It is usually said that good souls are born into families with sacred thoughts. And evil souls are attracted to and hence born in homes where piety and love for God are missing. Paradoxically Prahlad was born to Hrinakshyapu. Ever wondered why?
It is said that Hrinyakshyapu was so obsessed with the thought that he was God, and that no other supreme being existed that he would get very angry if anyone mentioned the name of Narayan in his presence. He once went for penance to the forest, to acquire siddhis (powers attained by gaining control over the body and the mind).
When he started to meditate under a tree, a parrot perched on the branch above him sang, “Narayan, Narayan …” Hrinakshyapu tried his best to concentrate but could not. He tried to shoo away the bird, but the bird flew around a bit, and came to sit on one of the branches and started chanting again, “Narayan, Narayan …” Exasperated after many efforts, he went to a hill top to meditate.
A short while later, the parrot came there and started off, “Narayan, Narayan, Narayan …” Hrinyakashapu was enraged. He glared at the parrot and shouted at it, to go away. But the parrot determinedly continued to sing the name of Lord Narayan.
At his wits end, the man found a cave to meditate in. No sooner than he started, he heard the familiar sound of “Narayan, Narayan …” He went wild! Oh! The parrot was following him wherever he went. Utterly disgusted, he went back to the palace. The queen was surprised to see him return so soon. She was a God loving woman who had always tried hard to reform her evil husband. Never before had he returned so soon from such a meditative stint. She wondered what had happened.
Initially he didn’t tell her why he came back, but as she repeatedly showed her concern for his well-being, he melted a little and said, “A parrot disturbed me every time I started to meditate. He kept on repeating, ‘Narayan, Narayan …’ I changed places several times to get him off my back but he followed me everywhere. There was no way he would stop, so I decide to come back.”
The queen was inwardly very happy. She told him that she was very intrigued by this and asked him to tell her exactly what happened. So he repeated the entire story again. In this way he repeated the word ‘Narayan’, several times. She asked him, “My dear, how can a parrot speak like a human? Tell me exactly how he spoke…” So he mimicked the parrot saying, “Narayan, Narayan…” A short while later, she said, “I am so amazed that a parrot could sing like this.” So saying, she chanted the name in a different style and intonation. He corrected her, chanting the way the parrot had. In this way, the queen made her husband repeat the name of the Lord, several times. Resultant to the solace she offered to him, they came closer and closer. That night, the queen conceived.
The moment in time that the child was conceived, both of them were in thoughts of Narayan. So could the child have been anything less than a devotee of Narayan? The story has a great significance. If our thoughts are pure, at the time of conception, pure and pious souls shall be attracted to be born through us. Otherwise …
Swami once mentioned, “Aryamba was a paragon of virtues. She spent all her time in the contemplation of God and in undertaking noble deeds. As a result, Sankaracharya was born to her. Sankaracharya could become Jagadguru (world teacher) because of his mother’s virtuous thoughts.”