Hiranyakasipu was by nature very cruel, and feeling insulted, he began hissing like a snake trampled upon by someone's foot. His son Prahlada was peaceful, mild and gentle, his senses were under control, and he stood before Hiranyakasipu with folded hands.
When Hiraṇyakaśipu understood the entire situation, he was extremely angry, so much so that his body trembled. Thus he finally decided to kill his son Prahlāda. Hiraṇyakaśipu was by nature very cruel, and feeling insulted, he began hissing like a snake trampled upon by someone's foot. His son Prahlāda was peaceful, mild and gentle, his senses were under control, and he stood before Hiraṇyakaśipu with folded hands. According to Prahlāda's age and behavior, he was not to be chastised. Yet with staring, crooked eyes, Hiraṇyakaśipu rebuked him with the following harsh words.
When one is impudent toward a highly authorized devotee, one is punished by the laws of nature. The duration of his life is diminished, and he loses the blessings of superior persons and the results of pious activities. Hiraṇyakaśipu, for example, had achieved such great power in the material world that he could subdue practically all the planetary systems in the universe, including the heavenly planets (Svargaloka). Yet now, because of his mistreatment of such a Vaiṣṇava as Prahlāda Mahārāja, all the results of his tapasya diminished. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (SB 10.4.46):
- āyuḥ śriyaṁ yaśo dharmaṁ
- lokān āśiṣa eva ca
- hanti śreyāṁsi sarvāṇi
- puṁso mahad-atikramaḥ
"When one mistreats great souls, his life span, opulence, reputation, religion, possessions and good fortune are all destroyed."