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Holi And The Birth Of The Lord Of War

By Anirudh Narayanan

Holi is generally a time for fun and frolic, as it welcomes the arrival of the spring season. It is known as the festival of colours and also the festival of love. Bonfires are lit before the night of Holi and people sing and dance around the bonfires. The next day is full of colours and water guns, aimed at friends and foes alike.

Holi has some amazing stories which are rooted in Hindu mythology. This year Holi will be celebrated on 21 March. Today, we tell you about Lord Karthikeya, Lord Shiva and Parvati's son, and his connection with Holi.


Lord Shiva's Deep Meditation

According to the Puranas, Shiva went into a deep penance after Sati committed suicide by burning herself. He was no longer interested in the world and its ways. So when the Gods were terrorized by a demon named Tarakasura they ran to Lord Brahma. Brahma is in a fix, because he is the reason why Tarkasura is so powerful and indestructible!


The Two Wishes Of Tarakasura

Tarkasura is the son of Viranga and Varangi. Wanting to take control of the world after Shiva gives up on it, he impresses Lord Brahma by intense penance and gets two boons in return. The first boon is that he wants to be the most powerful being on earth and the second wish is, if he should be killed, it should be by the power of Lord Shiva, quite ingenious, especially because Shiva was in a deep trance and had no interest in the world. When he got the boon, he started killing Gods and people without remorse.

So, when the Gods go to Lord Brahma for a solution he's in a spot of bother. So he devises a plan to bring Shiva out of the meditative state. He knows that Sati reborn as Parvati is vying for Shiva's attention by doing a penance of her own.


Lord Brahma Approaches Kama Deva

Lord Brahma asks Kama Deva, the God of Love, to invoke feelings of passion in Lord Shiva for Parvati. Kama Deva passes by Nandini as a southern breeze and enters Shiva's realm. He shoots five arrows of flowers at Shiva. Shiva is enraged as he was interrupted amidst his penance and he opens his third eye to burn Kamadeva into flames.

But the arrows have the desired effect, Shiva sees Parvati and falls in love with her. Kartikeya is born after the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Though this happens through the sparks of light emanated from the third eye of Lord Shiva.


Lord Kartikeya Defeats Tarakasura

Kartikeya is a born warrior and goes on to defeat Tarakasura and his brothers at Thiruchendur, now in modern day Tamil Nadu. He is so ruthless that he slays them and his army. Since that day he is known as the Lord of War.

It is said that it was on the day of Holi that Lord Shiva saw Goddess Parvati and fell in love with her. Maybe this is one reason why this festival is also considered auspicious for couples and why it is believed to be important for them to play Holi together. Also, the birth of Lord Kartikeya is believed to have taken place on the same day.

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