gkb at ast.cam.ac.uk
Tue Feb 13 04:23:00 EST 1996
>Apparently, the name of Holi is connected to HolikA, a rAk.sasI who
>is either the sister or the niece of PrahlAda, the pious son of
>Hira.nyakas'ipu, the king asura who was shredded to death by Narasi.mha.
As far as I know, HolikA was the sister of Hira.nyakashipu.
There is also the event called HolikA dahana on the night preceding the Holi
where a straw puppet, representing HolikA, is burnt. Apparently HolikA had got
a vardAna from Brahma that she would be unscathed by fire. She was helping his
brother get rid of the too pious son by taking him on his lap and sitting on a
pyre. Unfortunately for her, she was burnt to death with Brahma telling her
that she was not supposed to use this boon to harm bhaktas.
Hira.nyakashipu had also obtained a vardAna from Brahma but, that would be
stretching the patience of the paNDitas a bit far... :-)
>Any learned pa.n.dita among you may care to comment and explain?
I'm an ignorant mUrkha but tried to help anyway! :-)
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