जात: सुरेतरकुले क्व तवानुकम्पा ।
न ब्रह्मणो न तु भवस्य न वै रमाया
यन्मेऽर्पित: शिरसि पद्मकर: प्रसाद: ॥ २६ ॥
jātaḥ suretara-kule kva tavānukampā
na brahmaṇo na tu bhavasya na vai ramāyā
yan me ’rpitaḥ śirasi padma-karaḥ prasādaḥ
kva — where; aham — I (am); rajaḥ-prabhavaḥ — being born in a body full of passion; īśa — O my Lord; tamaḥ — the mode of ignorance; adhike — surpassing in; asmin — in this; jātaḥ — born; sura-itara-kule — in a family of atheists or demons (who are subordinate to the devotees); kva — where; tava — Your; anukampā — causeless mercy; na — not; brahmaṇaḥ — of Lord Brahmā; na — not; tu — but; bhavasya — of Lord Śiva; na — nor; vai — even; ramāyāḥ — of the goddess of fortune; yat — which; me — of me; arpitaḥ — offered; śirasi — on the head; padma-karaḥ — lotus hand; prasādaḥ — the symbol of mercy.
O my Lord, O Supreme, because I was born in a family full of the hellish material qualities of passion and ignorance, what is my position? And what is to be said of Your causeless mercy, which was never offered even to Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva or the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī? You never put Your lotus hand upon their heads, but You have put it upon mine.
Prahlāda Mahārāja was surprised at the causeless mercy of the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, for although Prahlāda was born in a demoniac family and although the Lord had never before placed His lotus hand on the head of Brahmā, Śiva, or the goddess of fortune, His constant companion, Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva kindly placed His hand on the head of Prahlāda. This is the meaning of causeless mercy. The causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead may be bestowed upon anyone, regardless of his position in this material world. Everyone is eligible to worship the Supreme Lord, irrespective of his material position. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):
bhakti yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
“One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.” Anyone who engages in continuous devotional service to the Lord is situated in the spiritual world and has nothing to do with the material qualities (sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa).
Because Prahlāda Mahārāja was situated on the spiritual platform, he had nothing to do with his body, which had been born of the modes of passion and ignorance. The symptoms of passion and ignorance are described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.19) as lust and hankering (tadā rajas tamo-bhāvāḥ kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye). Prahlāda Mahārāja, being a great devotee, thought the body born of his father to be born of passion and ignorance, but because Prahlāda was fully engaged in the service of the Lord, his body did not belong to the material world. The pure Vaiṣṇava’s body is spiritualized even in this life. For example, when iron is put into a fire it becomes red-hot and is no longer iron but fire. Similarly, the so-called material bodies of devotees who fully engage in the devotional service of the Lord, being constantly in the fire of spiritual life, have nothing to do with matter, but are spiritualized.
Śrīla Madhvācārya remarks that the goddess of fortune, the mother of the universe, could not get mercy similar to that which was offered to Prahlāda Mahārāja, for although the goddess of fortune is always a constant companion of the Supreme Lord, the Lord is more inclined to His devotees. In other words, devotional service is so great that when it is offered even by those born in low families, the Lord accepts it as being more valuable than the service offered by the goddess of fortune. Lord Brahmā, King Indra and the other demigods living in the upper planetary systems are situated in a different spirit of consciousness, and therefore they are sometimes troubled by demons, but a devotee, even if situated in the lower planets, enjoys life in Kṛṣṇa consciousness under any circumstances. Parataḥ svataḥ karmataḥ: as he acts himself, as he is instructed by others or as he performs his material activities, he enjoys life in every respect. In this regard, Madhvācārya quotes the following verses, which are mentioned in the Brahma-tarka:
tad anye ca kramādeva
sadā muktau smṛtāv api
sukhe ca niyamena tu
parataḥ svataḥ karmato vā
na kathañcit tad anyathā