continued from here.....
While Hiranyakashipu had been away performing austerities, his wife, who was pregnant, had gone to stay with Narad Muni in his ashram. Out there, the divine sage had glorified Lord Vishnu and described in detail the method of worshiping him. More than the mother, the little child within her womb, heard the sage attentively. He began to meditate on Lord Vishnu before birth itself.
Eventually, Hiranyakashipu returned, and the queen, too, came back with the little boy. His father sent him to school, where his teachers- Kshand and Amarak, attempted to train him in demoniac politics and economics. They spoke about back-stabbing, taking others' wealth by force and controlling subordinates.
But all of their words were wasted on Prahlad. He always remained silent, meditating on Vishnu. During his playtime, Prahlad taught the other little boys the importance of Vishnu worship. So influential was he, that his classmates, the children of the demoniac ministers of Hiranyakashipu, also began to join him in his prayer.
Initially, Hiranyakashipu was blissfully unaware of all this. One day, he called little Prahlad and made him sit on his lap. He kissed him affectionately on the forehead and inquired, "How is school, my child. Are they treating you well there? What did you learn today, my boy?"
Prahlad smiled innocently. Hiranyakashipu's heart was melting with affection. Prahlad replied, "I learned today, father, that Lord Vishnu is the greatest of all beings in the universe."
Hiranyakashipu froze. He could not believe his ears. Who had dared to poison the mind of his own son in this way? "Kshand! Amarak!", he screamed. "What have you been teaching my boy?"
The teachers came there trembling. They fell at the feet of the King. "Forgive us. Forgive us." They implored. They then proceeded to narrate, how Prahlad seemed to know all this from before and how he was poisoning the minds of other students too.
Hiranyakashipu became more and more surprised. Surely some messanger of Vishnu was sneaking into the school and corrupting his son. He ordered the security around the school to be tightened and sternly instructed his son, "Look Prahlad, I am Supreme. Vishnu is a fraudster, the murderer of your uncle! You must forget all this nonsense and concentrate on real education. Go now! Get out of my sight! Learn the right things and then come back!"
Prahlad was calm throughout this outburst. His faith was unshaken. He went back to school but continued with his activities. He refused to even talk about anything other than Vishnu, what to speak of forgetting him. Infact, he even advised his tyrannical father, "Give up your enemity with Lord Vishnu and approach him with love. He will accept you with open arms!"
Hiranyakashipu became more and more frustrated. The whole universe quaked in his presence, but this little five year old boy, continued to defy him. Finally, his demoniac ministers advised the king, "If there is an infection in the arm, it is better to cut off the arm, then let the illness spread to the whole body. It would be best if you destroyed your son right now, before he grows up and destroys your entire kingdom!"
Hiranyakashipu relented. This was the only way. He ordered his warriors to throw the boy of the nearest cliff. Prahlad was undisturbed. He meditated on Lord Vishnu as he was thrown, and surely, the kind God stood at the bottom to catch him. Prahlad was unharmed.
Hiranyakashipu tried various other methods to kill him. He immersed him in boiling oil, but the oil turned into soft flowers at Prahlad's touch. He threw him in front of mad elephants, hungry lions and poisonous snakes.But all these creatures simply bowed down in front of the boy. Demons attempted to cut Prahlad to little bits. But their weapons refused to touch the boy. Prahlad remained steady and calm, like an island amidst the raging sea.
Finally, Hiranyakashipu handed Prahlad over to his aunt, the king's demon sister Holika. She had a special cloth, it prevented its wearer from being burnt by fire. Holika covered herself with the cloth and entered into blazing fire with the child. A mystical wind flew that lifted up the cloth and covered little Prahlad. Holika burnt to ashes, while not even a hair on Prahlad's body was harmed.
Now Hiranyakashipu was really angry. He grabbed his son and threw him on the palace floor. "You Insolent boy! From where do you get your strength? Answer me!", he raved.
"The source of my strength and yours is the same father," answered Prahlad. "The Supreme Lord Vishnu."
Hiranyakashipu roared. "How dare you! Where is your Vishnu? Where is he? Let him come here to save you if he can. I shall kill you today with my own hands."
"Vishnu is everywhere father. He is in you, as he is in me. You only need the eyes to see him", replied Prahlad, unpertrubed.
"Is he in this pillar? Is he in this Pillar?" screamed the King, insane with rage, pointing at one of the palace pillars.
"Of course father"
"Then now he shall die!", thundered the demon and struck the pillar a powerful blow with his mace.
There was a loud explosion. The pillar shattered.
To be continued......