All religions and psychology believe in the power of faith. When the human mind is in a state of deep despair, constructive conviction and a sense of deep devotion can defy all odds. In other words, faith can move mountains.
A tale from the Vishnu Purana upholds the power of faith in a spectacular manner. Hiranyakashipu’s arrogance and atrocities knew no bounds after he received a boon from Lord Brahma which insured his life by ensuring immortality. The clauses in his request seemed to be free from loopholes.
He had sought, “No one should be able to kill me, neither Devas or Daithyas, man nor animal, no instrument metallic or weapons made of bones should harm me, the venue of my death should neither be on earth or in the skies, it should not be inside or outside of a building, the time of my demise should not be during the day or night.”
Even his young son Prahalada, who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, was not spared of his torture.
The megalomaniac made many attempts on the young boy’s life, just because Prahalada had reposed undying faith in the mercy of the Lord. When the young prince emerged unscathed each time, the egotistic father became more enraged.
He threw a challenge to the prince and asked the staunch devotee whether his god was omnipresent and omniscient.
When the lad answered in the affirmative, the Asura, randomly threw his mace at a pillar in his royal court and asked if Lord Vishnu could emerge from the post and save his follower. Almost immediately, the pillar shattered.
A fascinating form which seemed to be a combination of a man and a lion emerged from the spot at the twilight hour.
Narasimha approached Hiranyakashipu menacingly, picked him up and walked to the threshold of the court, placed the demon king on his lap and used his sharp nails and kept tearing at the entrails out of the king’s abdomen till he died.
Everyone who watched this gory act was filled with awe. The power of devotion and truth was re-established by the protecting deity among the trinities without breaching the boon granted by the creator to his errant devotee.
Till this day, Prahalada’s resilient faith, which helped him go through agony and even battle death, is used as a sterling example for people who are in dire straits.