Hiranyakasipu’s attempts, however, failed because the Almighty saved his devotee Prahalad at every step. During the period, when Hiranyakasipu, left his kingdom to perform tapas in the forest to obtain a boon from Brahma; Indra, the King of Gods, tried to abduct Hieranyakasipu’s wife Kayatu, who was expecting a child. Sage Narada intervened and took Kayatu to her hermitage.

It was, during her stay in the sage’s ashram, that Prahalad, even while in the womb of the mother, happened to listen to the glory of God, when Narada used to recite them to Kayatu, to keep her in good spirits. Thus Prahalad, even before he was born has developed unflinching faith in God.

When Hiranyakasipu obtained the boon and returned, he tried all methods of destruction of Prahlad. He was advised that his sister Holika, has a boon that fire will not burn her and that Holika should sit in the burning fire holding Prahalad in the lap, by dint of which Prahalad would be burnt without any effect on Holika. Accordingly fire was arranged and Holika sat in the fire with Prahalad in her lap. Prahalad, because of divine bliss escaped without any scratch or burn, while Holika was burnt to ashes, because of the misuse of the boon bestowed on her.

Holi is celebrated in honour of Prahalad, who had the divine vision, even in childhood. The fire is lit one day before the colourful play to condemn the wicked participation of Holika. — Hindu festivals, fairs and fasts (concluded)