If the devotee becomes offended by our activity, by our speech, by our whatever we do, that Krishna takes very seriously. Aparadha means against worship. Radha means worship, aradhana, so apa-aradhana, like that, means that which is against worship, or what perverts the worship or in some way disturbs the worship. So worship means, that is going on by the devotee, it’s not the rule, it’s the devotee who is performing that activity. Means, the rules are there so that the devotees can reciprocate with the Lord, the activities are there so that the devotee can show his affection to the Lord through those rules, through those activities. So now, if we disturb that devotee, then that disturbs the worship. That then Krishna then considers very bad. Therefore then He will come here personally Himself to kill Hiranyakashipu, because He is personally taking care of His devotee, He is protecting His devotee, and He is keeping the word of Lord Brahma. So for two devotees’ benefit He is coming Himself personally.
Then on the side then He is killing, that is not the difficult thing, He just plays, we see that when the Lord appears, then He comes, like first He is just scaring the demons. They hear this sound, they can’t tell where it’s coming from. And so, they being the so-called controllers of the universe, they feel they know everything, they are in control of everything, they know what’s going on. But now, this is the first time that they have found they don’t know what’s going on. There is this sound, they can’t even tell where it’s coming from, let alone what it is.
Then, when Nrisimhadeva appears, then Hiranyakashipu then immediately thinks, he says “What is this?” He doesn’t even say “who”. Yeah, he says, “What is this creature that is half-man and half-lion?” So, it’s kind-of like, it’s not even to the point where… “Who” means, okay, now we are starting to be personal. “What” is the first thing, you are trying to categorize where it fits into your whole relationship and how you view the whole universe. Then after that then you ask, “Who are you? What is your name? What are you doing?” Like that. So he is very bewildered, and so Krishna is taking pleasure in this kind of playing with the demon. He is bewildered who it is, all his demon friends are bewildered, but Prahlada is not bewildered. He knows, this is the Lord, Nrisimhadeva has come to protect him. So then Prabhupada points out that by this activity then Nrisimhadeva is showing Prahlada, “Yes, I am here. You have stated that I am here, you have been always depending upon My protection, so I am here, you don’t have to worry.”
Then once He appears, then He comes out and then He grabs Hiranyakashipu, then He lets him go, then He grabs him again, He lets him go… So like this, He is playing with him, it’s not a very big difficulty for Him. He just catches, it’s something to do, because then when he catches him, then the demon becomes more enthusiastic and becomes more upset and more angry and in more ways tries to perform his fighting activity. And this pleases the Lord to see this endeavor, though it’s futile, but whatever.
But then, when He lets him go, just for fun, just to give him some encouragement that he is very strong and all that… Because fighting means, there is the chivalry, it’s not so much the winning part, it’s just the chivalry, the fighting, the rasa of fighting. But then the demigods become very disturbed, because they are devotees, but they are not like Prahlada. Prahlada knows, “He will protect me, no matter what. Even if He doesn’t protect me, what does it matter? I will go back to Him, I will always be with Him, so I am always there.” But the demigods because of their materialistic desires, they are not that firm in their faith. So as soon as Hiranyakashipu gets let go, immediately they are afraid, “Oh, no! The demon may win. Something may happen.” And then, if the demon wins, then again they carry on, they got this Hiranyakashipu managing the universe, and that’s… doesn’t exactly fit in with their plans. Their plans that they have for enjoying that they control, and position and fame. Somehow or other it’s not working out, so someone who is more serious about these things than them, then they are getting all the facility. So they are worried about this. Or at best they’re worried about dharma and other aspects like that, but still within the material realm. So because their faith is not so strong, then when He lets Him go, then they get disturbed. So then, like this a few times, then He doesn’t want to disturb the demigods any more, so then He picks him up and kills him, just with the ends of His nails. It’s not a difficulty for Him.
So that is the side thing. But the main thing is that He has come to protect His devotee and show that He takes care of His devotee, when the devotees are offended the Lord is there, He takes care, He protects them. And then, when they are protected, then they also feel that it is the Lord who is taking care. They don’t just think, “Oh, it’s my good luck.” Or some other thing, but the Lord through His devotees, personally, or by some amazing arrangement then He is taking care of the devotees. These points should not be overlooked in understanding these things, because as we progress in spiritual life, we must start to see the Lord actually as a person who deals and reciprocates with the devotees and this reciprocation is very, very sweet, very wonderful. So even in this very… At least you could say, from the material point of view it would not have been a pleasant situation, the roaring of Nrisimhadeva, the size of Nrisimhadeva, His mane was in the clouds, the clouds were being moved from His mane moving, so He was quite large. And you can imagine, we see, an elephant which is not so big, and it can make so much noise. You can imagine, if you have something that reaches up to the clouds and it’s making some noise. Not only that, They are upset. And They are not just upset about Themselves, but They are upset about Their devotee. So the sound itself would be very… And then your opening up Hiranyakashipu, taking out these enthralls and putting them on as garlands, you know, it’s quite… Prabhupada, I think when Jadurani first painted the paiting of Nrisimhadeva, a little bit of blood around Hiranyakashipu’s stomach, Prabhupada saw it, he says, “No, no, plenty of blood!” Should be more, add to the whole flavor, the rasa the Lord is getting.
So in that situation though we see that Prahlada was not afraid, because if he became afraid, then that would mean, that relationship is very, very formal. Otherwise, even he would become formal upon receiving the Lord when the Lord comes. But we see that due to his affection and due to reciprocation of the Lord, that affection is so much that even in this very, very rough situation, very, very, how you say, gory situation, ghastly situation, then Prahlada is not disturbed. He is still smiling, he is coming with his garland to receive the Lord. But all the demigods, everybody, they cannot understand their relationship with the Lord, how to approach the Lord, anything. They are also very bewildered at all this, because they cannot understand the relationship. Lakshmi is even afraid, because She doesn’t know how to approach or serve the Lord in this form. So, when you don’t know relationship, it establishes fear. So even She was afraid, though it was spiritual, because She was afraid, “Where is my relationship with the Lord?” While the demigods are afraid that “He is so angry, He might also burn us to ashes or kill us,” and that they were not overly interested in. So like this, then they were very disturbed, but Prahlada was not. So Prahlada could easily go, sit with the Lord, talk with the Lord and reciprocate with the Lord. So we see that no matter what the situation is, one can feel that presence of the Lord, feel that reciprocation of the Lord and in this way one will be very happy, very satisfied. So this is important that the devotees understand. That the pastime is there, but then there is… The pastime is there, because it’s the Lord’s pastime with the devotees. The Lord is reciprocating with the devotees, and that creates the happiness, or the very nice atmosphere that is going on.
(From H.H. Bhaktividya Purna Swami Maharaja lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam 7.8.17, Nrisimha Caturdashi, 10th May 1998)
Photo: Mayapur.com, Nrisimha Caturdashi 2013