There was a king named hiranyakashyapu. Through many years of penance he had acquired a boon that he would not die either during the day or night, neither in his house nor outside, by assault from either man or animal and by no weapon made of either man or animal and by no weapon made of either metal or wood. The boon gave him a lot of power so he lived recklessly. He had a son called bhakt Prahlad, who was a great devotee of shri Vishnu. He would chant Vishnu’s name all the time.
Hiranyakashyapu was very angry with prahlad’s devotion to god and he wanted his son to worship to himself. But Prahlad continues his devotion to Vishnu and his father continued to harass him to change his ways.
Out of his anger at bhakt prahlad’s devotion, he once had him thrown in boiling oil, but Prahlad came out unscathed! So another time, he again thrown him in boiling oil, but Prahlad came out unscathed! So, another time, hiranyakashyapu had the boy thrown from a cliff and into a fire. But each time, god saved Prahlad from any hurt. This made the king even angrier.
One day, he asked Prahlad,”you say that your god will protect you. Can you show me where he is?”Bhakt Prahlad said, “God is everywhere.” Prahlad was standing next to a pillar, so he asked,” if your god everywhere, is he in this pillar?” Prahlad replied, “Yes.”
Upon hearing this, the king got very angry and broke the pillar into half. The very next moment, shri Vishnu emerged from pillar in the avatar (form) of narasimha, half human and half lion! It was neither day nor night when this happened. He lifted the king and took him neither to the threshold of the palace such that, they were neither inside nor outside the palace. Then he placed the king on his lap and killed him with neither metal nor wood, but his claws!