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kālātmanoś ca nityatvāt
Hiraṇyakaśipu’s determination was to occupy the post of Lord Brahmā, but this was impossible because Brahmā has a long duration of life. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (8.17), sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmaṇo viduḥ: one thousand yugas equals one day of Brahmā. The duration of Brahmā’s life is extremely great, and consequently it was impossible for Hiraṇyakaśipu to occupy that post. Nonetheless, his decision was that since the self (ātmā) and time are both eternal, if he could not occupy that post in one lifetime he would continue to execute austerities life after life so that sometime he would be able to do so.