Wednesday, 5 November 2014



Each year

Our myth

Comes alive


From the pages of Purana

The demoness*

Holika steps out

Taking Prahlad

On her lap

To sit on the pyre

The flame touches the sky

Prahlad lives while Holika dies


The intent is to kill

The child devotee Prahlad

Who sees his God Vishnu

In every atom of the universe

It is a blasphemy of course

So the child is sentenced to death

By his father, a demon

To make the job easy

Prahlad’s aunt Holika

Comes forward

No fire could burn her

But Vishnu wills otherwise

So Prahlad lives while Holika dies


Each year

The myth

Comes alive


The old mother Earth Herself

Becomes Holika

Spreading Her firewood arms

She becomes Her own pyre

Where She sits perhaps mourns

Having lost Her magical charm

She lets Her children set fire

Her sputter bursts into a painful flame

That reaches the infinite sky

We utterly do not know

Who will live and who will die


Each year

The myth

Comes alive



Posted for Susan’s Midweek Motif ~ Bonfire @ PU

*had to use this un-English(!) word for a female demon


  1. A very in depth analysis of Holika and like the way you compare her bonfire as burning of mother earth.

  2. OwOOO. how beautifully ypu present this myth. How do children take to this story? Not knowing who will live or die! But ultimately, the earth mother protects the child. maybe even forgives his/her tresspasses?

  3. What a wonderful description of this celebration - I like that it is about Mother Earth

  4. A lovely contrast of the elements bringing mythology to life...

  5. This is very powerful, especially, as Vandana notes, the comparison to Mother Earth. Great response to the prompt, Sumana!

  6. wow. would be very interesting to see the ceremony and attach it to the myth behind it as well...ugh on trying to kill the child. but good on the god for turning the tables....

  7. Sumana, I enjoyed the way you told this myth. I think I read that it is acted out each year...quite a tradition.

  8. How essential is was to try to explain the working of the world when science was in its infancy. I think demoness is fine. The English language grows like Topsy to accommodate almost anything!

  9. Thanks for sharing this myth. I am not familiar with the characters but your poem had introduced them to me.

    Prahlad then became a Holika with the same trait as Holika before.

    The last part seems to be a metaphor too to the prsent times :)

  10. I like how mother earth entwined in this myth, and words: 'We utterly do not know
    Who will live and who will die' ~ everything in god's power...sigh ~ thanks for sharing with us this bonfire myth x

  11. Not knowing who will live or die - that's life, a mystery. Love this Sumana. I was enthralled by the story.

  12. Fascinating myth you've told us here.

  13. this reads like a ritual and it fascinates me because religion is involved--Hinduism. thank you for always stopping by Sumana so here's my payment. a feel-good comment cause i seem to picture myself right now in India going through your bonfire with admiration and great devotion to Hinduism in another life. have a great weekend.


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