In my last article I briefly explained the stories of three small children, Dhruva, Prahlad and Nachiketa, and their devotion and knowledge. In this article, I explain the difference in their devotion (bhakti) and knowledge (jnana).
Devotion (bhakti) and knowledge (jnana) of Dhruva
Dhruva and Prahlad were of same age, five years. They both had the same guru, sage Narada. In Dhruva, bhakti was induced by his mother, Sunithi. She asked him to have unswerving devotion on Lord Vishnu so that his worldly desires will be satisfied. The determination of that small child was remarkable. At that very young age he went to the forest to meditate. By his deep meditation the whole world was disturbed, and atlast Lord Vishnu appeared before him. When the Lord gave boon to be the pole star, Dhruva accepted that boon; though he repented later and said that I must have asked for liberation as the boon. Though Dhruva felt that himself, the Universe and the Lord are not different from each other, at one stage he said that he was unable to perceive the transcendental nature of the Lord. Moreover, in the last phase of his life he took revenge on the yakshakas for killing his brother, fought a battle with the yakshakas, and killed many of them. This implies that he viewed difference among the jivas and considered the yakshakas as different from him. Later he stopped the battle by the advice from his grandfather Suyambhuva manu, and went to Badarikashrama to meditate and realize the true nature of the Lord. Eventually, he attained the position as the star Dhruva.
Devotion (Bhakti) and knowledge (jnana) of Prahlad
Bhakti was inherent in Prahlad. In his previous janma (birth), when he was in his mother’s womb, he received advice from sage Narada. In that way, his guru was sage Narada. He inherited devotional tendency from sage Narada. From a very young age he was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Even though his bhakti was opposed by his father, his mind was deeply attached to Vishnu bhakti, which made him not to feel the tortures inflicted by his father or his father’s attendants. He had remarkable faith in Lord Vishnu, which made the Lord appear as Narashima.
He saw no difference among the jivas and he felt that if I am to be liberated than all my fellow being, regardless of their karma, are to be liberated. This very clearly shows that he saw no difference among the jivas. Even when his father inflicted tortures on him he only saw his ignorance and he did not react in any way to his tortures. This shows Prahlad’s faith in the Lord and his knowledge. Though born in an Asura family he only sought refuge in the feet of the Lord and did not aspire for any other worldly desires. He was made as the ruler for the asuras by the Lord which he obeyed. After killing Hiranyakashipu, it was Prahlad’s bahkti and love for the Lord made lord Narashimha calm from the spree of the Lord from erasing all the asuras. After Prahlad praising the Lord with a beautiful hymn, the Lord remained calm and appreciated the young child Prahlad.
Devotion (Bhakti) and knowledge (Jnana) of Nachiketa
Nachiketa went to the abode of Lord Yama to make his father’s words true. There he was so adamant to see the Lord and receive teaching from him regarding Brahma vidya. His discrimination and determination made the Lord to teach this profound vidya to this young child. Therefore, determination with discrimination was very prominent in Nachiketa. This made him a Brahmavid.
Therefore when one compares the devotion and knowledge of these three children, it is so natural and inherent in Prahlad. The rest of them had a purpose to show their devotion and attain knowledge. In my view, Prahlad was an exemplar of devotion and knowledge.