In His hymn to Sri Nrisimhadeva, Prahlada says:

O best of the great personalities, I am not at all afraid of material existence, for wherever I stay I am fully absorbed in thoughts of Your glories and activities. My concern is only for the fools and rascals who are making elaborate plans for material happiness and maintaining their families, societies and countries. I am simply concerned with love for them. (7/9/43)

My dear Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence [mauna-vrata]. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all these poor fools and rascals. I know that without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy. Therefore I wish to bring them back to shelter at Your lotus feet.(7/9/44).

Did Prahlada really think that the wordly people were 'fools and rascals' as referred to in the translations above?  Such a mind-set contradicts the features of a true devotee as mentioned in the Gita :

12.13 He who is not hateful towards any creature, who is friendly and compassionate, who has no idea of 'mine' and the idea of egoism, who is the same under sorrow and happiness, who is forgiving;

Any reference in Bhagavatam or any other scriptures?

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


3 Answers 3


No,. Not at all.

The original sloka is

naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaraṇyās tvad-vīrya-gāyana-mahāmṛta-magna-cittaḥ śoce tato vimukha-cetasa indriyārtha- māyā-sukhāya bharam udvahato vimūḍhān

The lines made bold of the following quotation are all wrong translations. Let us see why

SYNONYMS na—not; eva—certainly; udvije—I am disturbed or afraid; para—O Supreme; duratyaya—insurmountable or very difficult to cross; vaitaraṇyāḥ—of the Vaitaraṇī, the river of the material world; tvat-vīrya—of Your Lordship’s glories and activities; gāyana—from chanting or distributing; mahā-amṛta—in the great ocean of nectarean spiritual bliss; magna-cittaḥ—whose consciousness is absorbed; śoce—I am simply lamenting; tataḥ—from that; vimukha-cetasaḥ—the fools and rascals who are bereft of Kṛṣṇa consciousness; indriya-artha—in sense gratification; māyā-sukhāya—for temporary, illusory happiness; bharam—the false burden or responsibility (of maintaining one’s family, society and nation and elaborate arrangements for that purpose); udvahataḥ—who are lifting (by making grand plans for this arrangement); vimūḍhān—although all of them are nothing but fools and rascals (I am thinking of them also).

  1. Prahlada was a devotee of Sri Vishnu and so he never could talk of the 'Krishna-Consciousness.

2.'Vimukha-ChetA' means the ones whose mind are roaming away from God.

  1. 'Bhrama' means confusion.

  2. Vimudha means the tempted/ beguiled/ignorant.

So there is no trace of any words like 'fools and rascals' in the original sloka. It is conveying something very unwanted and undesirable.

Reference: sanskritdictionary.com

  • 3
    'ignorant fellows' and 'helpless creatures' according to MLBD translation. One of the meanings of vimūḍha is foolish/stupid. Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 18:27
  • Its "bharam" not "bhrama" in the original sanskrit. So the translation for this word is perfect.
    – Prakash K
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 15:43

A definite Yes...

English dictionary gives the meaning of the fool as follows..

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/fool A person who acts unwisely or imprudently; a silly person.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/rascal A mischievous or cheeky person, especially a child or man (typically used in an affectionate way)

A/c to Sanskritdictionary.com

  1. Vimudha - fool..

  2. cetasa- consciousness; vimukha - averse..

vimukhta cetasa - consciousness which is averse - which is same as bereft of Krishna/Vishnu/Narasimha consciousness.

There is no rule that devotee of Vishnu doesn't preach Krishna consciousness. Narada is the speaker of Bhagavatam(sb 12/13/19/)

  1. bharam(it is not bhrama) - burden

As you see in the oxford dictionary fool is 'A person who acts unwisely'. rascal is affectionate way of calling and Prahlada is affectionate.

So, yes Prahalda thought that the wordly people are 'fools and rascals'. If he thought them wise, what was the need to uplift?

  • 1
    Do you understand that fool is harsh and rascal is near slang and a devotee like Prahlad can not utter such words?
    – user17294
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 5:55
  • 2
    According to your link, these are the synonyms of 'rascal'--' scallywag, scamp, devil, imp, monkey, mischievous person, mischief-maker, wretch.'.If you think that a devotee like Prahlad can utter such words, you simply are very very innocent
    – user17294
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 6:03

I think the main question to be answered is:

Did Prahlada really think that the wordly people were 'fools and rascals' as referred to in the translations above?

First of all, lets understand the two terms:

  1. fool: a person lacking in judgment or prudence.
    • So a wordly person does lack judgement isn't it? Even after all his plans are unsuccessful and even after advice from sadhus he does not understand the real goal of life.
    • So such a person is a fool, isn't it?
  2. rascal: a mean, unprincipled, or dishonest person
    • materialistic persons would go to any length to have sense gratification (indriya-tripti), so they can be "mean" and "unprincipled" and may use dishonest means
    • and Prahlad Maharaj is also praying for his kith and kin, who are asuras. And we all know how mean and dishonest asuras can be.
    • also if you go through the link rascal can also be used as a mild term for ones own dear ones if they are mischievous or being dishonest. So it is all the more apt in this context.

And we already have words like mudham (SB 7.9.42), vimudha (SB 7.9.43) which literally mean foolish. So for emphasis & impact the translator chooses to use these words instead of using "one who is averse to god" and the other passive words.

So short answer is that these are correctly translated.

Such a mind-set contradicts the features of a true devotee as mentioned in the Gita. Any reference in Bhagavatam or any other scriptures?

A devotee or a sadhu is always concerned for the welfare of others, though its a duty of all the persons but a sadhu being the crest jewel among humans knows what is the real welfare. And for real welfare sometimes a sadhu can use harsh language as well, for example in the Srimad-Bhagavatam verse 1.13.23 Vidura calls Dhritarashtra a household-dog or pet-dog:

Alas, how powerful are the hopes of a living being to continue his life. Verily, you are living just like a household dog and are eating remnants of food given by Bhīma.

Just like a surgeon cuts for the betterment of the people, similarly a sadhu may use harsh language for the greater benefit of the people.

So in conclusion, as its already explained materialistic people are fools and rascals, so translating it as such so that it has more impact on those who read it. This is preaching and is meant to put in action and is not just for academics.

And it does not contradict the Bhagavad-gita verse, since calling a fool, a fool does not mean Prahlada Maharaj has any hatred and no compassion, infact its the other way round as already shown with the example of Mahajan Vidura above.

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