vṛtaḥ kāvyaḥ kilāsuraiḥ
ṣaṇḍāmarkau sutau tasya
śrī-nāradaḥ uvāca—the great saint Nārada said; paurohityāya—to work as priest; bhagavān—the most powerful; vṛtaḥ—chosen; kāvyaḥ—Śukrācārya; kila—indeed; asuraiḥ—by the demons; ṣaṇḍa-amarkau—Ṣaṇḍa and Amarka; sutau—sons; tasya—of him; daitya-rāja—of the King of the demons, Hiraṇyakaśipu; gṛha-antike—near the residence.
The great saint Nārada Muni said: The demons, headed by Hiraṇyakaśipu, accepted Śukrācārya as their priest for ritualistic ceremonies. Śukrācārya’s two sons, Ṣaṇḍa and Amarka, lived near Hiraṇyakaśipu’s palace.
The beginning of the life story of Prahlāda is recounted as follows. Śukrācārya became the priest of the atheists, especially Hiraṇyakaśipu, and thus his two sons, Ṣaṇḍa and Amarka, resided near Hiraṇyakaśipu’s residence. Śukrācārya should not have become the priest of Hiraṇyakaśipu because Hiraṇyakaśipu and his followers were all atheists. A brāhmaṇa should become the priest of a person interested in the advancement of spiritual culture. The very name Śukrācārya, however, indicates a person interested in obtaining benefits for his sons and descendants, regardless of how the money comes. A real brāhmaṇa would not become a priest for atheistic men.
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