Other names: Hiranyakashipu, Hiranyaakasyap
Hiranyakashyap is believed to be the first demon child of Maharshi Kashyap and Diti. Three demons had taken over the throne of Indra- Hiranyakashyap, Prahlad and Bali. After that the throne of Indra went back to the devtas (deities) forever. Hiranyakashyap was born to Diti at the time when she was sitting on the throne of Hiranya (gold) for the Ashvamedh Yagya performed by Maharshi Kashyap. That is why he was called Hiranyakashyap. His brother Hiranyaksha was killed by Lord Vishnu.
Once when Hiranyakashyap was observing penance, Naradji had advised Kayadhu (wife of Hiranyakashyap) to practice the devotion of Lord Vishnu. Due to this, Prahlad, who was then in the womb of Kayadhu, became a great devotee of Vishnu.
Hiranyakashyap got very angry with this devotion of Prahlad towards his enemy Vishnu and many times he tried to kill Prahlad, but every time Prahlad was saved. According to many ancient stories, it is said that Hiranyakashyap’s wife Kayadhu not only was a great devotee of Krishna but at the same time was a devotee of Devi Ganga and was loved by Devi Ganga. Gangamaiya had protected Kayadhu’s son Prahlad from the fatal conspiracies of Demon priest Shukracharya.
Fed up with the atrocities of Hiranyakashyap, the devtas (deities) pleaded with Lord Vishnu to kill him. In the end, Lord Vishnu manifested from a stone pillar in His Narsimha (half lion, half human) avatar (incarnation) , and at twilight killed Hiranyakashyap with his nails, thus cleverly circumventing the boon given him by Bramaji
Hiranyakashyap was Jaya, the gatekeeper of lord Vishnu in his previous life. Jaya was reborn on earth as a demon due to the curse placed on him by Sankadi, one of the four Sanat Kumars, whom he had refused entry into Vishnu’s palace as he was not able to recognize him.