Chapter 39 — Vishnu’s Awakens Prahlada & Exhorts Him to Live Out His Life

Vasishta continued:—

Thinking thus within himself, Vishnu started from his abode in the Milky Ocean with his companions and moved like the immovable Mandara Mountain with all its accompaniments. He entered the city of Prahlada, which resembled Indra’s city, by an underground passage lying under the waters of the deep.

There he found the prince of the asura demons, sitting under a golden dome in his hypnotic samadhi, like Brahma sitting in his meditative mood in a cave of Sumeru Mountain. The Daityas, their bodies changed by the bright rays of Vishnu’s presence, fled far away from him, like a flock of owls from the bright beams of the rising sun. Then Vishnu, accompanied by two or three Daitya chiefs, entered Prahlada’s apartment like the bright moon entering the pavilion of the sky at evening accompanied by two or three stars.

There, seated on his eagle, fanned with the fan of Lakshmi, armed with his weapons, and beset by the saints hymning his praise, Vishnu said, “O great soul! Rise from your samadhi!” Then Vishnu blew his five-note conch shell, its sound reaching heaven’s dome. The loud sound of the conch blown by the breath of Vishnu immediately roared with redoubled force like the clouds of the sky or the waves of the great flood. Terrified at the sound, the Daityas fell flat and fainting on the ground like flocks of swans and geese stunned by the thundering noise of clouds. 10 But the party of Vaishnavas rejoiced at the sound without the least fear. They flushed with joy like kurchi flowers blooming at the sound of the clouds.

11 The lord of the Danava demons was slowly roused from his meditative sleep, just as kadamba flowers open by degrees during intervals of rain. 12 By an act of exhaling he brought down his vital breath which was confined in the vertical membrane of the cranium, like the Ganges River gushes out from high hills and mixes and flows with the whole body of waters into the ocean. 13 In a moment vital breath circulated throughout Prahlada’s whole body, like sunbeams spreading over the whole world at sunrise.

14 As vital breath entered into the cells of the nine organs of sense, his mind became susceptible of sensations received through the organs of the body like reflections in a mirror. 15 The intellect desiring to know the objects and relying in the reflections of the senses, takes the name of the mind, just as the reflection of a face in the mirror refracts itself again to the visual organ. 16 The mind having opened or developed itself, his eyelids were about to open of themselves, like the petals of the blue lotus opening by degrees in the morning. 17 Then breathing, by conveying the sensations to the body through the veins and arteries, gave it the power of motion, just as the current breeze moves the lotuses. 18 The same vital breath strengthened the powers of his mind in a short time, like waves of a river become more powerful when it is full of water. 19 At last his eyes being opened, his body shone forth with life by its mental and vital powers, like a lake blushing with blooming lotuses when the sun rises above the horizon.

20 At this instant, Lord Vishnu bade him to awake instantly at his word, and Prahlada rose like a peacock awakened at the roar of a cloud. 21 Finding Prahlada’s eyes shining with light and his mind strong with its past memories, the lord of the three worlds spoke to him in the same manner as he had formerly addressed the lotus-born Brahma himself.

Vishnu speaking:—

22 O holy youth! Remember your large dominions and bring your youthful form and figure to your mind. Then think and ponder why you are transforming yourself into this torpid state without cause. 23 You have no good to desire and no evil to shun. You look on want and plenty in the same light. You must know that what is destined by God is all for your good. 24 You shall have this body until the end of the kalpa. So I tell you, rule over this kingdom as a liberated soul having no ups and downs of the mind.

25 You shall have to live here for a kalpa period in the living liberated state of your mind and in full possession of your dominions. You shall have to pass your time with this body of yours and without any anxiety or earthly trouble whatever. 26 The body being decayed by this time, you still shall have to abide with your greatness of soul to the end until the body is broken down like an earthen vessel and the vital life, like air contained in a pot, comes to mix with the common air of emptiness. 27 Your body, liberated in its lifetime, is to endure in its purity to the end of the kalpa and will witness generations passing before it without any diminution of itself. 28 It is still a long time until the doomsday at the end of the kalpa, when the twelve suns will shine together, rocks will melt away, and the world will be burnt down to ashes. Why then do you waste away your body even now?

