Hiranyaksha (lit. he with golden eyes) was a demon in the story of VISHNU’s VARAHA AVATA R (incarnation in the form of a boar). Hiranyaksha had in a previous life been doorkeeper at Vishnu’s palace in heaven. Because he had refused admis-sion to many sages, they cursed him, and he was reborn as the son of Diti, the mother of the ASURAS or antigods. His father was the RISHI Kashyapa and his brother was the demon HIRANYAKASHIPU, who was killed by Vishnu in the incarnation as man-lion or NARASIMHA AVATA R.
   When the Earth was at the bottom of the sea in ancient times, Vishnu took the form of an enor-mous boar to lift it up to the surface of the waters with his tusk. As Vishnu rose to the surface Hiran-yaksha tried to take the Earth away from him so he could rule over it; as was his brother, he was killed by Vishnu.
   Further reading: J. A. Dowson, A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology, 7th ed. (London: Trubner, 2003); W. J. Wilkins, Hindu Mythology: Vedic and Puranic, 2d ed. (Calcutta: Rupa, 1973).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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