How Prahlad Maharaj illuminates the meaning of Srimad Bhagavad-gita.

By Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Srila Jiva Goswami has accepted Prahlad Maharaj as an example of this great poem in Bhagavad-gita (9.32):

mam hi partha vyapasritya ye ’pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te ’pi yanti param gatim

Vyapasritya, vi apa asritya, means visesa apa asritya, that is, a very mean, lowly connection. Here Krishna says,  “O Arjuna, even one who comes to Me by adopting a very low, mean type of connection is taken to the highest position. Some people take shelter of Me in a mean way because their origin is of that type. They may live or have been born in filthy company. Striyo vaisyas tatha sudras: they may be female, an ordinary trader, or a low-class labourer, but they achieve the highest, purest level.”

Srila Jiva Goswami has traced out how Prahlad Maharaj began his life of devotion. I pray we may not commit any offence to Prahlad Maharaj in recounting this. In his previous life, before he became a devotee, Prahlad was born in a very low family, and there was a Temple of Nrsimhadev by the side of his house. The Temple was in a broken condition. Sometimes someone used to come at noon and offer something, but otherwise the Temple was almost deserted. There was a compound around the Temple, and Prahlad brought a girl there, cleansed the place, and enjoyed her. The day that he did this was Nrsimha Chaturdasi, and Nrsimhadev was satisfied with him. Ignoring his purpose, his bad motive, Nrsimhadev saw only the good, the bright side of Prahlad’s act: “He cleansed My compound at this auspicious time.” In this way Nrsimhadev’s grace came to Prahlad: through a very bad deed the connection came. Thereafter the connection grew, developed gradually, and Prahlad was taken towards Nrsimhadev. Prahlad Maharaj is now a great example of a suddha-bhakta [pure devotee]. His beginning was such.

mam hi partha vyapasritya ye ’pi syuh papa-yonayah

He came from that sort of clan [a sinful background (papa-yonayah)], and he did such a thing [approached the Lord for a lowly purpose (vyapasritya)], but he cleansed the Lord’s Temple at an auspicious time, and in that way his relationship with the Lord began.

mam hi partha vyapasritya ye ’pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te ’pi yanti param gatim

Here the Lord says, “I have so much purifying capacity, that the other side, the worthiness of the recipient, may not be considered at all. Any connection, even the slightest connection, with Me can purify anyone. It is so high, so pure, so benevolent.”

The Lord shows us that this is our prospect, and it is very encouraging.

kim punar brahmanah punya bhakta rajarsayas tatha
anityam asukham lokam imam prapya bhajasva mam

“What needs to be said then of the highest classes, the brahmans and ksatriyas, who have good behaviour, customs, and livelihood. You are in the midst of an uncertain and unhappy atmosphere. Anyhow, connect with Me, and you will attain the highest position.”

It is straight. Krishna put it very straight, “Wherever you are in the midst of uncertainty (anityam) and an unhappy atmosphere (asukham), get connection with Me and improve your fate. Go direct. I am such and such, and you are such and such. This is the fact. You have this prospect. Whatever low level you are staying at presently does not matter, it does not matter at all. All that matters is My connection. That is all-important, and that must be sincerely accepted. Do not be insincere. Sincerely connect with Me and you will not be able to expect how much you will attain.”

References

mam hi partha vyapasritya ye ’pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te ’pi yanti param gatim

“O Arjuna, by taking shelter of Me, even persons of low birth, women, merchants, and labourers attain the supreme destination.”

kim punar brahmanah punya bhakta rajarsayas tatha
anityam asukham lokam imam prapya bhajasva mam

“What then of brahmans and kings who are pious and devout? Having attained this temporary, unsatisfying body, serve Me.”

Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj is the foremost modern exponent of the conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the school of Srila Rupa Goswami. Subtle and profound yet vivid and practical, his representation of both the broadest and deepest spiritual truths has and continues to fortify and nurture the faith of spiritual aspirants the world over. For more information on Srila Sridhar Maharaj, please visit his biography page.

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