The English translation of a hymn by Prahlada in Srimad -Bhagavatam (7/9/40) reads as

My dear Lord, O infallible one, my position is like that of a person who has many wives, all trying to attract him in their own way. For example, the tongue is attracted to palatable dishes, the genitals to sex with an attractive woman, and the sense of touch to contact with soft things. The belly, although filled, still wants to eat more, and the ear, not attempting to hear about You, is generally attracted to cinema songs. The sense of smell is attracted to yet another side, the restless eyes are attracted to scenes of sense gratification, and the active senses are attracted elsewhere. In this way I am certainly embarrassed.

Did cinema-songs exist at the time of Hiranykasipu and Prahlada? Any evidence other parts of Bhagavatam or any scripture?

Reference : https://prabhupadabooks.com/sb/7/9?d=1

  • 2
    It could have existed in previous Kali yugas.. DJ.. Rock dance..:) If you read bhagavata description, Hiranyakashipu incident likely happened in heavenly planets.. there are more sensual things than cinema songs. Apr 2, 2019 at 14:45
  • @KrishnaVarna I am afraid translation can not be done based on wild imagination.
    – user17294
    Apr 2, 2019 at 14:50
  • In ISKCON translation, there is some commentary as well..:) Apr 2, 2019 at 14:50
  • 2
    That is Prabhupad's style.. Neither you or nor I can do anything Apr 2, 2019 at 14:51
  • @KrishnaVarna to many, scriptures are forms of God.So wrong translation is equivalent to blasphemy. We can just try to uphold the truth because it is the truth that ultimately wins.
    – user17294
    Apr 2, 2019 at 14:54

5 Answers 5


The verse is not talking about cinema songs. Here is the original Sanskrit:

jihvaikato ’cyuta vikarṣati māvitṛptā śiśno ’nyatas tvag-udaraṁ śravaṇaṁ kutaścit |
ghrāṇo ’nyataś capala-dṛk kva ca karma-śaktir bahvyaḥ sapatnya iva geha-patiṁ lunanti ||

Prahlada is talking about how the different sense-organs are pulling him in different directions, towards different kinds of sensory pleasures. And one of the sense-organs he mentions is the Shravana or ear. Srila Prabhupada is just supplying cinema music as an example of the sort of sensory pleasure that the ear pulls people towards. Neither cinema, nor music of any other kind, is mentioned by Prahlada, but presumably music is the sort of thing that the ear is pulling him towards.

  • Thanks.Translation is not a place of supplying example.For that, the purport us there.And if inclusion of something is felt essential, that has to be within the third bracket. Otherwise its just mistranslation conveying wrong notions which I think is very undesirable.
    – user17294
    Apr 2, 2019 at 16:38
  • 3
    Srila Prabhupada is just supplying cinema music as an example of the sort of sensory pleasure that the ear pulls people towards. Exactly! People fail to understand that. +1
    – user6981
    Apr 2, 2019 at 16:42
  • 2
    This is commentary/speculation, not an answer. No references to dictionary meaning of the word. Apr 2, 2019 at 17:55
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    @Pratimaputra As you are asking about cinema songs and not the intent of the translator, do you expect cinema songs from Hiranya Kashipu time? They would be only exaggerating Hiranya Kashipu. Why are interested in those songs? Are you looking for an answer which says yes, they were there? Apr 3, 2019 at 6:54
  • 1
    @Pratimaputra It's the OP part to write questions clearly. The most reputed user also wrote the answer to your question explaining the question. Without understanding questions, how can he write hundreds of answers and earn reputation? So, I assume he is right here but you say it is not translator's intent. Then when I look into your question, there is only about cinema songs. Which should be taken as the question? I understand it as asking from cinema songs only (from question. That should be taken as final word). Will try to answer your question. Apr 3, 2019 at 7:07

According to the English translation of the Srimad-Bhagavatam by Gita Press Gorakhpur, Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.40 translates as follows:

Not fully gratified, the palate pulls me, O immortal Lord, in one direction (towards dainties); the generative organ drags me in another direction (towards sexual gratification); the tactile sense, the (empty) stomach and sense of hearing pull me in other directions (viz. towards objects that are pleasant to touch, substantial food and the melodious sound or voice respectively); the olfactory sense drags me in a quite different direction (towards sweet-smelling flowers, scents and so on); while the eyes, which are (very) restless, and the faculties (organs) of action pull me in yet another direction (viz. towards things of beauty and objects to be attained through the various organs of action). (All) these tear me (even) as a number of co-wives wrench a householder (each to her bedroom).



