The Holi Festival is known as the “Festival of Colours” and is a celebration of Lord Krishna and God’s Creations. The colorful festival of Holi, literally means ‘burning’, is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna and heralds the onset of spring season.
Holi is the time when people from all castes and social strata come together forgetting all past differences and grievances. Purity of means is as essential as honesty of purpose. Means should justify the end, not the vice-versa. In fact, purity in practice always begets peace and happiness. The festival of ‘Holi’ conveys this universal message in many ways to mankind.
The story of Prahalad in Vishnu Puran projects the ultimate triumph of purity over impurity, goodness over evils and virtues over vices. The legend depicts Prahalad’s devotion to Lord Vishnu and describes his father; king Hiranya Kashyap as an atheist engaged in religious prosecution.
The evil father adopts many ruthless routes to dissuade his son from the path of devotion but fails. Finally, the devil king seeks the help of his sister Holika who is blessed by Lord Brahma not to be consumed by fire. She enters a bonfire taking Prahalad on her lap. For misusing the boon, Holika is burnt to ashes, while Prahalad escapes unscathed.
People today, observe and play Holi in gross form and mundane manner without realizing the deeper implications of its rich rituals. By such outward, ritualistic and routine observance of Holi, they deprive the self and society from true spiritual empowerment and enrichment, which the festival is supposed to provide.
Vabhishya Puran depicts the narration of Devarshi Narad who speaks highly of Holi to king Yudhistir: “Oh Emperor, on Phalguna Purnima (day of Holi), people of your kingdom should be allowed to have fun and frolic without any fear.
Boys should go out and gather sticks for Holika burning in an atmosphere of loud laughter, ha-hola & hymn chanting to destroy the demon. Till date, the effigy of evil Holika is continued to be burnt, Oh King! to annihilate all enemical forces”.
It stands to reason that no physical bon fire of dry sticks can ward off all evils or inauspiciousness. Rather, it is the dryness, hardness and harshness of human propensities, which perpetrate pain unto the self and others need to be sublimated in the subtle fire divine knowledge and meditation on God.
The practice and promotion of Holy Supreme Communion of self with the Supreme Soul hold key not only to wipe out innate evils, vices and negative traits but also to empower and enrich the self and others with positive qualities, character and conduct.
As per Brahma Puran, on the day of Holi if a person in rapt attention makes a prayerful darshan of Purushotham Srikrishna’s idol kept on a swing in the temple, then the person is assured of a place in Lord Krishna’s celestial kingdom, Vaikunth or Paradise. Mention of such rituals in scriptures need to be understood not in their literal sense, but in spiritual essence.
Not mere physical glance or glimpse of Lord Krishna’s idol but regular divine contemplation and meditation on God’s incorporeal point-light image and cultivation of Krishna’s deity qualities such as contentment, courage, cheerfulness, detachment, dispassion and determination in life would enable you to eliminate inner impurities and negativities and to experience deity like true peace, health, harmony and happiness.
Similarly, the chanting of Vedas’ holy hymns “Raskhohagam Balgaham” for destroying the devils during demoness ‘Holika’ burning and the mention of ‘Holi’ in scripture as Vish Todak (Vice-Demolition) and Punya Praydayak (Merit Giving) Parv or festival, enjoin on the observers to desist from demonic thoughts, desires, diets and dispositions.
This can be done when you light the inner fire of spiritual wisdom and RajaYoga Meditation (Supreme Communion) on God and when you adopt universal values, satwik diet and healthy lifestyle, so that you can smear and decorate yourself and all others with divine colours of Peace, purity, positivity, balance and bliss in life.
Writer is Prof. ( Dr.) Jayadeba Sahoo, Faculty, Brahma Kumaris & Ex-Dean, Faculty of Education , R.G.U.