Female jackals stood in the middle of village streets and howled inauspiciously emitting fiery flames from their mouths. They were accompanied by male jackals and owls. At many place dogs howled and shrieked with their raised necks. At times it was as if they were singing and at other times it was inauspicious howling. Large groups of inebriated donkeys were hitting the earth with their hooves and howling inauspiciously.
Terrified of this howls, many birds fell dead from their nests. Domesticated as well as wild animals began to urinate and discard fecal matter due to fright. The frightened cows began to yield blood instead of milk. Clouds showered pus instead of water. The idols of the deities began to shed profuse tears. Even in the absence of winds, huge trees began to collapse to the ground.
Using retrograde methods, inauspicious planets emitting sparks of fire overtook auspicious planets and star constellations and travelled. Each planet and constellation has its own gravitational force which ensures a planet remains in its orbit and balances its connections to other planets. Now this gravitational force was reducing and planets were moving haphazardly. It was as if these planets would fall down or sink. The planets were competing with each other during such haphazard movements.
In addition to this, many more inauspicious omens filled the earth. Barring Sanaka and other Maharishis who were omniscient, every other living entity was terrified noticing these inauspicious omens. They feared that the time for destruction of the universe had arrived.
These twins, who were Diti’s first-borns, showed their prowess soon upon birth. With bodies that were strong as iron, these twins began to grow like two gigantic mountains. Their bodies were so huge that their golden crowns enveloped all the directions. The tips of their crowns touched all the three worlds.
Their powerful shoulders, which caused panic to all the worlds, were glowing with golden armlets. A glittering waistband draped their waists. When they walked, the earth trembled with their weight. In front of their radiance, even the radiance of the Sun seemed lusterless.
Kashyapa Maharishi conducted the naming ceremony for his twin sons. They were named Hiranyāksha and Hiranyakashipu. He who was the first to enter Diti’s womb, in other words, the second to emerge from her womb was called Hiranyakashipu. The other son was Hiranyāksha.
Due to his mighty powerful arms, Hiranyakashipu was arrogant and conceited. To add to this, he performed intense austerities and obtained a boon from Brahma that he could not be killed by anyone. As a result his haughtiness only multiplied. Very soon he conquered all the worlds together with the Lords of all directions and ruled over them.
Hiranyāksha always engaged in deeds that brought joy to his elder brother. Fighting with equals was his greatest joy. Holding a mace in his hand he travelled in all directions searching for a suitable opponent to battle with.
His speed and might was intolerable. On his neck he would wear a huge flower garland that symbolized his victory. On his shoulders he held a huge mace. When he walked the huge golden anklets on his legs jingled deafeningly. Being independent, there was nothing he feared.
Fearing Hiranyāksha who, due to his unsurpassed mental and physical prowess and due to the boon showered upon him by Brahma, had become conceited and was about to attack them, Devatas were terrified. Just as snakes hide fearing eagle Garuda, the Devatas began running helter-skelter and hid from him.
When the demon-king Hiranyāksha stepped into heaven it was totally deserted. He understood that fearing his might the Devatas had gone into hiding. To announce his victory he roared deafeningly, such that it resounded throughout heaven, and then left the place.
Nevertheless his desire to fight was not quenched. He was unable to find anyone whom he could challenge for a war. Meanwhile he spotted the oceans and desired to playfully swim in them. Instantly with a loud thunderous howl he plunged into the ocean like an inebriated elephant.
Seeing Hiranyāksha in the waters, the aquatic animals who are the army of the Ocean Lord Varuna, shivered terribly and dispersed in various different directions. Even though he did not even near them, they were unable to withstand his might and his radiance. They divided themselves into tiny groups and travelled countless miles to save themselves. Through his breath Hiranyāksha created gigantic waves in the ocean. Playfully hitting these enormous waves with his iron mace, he spent many, many years in the oceans.
He then reached Vibhāvari, the capital of Lord Varuna. There he saw Lord Varuna who is the Lord of Pātala (hell) and of all the aquatic animals. In order to cheat him, Hiranyāksha pretended like an insignificant low person. He fell at Varuna’s feet and said, “O mighty king! Bless me by agreeing to fight with me.”
Hiranyāksha was itching for a battle. He was restless without engaging in war. All the time he was on the lookout for a suitable opponent. He continued, “O King! Your valour is of great renown. You crush the pride of those conceited warriors who consider themselves to be unconquerable. In the past you conquered all Devatas and demons and then performed the Rajasuya yagna”.
In this manner, Hiranyāksha, who considered Varuna as his enemy, pretended to praise him so as to invite him for a battle. He was actually ridiculing Varuna.
Varuna reflected upon this deeply. He suppressed the anger that was bursting forth from within. He then said, “O demon king! I have completely given up warfare. You are an expert in warfare. To a warrior of your cadre, only Lord Srihari is the right opponent. He is the primordial being. He alone can satisfy your desire. I do not even know how to fight properly. Therefore I suggest that you approach him. Mighty warriors like you can truly appreciate his power. He too is waiting for a worthy opponent”.