A Ballad from History

Within the confines of Multan Fort, just beside Bahauddin Zakriya’s tomb this is the interior of what survives of Temple of Prahlada
Its origin goes back to prehistoric times
A ballad comes to us from the pages of Bhagavata Purana

After his brother was killed by Lord Vishnu’s Varaha avatar, Hiranyakasipu became king founding his capital at Kashyapa-pura, named after his father
Hiranyakasipu swore vengeance on Lord Vishnu seeking Brahma’s blessing
A boon from death inflicted by a human, a deva or an animal

One of Hiranyakasipu’s four sons, Prahlada became a devotee of Lord Vishnu denouncing his father
The king tried to kill his own son
For once he even involved his daughter sister Holika who put her brother Prahlada on her lap and entered the burning fire
Lord Vishnu saved him every time

These attempts on Prahlada’s life invited fury of Vishnu who appeared in the avatar of Narasimha
Now Narasimha, dear reader, is part human, part deva & part animal bypassing Brahma’s blessing on Hiranyakasipu
Vishnu eventually killed Hiranyakasipu cutting him open using his nails

In our households, during our childhood we used to hear from our elders not to trim nails around or after sunset
Interestingly this practice goes back to a Hindu tradition of not cutting nails at twilight as a mark of respect for Lord Narasimha

At a place of his father’s end, to honour Lord Vishnu, Prahlada built a temple in Kashyap-pura
Historian Latif tells us that Kashyap-pura is present day Multan
Prahladapuri Temple devoted to the worship of sun god was destroyed and rebuilt multiple times

After the last wave of destruction in 1992, a retaliation to Babri Masjid incident, it now stands in ruins beside the tomb of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakriya
When it comes to religion, both we and our neighbors are quick to touch the extremes of tit(s) for tat(s)

There’s more to our story
Planned by her brother, Holika entered burning blaze making Prahlada sit on her lap
Prahlada’s sister bua Holika had immunity from fire
What she didn’t know was that her boon only worked while she was all alone and that Prahlada was blessed by Vishnu

So Holika despite of her boon perished in fire and Prahlada owing to his devotion to the path of righteousness lived
The festival of Holi, dear reader, goes back to the story of Prahlada and Holika, it goes back to the victory of good over evil

Erratum

In this thread we mentioned Holika as Prahlada’s sister which is incorrect. Holika was the sister of King Hiranyakashipu and so the bua of little Prahlada. Our reader Alok Bhasin very kindly pointed it out and the corrections were made in the text above. Thank you!

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4 Comments

  1. Dear Imran.

    Is this for real? It would be interesting if we could carbon-date the place. I can work with you on this. Please do email me if this is something you can help with.

    Your blog is amazing, BTW. I have bookmarked it and will be visiting its pages as and when I can.

    Warm regards,
    Vipul

    1. Hi Vipul, thank you for your visit and leaving nice comments. The prospect of working to carbon-date the place is exciting, but I am not living in Pakistan these days. I am sure there will be people in Multan interested to be part of the venture.

  2. Hello M.I.S.
    Excellent blog! I love the content, and the way you present it. The photos are amazing.
    Just a bit of correction. Holika was Hiranyakasipu’s sister(not his daughter). That makes Holika the aunt(Bhua) of Prahlad, as per the Hindu texts.

    Keep up the good work!
    I cahnced upon it by fluke and I am hooked…..

    Regards

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