29 Now the winds are not raging with fury, nor is the world grey with age and covered with ashes. The marks on the foreheads of the gods are still fresh. Then why waste your body before its time? 30 The lightning of flood clouds are not flashing or falling like asoka flowers. Then why do you vainly waste your precious body so prematurely? 31 The skies do not pour out their showers of rainwater on earth to flood mountain tops, nor do they burst out in fire and burn them down to ashes. Why then do you waste away your body in vain? 32 The old world is not yet dissolved into vapor or fused to fumes and smoke. The gods are not extinct leaving Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to survive them. Why then do you waste yourself in vain? 33 The earth on all sides is not submerged under water leaving only the sight of high mountains, so why waste away your body in vain? 34 The sun is not yet shooting his fiery rays in the sky with such fury as to split mountains with hideous cracks, nor do doomsday clouds of world flood rattle and crackle in the midway sky.

35 I wander everywhere on my vehicle of Garuda and take care of all animal beings lest they die before their time. Therefore I do not like your negligence of yourself. 36 Here we are and there are the hills. These are other beings and that is yourself. This is the earth and that the sky. All these are separate entities and must last of themselves. Then why should you neglect your body and not live like the living?

37 A man whose mind is deluded by gross ignorance and one who is the object of afflictions are truly led to hail their deaths. 38 Death is welcome to he who is too weak, too poor, grossly ignorant, and always troubled by such and similar thoughts in his mind. 39 Death is welcomed by him whose mind is chained in the trap of greedy desires and thrills between its hopes and fears, and who is hurried and carried about in quest of greed and is always restless within himself. 40 He whose heart is parched by the thirst of greed and whose better thoughts are choked by it, like grain sprouts are destroyed by worms, is the person who welcomes death at all times. 41 He who lets the creeping passions of his heart grow as big as palm trees to overshadow the forest of his mind and bear the fruits of continued pain and pleasure is the man who hails his death at all times. 42 He whose mind is irritated by the weeds of cares growing as strong as the hair on his body, and who is subject to the constant evils of life, is the man who welcomes death for his relief. 43 He whose body is burning under the fire of diseases and whose limbs are slackened by age and weakness is the man to whom death is a remedy and who resorts to its aid for relief. 44 He who is tormented by his ardent desires and raging anger, like the poison of a snake bite, is like a withered tree and invites instant death for his release.

45 The soul quitting the body is called death, and this is unknown to the spiritually minded person who is quite indifferent about the entity and nonentity of the body. 46 Life is a blessing to him whose thoughts do not wander beyond the confines of himself, and also to the wise man who knows and investigates the true nature of things. 47 Life is also a blessing to he who is not given to his egotism, whose understanding is not darkened by untruth, and who preserves his evenness in all conditions of life. 48 His life is a blessing to he who has the inner satisfaction and coolness of his understanding, who is free from passions and hatred, who looks on the world as a mere witness, and who has his concern with nothing. 49 He is blessed in his life who has the knowledge of whatever is desirable or detestable to him and lives aloof from both with all his thoughts and feelings confined within himself.

50 His life is blessed who views all gross things in the light of nothing and whose heart and mind are absorbed in his silent and conscious soul. 51 Blessed is his life who having his sight represses it from viewing the affairs of the world, as if they are entirely unworthy of him. 52 His life is blessed who neither rejoices nor grieves at what is desirable or disadvantageous to him, but has his contentment in every state of life whether favorable or not. 53 He who is pure in his life and keeps company with pure minded men, who spreads the purity of his conduct all about and shuns the society of the impure, is as graceful to behold as the white swan with its snow white wings in the company of the fair fowls of the silvery lake. 54 Blessed is his life whose sight and memory and the mention of whose name give delight to all persons.

55 Know the life of that man, O lord of demons, to be truly happy whose lotus-like appearance is as delightful to the bee-like eyes of men as the sight of the full moon is delightful to the world.