The 'Cinema-Song' is just an unwanted addition by the translator.

The original sloka is:

jihvaikato ’cyuta vikarṣati māvitṛptā śiśno ’nyatas tvag-udaraṁ śravaṇaṁ kutaścit ghrāṇo ’nyataś capala-dṛk kva ca karma-śaktir bahvyaḥ sapatnya iva geha-patiṁ lunanti


jihvā—the tongue; ekataḥ—to one side; acyuta—O my infallible Lord; vikarṣati—attracts; mā—me; avitṛptā—not being satisfied; śiśnaḥ—the genitals; anyataḥ—to another side; tvak—the skin; udaram—the belly ; śravaṇam—the ears; kutaścit—anywhere; ghrāṇaḥ—the nose; anyataḥ—to still another side; capala-dṛk—the restless eyesight; kva ca—somewhere; karma-śaktiḥ—the active senses; bahvyaḥ—many; sa-patnyaḥ—co-wives; iva—like; geha-patim—a householder; lunanti—annihilate.

So here only ears are referred to [which are attracted to sensual music]. Cinema-Song is just unimaginable as there was no cinema at that time when our scriptures were compiled.

  • 1
    @sv. thanks for pointing out. But if cinema existed at all, that shd be in kali yuga and Prahlada is definitely not saying this in kali yuga--is n't it?
    – user17294
    Apr 2, 2019 at 18:11

Spiritual sensations are vague and weak compared to more dominant and powerful sensations of body.. the eye, ear, touch hence they mislead. This is Prahlada's basic lamentation in his helplessness. And it is a fact of human existence of all time..

Adi Shankara's Nirvana Shatakam recognizes the central Spirit in himself, forming the essence of Advaitha in his more advanced view. He asks not to go astray pulled by powerful compelling senses for gratification of taste, external beauty or sensuality but to stay on with the Spirit that can eternally sustain anyone in a continuous state of Ananda, that was earlier felt as pure Bhakthi in Prahlada's case.

As a personal note I may be permitted to add from Goethe's Faust ... such sidetracking tendencies on Mephistopheles were referred collectively to as the Devil.


Here's an alternate translation (G. P. Bhatt & J. L. Shastri) of that verse where there is no mention of cinema songs or any type of songs for that matter:

  1. Oh Acyuta! My ungratified palate drags me in one direction and sexual desire (lit. the genital organ) pulls me to a different direction, while the senses of touch, hearing and the abdomen gravitate me to some other direction. My olfactory sense, the constantly moving eye and faculties of action draw me in different directions — all these pull (in different directions) like a number of co-wives dragging their lord of the house (to their bed-rooms).

As to why Prabhupāda chose those particular words in his translation, the likely reason is, he wants his disciples to stay away from anything that has to do with the movies. According to him, the only songs his followers should sing and listen to are a few songs about Kṛṣṇa approved by ISKCON:

In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we do not allow any song that has not been approved or sung by bona fide devotees. We cannot allow cinema songs to be sung in the temple. We generally sing two songs. One is śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda. This is bona fide. It is always mentioned in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, and it is accepted by the ācāryas. The other, of course, is the mahā-mantra — Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. We may also sing the songs of Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Locana dāsa Ṭhākura, but these two songs — "śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya" and the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra — are sufficient to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although we cannot see Him.

His dislike towards movie songs is also evident from his commentary on another verse:

But here we find that millions and millions of years ago, when Nārada Muni was a Gandharva, he neglected the order to glorify the Lord, and being mad in the association of women, he began to chant otherwise. Thus he was cursed to become a śūdra. His first offense was that he went to join the saṅkīrtana party in the company of lusty women, and another offense was that he considered ordinary songs, like cinema songs and other such songs, to be equal to saṅkīrtana. For this offense he was punished with becoming a śūdra.

  • That is the recommendation of Bhagavata, in response to vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/19/38 Suka replies vedabase.io/en/library/sb/2/1/2 and the following 4 verses. Apr 4, 2019 at 2:18
  • You have quoted another translation and from the sanskrit sloka also its clear that Prahlada did not mention cinema songs.Why somebody has inserted it is none of my concern in the Q.There IS some accepted norm of translation and nothing can be inserted in such way.So its a blunder: purport is the place to discuss this.Second, none of the devotional songs composes by Tulsidasji, Miraji and so many other saints including Sri Ramprasd and Sri Kamalakanta does not please Sri Krishna.He likes only few compositions by some Gaudiyas.Could i know what is the basis of this statement?
    – user17294
    Apr 4, 2019 at 3:32

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