Hiranyakashipu was the son of Diti and brother of Hiranyaksha. He was an asura of Hindu mythology. After his brother was killed by Vishnu in the form of Varaha, he decided to gain boons from the gods by doing penance.

He received invulnerability unless certain conditions were met; he could not be killed by any living thing created by Brahma, the creator god, he could not be killed inside or outside any residence,during the day or night and in the ground or sky. He could not be harmed by any human, animal, weapon, enitites living and non-living, demigod, demon or Naga. He could not be harmed on a battlefield and gained sole lordship over all the living entities and presiding deities.

He was the father of Prahlada, a boy who became a devotee of Vishnu, much to his father's disdain. He attempts to kill his son but is thwarted by Vishnu multiple times. He then asks Prahlada who the master of the universe is. Prahlada responds by saying Vishnu is omnipotent and omnipresent. Hiranyakashipu asks if Vishnu is in a pillar. Prahlada says "He was, He is and He will be". In anger, Hiranyakashipu smashes the pillar with a mace. Vishnu, as Narasimha, the lion, emerges from the pillar and attacks Hiranyakashipu.

He, part god and part animal, attacks at twilight (neither day nor night) on the threshold of a courtyard (neither indoors nor out), and puts the demon on his lap (neither earth nor space).He disembowels and kills the demon using his nails (neither animate nor inanimate).