tadaiva tasmin ninado ’tibhīṣaṇo
babhūva yenāṇḍa-kaṭāham asphuṭat
yaṁ vai sva-dhiṣṇyopagataṁ tv ajādayaḥ
śrutvā sva-dhāmātyayam aṅga menire
tadā—at that time; eva—just; tasmin—within (the pillar); ninadaḥ—a sound; ati-bhīṣaṇaḥ—very fearful; babhūva—there was; yena—by which; aṇḍa-kaṭāham—the covering of the universe; asphuṭat—appeared to crack; yam—which; vai—indeed; sva-dhiṣṇya-upagatam—reaching their respective abodes; tu—but; aja-ādayaḥ—the demigods, headed by Lord Brahmā; śrutvā—hearing; sva-dhāma-atyayam—the destruction of their abodes; aṅga—my dear Yudhiṣṭhira; menire—thought.
Then from within the pillar came a fearful sound, which appeared to crack the covering of the universe. O my dear Yudhiṣṭhira, this sound reached even the abodes of the demigods like Lord Brahmā, and when the demigods heard it, they thought, “Oh, now our planets are being destroyed!”
As we sometimes become very much afraid at the sound of a thunderbolt, perhaps thinking that our houses will be destroyed, the great demigods like Lord Brahmā feared the thundering sound that came from the pillar in front of Hiraṇyakaśipu.
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sa vikraman putra-vadhepsur ojasā
niśamya nirhrādam apūrvam adbhutam
antaḥ-sabhāyāṁ na dadarśa tat-padaṁ
vitatrasur yena surāri-yūtha-pāḥ
saḥ—he (Hiraṇyakaśipu); vikraman—exhibiting his prowess; putra-vadha-īpsuḥ—desirous of killing his own son; ojasā—with great strength; niśamya—hearing; nirhrādam—the fierce sound; apūrvam—never heard before; adbhutam—very wonderful; antaḥ-sabhāyām—within the jurisdiction of the great assembly; na—not; dadarśa—saw; tat-padam—the source of that tumultuous sound; vitatrasuḥ—became afraid; yena—by which sound; sura-ari-yūtha-pāḥ—the other leaders of the demons (not only Hiraṇyakaśipu).
While showing his extraordinary prowess, Hiraṇyakaśipu, who desired to kill his own son, heard that wonderful, tumultuous sound, which had never before been heard. Upon hearing the sound, the other leaders of the demons were afraid. None of them could find the origin of that sound in the assembly.
In Bhagavad-gītā (7. 8), Kṛṣṇa explains Himself by saying:
raso ’ham apsukaunteya
śabdaḥ khe pauruṣaṁ nṛṣu
“O son of Kuntī [Arjuna], I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.” Here the Lord exhibited His presence everywhere by the tumultuous sound in the sky (śabdaḥ khe). The tumultuous thundering sound was proof of the Lord’s presence. The demons like Hiraṇyakaśipu could now realize the supreme ruling power of the Lord, and thus Hiraṇyakaśipu became afraid. However powerful a man may be, he always fears the sound of a thunderbolt. Similarly, Hiraṇyakaśipu and all the demons who were his associates were extremely afraid because of the presence of the Supreme Lord in the form of sound, although they could not trace out the source of the sound.Link to this page: SB 7.8.16
satyaṁ vidhātuṁ nija-bhṛtya-bhāṣitaṁ
vyāptiṁ ca bhūteṣv akhileṣu cātmanaḥ
stambhe sabhāyāṁ na mṛgaṁ na mānuṣam
satyam—true; vidhātum—to prove; nija-bhṛtya-bhāṣitam—the words of His own servant (Prahlāda Mahārāja, who had said that his Lord is present everywhere); vyāptim—the pervasion; ca—and; bhūteṣu—among the living entities and elements; akhileṣu—all; ca—also; ātmanaḥ—of Himself; adṛśyata—was seen; ati—very; adbhuta—wonderful; rūpam—form; udvahan—taking; stambhe—in the pillar; sabhāyām—within the assembly; na—not; mṛgam—an animal; na—nor; mānuṣam—a human being.
To prove that the statement of His servant Prahlāda Mahārāja was substantial—in other words, to prove that the Supreme Lord is present everywhere, even within the pillar of an assembly hall—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, exhibited a wonderful form never before seen. The form was neither that of a man nor that of a lion. Thus the Lord appeared in His wonderful form in the assembly hall.
When Hiraṇyakaśipu asked Prahlāda Mahārāja, “Where is your Lord? Is He present in this pillar?” Prahlāda Mahārāja fearlessly replied, “Yes, my Lord is present everywhere.” Therefore, to convince Hiraṇyakaśipu that the statement of Prahlāda Mahārāja was unmistakably true, the Lord appeared from the pillar. The Lord appeared as half lion and half man so that Hiraṇyakaśipu could not understand whether the great giant was a lion or a human being. To substantiate Prahlāda’s statement, the Lord proved that His devotee, as declared in Bhagavad-gītā, is never vanquished (kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati). Prahlāda Mahārāja’s demoniac father had repeatedly threatened to kill Prahlāda, but Prahlāda was confident that he could not be killed, since he was protected by the Supreme Lord. By appearing from the pillar, the Lord encouraged His devotee, saying in effect, “Don’t worry. I am present here.” By manifesting His form as Nṛsiṁhadeva, the Lord also preserved the truth of Lord Brahmā’s promise that Hiraṇyakaśipu was not to be killed by any animal or any man. The Lord appeared in a form that could not be said to be fully a man or a lion.Link to this page: SB 7.8.17