Shiva and Kamadeva

One of the mythologies that are prevalent is that of Kamadeva (God of Love), Shiva & Parvati.

Sati, Lord Shiva’s wife was humiliated by her father Daksha and insults were heaped on her husband Lord Shiva. A humiliated Sati, who could not stand her father dishonouring her husband, burned and turned to ashes by offering herself to fire.

Sati Parvati Daksh Yajna Shiva Kamdev Holi

Lord Shiva, upon learning the demise of his wife, decided to leave all his worldly duties by becoming an ascetic. With Shiva, the Destroyer of Universes in deep meditation, Tarakasura, an asura performed Tapas and was granted a boon by Lord Brahma. Tarakasura could not be killed by anybody but an offspring of Lord Shiva. This boon practically made the asura immortal as Lord Shiva was an ascetic and was never going to marry or love again.

Lord Shiva Art Daksh Yajna Parvati Holi

While Tarakasura wreaked havoc in the heavens as well as the hell, the deities turned to Kamadeva and Goddess Parvati. She was a reincarnation of Sati, Shiva’s beloved departed wife. Kamadeva, well aware of Shiva’s destructive ire and temper was hesitant at first but later agreed to help the Devas by helping them break his state of meditation and trance.

Kamadeva evaded Shiva’s guard, Nandin by taking the form of a fragnant southern breeze and with Parvati went to Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva. Kamadeva, using his powers recreated Spring, with flowers, birds and bees around & turned Mount Kailasha into an artificial paradise.

Parvati seduced Shiva to break his meditative state. Kamadeva shot his famed flowery arrow at Shiva’s chest to make him fall in love again. The arrow broke Shiva’s concentration and made him mesmerised by the beauty around him.

Kamadeva dahan shiva parvati sati holi

It did not take much time for him to realise what was happening. Shiva found Kamadeva lurking behind the foliage of the pleasure garden. Kamadeva upon realising that his act has been caught, was transfixed and unable to move out of fear. Lord Shiva opened his third eye, the eye of destruction and reduced Kamadeva to ashes in an instant.

After observing Parvati, who disapproved of what happened to Kamadeva, Shiva asked Parvati what he can do to help her and Kamadeva. She asks him to revive the Kamadeva in a disembodied form. Shiva revived Kamadeva as a spirit of love spread across the cosmos.

After re-joining with Parvati, they give birth to Kartikeya who goes on to defeat Taraka.

The Prahlad Holika Story

The Prahlad Holika Story is about the intense desire of a Demon God by the name of Hiranyakashipu who tried to escape mortality by performing Tapas ( penances to please Brahma). As a result of years of persistence from the Asura King, Brahma, the God of creation, granted him a boon. When Brahma would not grant him immortality, Hiranyakashyipu veiled the request in the form of certain conditions that were bound to make him impossible to kill.

The wish was to grant him five special powers namely:

  1. He could neither be killed by a human being nor an animal
  2. He could neither be killed in his house nor out of his house
  3. He could neither be killed during the day nor during the night.
  4. He could neither be killed by astra (projectile weapons) nor by a Shastra (handheld weapons).
  5. He could not be killed on land, in air or water.

Hiranyakashipu was granted this wish, making him invincible. He was feared by the humans, demons, and the Devas alike. He decreed himself as God and killed anyone who did not agree with this. Hiranyakashipu also had a son, Prahlad who was a devotee to Lord Vishnu (the protector) and refused to accept his father as God. He continued worshipping Lord Vishnu.

Hiranyakashipu, out of rage, made various attempts to kill Prahlad. After failing to kill him, he called upon his sister Holika to help him kill the boy. Holika was in possession of a protective cloak that prevented her from being harmed by fire.

Hiranyakashipu, very cunningly convinced Prahlad to sit in his aunt’s lap, while Holika sat on a bonfire. As the bonfire was lit the cloak flew and covered Prahlad, burning Holika to ashes. Prahlad was unharmed. This day is celebrated as Holika Dahan by burning a bonfire on the night before Holi.

Holika Dahan Holi Festival of Colors Getart

Lord Vishnu, after Holika Dahan appeared in the Narasimha Avatar – half human, half lion. So he was neither man nor animal. He appeared at dusk, neither during a day nor night. He took Hiranyakashipu at the doorstep of his house, neither indoors nor outdoors. Hiranyakashipu was not placed on land, air or water but on his lap. Then, Narasimha, killed the demon king with his bare claws.

This story marks the victory of good on evil, granting freedom to the world from the king who became too ambitious.

 

Narsimha Vishnu avatar Killing Hiranyakashipu for Prahlad Story Behind Holi

Krishna & Radha

According to the tale, Krishna approaches his mother, concerned about his dark skin and if the faired skin Radha and the gopiyans will like him or not.

His mother, suggested Krishna to go to Radha and color her face in any color he wanted. Krishna played with Radha by smearing her face with colors. This story of Radha & Krishna has been rooted into the celebrations of Vrindavan and the regions around it.

 

Krishna playing holi with radha art story behind festival of colors Holi

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