The story is that sometimes the Lord also likes to fight. In the very beginning of the universal creation, there were some opponents of the Lord who appeared. Two extremely powerful brothers. They were conceived by Kaśyapa and Diti, and at an inappropriate time and because they were celestial beings – exalted beings – it was important for them to live by dharma. Their level of responsibility was greater than ours!
Therefore, when Kaśyapa and Diti were not acting appropriately and were engaging in sexual intercourse in an unauthorised time – therefore the pregnancy was not auspicious. It turned out that she was expecting twins and as the children were in the womb and about to appear – many, many inauspicious omens began to appear. For example, it was raining blood from the sky or pus! Sometimes even bones were falling from the sky! So this is kind of shocking…bones – we wonder what is going on? There were comets, just meteors falling left and right and everywhere. It looked like jackals were howling and everywhere there were such inauspicious signs.
The demigods were getting quite worried by these signs. The demigods are the exalted beings that live in the higher regions of the universe, and they are beings that were very much focused on the Supreme Lord. Therefore, these exalted personalities went in before the Supreme Lord and prayed, and asked for clarification. The news came that soon these demons would appear, but the Lord would also kill them, which was a bit of a relief for the demigods.
Then it is said that these two demoniac personalities appeared. Hiranyāksa was the first one to take birth, and the second one of the twins was Hiranyakasipu. The vedic literature considers Hiranyakasipu as the eldest, because it is said that when there is a twin, then at the time of conception – there are two drops of semen that creates these two embryos, and the one that is conceived first is the one that is the deepest within the womb – and that one grows up behind the second one. Therefore, the second one comes out first and it is technically speaking the youngest – so Hiranyakasipu was the elder brother, although he appeared second….Anyway, subsequently these brothers grew up to be very huge and powerful in physique – enormous bodies – muscular and huge, towering over everyone. The earth was trembling with every step. So they were indulging in their power, and basically their mentality was one of being extremely proud of their power, and their desire to lord it over. So Hiranyāksa began to roam over the entire universe and went up to the heavenly planets – but all the devas were hiding from him. So everything was empty. He couldn’t find any opponent, and it began to get on his nerves that he was finding only empty space. He then went into the ocean to look for Varuna – knowing that Varuna lives there, and eventually he found him – he had to search. When he found him, then he challenged Varuna for a battle. Varuna explained:
“ We used to do these things but these days we are getting a bit older and we have left all that behind. So if you are looking for a worthy opponent, someone powerful to fight with – then the only one who shall match is Vishnu. He will soon finish you off!” That part Hiranyāksa didn’t even hear.
Anyway, he went looking for Vishnu. It is said that Hiranyāksa – ‘Hirany’ means gold and ‘āksa’ means eyes – his eyes were always on gold. Therefore, Hiranyāksa was eager to collect huge qualities of gold and he was quite an expert. He extracted all the gold from the earth. It is very interesting that the vedic literature then describes what happened, it said: ‘ As a result of extracting all those minerals the earth went out of it’s orbit‘. It is mentioned that if we keep on taking oil out of the earth, then the same thing will happen – so that’s interesting. Anyway, so the earth went out of it’s orbit and was going to the lower regions of the universe, then suddenly, Hiranyāksa found an enormous creature at the bottom of the universe.
“An amphibious beast!” He said
Well he knew that his amphibious beast was Vishnu. This form of the Lord was the Lord in the form of the boar. One might say:
“An incarnation of the Supreme Lord in a form of a boar? A huge boar? Isn’t that a bit too far out?”
No, it is not that far out. It is far out, but not too far out, because why would the Supreme Lord have to be boring? He can be a boar, as he desires! In other words, he can play – why would he have to just eternally come down with form? With a halo and sit on a throne and just you know…bless…bless.. bless. I mean you think it’s a job to be a God. You think it’s a job from nine to five from Monday to Friday – full of duties, something dry and boring. No, when one is God, one can get completely spontaneous – one is not bound by any social rules. One doesn’t have to worry what the neighbours think. If one wants to wear a boar costume – it is not something that is brought in a shop around the corner, with one of those big zip up jobs. No – it is the real thing! He becomes a boar and why not, but not an ordinary boar – a boar with lotus hooves! An extremely beautiful boar with wonderful lotus eyes! So our Lord still remains as the Lord.
Well, that was the form that Hiranyāksa was witnessing. ‘An amphibious beast?’ – inconceivable – but yes. Hiranyāksa was quite ready for action and he stormed at the Lord, carrying a huge knaves – a big club, and d Varāhadeva equally so. They were both experts at club fighting. When Lord Varāha was aiming straight for the eyebrows of Hiranyāksa – the demon expertly knocked it aside and managed to block it. So he knew his stuff undoubtedly.
In fact, it was a real serious fight that went on for quite a long time, and at one point, when the two clubs were colliding with incredible force, it slipped from Lord Varāha’s hand. From that point all the demigods said:
They thought: “Now it’s getting serious”
Then Hiranyāksa offered him a chance to pick up a weapon so that was actually following rules of combat – some sort of courtesy – not like:
“Okay Now I got you down – bang… kill you now!”
So for that he got some mercy of the Lord. Subsequently, the weapons were falling on both sides and at one point Hiranyāksa managed to just strike Lord Varāhadeva at full force and nothing happened. So then he got so discouraged and threw his club away and Varāhadeva picked it up – to try again, but he wouldn’t – he didn’t want to try anymore. Then he had a trident and threw this big fiery trident, which was cut into pieces by the discs of Varāhadev who then manifested the form of the four arms of Vishnu.
Finally, at the very end – it was not like love or by any weapon that caused Lord Varāhadeva to kill. Some verses are saying, even in the Bhagavatam – are saying that Lord Varāhadeva pierced the demon with his tusk, but according to Jiva Goswami that was not the cause of death.He said:
“ He may have pierced him but he was already dead before, because he died by a very casual slap”
That is clear if we read the Bhagavatam then we can see that, because there are many verses describing that slap and actually showing how with a small back hander sort of – that it did it, and that made the demon crash!
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Stockholm, February 2011)