Sri Sri Ravishankar Thoughts on Holika Dahan – Bonfire on the Previous Day of Holi

Puranas are full of colorful illustrations and stories and there is a story related to Holi.

An asura king, Hiranyakashyapu, wanted everyone to worship him. But his son Prahlad was a devotee of Lord Narayana, the king’s sworn enemy. Angry, the king wanted Holika, his sister, to get rid of Prahlad. Empowered to withstand fire, Holika sat on a burning pyre holding Prahlad on her lap. But it was Holika who was burnt, Prahlad came out unharmed.

Hiranyakashyapu symbolizes one who is gross. Prahlad embodies innocence, faith and bliss. The spirit cannot be confined to matter, only love. Hiranyakashyapu wanted all joy to come from the material world. It did not happen that way. The individual jivatma cannot be bound to the material forever. It’s natural to eventually move towards Narayana, one’s higher Self.

Holika symbolizes past burdens that try to burn Prahlad’s innocence.. But Prahlad, so deeply rooted in Narayana Bhakti, could burn all past impressions (sanskaras).

For one who is deep in bhakti, joy springs up with new colors and life becomes a celebration. Burning the past, you gear up for a new beginning. Your emotions, like fire, burn you. But when they are a fountain of colors, they add charm to your life.