Tuesday, July 19, 2011

41. Story of Hiranyanetra and Hiranyakashipu (Shiv Puran)

Hiranyanetra was very strong and powerful. He conquered the three worlds and drove the gods out of heaven. He even took the earth down to the underworld. In desperation, the gods prayed to Vishnu for deliverance.

Vishnu adopted the form of a boar (varaha) and went down to the underworld in search of Hiranyanetra. When he found the asura, he killed him with his sudarshana chakra. He also killed several other asuras with his boar's tusks. Then, he lifted up the earth with his tusks and replaced it where it should be. So far as Hiranyanetra's kingdom was concerned, Vishnu crowned Andhaka king there.

Hiranyanetra had a brother named Hiranyakashipu. This brother prayed to Brahma and obtained a boon that made him virtually impossible to kill. Armed with this boon, Hiranyakashipu conquered the three worlds and drove the gods out of heaven. The gods again started to pray to Vishnu for deliverance.

Vishnu adopted the form of a lion and entered Hiranyakashipu's captial. The lion had a huge mane and sharp teeth and claws. The lion killed several asuras and this news was brought to Hiranyakashipu.

He decided to kill the lion.

Hiranyakashipu had several sons, one of whom was named Prahlada. Prahala alone thought that there was something fishy about the lion and about the way it had suddenly appeared. He thought that the lion might very well be Vishnu in disguise. Prahlada therefore tried to dissuade his father from fighting the lion. He first asked some of his soldiers to capture the lion, but they were all killed.

Hiranyakashipu then himself attacked the lion with all sorts of weapons. But all the weapons wre exhausted and the demon could do the lion no harm.

Finally, the lion grasped Hiranyakashipu and tore the asura's heart out with its claws.

This was the narasimha (half-man, half-lion) incarnation of Vishu.

Having killed Hiranyakashipu, Vishnu crowned Prabhlada king.


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