Best wishes for Holi!

Someone asked me for the esoteric meaning of the story of Holika.

First, the story. Not sure which scripture gives this story, but this is a famous story in folklore:

When demon king Hiranya Kashipu’s son Prahlada became a staunch devotee of Vishnu, the demon king could not bear it and tried to kill him. One of the ways apparently was for demoness Holika to hold Prahlada and sit in a fire. Though she had the ability to resist fire, that ability was transferred to Prahlada and Prahlada was unharmed while she was reduced to ashes.

Now, my 2 cents on what it could esoterically mean.

Kashipu stands for material objects. Hiranya means gold and stands for the absolute. Hiranyakashipu stands for seeing the material objects as absolute.

Prahlada means supreme bliss. Supreme bliss does not come from a perfect understanding of, or mastery over, material objects. It comes from an unconditional surrender to the spirit within, i.e. the Supreme Lord. Thus, Prahlada symbolizes supreme bliss coming from an unconditional surrender to Lord.

Holika comes from the root “hul”, which means “to conceal”. She stands for concealing the true nature (spirit) and obviously an ally of Hiranya Kashipu (material absolutism).

Such concealment of spirit indeed has the boon of not being burnt by the low level of fire of logic and rationalism. Material absolutism may foolishly think that such fire can finish off supreme bliss coming from surrender.

But, when encountering the supreme bliss of surrender, fire turns into the higher fire of discrimination and leaves it unscathed and instead finishes off the concealment of spirit!

BTW, those who chant “Durga Saptashati” or “Chandipath” or “Devi Mahatmyam” may remember this line:

kaalaraatrir maharaatrir mohaaraatrishcha daaruNaa

There are 4 special nights that are Her different manifestations - Kaala Raatri, Mahaa Raatri, Moha Raatri and Daaruna Raatri. The last one is also known as “Kroora Raatri” (Aghora book uses that name). It falls tonight.

This night is supposed to be favorable for shatkarmas (6 abhicharas/prayogas). Of course, every action begets an equal and opposite reaction at some time and one will be foolish to engage in such practices, except in rare cases for the greater good of humanity. But, if one suspects that someone is doing some abhichara against one, one can seek protection. Lord Narasimha is excellent for such protection.

Best wishes for Holi again!