|Sri Brahma said:
"You are unlimited. No one can understand You simply by means of knowledge. You posses amazing power and, although in Your wonderful pastimes You display anger, You are always situated in pure goodness. You are the cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of the universe and You are indestructible spirit. Your appearance in this world is meant only to protect Your devotees."
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 7.8.40)
Sri Rudra said:
"At the end of the day of Brahma comes the time for destruction. At that time You manifest your wrath. Because of affection for Your devotee, Prahlad, You have manifested that same anger. Now that this insignificant demon is dead, You may subdue Your anger. Please protect your surrendered devotee, Prahlad, the son of Hiranyakasipu."
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 7.8.41)
The associates of Vishnu said:
O protector of the surrendered souls, today we have seen Your extraordinary form of Nrsimha, which is perfectly auspicious. This demon Hiranyakasipu was Your former servant, who had been cursed by the brahmanas to take a demon's body. Now you have shown him great mercy by killing him."
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 7.8.56)
Some of the prayers offered contained expressions of personal pleasure, because persons who offered them to the Lord had finally obtained what they had desired.
The Pitrs said:
"This demon had been snatching away our share of the oblations offered by our descendents and the sesame water offered to us at places of pilgrimage. Using His nails, Lord Nrsimha tore his belly apart and gave us back that which was intended for us. We are therefore offering our obeisances to Nrsimha Deva."
The Siddhas said:
"This evil rogue had taken away the fruits of our tapasya and yoga-siddhis (such as anima, mahima, etc.). Now You have ripped apart this miscreant with Your nails. O Lord Nrsimha, we offer You our respectful obeisances."
The Vidyadharas said:
"This foolish demon, proud of his own abilities and powers, had been hampering our mystic powers, by which we used to appear and disappear at will. Now You have killed this demon like an animal. O our Lord Nrsimha, we are eternally offering You our respect."
The Yaksas said:
"We are generally thought to occupy a high position among Your servants, but this son of Diti, Hiranyakasipu, engaged us in the menial work of carrying his palanquin in order to humiliate us. After coming to know of this insult, You killed him."
The Kinnaras said:
"O Lord, we are Your devoted followers, but this demon was engaging us in his service without any remuneration. Because of that sin, that demon was killed by You. O Lord! You have given us unlimited pleasure."
Despite the many prayers of Brahma and the demigods, the Lord's anger did not seem to subside. So, all the demigods approached Sri Laksmi Devi for help. The Goddess of Fortune, the eternal consort of Narayana, was extremely frightened and could not muster the courage to approach the Lord. Then Brahma, with the intent of placating the Lord's anger, asked Prahlad to approach the Lord. Like a cub of a lioness who slowly approaches his mother without any fear, Prahlad approached Lord Nrsimha on the order of Brahma. He offered his astanga dandavat pranama by prostrating on the ground, while keeping his folded hands over his head.
"A lioness is usually very ferocious by nature, but she is always sweet and tender to her children. In the same way Lord Nrsimha, Who exhibited a terrible wrath toward the demons, shows great affection for His devotees, such as Prahlad."
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya-lila, 8.6)
The Lord, Who is also called bhakta-vatsala, "very affectionate to His devotees", saw Prahlad prostrated at His lotus feet. Out of affection He put His lotus hands, which are so very difficult to attain, on Prahlad's head. The touch of those lotus hands of Lord Nrsimha at once removed all the impurities connected with Prahlad's taking birth in a demon's family, and the child was overcome by symptoms of deep love. Prahlad started to offer beautiful prayers, explaining the true nature of the appearance of Lord Nrsimha. In this way, the Lord induced Prahlad to speak about His glories.
The Prayer of Prahlad
Sri Prahlad said:
"O Lord Nrsimha, what qualities did You see in me that You wished to bless me? The truth about You and the meaning of Your manifestation are extremely complex and difficult to know. All the demigods, beginning with Brahma, and all the Rsis and Siddhas, who are extremely elevated in sattva-guna and in the practice of dharma, jnana and tapasya, finding pleasure in the higher levels of existence, have not yet been able to please You with many wonderfully elaborate prayers. How is someone like me, devoid of knowledge and living in darkness, born in an asurik family, able to please You with prayers?"
