Did Hiranyakashipu not know that Vishnu lived in the Kshira-sagara? Why did he ask Prahlad where Vishnu was and whether he was in the pillar?
Transcribed by: Shalini Ahluwalia
Question : Hiranayakashipu – did he not know the structure of the universe – there is a Kshirasaagar and beyond there Kshirodakshayi Vishnu was there? Why did he ask Prahlad that show me Vishnu, is he there in this pillar?
Answer: The Kshirasaagar and what lies beyond is not accessible even to Brahmaji what to speak of other beings like Hirnayakashipu. And Krishna also says – matay vidho surgana prabhavam na ma rishiya (?? Check verse) – that even the surganas and the rishis don’t know about me. So in that sense – mohiyanti asurya (?? Check verse) the Bhagavatam also says that. So there is a general understanding that there is a Supreme Being, it is Vishnu, but where he is that whole area is inaccessible. So although the KShirasaagar and the Lord –where he lies within the Kshirasaagar- that is one sense within the universe but in another sense it is completely inaccessible to the rest of the universe. Thats why all that they hear is the voice. Brahmaji hears the voice and the message from that voice is conveyed by Brahmaji to the other devatas. So now specifically there is also this pastime in the eighth canto where Vamadeva is praising and joking with Bali Maharaj and he is saying that your great-grandfather Hiranyakashipu was so powerful that he went chasing all arond the world – where is Vishnu, where is Vishnu? And it is said that Hiranyakashipu went to the abode of Vaikuntha and Vishnu said Oh ! he has come to my abode, now where will I go? So Vishnu in great fear went and hid inside his heart. He searched everywhere and he found no Vishnu in Vaikuntha so he decided that Vishnu has died. So when I read this I was puzzled – Vishwanath Chakravarthy says that here simply Vamandeva is flattering Bali Maharaj, its a joke, nothing real. But the point is that the demons even if they search around they cannot find the Supreme Lord because the Lord is transcendental. So here the specific point where he asks where is he, is he in this pillar – that is because he feels that Prahlad is in my kingdom,he is in my family and still he is challenging my authority.So he wants to in some visible, graphic way prove his own authority and prove the falsity of whatever Prahlad believes. Thats why he says where is God, is he right here, show him to me. And then he sees the pillar and he thinks I can break this pillar and expose him – is he there in this pillar? So he cannot access Vaikuntha and his immediate goal is not to attack Vaikuntha and destroy Vaikuntha. His immediate goal is to destroy the faith that Prahlad has, to prove that he is wrong and thats why he wants some demonstration. He thinks I will break this pillar and Prahlad will be falsified and he will be exposed as wrong. Thats why he asked that question.
Thank you, Hare Krishna !