Sunday Story - Celebration of GOOD over evil!
There was once a demon king by the name of Hiranyakashyap who won over the kingdom of earth. He was so egoistic that he commanded everybody in his kingdom to worship only him. But to his great disappointment, his son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana and refused to worship his father.
Hiranyakashyap tried several ways to kill his son Prahlad but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. Finally, he asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. For, Hiranyakashyap knew that Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire unscathed. Treacherously, Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and she herself took her seat in a blazing fire. The legend has it that Holika had to pay the price of her sinister desire by her life. Holika was not aware that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone. Prahlad, who kept chanting the name of Lord Naarayana all this while, came out unharmed, as the lord blessed him for his extreme devotion.
Thus, Holi derives its name from Holika. Holi is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil. Holi is also celebrated as the triumph of a devotee or triumph of faith while being on the right path. As the legend depicts that anybody, howsoever strong, cannot harm a person with true faith. And, those who dare torture a true devotee shall be reduced to ashes.
Even today, people enact the scene of 'Holika's burning to ashes' every year to mark the victory of good over evil. In several states of India, specially in the north, effigies of Holika are burnt in the huge bonfires that are lit. There is even a practice of hurling cow dungs into the fire and shouting obscenities at it as if at Holika. Then everywhere one hears shouts of 'Holi-hai! Holi-hai!'. Here, people render their gratitude to Agni, the god of fire by offering gram and stalks from the harvest with all humility.
Thus we see, that no matter what we do, where we are, following a righteous path eventually benefits our larger good. Whether its in relationships or in our work or personal life...being in line of ethics, allows our system and our mind to relax thereby building well-being, immunity, success & progress. Surrendering one's ego/pride and command over others and allowing everyone to be themselves, allows everyone to blossom and happiness to be all pervading!!
The best reward for this mindset is feeling of joy, with colourful surrounding, vibrant energy at all times. Very often in our pride of success -knowledge -skills -seniority or possessions - laurels, we have a tendency to command or dictate our family -team members-or friends -people who look up to us or depend on us....this feeling of prioritising the self needs before the needs of others, creates an imbalance and thereby undermining the relationship and the other person.
Hiranyakashyap's need to be prayed to, revered, respected, appreciated by all, to the extent of forcing others to comply by his orders, created the discord with his son and in the process ruined his family happiness. Lets be aware when we conduct ourselves in life, to avoid follies which destroy our own wellbeing. Let's accept the different colours in others and their personalities -emotions -contributions, to garner the best in our environment.
Wish you a very Happy Holi,
May the source of good be with you!