|Canto 2: The Cosmic Manifestation||Chapter 7: Scheduled Incarnations with Specific Functions|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.7.14
trai-piṣṭaporu-bhaya-hā sa nṛsiḿha-rūpaḿ
daityendram āśu gadayābhipatantam ārād
ūrau nipātya vidadāra nakhaiḥ sphurantam
trai-piṣṭapa — the demigods; uru-bhaya-hā — one who vanquishes great fears; saḥ — He (the Personality of Godhead); nṛsiḿha-rūpam — assuming the incarnation Nṛsiḿha; kṛtvā — doing so; bhramat — by rolling; bhru-kuṭi — eyebrows; daḿṣṭra — teeth; karāla — greatly fearful; vaktram — mouth; daitya-indram — the king of the demons; āśu — immediately; gadayā — with club in hand; abhipatantam — while falling down; ārāt — nearby; ūrau — on the thighs; nipātya — placing on; vidadāra — pierced; nakhaiḥ — by the nails; sphurantam — while challenging.
The Personality of Godhead assumed the incarnation of Nṛsiḿhadeva in order to vanquish the great fears of the demigods. He killed the king of the demons [Hiraṇyakaśipu], who challenged the Lord with a club in his hand, by placing the demon on His thighs and piercing him with His nails, rolling His eyebrows in anger and showing His fearful teeth and mouth.
The history of Hiraṇyakaśipu and his great devotee-son Prahlāda Mahārāja is narrated in the Seventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Hiraṇyakaśipu became very powerful by material achievements and thought himself to be immortal by the grace of Brahmājī. Brahmājī declined to award him the benediction of immortality because he himself is not an immortal being. But Hiraṇyakaśipu derived Brahmājī's benediction in a roundabout way, almost equal to becoming an immortal being. Hiraṇyakaśipu was sure that he would not be killed by any man or demigod or by any kind of known weapon, nor would he die in day or night. The Lord, however, assumed the incarnation of half-man and half-lion, which was beyond the imagination of a materialistic demon like Hiraṇyakaśipu, and thus, keeping pace with the benediction of Brahmājī, the Lord killed him. He killed him on His lap, so that he was killed neither on the land nor on the water nor in the sky. The demon was pierced by Nṛsiḿha's nails, which were beyond the human weapons imaginable by Hiraṇyakaśipu. The literal meaning of Hiraṇyakaśipu is one who is after gold and soft bedding, the ultimate aim of all materialistic men. Such demonic men, who have no relationship with God, gradually become puffed up by material acquisitions and begin to challenge the authority of the Supreme Lord and torture those who are devotees of the Lord. Prahlāda Mahārāja happened to be the son of Hiraṇyakaśipu, and because the boy was a great devotee, his father tortured him to the best of his ability. In this extreme situation, the Lord assumed the incarnation of Nṛsiḿhadeva, and just to finish the enemy of the demigods, the Lord killed Hiraṇyakaśipu in a manner beyond the demon's imagination. Materialistic plans of godless demons are always frustrated by the all-powerful Lord.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness