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18th century painting depicting Hiranyakashipu seated on a throne, trying to kill his son, Prahlada (left).

In Hindu mythology, Hiranyakashipu was a powerful demon king who ruled the daityas. He was very angry when his brother Hiranyaksha was killed by Vishnu in his Varaha avatar. So he decided to become invincible by performing a penance to Brahma.[1] Brahma granted Hiranyakashipu a boon that he could not be killed by any man, animal, or weapon. He also could not be killed inside or outside, during the day or night.[2]

Hiranyakashipu became very arrogant and started to terrorize the three worlds (Trailokya).[2] He forced everyone to worship him as the supreme god.Vishnu, who is the preserver of the universe, took pity on the people. He appeared in his Narasimha avatar, which is a half-man, half-lion form. Narasimha killed Hiranyakashipu by tearing him apart with his bare hands.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality: Perspectives from the World's Religious Traditions, p. 20, Karen-Marie Yust, Aostre N. Johnson, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Rowman & Littlefield
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hudson, D. Dennis (2008-09-25). The Body of God: An Emperor's Palace for Krishna in Eighth-Century Kanchipuram. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-19-536922-9.
  3. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 734.