Monday, Nov 12 2018
The importance of Holi - 17 Mar 2014
Holi is a spring festival, which is also known as festival of colours, and sometimes festival of love.
It is an ancient Hindu festival, which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities.
It is celebrated by the Indian diaspora to herald the arrival of spring – a season of renewal and regeneration.
There are many legends connected to the festival of Holi.
There was once a demon king by the name Hiranyakashyipu, who won over the kingdom of earth.
He was so egoistic that he commanded everybody in his kingdom to worship only him.
But to his great disappointment, his young son, Prahlad was an ardent devotee of Lord Narayana and refused to worship his father.
Hiranyakashyipu tried several ways to kill his son Prahlad but Lord Vishnu saved him every time.
Finally, he asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad on her lap.
For, Hiranyakashyipu knew that Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire and come out unscathed.
Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit on her lap and she herself took the seat in a blazing fire.
Holika was not aware that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone and had to pay for her sinister act with her life.
Prahlad, who kept chanting the name of Lord Narayana all this while, came out unharmed, as the Lord blessed him for his extreme devotion.
Thus, Holi derives its name from Holika and is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil.
Holi is also celebrated as the triumph of a devotee. As the legend depicts, nobody can harm a true devotee.
The next story is the legend of Krishna. Young Krishna is known to be very playful and mischievous.
The story goes that as a child, Krishna was extremely jealous of Radha's fair complexion as he himself was very dark.
One day, Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about the injustice of nature, which made Radha so fair and him so dark.
To pacify the crying young Krishna, the doting mother asked him to go and colour Radha's face in whichever colour he wanted.
In a mischievous mood, naughty Krishna heeded the advice of mother Yashoda and applied colour on his beloved Radha's face; making her look like him.
Holi is also significant as on this day, Lord Shiva burnt the God of Desire -Lord Kama - to ashes.
Now, what is the true spiritual significance of Holi? Life is full of experiences and emotions that arise within us.
These emotions are symbolised by the colours - depressing blues, happy greens, delightful yellows and lovely pinks.
It is said that each chakra in our subtle body is depicted and activated by a different colour.
It should be observed that man comes into this world with a range of colours, as do all creatures big and small in our colourful planet.
Thus, it takes a myriad of colours to make a beautiful and fruitful life!
When we appreciate every colour of life with acceptance and surrender ourselves to God's will - as the saying goes
“Thy will be done” - then life will be a rainbow filled with his Grace that keeps us smiling all the time.
JAI SAI RAM
Bro Khevind Awat Ranai