How Prahlada became a devotee of Nrsimhadeva

By Shyamasundara Dasa - 8.5 2017

Prahlada said: O Supreme Lord! I bow down to You. O Lord Nrsimhadeva, I offer my obeisances to You. I am Your devotee. O Lord of lords, I now express to You my heartfelt inquiry. O Lord, how did I develop such intense devotion for You? O my Lord, kindly tell me-how did I become Your exalted devotee?

Lord Narasimhadeva said: O greatly learned one! O my son, listen carefully as I explain to you the reason for your devotion to Me that has made you very dear to Me.

In the ancient times, you were born as a brahmana but you did not study any of the scriptures. Your name was Vasudeva and you became attached to a prostitute.

In that birth, you became so attached to a prostitute that you did not bother to perform any pious activity, except for a single vow in relation to Me. As a result of observing that vow, you developed exalted devotion for Me.

Prahlada then said: O Lord Nrsimhadeva! O Acyuta! O Supreme Lord, who was my father in that lifetime? What was my duty? How did I observe Your vow, even though I was attached to a prostitute? Kindly explain all this to me in detail.

Lord Nrsimhadeva said: In ancient times, there was a brahmana who was well-versed in the Vedic literature. He lived in the city of Avantipura and was known as Vasu Sarma.

This pious brahmana used to perform fire sacrifice every day. He was very expert in performing all kinds of Vedic rituals and as such, he would satisfy the best of demigods by performing the agnistoma sacrifice. In that state of living, he did not commit any sinful activity.

His wife was very pious and humble. She was famous throughout the three worlds. She was chaste, expert in performing all kinds of pious activities, and always eager to serve her husband.

That exalted brahmana begot five sons within the womb of his wife. These sons were very pious, learned, and devoted to their father. Among them, you were the youngest and you became attached to a prostitute.

Due to being attached to a prostitute, you became accustomed to drinking wine and performing other sinful activities, so that you never engaged in the study of the Vedas.

You spent most of your time at the house of the prostitute. One day, however, you and her quarreled.

Because of that quarrel, you missed your meal that day and as a result, you unknowingly observed a sacred vow in relation to Me.

Because of that quarrel with the prostitute, you did not sleep the entire night. The prostitute also did not eat anything, nor did she sleep that night in your association.

Because of unknowingly observing this vow in relation to Me, throughout the entire day and night, both of you became purified and accumulated heaps of pious merit.

On the strength of observing this vow, the demigods are able to enjoy their lives in the heavenly planets. In order to acquire the power to create, Brahma had observed this vow.

Being empowered due to observing this vow in relation to Me, Brahma was able to create all moving and non-moving living entities. Mahadeva also observed this vow, so that he could kill the great demon, Tripurasura. It is a fact that by the strength of this vow, Siva was able to kill that formidable demon.

Many other demigods, ancient sages, and learned and pious kings, had previously followed this great vow in relation to Me.

By the influence of this vow, all of them attained the perfection of life. The prostitute also became devoted to Me and thereafter enjoyed great happiness within the three worlds. My dear child, it is for this reason that this vow in relation to Me is celebrated through the three worlds.

This vow came into existence just to deliver such rascals. O Prahlada, by the strength of that vow, you came to render devotional service unto Me.

In her next life, the prostitute was born in heaven as an Apsara and after enjoying life there immensely, she entered My supreme abode. O Prahlada, you will also return to My abode and enter into intimate communion with Me.

In order to propagate devotional service to Me, you have incarnated without Me. After completing the task of preaching the glories of devotional service, you will again enter My eternal abode.

Those who observe this supreme vow in relation to Me will never return to this material existence, even in hundreds and millions of kalpas.

Hari-bhakti-vilasa 14.418-441