Sage Kashyap was generally considered as the father of humans, daityas and the entire animal and bird kingdom. He had married the thirteen daughters of Daksha. Among the 13 women, Aditi and Diti were the eldest.
Aditi was the mother of the Devas – Indra and the other Adityas who ruled over the world. Diti, was the mother of the Daityas. However unfortunately more often than not, Diti's children were killed by Aditi's children in various battles. Angered by this Diti once prayed to her husband for a powerful son. By the blessings of her husband, she carried a powerful child in her womb.
When Aditi saw Diti, she got worried because she knew that such a child would become more powerful than her own son Indra and overthrow him from the heavens. Deciding to take matters into her own hand, Aditi went to Indra. 'Son! You are now the king of the Devas and you rule the entire heavens!'
Indra narrowed his eyes studying his mother 'Something seems to be worrying you, mother! What is it?'
'Diti!' Aditi said by way of explanation. She sighed as she continued. 'More often than not, you and Diti's children have fought countless battles and many times her children have been routed in the battles!'
Indra did not say anything as his mother continued. 'However, this time I think that Diti has outdone herself! She has asked for a child who is as powerful as you are!' Aditi looked at Indra worried. 'Have you seen how radiant Diti looks?' Aditi let out a long suffering sigh. 'I am afraid! Every time I see Diti, I get afraid! I am afraid that if you let the child come to the world....it would mean your end!'
Indra was shocked at his mother's words at first. But then he realized that his mother's words were true. The Daityas were always fighting with the Devas for the control over the three worlds. If Diti's child was indeed very powerful....Indra took a deep breath nodding to himself. He turned to his mother. 'I will see what I can do!'
That evening, Indra went to Diti. 'Mother! You are carrying a child and look at you!' Indra said feigning a concern he definitely did not feel. 'You are lean and pitifully thin! Please...let me take care of you!'
Without suspecting anything, Diti let Indra come inside the house. Indra looked after Diti and won her over with his help. One night when Diti was tiredly sleeping Indra pulled out his Vajrayudha. Using his powers he entered Diti's womb and there he cut the womb into seven pieces (Some Puranas mention this number as 49).
The children in the womb started crying as Indra pulled his Vajrayudha. Worried that Diti would wake up and realize that something was wrong, Indra said soothingly to the foetus. 'Ma Ruta!' (Ma Ruta is Sanskrit means 'Do not cry!')
However Diti immediately woke up as she felt the womb shudder. Diti knew something was wrong and she also felt that Indra was responsible. Unable to contain herself, Diti cursed Indra. 'You hurt the child in my feotus to keep yourself as the king of the three worlds, did you not? The three worlds that you claim to rule....' Diti said scornfully. 'You will never be able to rule it peacefully!' She thundered angrily.
Indra appeared before Diti with the Vajrayudha in his hand as he stood aghast and stared at Diti. 'But it was my mother...who...' Indra stopped talking as Diti flared up even more.
'So Aditi asked you to do this? I curse her too!' Diti yelled angrily. 'I curse her that she would be in prison and she would also watch as her children get slaughtered before her eyes and she would not be able to stop it!' Diti heaved angrily.
Diti was about to open her mouth again, when Sage Kashyap came inside. He saw Indra with the Vajrayudha and he had also heard the last few words of Diti. He looked at Diti. 'Please give up your anger! Do not worry! Your children are still safe! The children that you have in your womb, they would be called as the Marutha...they would be powerful and they would become allies of Indra!'
Diti breathed a little easy. She had wanted one powerful child, more powerful than Indra. But then now having seven powerful children was better than nothing. She decided to give up her anger.
Indra was however flabbergasted. 'She cursed....she cursed me and mother!' He whispered looking horrified.
'I am afraid you will have to suffer her curse....So will Aditi! ' Sage Kashyap said with finality...
In another incident, Sage Kashyap was once performing a yagna. However the yagna was a powerful one and he could not find a suitable cow for the sake of performing the yagna. Finally Sage Kashyap stole Lord Varuna's cow - Kamadhenu.
Lord Varuna was aghast that such a great sage would do something like this. Lord Varuna tried asking the sage to give it back and the sage blatantly refused.
Having no other choice, Lord Varuna approached Lord Brahma and told him about the sage's deeds. 'Lord Brahma! I....cannot believe that Sage Kashyap would do something like this....The calves of Kamadhenu they keep whimpering for her....Please Lord....do something!'
Lord Brahma was terribly angry that sage Kashyap would do something like this. 'KASHYAP!' He thundered angrily. 'Go and be born in the Yadu dynasty and take care of the cows....Only then you will understand the pain of the calves separated from their mother...!'
Those were the times when Hiranyakasipu, the terrible asura was ruling the earth like a dictator. It was at that time that there was an asura called Kalanemi. He had six pious sons – Hamsa, Suvikrama, Kratha, Damana, Ripumardhana and Krodhahantha. The six sons also called as Sada-Garbhas were exceptionally devoted to Lord Vishnu.
Ignoring Hiranyakasipu, the Sada-Garbhas prayed to Lord Brahma. They performed severe penance and austerities and finally pleased with them Lord Brahma appeared before them.
'My Lord! You have come!' They said enthusiastically.
Lord Brahma nodded. 'I know of your pious nature and I am very pleased with you! Please ask me any boon of your choice!'
The Sada-Garbha nodded their head. 'Please grant us a boon that we would not be hurt by any humans, animals or divine or the Demi-Gods! And if you are very pleased with us, grant us the boon that even the great sages would not be able to hurt us with their curses!' Lord Brahma knew that the Sada-Garbhas would not hurt others in any manner and happily granted the boon to the six of them.
However the Sada-Garbhas were in a world of trouble. Hiranyakasipu was thoroughly annoyed with the Sada-Garbhas. 'You approached Lord Brahma! And you wanted protection!' Hiranyakasipu was disgusted. 'I am the only God you should worship. Not Brahma or Vishnu!'He thundered. Angrily he looked at all of them. 'You think Brahma's boon will protect you!' He sneered. 'I curse you that you will be killed by your own father!'