"Therefore, I think You will not be pleased by wealth (dhana), good family (abhijana), beauty (rupa), penance (tapasya), scriptural knowledge (sruta), sense control (ojah), luster (tejah), power (prabhava), physical strength (bala), vitality (paurusa), intelligence (buddhi), and mystic power (yoga other than bhakti). Gajendra had no such qualifications, not even prosperity, yet by pure and simple bhakti he could please the Lord. My only asset is the causeless mercy of Your dear devotee, Narada Muni, who gave me a drop of devotion."
"The Mahabharata describes the twelve qualities of the brahmanas as follows: following religious principles, speaking truthfully, controlling the senses by undergoing austerities and penances, being free from jealousy, being intelligent, being tolerant, creating no enemies, performing yajna, giving charity, being steady, being well-versed in sastra and observing vows."
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 7.9.8-10)
If a brahmana (and what to speak of a ksatriya, vaisya or sudra), possessing all these twelfe qualities, is not dedicated to the lotus feet of the Lord, he is lower than a person who has become a sincere devotee even though that devotee may have taken birth in a family of dog eaters (candalas). In fact, a devotee is the most qualified person because he is dedicating everything he possesses to the service of Hari, including his mind, words, activities, wealth, property, and his very life itself. Not only is such a devotee completely purified, but he also purifies his family. On the other hand, a brahmana, who possesses the twelfe qualities but is not interested in devotion to the Lord, will be unable even to purify himself, what to speak of purifying his family.
Lord Mahadeva told his wife Sati:
"Knowledge, austerity, wealth, attractive appearance, youth and good fortune are very exalted qualities in a sadhu, but they produce the opposite result when they are possessed by unholy persons. Such impious people actually become puffed up with their own pride because of these qualities and very soon their intelligence and discrimination disappear, so much so that they are not even able to see the qualities of the great devotees."
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 4.3.17)
"The Lord is not satisfied by one who simply performs tapasya. On the contrary, He is very pleased when someone offers Him respect and worship by chanting and speaking about His Names, Qualities, Forms and Pastimes."
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 7.9.11)
One may object that the Lord seems selfish. "Will He not be pleased unless offered some bribe?" Prahlad answers this by saying, "On the contrary, God is eternally satisfied in Himself and does not need anything. Nothing is outside Him and no one is separate from Him. Rather, all is eternally contained in Him and under His full control. It is not possible for the infinitesimal living entity, who possesses nothing independently, to attract the Lord by offering something He does not already have. Even the person who is offering something to the Lord is also within Him. God is the only one who possesses full and complete knowledge, and He accepts respect from the ignorant out of His mercy. If He were not to accept their worship, how would they be able to improve their good qualities and attain purification? If one were to see the reflection of his face in a mirror and wished to improve the beauty of that reflection, he would need to tend to the face itself—it could not be otherwise. This body is like a mirror and, by increasing one's spiritual power, the beneficial effects upon the body will increase. This is possible only by means of service to God, and not otherwise. By respectfully offering worship to the Lord, we will also be glorified. By speaking about Your glories, although I have no qualifications, I am also obtaining great benefit.
"Brahma and all the demigods are extremely qualified in sattva-guna, but they always remain under Your control like servants and followers. Please be satisfied with us, who are also Your followers and servants, although tainted by the qualities of rajas and tamas. You manifest to give happiness to Your devotees, to engage in wonderful pastimes and to benefit the whole world. Now the cause of Your anger has gone: Hiranyakasipu is dead, killed by You. Everyone is happy when a snake or scorpion is killed. By Your appearance, You have given unlimited happiness to all good and saintly people, so I am praying that You will please terminate Your pastime of anger. By simply remembering You, all fears are destroyed. So why should one be frightened of You? Actually, I do not feel afraid at all when I see Your ferocious face. In my opinion, material existence is teh real cause of fear. Those who are not engaged in Your pure devotional service and are hostile toward You, trying to fight You, are falling into the miseries of material existence. But Your lotus feet are a safe and happy shelter, the only way to attain liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
Source: Sages of Ancient India / Mandala Publishing