Lord Nrsinghadeva Appears from the Pillar

Hiranyakasipu, shown drawing his sword, was a powerful demon king. He bore hatred for the Supreme Lord Vishnu because Vishnu had killed his brother Hiranyaksa. The story was that Hiranyaksa had thrown the earth into the ocean of devastation at the bottom of the universe, and, when Vishnu had come in His boar incarnation to save the earth, Hiranyaksa had attacked Him and had been killed in the fight.
Hiranyakasipu hated Lord Vishnu so much that he refused to recognize that Vishnu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and cannot be killed. Thus he intended to kill Him some day. Toward that end, he felt it would be good to insure his own immortality first, so he performed severe austerities of standing on one leg for one hundred celestial years, until the ants had eaten away his flesh and he held his life airs within his bones in the middle of the anthill. Lord Brahma, the highest of the demigods, came and gave him a new body. He asked Hiranyakasipu to stop such extreme austerities, and he offered him a benediction.
Hiranyakasipu asked for immortality. Brahma said, “I can’t give you that, because I don’t have it myself. Ask for something else.”
So Hiranyakasipu asked for what he thought would guarantee immortality anyway. He asked: “Grant that I will not be killed by day or night; on land, in the sea, or in the air; indoors or outdoors; by man or beast; or by any weapon.” Brahma granted this request, and left.
Years passed. Hiranyakasipu had a son, named Prahlad, who was from birth a pure devotee of Lord Vishnu. Prahlad urged his father to worship the Lord, and Hiranyakasipu felt that his son was a traitor. But Prahlad would stop neither his preaching nor his praying, and Hiranyakasipu became very angry. He had his son tortured, and then ordered his servants to kill the child. All efforts were failures, and the child continued his prayers and meditations undisturbed. Finally Hiranyakasipu decided to kill his little son himself. He drew his sword.
“Where is your God?” he demanded. “Everywhere,” was the child’s reply. “Is He in this pillar?” Hiranyakasipu shouted. “Yes, He is,” said Prahlad.
In fury, Hiranyakasipu struck the pillar with his sword. From inside the pillar came a tremendous roar, and then from the pillar appeared something Hiranyakasipu had never seen before. A powerful being with the head of a lion and the body of a man, but with many arms holding weapons, stood towering above him.
In the painting we see that Hiranyakasipu is ready to attack, and he is hoping that his benedictions will hold.
To find out what happened, see the next two paintings.

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