HOLI THE COLOURFUL FESTIVAL: WISHING YOU ALL HAPPY HOLI. MAY THIS HOLI IMBUE US ALL IN OUR ALMIGHTY GOD’S COLOURS
With special mention of Krishna Janamsthan – Mathura
Wherein Gokul’s Gopis play and enjoy Lathmar Holi with the Gops
Who defend themselves from the onslaughts
At Virandavana, Mathura – Krishna’s birthplace
A holy place, striking-attractive and serene
Where every particle has association with Radha-Krishna & Gops/Gopis
With singing of songs so melodious
With heavy dose of mention of Radhe-Krishna and Gopi’s in each of these
Most suiting the occasion
Coloring each other with utmost affection
Creating the environs so enchanting
Thus making the Holi Festival to reminisce
In the midst of the most pleasant season
After fading of cold, so intense
There is a festival so well-known
The carnival of color so popular
With the young and old alike
Who all participate
With soft-emotions running high
Not only put color on each other
But also partake specially prepared sweets
Besides enjoying Bhangra and Gidha dance
To the tune of drums
With Punjabi songs so matching the occasion
For this festival so very enjoyable in every way
Everybody wishing others HAPPY HOLI
Along with wishing each other wellness.
One day before, Holi Dahan is held very reverentially
Which portrays burning of evil
With burning of Holika
The sister of Demon King Harnayakashpa
The evil soul (Atma)
Who was burnt alive
Holika had got a boon from Lord Vishnu
That fire will not burn her
With Vishnu Bhakta Prahalada in her lap
She met her end
But Prahalada remain unscathed
Proving that evil design cannot succeed
Despite protective cover of boon of the Lord
Proving that nothing can save us
If our thoughts are dishonorable.
When body, mind, and soul are colored together
In the hue of our eternal Creator
Then a warm emotion of love is created
With a flood of warm feelings
Of togetherness in all beings
Where there is no difference based on any discrimination
Like age, sex, color, caste or religions
Everything loses its relevance
What actually remains
Are the likings they’ve for each other
Mixed with warm emotions
With variety of colors
Whosoever meets us on the street corners
Corners us with colors
Reddish, yellowish or bluish in tint
Charming us to a maximum extent
Mesmerizing us with color’s touch
Having deep meaning
If we care to fathom its importance really
These colors can transform hostility
Between neighbors with a drop of color.
O Almighty God of ours
Imbue us with Thy indelible Color
Thy colour touches our heart’s chords
Including every atoms of our body
Made of five elements which die
(Ether, earth, water, air & fire)
On the death of our mortal body
Only Thy color and our Soul last
Man made colors just fade away and are lost
After a few hours have elapsed.
Legend has it that a mighty and conceited
Demon King Hiranyakashyap prided his prowess the most
He wanted his subjects to worship him in place of God above
Virtuous Prahlada, his own son agreed not
Being a staunch devotee of Lord of Evolution – Lord Vishnu
The King wanted his son to be put to sword – very soon
For not obeying his dictates
Different methods were used to kill but in vain.
Hiranyakashyapa had a sister named Holika
Blessed with a boon of not being burnt by blazing fire
Both were made to enter a bonfire at full fury
Thinking fire will harm her not due to boon to her
But just opposite happened
Prahlad came unscathed with grace of Lord Vishnu
Whilst Holika met her end most tragic.
Legend too has it that Lord Krishna played holi with his beloved Gopis
To shower love and affection with the shower of colors
Holi celebrated is at Vrindavan, Mathura
And Bursana is so matchless even today
Showing the thread of that time remains in fact intact
People light a bonfire on the night before Holi Day
With devout heart brimming with bliss
Celebrate triumph of good over evil
And also remember how devotion to Lord gets rewarded.
A spirit of Spring Festival springs just naturally
Scattering joy and hope everywhere we venture to see
Nature too is in its finest attire – so colorful
When Mother Nature is at its best
All around greenery prevailing
Along with fragrance of blooming flowers
With full Moon as though it is chipping in, too
To enhance the charm of colors which overwhelms
To share the fun and joy of the people around.
Different people celebrate Holi with different style
But the common thread of celebration remains alike,
People prepare special sweets to welcome their dear folks
Shopkeepers & women are busiest lots
Bestowing magnetism to their living places
Bonhomie pervades wheresoever our eyes could survey
Abuzz with activity mixed with the rainbow of colors
Scenes at the marketplaces are indeed mesmeric.
People play with variety of colours
Intoxicated with joy of the day
Pour coloured water to each other
Songs, dance, and beats on the drums abound everywhere
People exchange greetings and pray to God for His bounties.
O God, let the humans not shower bullets at each other
Spilling blood of the unfortunates in the process
Which may distance us from one another
But rather with a blood-red colour of HOLI
Spreading feeling of brotherhood
Which may engender love for each other
Along with amity and well-being, in the humanity as a whole
Our prayers to Thee our Lord – the Love One
Do colour us all in Thy Holy colour
So that peace and harmony spread amongst all
Let this be the message of this Holy Holi.
WISHING YOU ALL HAPPY HOLI – MAY THIS HOLI BRINGS US ALL HAPPINESS AND PEACE
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE AND ORIGIN OF HOLI
The festival of color HOLI finds its mention in Vedas and Puranas (Narad Purana and Bhavishya Purana). There is a practical Archeological proof through excavation of stone related to 300 BC on which there is an inscription of word ‘Holikotsav’ which means Holi. Even in the ancient paintings, there is a mention of Holi festival – the festival of colour.
Holi is a cultural festival which has its own significance in the lives of general masses. It is a festival of colour which imbues us in different colour. Its cultural mention is made in Puranas. Poet Kalidasa, in 4th century poet and a thinker, under the rule of Chandragupta II also mentions about the importance of Holi in his literature. Holi festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of ‘good’ over ‘evil’. The colorful festival bridges the social breach and renews sweet relationships with each other.
IMPORTANCE OF HOLI IN MATHURA (THE BIRTHPLACE OF LORD KRISHNA)
Holi has special significance in Braj i.e. in Mathura and Vrindaban region, the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Women-folks playfully hit their men-folks with sticks. This act of theirs is called lath maar the holi (A holi which is played with sticks). Here men are constrained to save themselves from their blows with the help of a shield. There is an air of festivities around in the entire Braj region during this festival spanning for days together. It is a spectacle in the real sense of the term.
Holi is a Basanta Utsav or Spring Festival – it is a festival of colour (Rangwali Holi) or celebrated of love, celebrated in India, Nepal and other parts of the world where Indians are settled. It is arrival of pleasant Spring season. On the occasion of this festival people forget their differences and connect with their long forgotten friends and relatives. The first day before Holi is Holika Dahan (Burning of Holika Demon) it is also called Chhoti Hili.
In this context, it is relevant to mention the Bhagwad Gita :
Lord Krishna teaches detachment: While one gives up all his material desires meant for the satisfaction of the senses, one who lives freeing from desires and gives up his false ego attains the state of peace and calm.
SIGNIFICANCE OF FESTIVAL
Holi festival signifies the victory of good over evil. It also signifies the end of winter and arrival of pleasant spring. It is a festival when people forget their differences and thus mend their ruptured relationships. On this day, people hug and wish each other well with fond wish: ‘Happy Holi’ and may the colour of HOLI imbue us in God’s impossible to remove colour so as to spread the feelings of brotherliness and fellow feelings amongst each other without consideration to caste, creed, colour, region etc.
In essence, we face multiple problems in our lives while aspiring for material and sensual objects, people become attached to these. Such attachments develop lust and lust generate anger and other baser traits. Anger leads to delusion and delusion leads to mental disorientation. When the mind is bewildered, wisdom is the victim. Loss of wisdom leads to downfall of an individual. In such a scenario, a healthy diversion is a must. Different festivals give us occasion to celebrate with our relatives and friends. We celebrate Holi with our nears and dears. The colourful festival HOLI presents our golden opportunity to share our joys with others. The gifts are exchanged in the form of homemade sweets, such as Gujia etc.
There is a symbolic legend attached to this. There was a demon king named Hiranyakashap. This demon king did hard penance due to which he got a boon that no human could kill him at daytime or at night time. This made him very haughty and egotistical besides excessively arrogant. So much so was he drunk with pride that he passed an order that henceforth nobody would pray God in his kingdom. People should rather pray him in place of God.
