To kill Hiranyakashyipu, why did Lord Vishnu take on an avatar that was half human and half lion? He could have just come straight in his original form and killed that Daanav. Is there any specific reason behind this?
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The reason that Vishnu went through all that rigmarole is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam. To avenge the death of his brother Hiranyaksha at the hands of Vishnu in his Varaha (boar) incarnation, Hiranyakshupu undertook long and arduous Tapasya (deep meditation), until Brahma appeared before him. He asked Brahma for the following boon:
That might seem like it covers everything, but Vishnu still found a way to kill him:
Let's review how it gets around the conditions of the boon:
So, as always, Vishnu triumphed in the end.
Because King Hiranyakashyipu, who was father of little Prahlad, a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, was granted a boon from Brahma that "No human, No animal, No one in the skies, No one on the land" will be able to kill him.
Hiranyakashyipu's sins were increased to great extent that even Deva's were getting scared of him and couldn't stop him, so Lord Vishnu took avatar of half human, half animal, and he killed him in middle of skies and land.
Source: Wikipedia - Hiranyakashyipu
This is written in Srimad Bhagwatam 7.8.
Prahlada was challenged by his father in the following sentence:
In order to kill Hiranyakashipu and not upset the boon given by Brahma, the form of Narasimha was chosen. Hiranyakashipu could not be killed by human, deva or animal, Narasimha is neither one of these, as he is a form of Vishnu incarnate as a part-human, part-animal.
So, basically, it was done because of the boon Brahma gave to the demon because of his penance. If the mentioned steps were not taken, Brahma's boon would have broken, which wasn't intended.
Once Lord Brahma had granted a boon to the demon Hiranyakshyap that any God,any Demon,any Human or any Animal cannot be kill him and he will not die in Earth or Space and he will not die in his home or outside and he will be not kill with any weapon and he will not die on day and night. That's why Lord Vishnu took his incarnation Narasimha for saving Hiranyakshyap's son Prahallad who was a follower of him and Narasimha was not a God,not a Demon,not an Animal and not a human,he was a half lion and half human and he had killed Hiranyakshyap not in his home and not in outside,he had killed him in the middle of his home and outside and he had not killed him with any weapon,he had killed him with his nails and he had not killed him in the Earth or Space,he had had kept him in his lap and killed him and he had not killed him on day and night,he had killed him on evening. This is the reason that why Lord Vishnu take on an incarnation that was half human and half lion.