1. The great saint Narada Muni said: The demons, headed by Hiranyakasipu, accepted Sukracarya as their priest for ritualistic ceremonies. Sukracarya's two sons, Sanda and Amarka, lived near Hiranyakasipu's palace.
2. Prahlada Maharaja was already educated in devotional life, but when his father sent him to those two sons of Sukracarya to be educated, they accepted him at their school along with the other sons of the asuras.
3. Prahlada certainly heard and recited the topics of politics and economics taught by the teachers, but he understood that political philosophy involves considering someone a friend and someone else an enemy, and thus he did not like it.
4. Krsna, who is situated in the core of everyone's heart as the Supersoul, dissipates all the ignorance from the heart of a devotee. As a special favor, He enlightens the devotee with all knowledge by putting before him the torch of light. Prahlada Maharaja, therefore, knew the best of knowledge, and when his father inquired from him, Prahlada gave him that knowledge. Prahlada Maharaja was able to solve the most difficult parts of problems because of his advanced Krsna consciousness. Therefore he replied as follows.
5. Prahlada Maharaja replied: O best of the asuras, King of the demons, as far as I have learned from my spiritual master, any person who has accepted a temporary body and temporary household life is certainly embarrassed by anxiety because of having fallen in a dark well where there is no water but only suffering. One should give up this position and go to the forest [vana]. More clearly, one should go to Vrndavana, where only Krsna consciousness is prevalent, and should thus take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
6. Narada Muni continued: When Prahlada Maharaja spoke about the path of self-realization in devotional service, thus being faithful to the camp of his father's enemies, Hiranyakasipu, the King of the demons, heard Prahlada's words and he laughingly said, "Thus is the intelligence of children spoiled by the words of the enemy."
7. Hiranyakasipu advised his assistants: My dear demons, give complete protection to this boy at the guru-kula where he is instructed, so that his intelligence will not be further influenced by Vaisnavas who may go there in disguise.
8. When Hiranyakasipu's servants brought the boy Prahlada back to the guru-kula [the place where the brahmanas taught the boys], the priests of the demons, Sanda and Amarka, pacified him. With very mild voices and affectionate words, they inquired from him as follows.
9. Dear son Prahlada, all peace and good fortune unto you. Kindly do not speak lies; just reply with the truth. These boys you see are not like you, for they do not speak in a deviant way. How have you learned these instructions? How has your intelligence been spoiled in this way?
10. O best of your family, has this pollution of your intelligence been brought about by you or by the enemies? We are all your teachers and are very eager to hear about this. Please tell us the truth.
11. Prahlada Maharaja replied: Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose external energy has created the distinctions of "my friend" and "my enemy" by deluding the intelligence of men. Indeed, I am now actually experiencing this, although I have previously heard of it from authoritative sources.
12. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead is pleased with the living entity because of his devotional service, one becomes a pandita and does not make distinctions between enemies, friends and himself. Intelligently, he then thinks, "Every one of us is an eternal servant of God, and therefore we are not different from one another."
13. Persons who always think in terms of "enemy" and "friend" are unable to ascertain the Supersoul within themselves. Not to speak of them, even such exalted persons as Lord Brahma, who are fully conversant with the Vedic literature, are sometimes bewildered in following the principles of devotional service. The same Supreme Personality of Godhead who has created this situation has certainly given me the intelligence to take the side of your so-called enemy.
14. O brahmanas [teachers], as iron attracted by a magnetic stone moves automatically toward the magnet, my consciousness, having been changed by His will, is attracted by Lord Visnu, who carries a disc in His hand. Thus I have no independence.
15. The great saint Narada Muni continued: The great soul Prahlada Maharaja became silent after saying this to his teachers, Sanda and Amarka, the seminal sons of Sukracarya. These so-called brahmanas then became angry at him. Because they were servants of Hiranyakasipu, they were very sorry, and to chastise Prahlada Maharaja they spoke as follows.
16. Oh, please bring me a stick! This Prahlada is damaging our name and fame. Because of his bad intelligence, he has become like a cinder in the dynasty of the demons. Now he needs to be treated by the fourth of the four kinds of political diplomacy.
