“My Lord Narasimhadeva, please, therefore, cease Your anger now that my father, the great demon Hiranyakashipu, has been killed. Since even saintly persons take pleasure in the killing of a scorpion or a snake, all the worlds have achieved great satisfaction because of the death of this demon. Now they are confident of their happiness, and they will always remember Your auspicious incarnation in order to be free from fear.” (Prahlada Maharaja, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.9.14)Download this episode (right click and save)
Compassion, kindness, knowledge, even-mindedness - these are different qualities belonging to a person of saintly character. If you are easily agitated, swayed by the constant ups and downs that life has to offer, you haven’t taken full advantage of the human birth. A person who is dhira is sober. They are especially not bewildered by the changes of body occurring for the conditioned soul, starting from the time of birth and continuing even after death.
“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.13)
The saint has empathy. They may not have lived every situation that others experience, but through both descending knowledge and application of different principles they can relate. They know the pain of death. They know that the individual is spirit soul, not identified by the body. The saint knows that rebirth is guaranteed for anything living that dies.
Still, there are instances where a saint takes pleasure in another’s death. Carefully analyzing the situation, we see that there is a specific factor to consider.
1. Scorpions and snakes
A routine day. Ready to leave the house. You go to put on your shoes, but suddenly there is a sharp pain. A scorpion has bitten you. It is just living according to its nature, but its presence interferes with life in a painful way.
The bite of the snake can be deadly. Again, just going about life, not bothering anyone, by accident you can encounter one. It influences life in a strongly negative way.
Prahlada Maharaja, the great devotee born in a Daitya family, says that a saint does not protest when the snake or scorpion is killed. This is because of the march towards enlightenment. There cannot be happiness without peace, and there cannot be peace when there is uncontrolled deadly force lurking around the corner.
“One who is not in transcendental consciousness can have neither a controlled mind nor steady intelligence, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.66)
Prahlada was specifically referring to the death of his demoniac father, King Hiranyakashipu. The Daitya by quality is a demon. The more specific Sanskrit word is asura, which is a negation of the word that means “demigod” or “person of saintly character.”
There was no reason to regret the death of Hiranyakashipu, as he was exactly like a scorpion or snake. He harassed innocent people without cause. The spirit soul would live on, and since he died directly at the hands of God in the incarnation known as Narasimha, there was the special benediction of liberation. No more birth and death for the spirit soul playing the role of God’s adversary in the material world.
Impediments towards progress in spiritual life are removed either by the Supreme Lord or one of His representatives. Material nature changes; going from inauspiciously prohibiting to auspiciously helping. This is because prakriti, which is nature, is also an energy from God. He can control how it acts, and for the devotees He will gladly remove snake-like forces to help in their progress.
Scorpion biting in shoe,
Snake of similar nature too.
Saint at such death not feeling sad,
Known that future body to be had.
Same when asura’s slate clearing,
No more bhakti’s life interfering.
Like Hiranyakashipu mentality demonstrating,
And Narasimha with nails penetrating.