Prahlada or Prahalad is a saintly boy from the Puranas known for his piety and bhakti to Vishnu, despite the attempts of his father, Hiranyakashipu, to turn change him.
He is considered to be a mahājana, or great devotee, by followers of Vaishnava traditions and is of special importance to devotees of the avatār Narasimha (the Man-
Lion). A treatise is accredited to him in the Bhagavata Purana in which Prahlada describes the process of loving worship to his lord, Vishnu. The majority of stories in the Puranas are based on the activities of Prahlada as a young boy, and he is usually shown as such in paintings and illustrations.
The story of Prahlada
Prahlada was born to Hiranyakashipu and Kayadu, an evil king who had been granted a boon that he could not be killed by man or animal, day or night, inside or outside. Despite several warnings from his father Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada continues to worship Vishnu instead of him. His father then decided to commit filicide and poison him, but he survived. Then he trampled the boy with elephants, but he lived. Then he put him in a room with venomous snakes, and they made a bed for him with their bodies.
Holika, the sister of Hiranyakashipu, was blessed in that she could not be hurt by fire. Hiranyakashipu finally puts Prahlada on the lap of Holika as she sits on a pyre.
Prahlad prays to Vishnu to keep him safe. Holika burns to death as Prahlada is unscathed. This event is celebrated as the Hindu festival of Holi.
After tolerating abuse from Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada is eventually saved by Narasimha, the half-man, half-lion avatar, who kills the king at the entrance to his home at dusk.
There is a pillar know as Prahlad khamba in Dharahra village, in Purnea District of Bihar,India.It is said to be the pillar from which Narasimha came out and killed Hiranyakashipu. The pillar is held deep inside the ground and it is said the many people has tried to dug it out or to move it but has failed all the time. A big temple of
Lord Narasimha exists beside the pillar.There is also a temple in Maharashtra near banks of river "krishna" in Sangli district.It is underground temple and one has to
literally crawl down to reach the inside to witness the beautiful stone carved sculpture of "Narasimha and Laxmi"
The story of Prahlada teaches that:
Faith in God is paramount.
God will always prevails.
God saves his devotees.
Devotion can be practiced at any time. Age does not matter.
Evil will be punished.
Prahlada eventually becomes king of the Daityas and attains a place in the abode of Vishnu (Vaikuntha) after his death. Raghavendra Swami in the 17th century is considered by his devotees to be a reincarnation of Prahlada.
In the Bhagavad Gita (10.30) Krishna makes the following statement in regard to Prahlada, showing his favour towards him:
Translation: "Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada, among subduers I am time, among beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda."
Prahlad in Sikhism
Prahlada is regarded as one of the devotees of God in Satyuga . Sikhism also believes Prahlada was a devotee of Paramatma, Supreme God or Waheguru.
Prahlada is mentioned 27 times in Guru Granth Sahib. As in Hinduism, Guru Granth Sahib also describes Harnakash as the father of Prahlada who wanted to kill him, but
was stopped by Narasimha.
Prahlaad was placed in a cell, and the door was locked. The fearless child was not afraid at all. He said, "Within my being, is the Guru, the Lord of the World. The created
being tried to compete with his Creator, but he assumed this name in vain. That which was predestined for him has come to pass; he started an argument with the Lord's
humble servant. ||7|| The father raised the club to strike down Prahlaad, saying, Where is your God, the Lord of the Universe, now? He replied, "The Life of the World, the
Great Giver, is my Help and Support in the end. Wherever I look, I see Him permeating and prevailing."||8|| Tearing down the pillars, the Lord Himself appeared. The
egotistical demon was killed and destroyed. The minds of the devotees were filled with bliss, and congratulations poured in. He blessed His servant with glorious
greatness. ||9|| (Guru Granth Sahib , page no: 1154)
विष्णुपुराण की एक कथा के अनुसार जिस समय असुर संस्कृति शक्तिशाली हो रही थी, उस समय असुर कुल में एक अद्भुत, प्रह्लाद नामक बालक का जन्म हुआ था। उसका पिता, असुर राज हिरण्यकश्यप देवताओं से वरदान प्राप्त कर के निरंकुश हो गया था। उसका आदेश था, कि उसके राज्य में कोई विष्णु की पूजा नही करेगा। परंतु प्रह्लाद विष्णु भक्त था और ईश्वर में उसकी अटूट आस्था थी। इस पर क्रोधित होकर हिरण्यकश्यप ने उसे मृत्यु दंड दिया। हिरण्यकश्यप की बहन, होलिका, जिस को आग से न मरने का वर था, प्रह्लाद को लेकर अग्नि में बैठ गई, परंतु ईश्वर की कृपा से प्रह्लाद को कुछ न हुआ और वह स्वयं भस्म हो गई। अगले दिन भग्वान विष्णु ने नरसिंह अवतार लेकर हिरण्यकश्यप को मार दिया और सृष्टि को उसके अत्याचारों से मुक्ति प्रदान की। इस ही अवसर को याद कर होली मनाई जाती है। इस प्रकार प्रह्लाद की कहानी होली के पर्व से जुड़ी हुई है।