Prahlāda was a daitya king, the son of Hiranyakashipu, and the father of Virochana. He is often described as a saintly boy from the Puranas known for his piety and bhakti to Vishnu. Despite the abusive nature of his father, Hiranyakashipu, he continued his devotion towards Vishnu. He is considered to be a mahājana, or great devotee, by followers of Vaishnava traditions and is of special importance to devotees of the avatār Narasiṁha. A treatise is accredited to him in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa in which Prahlāda describes the process of loving worship to his lord, Vishnu. The majority of stories in the Puranas are based on the activities of Prahlāda as a young boy, and he is usually depicted as such in paintings and illustrations.
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Prahlāda was born to Kayadu and Hiranyakashipu, an evil daitya king who had been granted a boon that he could not be killed by man or animal, day or night, inside or outside. After the killing of his father, he took his father's kingdom and ruled peacefully. He was known for his generosity and kindness. He sowed similar seeds in his son Virochana and grandson Mahabali.
The story of Prahlada
Prahlada while being in his mother's womb got to hear Narada's chants. He was taught by Narada in early childhood. As a result, he was devoted towards Vishnu. His father didn't like his spiritual inclination. He tried to warn Prahlada. Despite several warnings from his father Hiranyakashipu, Prahlāda continued to worship Vishnu instead. His father then decided to commit filicide and poison Prahlāda, but he survived. He then trampled the boy with elephants, but the boy still lived. Then he put Prahlāda in a room with venomous snakes, and they made a bed for him with their bodies.
Holika, the sister of Hiranyakashipu, was blessed in that she could not be hurt by fire. Hiranyakashipu puts Prahlāda on the lap of Holika as she sits on a pyre. Prahlāda prays to Vishnu to keep him safe. Holika then burns to death as Prahlāda is left unscathed. This event is celebrated as the Hindu festival of Holi.
After tolerating abuse from Hiranyakashipu, Prahlāda is eventually saved by Narasiṁha, who places the king on his thighs, and kills him with his sharp nails at the entrance to his home at dusk.
There is an underground pillar known as "Prahlāda khamba" in Dharahra village, in the Purnia District of Bihar, India. It is said to be the pillar from which Narasiṁha manifested to kill Hiranyakashipu. Adjacent to the pillar is a large temple devoted to Lord Narasiṁha. Allegedly, attempts to excavate or move the "Prahlāda khamba" have failed. In Maharashtra, an underground temple near the banks of the river Krishna in Sangli District hosts a beautiful stone carved sculpture of "Narasimha and Laxmi".
The story of Prahlāda teaches that:
- Faith in God is paramount.
- God will always prevail.
- God saves his devotees.
- Devotion can be practiced at any time. Age does not matter.
- Evil will be punished.
- God is omnipresent.
Translation: "Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlāda, among subduers I am time, among beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda."
Prahlāda in Sikhism
Prahlaad was placed in a cell, and the door was locked. The fearless child was not afraid at all. He said, "Within my being, is the Guru, the Lord of the World. The created being tried to compete with his Creator, but he assumed this name in vain. That which was predestined for him has come to pass; he started an argument with the Lord's humble servant. ||7|| The father raised the club to strike down Prahlaad, saying, Where is your God, the Lord of the Universe, now? He replied, "The Life of the World, the Great Giver, is my Help and Support in the end. Wherever I look, I see Him permeating and prevailing."||8|| Tearing down the pillars, the Lord Himself appeared. The egotistical demon was killed and destroyed. The minds of the devotees were filled with bliss, and congratulations poured in. He blessed His servant with glorious greatness. ||9|| (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1154) 
The following sites in Andhra Pradesh, India, are associated with Prahlāda or Narasiṁha as places of pilgrimage:
- "The story of Prahlada". Ramakrishnavivekananda.info. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
- Varadaraja V. Raman - Variety in Religion And Science: Daily Reflections, iUniverse, 2005, ISBN 0-595-35840-3, p.259
- Dimmitt, Cornelia; Johannes Adrianus Bernardus Buitenen (1978). Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Purāṇas. translated by J. A. Van Buitenen. Temple University Press. p. 312. ISBN 0-87722-122-7.
- P. 452 The Hindu World: An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism By Benjamin Walker - Summary
- [dead link]
- "Sri Guru Granth Sahib". Srigranth.org. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
- Cole, W. Owen; Judith Evans-Lowndes; Judith Lowndes (1995). The Story of Prahlad. Heinemann Educational. ISBN 0-431-07756-8.
- Bhagavata Purana Canto 7 - The Story of Prahlada (srimadbhagavatam.com)
- Dharma-Nirnayam short story on Prahlada (moralstories.wordpress.com)
- Prahlada in the Vishnu Purana (sacred-texts.com)
School of Prahlada at Ahobilam
- Prahlada Pathashala (School) (Flickr.com)