Human life, as complex as it is, keeps throwing various dilemmas at different points and junctures in one’s life. If one goes back and look at the epics, there is always an answer. One such question sent me in search of answers, which I found in this beautiful story about the Art of Man making.

Prahlada the mighty Asura King was a man of the highest virtue and this strength helped him conquer all three worlds without ever going to war. Indra was distraught to win back his kingdom. He decided to serve Prahlada and learn from his as a student. Indra with his service and devotion quietly won the King’s heart.


Illustration by Drdha Vrata Gorrick,

Pleased with Indra’s commitment and service as a student, the king offered to grant him whatever he sought. Indra realised that the opportune moment had come to ask from the King what he wanted. He asked Prahlada to grant him his SHILA. The benevolent Prahlada granted him his SHILA.

Immediately a column of light came out of the King. Astonished the King asked the light,  “Who are you?”

“I am SHILA, an integral and inseparable part of you. You have given me away and I am leaving you.”

Soon after SHILA several columns of light representing Dharma, Truth, Good Conduct and Strength left Prahlada. The last light form, the most effulgent, to separate from his body was in the form of a Woman. She said, “I am Shri – Godess of good fortune – and I grant peace and prosperity to everyone in whom I reside. I only reside where Dharma, Truth, Good Conduct and strength reside. I am leaving you now.”

The perplexed Prahlada asked Shri,”Who was my Student and what has happened?”

“Your student was Indra. He had learned from Brahma and Shukra that it was your Virtue which helped you conquer the three worlds. Today he asked your for it and you willingly gave it away. Dharma, Truth, Good Conduct, Strength and I (Shri) are all rooted in SHILA”

“So what is SHILA?”

Adroha sarva. bhuteshu Karmana manasaa giraa Anugrahashcha daanam cha Sheelmetat prashasyate

  1. No malice to any being in Act, Thought & Speech
  2. Benevolence to all
  3. Sharing

This is SHILA.

Ingrain these three qualities in oneself and achieve perfection.