By: Krunal Patel

So, we all know that on Holi, we light a fire (Holika Dahan) and play with colors. But, what a lot of us do not know is why we celebrate it. A long time ago, there was a king named Hiranyakashyapu. He did a lot of tapa and got a boon from Brahma. Hiranyakashyapu wanted to be immortal, and no one gets the boon of being immortal. Therefore, Hiranyakashyapu asked for a boon that he thought made him immortal. He got five powers from that boon: he could be killed by neither a human being nor an animal, neither indoors nor outdoors, neither at day nor at night, neither by astra (weapons that are launched) nor by any shastra (weapons that are handheld), and neither on land nor in water or air. These powers made him feel immortal and arrogant.

He believed that he was God, and made everyone in his kingdom pray to him. Everyone was afraid of him, so they did what he wanted, and those who did not got punished or killed. However, his own son, Prahlad, refused to accept Hiranyakashyapu as God and pray to him.

Prahlad was a very big devotee of Lord Vishnu. He would pray to him day and night, with faith. Hiranyakashyapu was very angry at his son, because he did not pray to him. So, Hiranyakashyapu tried to kill Prahlad not once but numerous times. Regardless of his attempts to kill Prahlad, Hiranyakashyapu failed. The reason was Prahlad’s faith. Prahlad built true, strong faith in Lord Vishnu through his prayers.

Hiranyakashyapu made his final attempt to kill Prahlad by calling his sister, Holika. Holika was granted a boon by Agnideva, that she will not be harmed by fire. So, Hiranyakashyapu ordered her to sit in a bonfire with Prahlad in her lap. Hiranyakashyapu and Holika thought this way Prahlad would die and Holika would be safe. So, what happened? Once again, Prahlad’s faith protected him, and the fire killed Holika. Prahlad believed that Lord Vishnu will protect him and never doubted Lord Vishnu.

After Prahlad came out of the fire safely, Lord Vishnu was pragat (materialized) in Hiranyakashyapu’s palace in the form of Narasimha- half human and half lion. Lord Vishnu in the Narasimha avatar (form) killed Hiranyakashyapu by his claws, at dusk, neither indoors nor outdoors, and not in water or land.

So what should we learn from this? We should learn that we need to have true faith in Paramguru because we cannot just ask him for help and have faith in him when we are in a problem. We should build our faith by doing regular prayer, like upasana and mara. Having strong faith in Paramguru, the way Prahlad had in Lord Vishnu, not only helps us in daily life situations, but also helps us get closer to Karta, which should be our ultimate goal.