Chapter 38 — Vishnu Decides to Restore Order and Awaken Prahlada

Vasishta continued:—

Now Vishnu, who slept on his couch of the snake in his watery house of the Milky Ocean and whose delight was to preserve the order of all groups of worlds, after he rose from his sleep at the end of the rainy season, looked into the course of world in his own mind for achieving the objects of the gods. At a glance of his thought, he surveyed the state of the triple world composed of heaven, earth and the regions below. Then he directed his attention to the affairs of the infernal regions of the demons.

There he saw Prahlada sitting in his intense meditation samadhi. Then Vishnu looked into the increasing prosperity of Indra’s palace. Sitting as he was, on his serpentine couch in the Milky Ocean with his arms holding conch-shell, discus, club and lotus in his four hands and in his lotus posture, Vishnu thought in his brilliant mind about the states of the three worlds, like fluttering bee inspecting a lotus. He saw Prahlada immersed in his meditation and the infernal regions left without a leader. He saw that the world was about to be devoid of the Daitya race.

Vishnu thinking to himself:—

This lack of demons is likely to cool the military ardor of the gods, as the lack of clouds dries up the waters on earth. Liberation obtained by deprivation of dualism and egoism brings a man to a state of asceticism, just as the lack of moisture dries up and kills a promising plant.

10 If the gods are at rest and contented in themselves, there would be no need of sacrifices and offerings to please and appease them. Eventually this will lead to the extinction of the gods (because they rely upon being fed with butter and fat from the sacrifices). 11 The end of religious and sacrificial rites among mankind will bring on the destruction of human race (owing to their impiety), which will cause the desolation of the earth (by wild beasts). 12 With it, the impressions (samsara) of worldly existence ceases. My creation after the Deluge melts away at the improper time like snow by the heat of the sun.

13 What is the good of my benevolent guidance if I were to allow this fruitful earth to go to ruin by my neglect? 14 What would I have to do in this empty void of the world after the extinction of these created beings into nothing? I would have to change my active nature to a state of cold inactivity and lose myself into the samadhi of final liberation. 15 I see no good in the untimely dissolution of the order of the world. Therefore, I would have the Daityas live to its end.

16 It is owing to the struggles of the demons that the gods are worshipped with sacrifices and other religious rites for their preservation of the earth. Therefore the demons are necessary for the continuation of these practices. 17 Therefore I shall have to visit the nether world and restore it to its right order. I shall appoint the lord of the demons to observe his proper duties, like the return of spring fructifies trees.

18 If I raise any other Daitya as chief of the demons and leave Prahlada in his meditation, surely Prahlada will disturb the gods instead of being obedient to them. Because no demon can get rid of his demonic nature like Prahlada. 19 Prahlada is to live to old age in his sacred body until the end of the kalpa age. 20 So it is determined by Destiny, the divine and overruling goddess, that Prahlada will continue to rule to the end of the kalpa in this very body of his.

21 Therefore I must go and awaken the Daitya chief from his samadhi, like roaring cloud rousing sleepy peacocks on the tops of hills and the banks of rivers. 22 Let that sleeping prince who has rid himself of his ego rule unconcerned over the Daitya race, just as the unconscious pearl reflects the colors of its adjacent objects. 23 In this way, both gods and demigods will be preserved on the face of the earth, and their contention for superiority over each other will furnish occasion for the display of my prowess.

24 Though I am indifferent to the creation and destruction of the world, yet its continuation in the primordial order is of much concern to others, if not to my insusceptible self. 25 Whatever is alike in its existence and nonexistence is the same in both its gain and loss (to the indifferent soul). Any effort for having anything is mere foolishness since addition and subtraction presuppose one another.

26 Therefore I shall hasten to the infernal region and awaken the Daitya prince to his sense of duty. Then I will resume my calmness and not play about on the stage of the world like the ignorant. 27 I will proceed to the city of the demons amidst their tumultuous violence and rouse the Daitya prince like sunshine raising a drooping lotus. I shall bring the people to order and union like the rainy season collects fleeting clouds on the summits of mountains.