After a hundred year pregnancy when Diti gave birth to her twin sons, the event caused a lot of natural disturbances in the heavens and on earth. Ominous omens such as earthquakes, fires, comets, meteors and thunderbolts occurred; strong winds uprooted gigantic trees and tossed them around. The skies were filled with clouds, loud thunder and flashes of lightning; the oceans tossed and turned and their waves reached extreme heights.
Sage Kasyapa whose seed resulted in these two sons named the elder twin Hiranyakasipu and the other one Hiranyaksha. Hiranyakasipu was an ambitious man and wanted to bring all three worlds under his control and his younger brother, Hiranyaksha was more than willing to support him in all his endeavors. In fact he liked battle and fighting so much that he was always found brandishing a club on his shoulder ready to challenge anybody who dared to cross his path.
He had a foul temper and he was also extremely strong, both mentally and physically. He roamed all three physical worlds in search of Indra and the demigods to engage them in battle and defeat them. Even they were scared of him and went into hiding. Enraged by the fact that he couldn’t locate them, Hiranyaksha then dived into the deep ocean where even the aquatic animals were so scared of him that they didn’t dare cross his path.
Moving through the depths of the ocean for very many years, he finally reached Vibhavari, the capital of Varuna, the lord of the aquatic creatures and guardian of the lower regions of the universe. Poking fun at Varuna, the demon challenged him to fight him, to which Varuna cleverly replied that he had grown too old and now desisted from warfare. He also goaded the demon stating that his prowess in warfare was so legendary that none other than Lord Vishnu himself would prove to be a worthy adversary.
Knowing fully well that Vishnu would prove to be a strong adversary, Hiranyaksha then engaged in severe penance praying to Brahma. Pleased with his penance, when Brahma appeared to him, he asked for a boon stating that he should be immortal and should not be defeated by any god, man or animal and went on to narrate a long list of animals to Brahma.
However, he inadvertently forgot to include the boar in the list of animals that he stated. Given that Brahma had promised him a boon, the same was granted to the demon, which only went on to increase his confidence and the volume of atrocities that he was committing.