17. This rascal Prahlada has appeared like a thorn tree in a forest of sandalwood. To cut down sandalwood trees, an axe is needed, and the wood of the thorn tree is very suitable for the handle of such an axe. Lord Visnu is the axe for cutting down the sandalwood forest of the family of demons, and this Prahlada is the handle for that axe.
18. Sanda and Amarka, the teachers of Prahlada Maharaja, chastised and threatened their disciple in various ways and began teaching him about the paths of religion, economic development and sense gratification. This is the way they educated him.
19. After some time, the teachers Sanda and Amarka thought that Prahlada Maharaja was sufficiently educated in the diplomatic affairs of pacifying public leaders, appeasing them by giving them lucrative posts, dividing and ruling over them, and punishing them in cases of disobedience. Then, one day, after Prahlada's mother had personally washed the boy and dressed him nicely with sufficient ornaments, they presented him before his father.
20. When Hiranyakasipu saw that his child had fallen at his feet and was offering obeisances, as an affectionate father he immediately began showering blessings upon the child and embraced him with both arms. A father naturally feels happy to embrace his son, and Hiranyakasipu became very happy in this way.
21. Narada Muni continued: My dear King Yudhisthira, Hiranyakasipu seated Prahlada Maharaja on his lap and began smelling his head. With affectionate tears gliding down from his eyes and moistening the child's smiling face, he spoke to his son as follows.
22. Hiranyakasipu said: My dear Prahlada, my dear son, O long-lived one, for so much time you have heard many things from your teachers. Now please repeat to me whatever you think is the best of that knowledge.
23-24. Prahlada Maharaja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)--these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.
25. After hearing these words of devotional service from the mouth of his son Prahlada, Hiranyakasipu was extremely angry. His lips trembling, he spoke as follows to Sanda the son of his guru, Sukracarya.
26. O unqualified, most heinous son of a brahmana, you have disobeyed my order and taken shelter of the party of my enemies. You have taught this poor boy about devotional service! What is this nonsense?
27. In due course of time, various types of diseases are manifest in those who are sinful. Similarly, in this world there are many deceptive friends in false garbs, but eventually, because of their false behavior, their actual enmity becomes manifest.
28. The son of Sukracarya, Hiranyakasipu's spiritual master, said: O enemy of King Indra, O King! Whatever your son Prahlada has said was not taught to him by me or anyone else. His spontaneous devotional service has naturally developed in him. Therefore, please give up your anger and do not unnecessarily accuse us. It is not good to insult a brahmana in this way.
29. Sri Narada Muni continued: When Hiranyakasipu received this reply from the teacher, he again addressed his son Prahlada. Hiranyakasipu said: You rascal, most fallen of our family, if you have not received this education from your teachers, where have you gotten it?
30. Prahlada Maharaja replied: Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Krsna are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both.
31. Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Visnu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries.
32. Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaisnava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Krsna conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination.
33. After Prahlada Maharaja had spoken in this way and become silent, Hiranyakasipu, blinded by anger, threw him off his lap and onto the ground.
34. Indignant and angry, his reddish eyes like molten copper, Hiranyakasipu said to his servants: O demons, take this boy away from me! He deserves to be killed. Kill him as soon as possible!
35. This boy Prahlada is the killer of my brother, for he has given up his family to engage in the devotional service of the enemy, Lord Visnu, like a menial servant.
36. Although Prahlada is only five years old, even at this young age he has given up his affectionate relationship with his father and mother. Therefore, he is certainly untrustworthy. Indeed, it is not at all believable that he will behave well toward Visnu.
37. Although a medicinal herb, being born in the forest, does not belong to the same category as a man, if beneficial it is kept very carefully. Similarly, if someone outside one's family is favorable, he should be given protection like a son. On the other hand, if a limb of one's body is poisoned by disease, it must be amputated so that the rest of the body may live happily. Similarly, even one's own son, if unfavorable, must be rejected, although born of one's own body.
38. Just as uncontrolled senses are the enemies of all yogis engaged in advancing in spiritual life, this Prahlada, who appears to be a friend, is an enemy because I cannot control him. Therefore this enemy, whether eating, sitting or sleeping, must be killed by all means.
