There once lived 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, either in his house or outside, by assault from 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 and ruled ruthlessly. He had a son called Prahlad, who was a great devotee of Shri Vishnu. He would chant Vishnu’s Name all the time and during all his activities.
Hiranyakashyapu was very angry with Prahlad’s devotion to God and wanted his son to worship no one, but himself. But Prahlad continued in his devotion to Vishnu and his father continued to harass him to change his ways.
Out of his anger at Prahlad’s devotion, Hiranyakashyapu once had him thrown in boiling oil, but Prahlad came out unscathed! So, another time, Hiranyakashyapu had the boy thrown from a cliff, while yet another time, 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?” Prahlad said, “God is everywhere.” Prahlad was standing next to a pillar, so the king asked, “If your God is 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 the pillar in the avatar (form) of Narasimha, half human and half lion! It was neither day nor night (twilight time) when this happened. He lifted the king and took him to the threshold of the palace such that, they were neither inside nor outside the palace. There he placed the king on his lap and killed him with neither metal nor wood, but his claws!
Moral: God is everywhere. If one chants God’s Name with devotion, He saves one in all circumstances.