A Vaisnava is always an object of envy for nondevotees, even when the nondevotee happens to be his father. To give a practical example, Hiranyakasipu was envious of Prahlada Maharaja, but this envy of the devotee was harmful to Hiranyakasipu, not to Prahlada. Every action taken by Hiranyakasipu against his son Prahlada Maharaja was taken very seriously by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus when Hiranyakasipu was on the verge of killing Prahlada, the Lord personally appeared and killed Hiranyakasipu. One’s so-called prowess, when employed against the devotee, certainly harms he who employs it. Thus it is the subject, not the object, who is harmed.

It is said that a jewel is very valuable, but when it is on the hood of a serpent, it is dangerous despite its value. Similarly, when a materialistic nondevotee achieves great success in learning and austerity, that success is dangerous for all of society. So-called learned scientists, for example, invented atomic weapons that are dangerous for all humanity. It is therefore said, manina bhusitah sarpah kim asau na bhayankarah. A serpent with a jewel on its hood is as dangerous as a serpent without such a jewel. Durvasa Muni was a very learned brahmana equipped with mystic power, but because he was not a gentleman, he did not know how to use his power. He was therefore extremely dangerous. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is never inclined toward a dangerous person who uses his mystic power for some personal design. By the laws of nature, therefore, such misuse of power is ultimately dangerous not for society but for the person who misuses it.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Ninth Canto, Chapter 4 – Text 69 & 70

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