Beyond the Asana with Simhasana (Lion Pose): Once there was an asura (demon) named Hiranyakashipu who disliked Lord Vishnu. Despite being a demon, Hiranyakashipu spent his entire life performing remarkable yogic austerities. One day he attracted the attention of Lord Brahma. “What boon do you want?”. “Give me immortality!” said Hiranyakashipu. “Not possible.” responded Brahma.
“Then let me not die during the day or during the night, inside or outside of a house, not on the ground, nor in the sky and not from any weapon ever created. Give me all the siddhis (supernatural powers) attained by the practice of yoga.”
“Done.” said Brahma.
Hiranyakashipu became drunk off his power and started to wreak havoc everywhere because he was so hard to kill. •
Ironically, Hiranyakashipu had a son named Prahlada who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. One day, just before sunset, father and son began arguing.
“I am the supreme being! Where is Vishnu?”
“He is everywhere and in everything. He is in the firmament and in the depths, manifest and unmanifest.” said Prahlada. “Is he in this pillar here?” asked Hiranyakashipu pointing to one of the marble pillars of the house.
“He is, he was, and he will be,” said Prahlada.
Hiranyakashipu shattered the pillar and from it emerged Vishnu as a half-lion, half-man named Narasimha. Vishnu lifted Hiranyakashipu off the ground, threw him onto his lap in the doorway of the house (neither in or out of the house and neither on the ground or in the sky), at twilight (neither day nor night), Narasimha then clawed open Hiranyakashipu chest and killed him instantly (without any weapons). •
This gruesome story reminds me to always question my motives for practicing. Both father and son in this story had very strong yogic practices but what result did Hiranyakashipu seek? Power and control. What did Prahlada seek? Increased awareness of divine presence. I think both got what what they wanted. So why do you practice? •
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