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(sanskrit) bhAvAkUta n. the first emotions of love
 

Mythology of Holi

According to Vaishnava Theology, the king of the demons was Hiranyakaripu. He pleased Lord Brahma through prayers and worships of years along with abstinence and penance. He was granted the boon that he would not be killed "during day or night; inside the home or outside, not on earth or on sky; neither by a man nor an animal; neither by ashtra (weapon) nor by shastra". Consequently, became almost immortal. His conceit swelled and he defeated the Gods and took over Heaven (swarg) and Earth (Martya) he demolished temples and forced human beings to stop worshipping Gods and start venerating him instead.

Hiranyakashipu's own son, Prahlad, was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Despite warnings from his father, his devotion towards Vishnu did not falter. He was poisoned but the venom turned to nectar when he drank it. He was trampled by elephants but was saved and remaine alive. He was put confined with poisonous snakes and still survived. All the endeavours of the demon king to kill Prahlad were in vain. Finally, he made young Prahlad to sit on a pyre on the lap of his sister, Holika, a female demon. She wrapped herself in a stole that protected the person wearing it from being burnt in a fire. Prahlad prayed to Vishnu for his safety. When the fire was lit, the shawl flew off Holika. She was burnt to death, while the shawl covered Prahlad and he stayed alive unscathed.

The death of Holika is celebrated as Holi. Further, Lord Vishnu took the form of a Narasimha - half-man and half-lion - and killed Hiranyakashipu at sunset (which was neither day nor night), on the steps of the covered entrance of his house (which was neither inside the house nor outside) by holding him on his lap (which is neither in the sky nor on the earth) and mangling him with his claws (which are neither astra nor shastra).

In Vrindavan and Mathura it is believed that Lord Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about the contrast between his dark complexion and his consort Radha's fair complexion. To pacify Krishna, his mother decided applied colour to Radha's face. The festivities mark the advent of spring.

Another popular story about the origin of holy prevails. Kamadeva is a god of love.in his bid to help Parvati in winning the love of Lord Shiva, he pierced Shiva with his arrow and broke his meditaion. The powerful gaze of Shiva’s third eye burnt Kama's body. Taking pity on Rati (passion), the wife of Kama, Shiva brought him back but only as an image, as an embodiment of the pure and true emotional attachment of love over mere physical lust. The Holi bonfire is understood to be celebrated as a tribute to this incident.

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