He ruled his subjects with the iron hand. Not even the hermits or sadhus were spared. Those who disobeyed his orders were meted out huge punishments or handed out the death penalty. He had a son by the name of Prahlada. He used to worship Lord Vishnu. The demon king felt slighted and very furious when he found that his own son was disobeying his orders hence he gave him an alternative – either he should worship him or face the death penalty after giving various severe punishments which did not deter Prahladha from worshipping Lord Vishnu.
Then Holika the Hiranyakashap’s sister, evil in her intentions offered herself to sit in the bonfire (pyre) with Prahladha; knowing fully well that she would not be harmed because of her special cloak which made her immune to fire. Subsequently, the two entered the roaring fire. Hiranyakashap felt assured that no harm would result to his sister because of protection but his son would meet his end.
After the fire subsided, all felt including Hiranyakashap surprised that Holika got perished in the fire that engulfed her despite her protective cloak but due to the protection and grace of Lord Vishnu, he survived!
Holi was driven from the name Holika. Holika represents/personifies evil and its burning is the end of evil. Pradhan personifies goodness.
One day before Holi, especially after sunset, the pyre is lit, called as Holika Dahan. The ritual symbolises the victory of good over evil. People gather around the fire, sing and dance at the beats of drums. It may have different names in different part of the country but the spirit of the festival is the same – a colourful one.
Holi Dahan also signifies burning of our excessive desires. It is for bringing about a balance in our desires by putting an end to our greed and base internal yearning (Kaama Dahan) – our conquest over our evil or carnal instincts which have made residency in our mind and rely more on detachment from our action.
VICTORY OF GOOD OVER EVIL
Subsequently, in the daytime, people celebrate this as a sign of victory of good over evil by sprinkling either the coloured water or dry colour (gulal) of various colour. A real rainbow of colour! In the evening, people, after proper wash, go to their friends and relatives and partake sweets prepared at their homes.
PEOPLE FORGET THEIR DIFFERENCES AND CELEBRATE THIS COLOUR FESTIVAL
It has also been seen that on Holi festival, people forget and forgive their old enmity and animosity and establish the new relationship with each other. It has been seen that people from all religions participate in this festival. It looks as though all have been imbued and coloured with happiness and goodwill for each other. If such an idea fructifies then there would not be any ill-will for anybody in the society in general.
RADHA AND KRISHNA LEGEND
Holi festival is celebrated as Rang Panchami as a commemoration of divine love of Radha for Krishna. As a child, Krishna developed his dark skin because Putana’s (she demon) poisonous milk he had sucked. He was concerned about his colour and was skeptical whether fair skinned Radha would like his dark colour. His mother suggests him to tell Radha to colour him in any colour she wanted. This was actually done thus they developed inseparable friendship between the two. People of Indian origin too celebrate Holi with gusto in foreign countries too.
KAMADEVA AND RATI LEGEND
Holi is also linked to Shiv-Shakti concept of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. In order to bring back Shiva from his deep meditation for quite a long time, Goddess Parvati takes the help of Kamadeva (The God of love) who shoots an arrow of love at Shiva while he was in deep meditation on Vasant Panchami. Shiva opened his third eye and burnt Kamadeva to ashes. This disappointed both Rati (The Kamadevi) and Goddess Parvati. Thereafter, Rati worshiped Lord Shiva for 40 days after which Lord Shiva forgave him and brought back the God of Love to life after which there was rejoicing in the form of Holi after 40 days.
Holi too has cultural significance. After the end of cold season and start of the pleasant spring season with blooming of the flowers people enjoy the natural beauties. This also develop a feeling of forgive and forget acrimony and ill-will and establish new relationship, Holi serves a meeting ground for establishing good relationship. They also exchange sweets made at their homes.
Lessons learned from the FESTIVAL OF COLOUR – HOLI
- As all communities activity participate in this festival, they cement their relationships, thus enhance their sense of correlation and cooperation for better compatibility.
- People forget their inherent differences and go to each others’ homes with colours and sweets thus a spirit of forgetting and forgiving are created.
- One day before actual festival, HOLIKA DAHAN (Burning of symbolic Holika – the sister of Demon King Haranakyshapa) – which is synonymous with burning of evil from our midst. Therefore, this festival helps us burn the evil prevalent in us and establish the kingdom of goodness in our heart.