yas tvaya manda-bhagyokto
kvasau yadi sa sarvatra
kasmat stambhe na drsyate
yah—the one who; tvaya—by you; manda-bhagya—O unfortunate one; uktah—described; mat-anyah—besides me; jagat-isvarah—the supreme controller of the universe; kva—where; asau—that one; yadi—if; sah—He; sarvatra—everywhere (all-pervading); kasmat—why; stambhe—in the pillar before me; na drsyate—not seen.
O most unfortunate Prahlada, you have always described a supreme being other than me, a supreme being who is above everything, who is the controller of everyone, and who is all-pervading. But where is He? If He is everywhere, then why is He not present before me in this pillar?
Demons sometimes declare to a devotee that they cannot accept the existence of God because they cannot see Him. But what the demon does not know is stated by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gita (7.25): naham prakasah sarvasya yogamaya-samavrtah. “I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by yogamaya.” The Lord is open to being seen by devotees, but nondevotees cannot see Him. The qualification for seeing God is stated in Brahma-samhita (5.38): premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti. A devotee who has developed a genuine love for Krsna can always see Him everywhere, whereas a demon, not having a clear understanding of the Supreme Lord, cannot see Him. When Hiranyakasipu was threatening to kill Prahlada Maharaja, Prahlada certainly saw the column standing before him and his father, and he saw that the Lord was present in the pillar to encourage him not to fear his demoniac father’s words. The Lord was present to protect him. Hiranyakasipu marked Prahlada’s observation and asked him, “Where is your God?” Prahlada Maharaja replied, “He is everywhere.” Then Hiranyakasipu asked, “Why is He not in this pillar before me?” Thus in all circumstances the devotee can always see the Supreme Lord, whereas the nondevotee cannot.
Prahlada Maharaja has here been addressed by his father as “the most unfortunate.” Hiranyakasipu thought himself extremely fortunate because he possessed the property of the universe. Prahlada Maharaja, his legitimate son, was to have inherited this vast property, but because of his impudence, he was going to die at his father’s hands. Therefore the demoniac father considered Prahlada the most unfortunate because Prahlada would not be able to inherit his property. Hiranyakasipu did not know that Prahlada Maharaja was the most fortunate person within the three worlds because Prahlada was protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such are the misunderstandings of demons. They do not know that a devotee is protected by the Lord in all circumstances (kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati).
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