Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Hiranyaksha - An Asura Killed by Vishnu


Hiranyaksha was an incarnation of Jaya, who was a Gandharva gatekeeper of Vaikunta. Due to a curse of twin Rishis known as the Sanat-Kumaras, he was born as an Asura. He and his twin (elder) brother Hiranyakashipu were conceived at dusk, for their mother Diti, under the influence of passion, would not heed the warning of her husband Kashyapa against an union at the unholy hour. As a result, the twins were born with evil natures.

Hiranyaksha became very powerful due to boons obtained from Brahma and had hidden the entire world at the bottom of the ocean to prevent the Devas from becoming powerful. (The Devas need Havis, the sacrificial oblations of the mortals to maintain their strength.) Also, when he was told that he was not the most powerful being in the universe, and that Hari (Vishnu) was stronger, he hunted high and low for Vishnu, but could not find him. (For, Vishnu was everywhere and resided in Hiranyaksha also).

Heeding the pleas of the Devas, Vishnu took the form a giant boar and rescued the earth from its watery prison. This story is told here. At last, the wish of Hiranyaksha was fulfilled, when he saw that Vishnu in the form of a Varaha (boar) was in the ocean. He battled this boar to prevent it from recovering the earth and was gored to death in this battle.

His brother Hiranyakashipu vowed revenge and persecuted the devotees of Vishnu, but he was killed by Vishnu's Narasimha (man-lion) incarnation, when he tried to kill his own son, who was steadfastly holding on devotion towards Vishnu.

Last Modified At: Sat Jul 30 02:16:19 2005