By Nadim Nyker
The spirit of the fire illuminated the area; it burned blue and red and crackled every third second. Prahlada edged forward. The flames evoked an enchantment, allowing his vulnerability to fade. He was accompanied by his aunt, Holika, but he chose the burning flames over her as a source of comfort. He sat and made friends with the continuous crackles. Holika tried to embrace him, moving closer to the boy. Holika had persuaded him to come this far and she was in no mood to be disloyal to her earlier intentions. She tugged at her cloak; tonight was the night of revenge, where Prahlada would pay for going against his father’s beliefs.
She was devoted to her brother, Hiranyakashipu, father of Prahlada. Hiranyakashipu was a blessed being. He was indestructible, but he grew arrogant and complacent and punished his son, a Vishnu devotee.
The fire grew stronger, Holika attempted to push the boy into it but her body halted, disallowing its owner the satisfaction of killing Prahlada. The cloak flew off Holika and wrapped around the boy, both of them falling into the pyre. Holika gasped for her last breath. Prahlada was now safe; Vishnu was here, Hiranyakashipu’s death becoming imminent…
The colours of the fire are a reminder that good always prevails over evil. This is one of the many significances attached to Holi; a day of happiness, enchantment, celebration and colour. Hinduism is a transcendental religion, it entails a spirituality that is accepted and practiced (at times unknowingly) by various cultures and societies around the world.
Holi has recently extended to revolutionise the global party scene. The idea of a sacred celebration being used in this manner has produced ambivalent responses. After all, it is essentially a celebration of the beginning of spring, the turning of a new leaf in many people’s lives.
The Rhodes Hinduism Students Society (HSS) took to the day of Holi in their own cosmopolitan fashion, where everyone and anyone was welcome. Besides the colourful aura and stained clothes, the day took to uniting everyone in letting go, and that they did:
“It was brilliant, it was lovely, it was colourful, it was vibrant, and it was really happy all over”, said HSS Secretary, Yashoda Ramawoothar.