(Last Updated on : 07/11/2011)
Hiranyakashipu was a demon king who was slain by Lord Vishnu in his Narasimha Avatara
. As the Puranic scripts, his younger brother Hiranyaksha was slain by Lord Vishnu in his Varaha Avatar
. Ina rage he decided to attain magical power. The tale of this king depicts the win of God's protection over evil desires. The story of Hiranyakashipu revolves round three parts. First story is related to his birth, second is his penance to please Lord Brahma
to get a boon of immortality and the third part deals with his effort to kill his son Prahlada
who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu.
Birth of Hiranyakashipu
As per the Bhagavata Purana
, Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha
were actually Vishnu's gatekeepers Jaya
and Vijaya. They took birth on the earth as a result of Four Kumaras' curse on them. In the Satya Yuga, Hiranyakashipu and his brother were mutually called the Hiranyas. They were born to Diti
and sage Kashyapa
as they united at the time of dusk.
Penance of Hiranyakashipu
When Lord Vishnu killed his brother, Hiranyakashipu started a penance to please Lord Brahma. Satisfied with his devotion Lord Brahma wanted to give him a boon. The king sought a boon that he should not be killed either on earth or in space, either in fire or in water, either din the daytime or during night, either by humans or by gods or by any species, either by the animate or by inanimate, either inside the house or outside the house. Brahma granted this boon to Hiranyakashipu.
Hiranyakashipu and Prahlada
Prahlada was Hiranyakashipu's eldest son who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. The king after getting the boon brought the whole universe under his control and began to harass all the Gods. His son by worshipping Vishnu became a menace to him. Hiranyakashipu tried hard to the change the mind of his son by failed. Then in a fury he tried to kill Prahlada but was not successful as Prahlada was wrapped with grace of the Lord. Every time t5he king attempted to kill his son, he was saved by Vishnu's mystical power.
Once Hiranyakashipu tried to kill by let him sit on a burning pyre with his sister Holika. Holika had a special gift to prevent her from being burned. Prahlada chanted Vishnu's name and was saved. Holika was burnt down but nothing happened to Prahlad. The burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi
festival in Hinduism.
Death of Hiranyakashipu
Prahlada was not agreeing to accept his father as the supreme God as he believed Lord Vishnu as omnipotent. Hiranyakashipu was furiously angered by this and asked his son if there was Vishnu in the pillar. Prahlada replied Vishnu as all pervading and of course there was in the pillar too. The king then smashes the pillar and was killed by the Narasimha Avatara of Vishnu which came out of the pillar in a defence of Prahlada.
Hiranyakashipu was killed not violating the boon as the form of Narasimha was part-human and part-animal. He comes upon Hiranyakashipu at twilight on the threshold of a courtyard and puts the demon on his lap. Narasimha did not use any weapon but killed the demon using his nails.