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Prahlaad and Harnaakash

Harnakash the king made everyone chant his name, but his son Prahlad refused, saying he would rather chant on Ram....

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There once was a great king named Harnakash. He was given a gift from Lord Shiva that he will not be killed inside or outside. He could not be killed by a man or by an animal. He could not be killed in daytime, or night time. He could not die in heat or cold. He became a cruel ruler and made everyone chant his name instead of Ram (God).  His own son Prahlad refused to chant his name, but rather he always chanted on Ram. Harnakash made many attempts to have his son killed, but every time the child was miraculously saved. He became even more angry and had a pillar lit on fire with a huge flame. He told Prahlad "You don't chant my name like everyone else, you say that God is in everything. Well if God is in everything than God is also in the pillar. Go over to the pillar and give it a hug if it is also your God." Prahlad made a prayer to God "Oh, my beloved, please save me. You are in my heart and I am always with you." Prahlad, with his pure faith, went over to the white hot pillar and gave it a hug. By divine grace he wasn't burnt at all, and hearing the prayer of this devoted child, God assumed a form and burst out of the pillar. God appeared in the form of a man lion called Nar Singh to release Harnakash. He told Harnakash "I will kill you now because it is not day or night, it is dusk. I am not a man or an animal, I am neither. We are not inside or outside, we are on the threshold." And so Nar Singh killed Harnakash for his treachery. Prahlad was saved. God always protects the honor of the devotees.


Read the Full Story:

The Story of Little Prehlaad

There once was a great King named Harnaakash. He was very powerful, a great warrior, and also a great yogi. His meditation was so strong, his devotion so one-pointed that Lord Shiva himself appeared to him. Lord Shiva is the God of Yogis and the God of Death. Lord Shiva said, "Oh Harnaakash, your meditation is great, your devotion very strong, they have made me come. So I shall now grant you a wish. Any wish you desire, I shall give you." The King thought for a moment, and then said, "Oh Master of Death, oh Supreme Shiva, grant me this boon that I may never die by day nor by night, that I may never die inside nor outside, that I may never die by a man nor by an animal, that I may never die in the heat nor in the cold." "So be it.", said Lord Shiva, and he disappeared. Harnaakash returned to his palace. Now that he was immortal, he became more and more egocentric. He became very mean, and stopped being a good King. In those days, people used to chant Rama, for this was a very beautiful name of God. It means God who created the Sun and the Moon. But Harnaakash decided that since nothing could kill him, he was God, so he told everyone, "I am God. You will chant my name now. Harnaakash! Harnaakash! Harnaakash! Anyone who chants Raam will be put to death!"
 A few people resisted, "I will chant Raam!"
"Take him away!"
Many people began to chant Harnaakash and to worship the evil King, as if he were God himself.
    The King had a little son who was eight year old. His name was Prehlaad. Little Prehlaad loved God very much, and was always chanting, "Ra, ra, ra, ra, ma, ma, ma, ma. Raama, Raama, Raama." When the King heard his own son was disobeying his order, he became very, very angry.
"How dare Prehlaad disobey me, his father?! Bring him to me right away, I will show him who God is!"
Prehlaad was brought to King  Harnaakash.
"Well my son, I am told you chant Raam. Do you not know that now I am God? Me, Harnaakash! Have you no respect for your father?"
"Yes father, I love you, and respect you very much, but I know in my soul that although you are very beautiful, very strong and divine, you are not God. You are only a creature of God. I love and worship Raama, the Creator of the Sun and the Moon."
Harnaakash was furious. "Either you change your mind or I will have you killed! Do you understand?"
"Yes, oh my father, I understand."
"No one can disobey me!"
Then the King left. A little while later, Prehlaad's mother came to see him.
"Prehlaad, my beloved son, you should do as your father says, or he will have you killed. Obey him!"
"Mother, you have always taught me that Raama is the life of our life, our breath, our Creator. Do you know longer believe he is God?"
"My son, in my heart, I love Raam, and I chant His name. But with my lips, I obey the King, your father, and chant his name, for fear he will kill me if I don't."
"Mother, I shall refuse to obey my father for he is not God!"
The next day Prehlaad appeared before the King.
"Well Prehlaad, I hope you have become wiser. Tell me now, who is God?"
"Oh respected father, Raam is God."
"Raam is the Lord of the Universe, you are the King of this country."
"I will show you who is wrong, me or your Raam!"

The King had a huge pillar built, which rose dozens of feet above the ground. His men had started a huge fire to heat the pillar. The pillar became black, then it turned red. It became so hot that it had finally turned white. All the trees, flowers, and plants were burnt, for miles and miles around the pillar. All the animals died or fled, birds fell from the sky, burnt and dead. And still, the pillar became hotter. Harnaakash laughed and said, "Hahaha! Let us see now how much your Raama loves you! Go and touch that pillar."

Prehlaad was only a little boy, and he was very afraid. But he loved God and prayed to Him for help. Prehlaad began to walk towards the pillar. Everyone in the entire country said a silent prayer that Prehlaad would survive. He walked and walked, and the air became hotter and hotter. The ground was black and cracked. After a while, Prehlaad no longer saw any plants or animals, everything was burnt. Everything had died. He came closer and closer to the pillar til finally he stopped, very much afraid, and he prayed.

"Oh Raama, oh God, oh Creator, please help me. I love you. I pray to you. Help me."

Then Prehlaad looked at the pillar, and he saw a little black ant walking on it. He thought, "'If this little ant can live touching the pillar, so can I." He ran towards the pillar. Thinking of God, he hugged it with all his might. It was cool like water. It was not hot, it did not burn Prehlaad. God Himself had saved the little boy. Then God Himself took form and suddenly appeared on the scene. Half man and half lion. The lower part of His body was that of a man, but His head, chest, and arms were those of a lion. God in the form of a lion, grabbed Harnaakash and put him across His lap. He then said, "Harnaakash, do you know who I am?"
"Yes Lord."
"Answer my questions. Is it day or is it night?"
"Neither, oh God, it is dusk."
"Are we inside or outside?"
"Neither, Lord, we are on the threshold of the palace."
"Is it the cold season or the hot season?"
"It is in between, oh Lord."
"Am I a man or an animal?"
"You are neither, oh Supreme One."
Then with His huge claws, Narayan, God as the man lion, killed the evil King. Prehlaad then became King and ruled the country very wisely for a long, long time. People were again free to chant God's Name and to love Him.
"Ra, ra, ra, ra, ma, ma, ma, ma. Raama, Raama. Sa, ta, na, ma. Ra, ra ra, ra, ma, ma, ma, ma. Raama, Raama. Sa, ta, na, ma." 

Storyteller:  Guruliv Singh
Age ranges:  1 - 6, 7 - 12