Purushottam Kumar: More than our endeavour it is our intention which pleases Krishna. If the motive is not divine then Krishna is not interested in our life.
Hiranyakashipu, the infamous emperor, performed severe austerities that have no parallels in the world. Standing on a toe, tolerating heat and cold, forgetting food and water, he meditated. Not for minutes or hours or days or weeks or months but for years. His flesh got eaten by ants but still he was unmoved. His aim was to please Brahma, the first being, the most important being and the most powerful being. The demigods enjoying in their heavenly houses, filled with flower bearing trees and aromas of dancing apsaras, got alarmed and disturbed by Hiranyakashipu’s extraordinary penance.
They went running to Brahma and without delay explained the situation. Brahma immediately came to the place where the determination personified Hiranyakashipu, brother of Hiranyaksha, was lacerating himself. Hiranyakashipu was angry with Lord Vishnu because he had killed his brother, Hiranyaksha who was a ruthless monster. In fact Hiranyakashipu wanted to defeat Lord Vishnu; he in fact fancied killing him forgetting the fact that Lord Vishnu, an expansion of Krishna neither takes birth nor he dies. He exists eternally.
But since Hiranyakashipu’s intelligence was clouded with arrogance and hatred so he had decided to perform penance to gain benediction from Brahma for an immortal life. So, when he saw Brahma standing in front of him, he was delighted and immediately placed his list of demands. He wanted to be supremely powerful in the entire universe (off course he could have not surpassed the supremacy of Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma). He also wanted to become immortal and wanted to rule the land, water, sky and all living and non-living beings. His wishes were granted. Since his motive was impious so his actions too were impious. He soon started torturing and troubling all and created a society of atheists who despised God and killed and maimed the holy men.
But the evil demon got defeated by a small 5 year old boy, Prahlad. Prahlad did not do intense meditation and neither his body got eaten by ants. His process was pretty simple which anyone and everyone can do. He chanted Lord Vishnu’s name and asked everyone to chant his names. Since Prahlad loved God so he loved all. Hiranyakashipu hated all because he hated God. Prahlad even loved his father, Hiranyakashipu, who was trying to kill him. This is the characteristic of a genuine lover of God; he hates sin and not the sinner. The world will immediately become a better place if everyone genuinely and selflessly starts loving God. Hiranyakashipu finally paid price for all his actions and his body was ripped apart by Lord Narasimhadeva, an expansion of Lord Krishna.
Lord Narasimhadeva was pleased by Prahlad’s selfless devotion. His heart was pure and he always wanted to serve others. Prahlad’s devotion gives us an important lesson. To please Krishna we need to have right motive and simple heart. Krishna does not like duplicity. And for a genuine devotee he is ready to do anything and everything. Our externals do not please Krishna because he also resides in our heart (Gita 15.15, 18.61) and knows what our heart cries for. In devotion, if we have right intention, like Prahlad, then it will surely attract Krishna’s attention.
(Purushottam Kumar is a member of congregation at Iskcon Kolkata.