Prahlada also spelt as Prahlad was a beloved king who had unwavering devotion and love towards Lord Vishnu. King Hiranyakashipu was his father and Kayadhu was his mother. He was a very patient, calm and composed young boy who had to go through a lot as a kid. His father’s nature was very abusive despite which he kept praying to Lord Vishnu. Hiranyaksha, the younger brother of the king was killed by the Varaha Avatar of Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu hence had hatred towards Vishnu. Having his own son worship Lord Vishnu was very irritating for Hiranyakashipu.
Prahlada is called a Mahajana which means to be a great follower or devotee. This is especially regarded by the people who follow the Vaishnava tradition and also of the ones that pray to the Narasimha avatar of Vishnu. There is a text whose credit is given to Prahlada for elaborating on the process of loving and worshipping Lord Vishnu. This text can be easily found in Bhagavata Purana. Most stories of Prahlada are from his days as a young boy. There are paintings, illustrations and of course scriptures that depict the scenes of his bravery and valour as a young boy. The most famous of all is when he is showing his father that Lord Vishnu is present everywhere.
Let’s read the story of Prahlada and understand the struggles he went through as a child. Prahlada was fortunate enough to be exposed to Narada’s sweet chants right from when he was in his mother’s womb. He was taught by Narada in his childhood which resulted in him being a follower of Lord Vishnu. His father, on the other hand, was an evil king with a boon that made it impossible for anyone to kill him. He was proud of his power, wealth, status and was filled with rage and fury over what had happened to his brother.
His father did not have even a little inclination towards spirituality or considering a supreme god. Hiranyakashipu had given many warnings to Prahlada to stop his worship but Prahlada was not going to pay any heed to these warnings. King Hiranyakshipu decided to poison his son, get him trampled by elephants, and put him in a room full of snakes. He went to the extent of throwing Prahlada into a valley and making him sit on Holika’s lap in a pyre. Prahlada’s pure intentions and devotions saved him each time with the help of some miracle or the other. Each time, he made sure that he prayed to Lord Vishnu, and Vishnu did the task of saving him.
Prahlada was saved by the Narasimha avatar of Lord Vishnu, a manifestation of a man-lion emerging from the pillar made of stone. He kept the king on his lap and killed him using his sharp claws. After Hiranyakshipu’s death, Prahlada started to take care of his father’s kingdom and made sure there is peace, virtue, happiness and righteousness. He continues to be humble, generous, kind and loving towards his family and kingdom. His son, Virochana and grandson, Mahabali had been given the same qualities. Prahlada became the king of daityas in the latter days of his life and was given a place in Vaikuntha, the abode of his beloved Vishnu, after his death.