Lakshmi Narasimha Homam, the fourth incarnation of God Vishnu, is half-human half-lion and provides a very fascinating study of the Lord's incarnation in order to alleviate the sufferings of his devotees. Sage Kashyap had four wives, Diti, Aditi, Vinita and Kudroo. Diti gave birth to demons and from Aditi were born gods, while from Vinita was born Garud, the carrier of Vishnu and the last one Kudroo created the hydras. Dithi gave birth to Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu. Vishnu killed Hiranyaksha as he oppressed the devas. At the death of Hiranyaksha, Hiranyakashipu was overpowered with grief. His mother Dithi was heart-broken. Hiranyakashipu also was filled with sorrow and it burnt his own heart like fire. He hated Vishnu and Vishnu's very name was like poison to him. His blood was boiling with the hatred of Vishnu.
Hiranyakashipu, King of the Rakshasas, retired to the mountain Mandara and began tapas - the severe order of penance. Brahma was pleased with his devotion. He appeared to Hiranyakashipu and said, 'Hiranyakashipu, arise. I am pleased with your devotion. I have never seen such a severe meditation before. Ask for whatever you desire.' Hiranyakashipu replied, "Great Lord, if you will grant my prayer, this is what I seek: Let not death come to me from any creature created by you; let me not meet with death either in the house or outside it; let not my death occur either during the day or at night; no weapon should cause my death; I should not die either on land or in the sky."
After this blessing the demon crossed all bounds in oppression and dethroned Indra, the king of heavens. The very gods were filled with fear. Indra, along with the other gods, appeared before Brahma and prayed for deliverance. Brahma was very much worried and replied that the demon had become powerful due to the blessings bestowed by him and he could not destroy him. He also advised Indra to go to Vishnu, which they did. The gods went to Vishnu and retold their story of sufferings and said that due to boons given by Brahma the demon had been indulging in all sorts of oppression. Vishnu promised to destroy him in due course of time.
At last the king thundered at the boy, "You, curse of the family! Have you not yet given up your evil thoughts? The three worlds tremble at my glance. But you, my son, how do you dare to disobey me? You are very young; some one must have misled you and encouraged you. Otherwise you would not have had such evil ideas and such courage. Tell me who has shown you such an evil path." The earth shook as the king roared at the boy. But Prahalad calmly replied, "Dear father, it was Hari who gave me this courage. He is stronger than anyone else. You and I, the universe, even Brahma are nothing before his strength. He is the real Lord of the Universe."
All the gods were under the thumb of the mighty Hiranyakashipu; and here was a mere boy of five giving him advice. The king of the Rakshasas was mad with anger. He shouted in rage: "Unlucky fool, your death is near. I am the Lord of all the worlds, the only master. Is there another? Where is he? Show him to me." "He is everywhere," young Prahlad's answer came without a moment's delay. The king could no longer control himself through anger. He hit a pillar with his mace. "Wicked fellow, is he everywhere? You mad boy, why should he not appear to me in this pillar? I am going to kill you this very moment. You have been praising Hari as the Lord of the Universe. Let him come to your help if he can." So saying he drew out his sword and pounced upon the little boy. There was a terrible deafening noise as if the universe itself split into two. Even the very brave Hiranyakashipu stared from his place at the terrible noise. The courtiers shook with fear and stood like statues of stone. As the stunned men watched, the pillar split into two.