devarsa etad icchamo
veditum tava suvrata
yad atmajaya suddhaya
pitadat sadhave hy agham
sri-yudhisthirah uvaca—Maharaja Yudhisthira inquired; deva-rse—O best saintly person among the demigods; etat—this; icchamah—we wish; veditum—to know; tava—from you; su-vrata—having the determination for spiritual advancement; yat—because; atma-jaya—unto his own son; suddhaya—who was pure and exalted; pita—the father, Hiranyakasipu; adat—gave; sadhave—a great saint; hi—indeed; agham—trouble.
Maharaja Yudhisthira said: O best of the saints among the demigods, O best of spiritual leaders, how did Hiranyakasipu give so much trouble to Prahlada Maharaja, the pure and exalted saint, although Prahlada was his own son? I wish to know about this subject from you.
To know about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the characteristics of His pure devotee, one must inquire from authorities like Devarsi Narada. One cannot inquire about transcendental subject matters from a layman. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.25), satam prasangan mama virya-samvido bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah: only by association with devotees can one authoritatively understand the position of the Lord and His devotees. A devotee like Narada Muni is addressed as suvrata. Su means “good,” and vrata means “vow.” Thus the word suvrata refers to a person who has nothing to do with the material world, which is always bad. One cannot understand anything spiritual from a materialistic scholar puffed up with academic knowledge. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (18.55), bhaktya mam abhijanati: one must try to understand Krsna by devotional service and from a devotee. Therefore Yudhisthira Maharaja was quite right in wanting to learn further about Prahlada Maharaja from Sri Narada Muni.
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