As the story goes, Hiranyakashapu prayed to Lord Brahma, the creator, to receive boons and blessings.
Even though he was a demon and Lord Brahma knew that being a demon, Hiranyaksha would utilize his blessings to bring about more mayhem, the fact that he had taken on the hardship of prayers and penance, meant that he also needed to receive the fruits of his action.
So finally, after a long arduous prayers and intense penance by Hiranyakashapu, Lord Brahma needed to give him a blessing.
When Lord Brahma asked Hiranyakashapu to ask for any blessing, the demon replied that he wanted to be immortal- that he wanted to continue living on forever!!
Then the demon Hiranyakashapu decided to ask for a very clever blessing- he requested that he could only be killed by someone who was neither a man nor an animal. He also added that he could not be killed during day nor night and that he could neither be killed by weapons or any energized means! He could neither be killed inside, nor outside! Lord Brahma granted him this boon.
This made the demon Hiranyakashapu feel like an immortal- after all, if any man or animal could not kill him and if he could not be killed by any weapons or other energized means, then how could he be killed. When could his death come- since it could not be neither during the day nor at night. And where could he be killed- since he could neither be killed, inside nor outside!!
Years passed by and his atrocities, influenced by his demonic behaviors continued to reign terror on earth and the heavens… Every win made Hiranyakashapu feel ever more arrogant and infallible. He felt that he was the highest of all beings and that no-one and no-thing could challenge, defeat or stop him!!
But Prahalad was wise and knew the true source of light- Lord Vishnu and so continued on with his devotion.
Because of this, his own father abused and punished him many times to get him to stop praying to Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashapu even tried to kill Prahalad, his own son- but the grace of Lord Vishu, saved Prahalad, time and again.
Finally, out of extreme anger and frustration- Hiranyakashapu called Prahalad in his court. He asked him as to why inspite of all the pain and torture he (Hiranyakashapu) has put him thru, Prahalad continues to worship Lord Vishnu.
Prahalad replied that Lord Vishnu was the only and ultimate truth and his presence is there within each one of us and in all of creation- in him and also his father… every being, every thing that exists, can only do so, because they have an divine essence of Lord Vishnu.
This angered the demon Hiranyakashapu to no end. He thundered and asked Prahalad that if “his” Lord Vishnu is everywhere, then is he also in the pillar in his court. And when Prahalad replied in the affirmative, a livid Hiranyakashapu raised his gada (a heavy weapon) and struck the pillar to break it. He believed that by doing so, he will prove to his son that his father, was strong and could tackle Lord Vishnu.
But, Hiranyakashapu did not know that his time of atrocities and terror was up!! His time of death had arrived…
As the pillar broke, one could hear thunderous sounds of a lion’s roar and soon the fierce and ferocious form of Lord Narasimha emerged from the pillar. Everyone in the court got scared and stepped back. They could not fathom this being- he was neither a man nor a beast.
The ferocious form of Lord Narasimha continued to roar wildly and there were flames of fire coming from his mouth. Prahalad, the ardent devotee was joyful to get to meet his beloved Lord! As he approached Lord Narasimha, the lord’s fierceness and anger subsided and he lovingly picked up his child-devotee.
Check out the Symbolic & Esoteric meaning of this story of Lord Narasimha…
If you would like to learn more about the many blessings that one can receive by worshipping to Lord Narasimha, then check out this video titled, Lord Narsimha and the amazing blessings we can receive from within the Hindu Deities: God & Goddesses playlist.