syntax error Hiranyakashipu - An Asura Killed by Vishnu - Indian Mythology
Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Hiranyakashipu - An Asura Killed by Vishnu


Hiranyakashipu, and his younger twin Hiranyaksha, are Asuras, born to sage Kashyapa and Diti. They were born as Asuras because they were conceived at dusk, for their mother, under the influence of desire, would not heed the advice of their father that the time of dusk was not suitable for conception. She persuaded him to consummate their relationship and the unholy hour of their union resulted in their twin sons' evil nature.

Hiranyakashipu is an incarnation of Vijaya, the gatekeeper of Vaikunta, Vishnu's abode. He was cursed (along with his partner Vijaya, who was born as Hiranyaksha), because he had tried to prevent sages known as Sanat-Kumaras from entering Vaikunta.

He performed difficult penances and obtained a boon from Lord Brahma that, "May I not be killed by any weapon, May I die neither at night nor during the day, May I not be killed either by men or by animals, May death not overcome me either inside a dwelling nor outside. May I not perish in the sky nor on earth", which he thought had conferred immortality on him.

When his twin Hiranyaksha was killed by Vishnu, in the form of a boar (the Varaha avatar), Hiranyakashipu became the sworn enemy of Vishnu. He forbade worship to Vishnu and the offering of Havis to the Devas.

His son Prahalada, (born to his queen Khyathu alias Dhanavi), however, defied him and worshiped Vishnu. Failing to persuade his son by gentle means, the King tried to have him executed by various means. When the child miraculously escaped all such attempts, he tried to kill him personally.

Vishnu appeared in his Narasimha (man-lion) form and saved Prahalada. This creature (which was neither a man nor an animal), took him to the steps of the palace (which were neither inside nor outside a dwelling), placed him on his lap (which was neither the earth nor the sky), and precisely at dusk (which is neither day nor night), gored him to death using his claws (which are not weapons). [You can read the full story in

Last Modified At: Sat Jul 30 02:00:37 2005