PRACTICE OF DHARMA

Prahlada was not only a devotee of Lord Narayana but also a very righteous king. He was the most bountiful of kings. He would never say 'no' to anyone who approached him for a favour, gift or help.

Once Indra intending to test Prahlada came to him in the guise of a Brahmin. Prahlada offered his respects to him and asked: "What do you seek of me. How can I make you happy? The Brahmin replied: "Oh king! I want you to gift me your Sheela (character). Prahlada said: "So be it. Your wish is fulfilled. I am gifting away my Sheela to you." The Brahmin left the court. No sooner did the Brahmin leave, and then a charming young man was seen walking away from the royal court. Prahlada questioned him: "Sir! Who are you? The young man replied: "I am fame. I cannot stay with you any longer since Sheela has left you." Prahlada permitted him to leave.

A few seconds later, yet another handsome man was seen walking away from the court. Prahlada asked, "May I know who you are?" The man replied: I am valor. How can I be with you without Sheela and fame? I am therefore leaving." Prahlada permitted him to leave.

Soon, a charming lady was leaving the court in hurried steps. Prahlada asked her: "Mother, may I know who you are?" "I am Rajalakshmi, the presiding deity of this kingdom." She replied and added: "I can't live here without Sheela, fame and valor. Then a lady was seen moving away with tears in her eyes. Prahlada ran towards her and asked: "Mother, who are you?" She said: "Son! I am Dharma Devatha (righteousness). I don't have a place where there is no Sheela, fame and valor. Even Rajalakshmi has left you."

Prahlada fell at her feet and said: "Mother, I can live without Sheela, fame, valor and Rajyalakshmi but I cannot live without you. How can I send you anywhere? It is the duty of the king to protect Dharma. Dharma alone is the basis of the entire world. Please stay with me. Do not forsake me."

Dharma Devatha agreed to stay. When Dharma Devatha agreed to stay, all the others also returned to the court and said: "We cannot exist without Dharma Devatha. Let us please be with you."

Lord Indra tested Prahlada only to illustrate to the world the greatness of Prahlada, which was founded only on his practice of Dharma.