Holi – A Story

Spring arrives with a splash of colors
close on the heels of the cold winter
heralding the dawn of a special day
when everyone gathers to celebrate
the victory of the great Lord Vishnu
over the demon king, Hiranyakashipu,
who wanted to rule the three worlds
using the power from his five boons.
He couldn’t be killed during night or day,
in or out of the house, or in any place,
by weapon, man, God, demon or animal.
Yes, he thought he was all powerful.
And this evil king sent forth a decree
forcing people to pray to none but him.
Yet for his son, Prahalad, his ire grew
as he continued to worship Lord Vishnu.
So it was that the evil king conspired
and made arrangements for a huge pyre.
Into the flames, his sister, Holika, sat
holding her nephew Prahalad on her lap.
She, who flames could not destroy,
She, who tried to kill this little boy,
was burnt to ashes in that deadly fire
and Prahalad was the sole survivor.
At that auspicious moment of dusk,
a pillar shattered and from it emerged
Lord Vishnu in the form of Narsimha.
This half-man, half-lion celestial being
brought the end of the demon king.
Thus goes the legend of this day of Holi.
A day out of the pages of mythology.
So light the bonfires on the streets
and never forget what Holi means
The love of a God for his devotee
and the triumph of good over evil.

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