39-40. The demons [Raksasas], the servants of Hiranyakasipu, thus began striking the tender parts of Prahlada Maharaja's body with their tridents. The demons all had fearful faces, sharp teeth and reddish, coppery beards and hair, and they appeared extremely threatening. Making a tumultuous sound, shouting, "Chop him up! Pierce him!" they began striking Prahlada Maharaja, who sat silently, meditating upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
41. Even though a person who has no assets in pious activities performs some good deed, it will have no result. Thus the weapons of the demons had no tangible effects upon Prahlada Maharaja because he was a devotee undisturbed by material conditions and fully engaged in meditating upon and serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is unchangeable, who cannot be realized by the material senses, and who is the soul of the entire universe.
42. My dear King Yudhisthira, when all the attempts of the demons to kill Prahlada Maharaja were futile, the King of the demons, Hiranyakasipu, being most fearful, began contriving other means to kill him.
43-44. Hiranyakasipu could not kill his son by throwing him beneath the feet of big elephants, throwing him among huge, fearful snakes, employing destructive spells, hurling him from the top of a hill, conjuring up illusory tricks, administering poison, starving him, exposing him to severe cold, winds, fire and water, or throwing heavy stones to crush him. When Hiranyakasipu found that he could not in any way harm Prahlada, who was completely sinless, he was in great anxiety about what to do next.
45. Hiranyakasipu thought: I have used many ill names in chastising this boy Prahlada and have devised many means of killing him, but despite all my endeavors, he could not be killed. Indeed, he saved himself by his own powers, without being affected in the least by these treacheries and abominable actions.
46. Although he is very near to me and is merely a child, he is situated in complete fearlessness. He resembles a dog's curved tail, which can never be straightened, because he never forgets my misbehavior and his connection with his master, Lord Visnu.
47. I can see that this boy's strength is unlimited, for he has not feared any of my punishments. He appears immortal. Therefore, because of my enmity toward him, I shall die. Or maybe this will not take place.
48. Thinking in this way, the King of the Daityas, morose and bereft of bodily luster, remained silent with his face downward. Then Sanda and Amarka, the two sons of Sukracarya, spoke to him in secret.
49. O lord, we know that when you simply move your eyebrows, all the commanders of the various planets are most afraid. Without the help of any assistant, you have conquered all the three worlds. Therefore, we do not find any reason for you to be morose and full of anxiety. As for Prahlada, he is nothing but a child and cannot be a cause of anxiety. After all, his bad or good qualities have no value.
50. Until the return of our spiritual master, Sukracarya, arrest this child with the ropes of Varuna so that he will not flee in fear. In any case, by the time he is somewhat grown up and has assimilated our instructions or served our spiritual master, he will change in his intelligence. Thus there need be no cause for anxiety.
51. After hearing these instructions of Sanda and Amarka, the sons of his spiritual master, Hiranyakasipu agreed and requested them to instruct Prahlada in that system of occupational duty which is followed by royal householder families.
52. Thereafter, Sanda and Amarka systematically and unceasingly taught Prahlada Maharaja, who was very submissive and humble, about mundane religion, economic development and sense gratification.
53. The teachers Sanda and Amarka instructed Prahlada Maharaja in the three kinds of material advancement called religion, economic development and sense gratification. Prahlada, however, being situated above such instructions, did not like them, for such instructions are based on the duality of worldly affairs, which involve one in a materialistic way of life marked by birth, death, old age and disease.
54. When the teachers went home to attend to their household affairs, the students of the same age as Prahlada Maharaja would call him to take the opportunity of leisure hours for play.
55. Prahlada Maharaja, who was truly the supreme learned person, then addressed his class friends in very sweet language. Smiling, he began to teach them about the uselessness of the materialistic way of life. Being very kind to them, he instructed them as follows.
56-57. My dear King Yudhisthira, all the children were very much affectionate and respectful to Prahlada Maharaja, and because of their tender age they were not so polluted by the instructions and actions of their teachers, who were attached to condemned duality and bodily comfort. Thus the boys surrounded Prahlada Maharaja, giving up their playthings, and sat down to hear him. Their hearts and eyes being fixed upon him, they looked at him with great earnestness. Prahlada Maharaja, although born in a demon family, was an exalted devotee, and he desired their welfare. Thus he began instructing them about the futility of materialistic life.