Every one of us by nature is shelter-seeking. We seek shelter for the sake of protection – protection from distress, disease, dishonor and death. We seek shelter of medicines, cosmetics and law-enforcement agencies in this world. But these worldly shelters are limited and defective – The mother and father are not the protection for their child. Medicine is not protection for sick person. A boat is not a remedy for a person drowning in the ocean. For those who do not accept you, the remedies accepted by suffering people in this world are not a shelter at all (SB 7.9.19). Nonetheless, most of the people of the world stick to these shelters and become afflicted by fear and anxiety. We see that the child Prahlad just took shelter of his dear Lord Nrsimhadev. He took shelter of no one and nothing else of this world. He was amidst the most terrifying and trying situations one can ever imagine in this world. Let us discuss the salient features of the shelter of Lord Nrsimhadev that stand out in contrast to the shelters of the world. The shelter of Lord Nrsimhadev is –
The divine shelter of Lord is fearless. The divine shelter of Lord enables us to realize and experience our spiritual existence. That way, we go beyond our physical existence, mental existence and intellectual existence connected respectively to the body, mind and intelligence that are external to the soul. We can gradually rise over the attachments to body, mind and intelligence. We remain unaffected by the changes that take place at the level of body, mind and intelligence. That way, we become fearless. The shelter of the Lord is experienced at spiritual level and is not affected by the external changes. We see that Prahlad’s consciousness was unaffected even amidst being in fire and thrown into the ocean. He was constantly remembering his beloved Lord and experiencing his loving reciprocation.
The divine shelter of Lord is flawless. Lord can accept all types of service and accommodate all moods of service. He is source of all mellows. He accepts service in reverence as well as in intimacy. Lord is not biased. Lord welcomes and accepts all types of devotees – pure devotees, devotees with desire for liberation and devotees with material desires. He fulfils all types of spiritual desires. He manifests himself in different forms as holy name, Srimad Bhagavatam, Deity and holy places. Lord’s beauty is perfect, speech is perfect and activities are perfect. Lord can reciprocate simultaneously with his unlimited number of devotees. Lord Nrsimha by appearing from a pillar as a half-man-half-lion simultaneously fulfilled the words of his devotee Prahlada, Lord Brahma and Narada.
The divine shelter of Lord is painless. The Lord is always accessible through recitation, remembrance of his activities and meditation on his form and name. There is no chance of disconnection. Lord’s love is completely pure and selfless untinged by any selfish and sensual desire as in case of love in this world. Lord’s love is completely reciprocal. Lord is omniscient. He will be always conscious of our devotion. He is omnipotent. He can reciprocate with our devotion unchecked by limitations of space, time and circumstance. Prahlad was rejected by his near and dear – father, teachers, family and relatives. Prahlad was always devoted to Lord Narayana. Lord Narayana always held him near and dear. Prahlad never felt lost and rejected in his relationship with Lord Nrsimhadev.
The divine shelter of Lord is causeless. Lord’s shelter is accessible for all. There is no discrimination or bias based on material considerations of birth, age, family, gender, education and position in society – Unlike an ordinary living entity, my Lord, You do not discriminate between friends and enemies, the favorable and the unfavorable, because for You there is no conception of higher and lower. Nonetheless, You offer Your benedictions according to the level of one’s service, exactly as a desire tree delivers fruits according to one’s desires and makes no distinction between the lower and the higher. (SB 7.9.27). Lord is not indifferent to Prahlad because he is born in a demoniac family. Lord did not favor Brahma and Narada because they are demigods. Devotional service does not depend on pre-requisites of austerity, purity and learning. Devotional service does not depend on a particular time, place and circumstance. Prahlad was able to perform devotional service while being in the womb, falling from a cliff, drowning in an ocean.
The divine shelter of Lord is endless. Lord’s shelter is transcendental to influence of time. It is eternal. It is never diminished or destroyed. The relationship with Lord is eternal. The happiness experienced in that relationship is eternal. Therefore Lord’s shelter is the best investment, insurance and experience. The opportunity available for Prahlad is also available for us. Let us seriously take shelter of the Lord following the footsteps of Prahlad and experience uninterrupted and ultimate protection and bliss in the loving service of the Lord.