain aloof from regeneration, like a fried pea which does not germinate anymore.”

“A virtuous man turning impious becomes the source of evil, but an unworthy man becoming meritorious is doubtless a step towards his better being and blessedness. You good gods who are quite happy in your blessed seats in heaven must not let the good deserts of Prahlada be any cause for your uneasiness.”

Vasishta resumed:—

The lord having thus spoken to the gods became invisible to them, like a feather floating on the surface of waves. The assembly of immortals then returned to their heavenly abodes after taking their leave of the god, just as the particles of seawater are carried to the sky by the soft warm breezes, or by the agitation of Mandara Mountain. Henceforth the gods were pacified towards Prahlada, because the mind is never suspicious of one who has the credit of his superiors.

Prahlada also continued his daily adoration of his god with the contriteness of his heart and in the formulas of his spiritual, oral and bodily services. 10 It was in the course of his divine service in this manner that he attained the joy proceeding from his right discrimination, self-resignation and other virtues with which he was crowned. 11 He took no delight in any object of enjoyment, nor felt any pleasure in the society of his consorts, all which he shunned as a male deer shuns a withered tree and the company of human beings.

12 He did not walk in the ways of the ungodly or spend his time in anything but religious discourses. His mind did not dwell on visible objects, like the lotus that never grows on dry land. 13 His mind did not delight in pleasures, which were all linked with pain, but longed for its liberation, which is as entire of itself and unconnected with anything as a single grain of unperferated pearl.

14 His mind was abstracted from his enjoyments, but not yet settled in its samadhi of ultimate rest. He was wavering between the two states, like a cradle swinging both ways. 15 The god Vishnu, who knew all things by his all-knowing intelligence, saw the unsettled state of Prahlada’s mind from his seat in the Milky Ocean. 16 Pleased at Prahlada’s firm belief, he proceeded by an underground route to the place of his worship and manifested before him at the holy altar. 17 Seeing his god manifest to his view, the lord of the demons worshipped him with two-fold veneration, and made many respectful offerings to his lotus-eyed deity, more than his usual practice. 18 He then gladly glorified his god with many prayers in gratitude for appearing before him in his house of worship.

19 Prahlada said, “I adore you, O my lord Vishnu, who is unborn and without decay, who is the blessed receptacle of three worlds, who dispels all darkness by the light of your body, and who is the refuge of the helpless and friendless. 20 I adore my Vishnu in his complexion of blue lotus leaves and the color of autumn. I worship him whose body is of the color of the dark bhramara bee and who holds the lotus, discus, club and conch-shell in his arms.”

21 “I worship the god who dwells in the lotus-like hearts of his devotees with his appearance of a swarm of dark bees, who holds a conch-shell as white as the bud of a lotus or lily, with earrings ringing in his ears with the music of humming bees. 22 I resort to Vishnu’s sky-blue shade, shining with the starry light of his long stretching nails, his face shining like the full moon with his smiling beams, and his breast waving like the surface of Ganges with sparkling gems hanging upon it. 23 I rely on that deity who slept on the leaf of a fig tree, who contains the universe in himself in his stupendous form of Viraj, who is neither born nor grown but is always the whole by himself, and who is possessed of endless attributes of his own nature.”

24 “I take my refuge in Vishnu whose bosom is daubed with the red dust of the new-blown lotus, and whose left side is adorned by the blushing beauty of Lakshmi whose body is covered by a red colored cloth and smeared with red sandal paste like liquid gold. 25 I take my refuge under that Vishnu who is the destructive frost to the lotus-bed of demons, who is the rising sun to the opening buds of the lotus-bed of the deities, who is the source of the lotus-born Brahma, and who is the receptacle of the lotus petal seat of our understanding. 26 My hope is in Vishnu, the blooming lotus of the bed of the triple world, and the only light amidst the darkness of the universe, who is the principle of consciousness (chit) amidst the gross material world, and who is the only remedy for all the evils and troubles of this transient life.”

27 Vasishta continued:—

Vishnu the destroyer of demons, who is graced on his side by the goddess of prosperity, being praised with many such graceful speeches of the demon lord, answered him as lovingly in his blue lotus-like form as when the deep clouds respond to the peacocks’ screams.