Prahlâda was the son of the asura Hiranyakas´ipu. His father became emperor of the demons and attempted to have everyone worship him. However, his own son, Prahlâda, refused and continued to worship Vishnu.
Prahlâda would have been killed if Vishnu had not incarnated in just the right way, as the man-lion Narasimha, to be able to kill Hiranyakas´ipu. The killing was unusually bloody, with Narasimha ripping out Hiranyakas´ipu’s intestines and wearing them as a garland in a naked dance that lasted only a moment.
Then Vishnu appeared to Prahlâda, blessed him, and disappeared. After his father’s death Prahlâda became emperor of the demons in Pâtâla (the netherworld). He gave up the administration of his kingdom in order to practice austerities (tapas) and worship Vishnu. His grandson Bali, though a great menace to the gods, was another famous asura devotee of Vishnu.