Speaker: Srila Prabhupada
Source: The eternal struggle
Hiranyakasipu said, “I want to become immortal!”
Lord Brahma replied, “Although I have a very long duration of life, even I am not immortal, so I cannot grant you immortality.”
So although Brahma lives for trillions of years, still he has to die. Wherever you go within this material world, either in Brahma-loka or in Patala-loka, you have to die. That is the problem. Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, “The real problem is janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi: birth, death, old age, and disease.”
Hiranyakasipu wanted to solve these problems in a materialistic way, but that is not possible. When Brahma said he could not make Hiranyakasipu immortal, Hiranyakasipu tried to secure immortality by trickery. He asked Brahma to grant that he not be killed in any of these ways: by any weapon; during the day or night; on land, in water, or in the sky; inside or outside; or by any man or beast.
So Hiranyakasipu thought he was immortal. But to protect Prahlada Maharaja, Lord Nrsimhadeva killed Hiranyakasipu without violating the boons granted by Lord Brahma. Nrsimhadeva was neither man nor beast but half man, half lion. Placing Hiranyakasipu on His lap, the Lord killed him with His fingernails, on the threshhold of the demon’s palace, at dusk.