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Festivals

Holi
By Seema Burman, November 2003

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Courtesy and Copyright The Times of India

Colour Your Hearts with Love of God  

PRAHLAD, son of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, was perhaps unique in rebelling against the tyrannical rule of his father. The king banned the worship of Lord Vishnu in his kingdom as he wished to project himself as God. None dared to revolt except his own son Prahlad. Little Prahlad went up to his father and narrated the story of a king who got a new palace built for himself. It took nine months to be completed. He wished to spend the rest of his life in the palace but a persistent mosquito disturbed him and would not allow him to sleep or live in place. The king was advised by many to discard the palace. “What should he do”? asked Prahlad. Hiranyakashipu was quick to retort: “Son, the king should not be afraid of a mere mosquito”. Smiled Prahlad, “You are right, father, I took nine months inside the womb to get a human body. My ultimate goal is to achieve Divine Enlightenment. If a mosquito like you shakes my faith, should I abandon my devotion?”

Aghast at such impudence, the king ordered his sister Holika to sit in the fire with Prahlad in her lap. She had won a boon that no fire could burn her. This way thought the king; Vishnu’s only devotee would be eliminated. But at the crucial hour, the fire devoured Holika and left the fearless Prahlad untouched. Prahlad’s firm shraddha and faith in God and his awareness of the futility of the physical body gave him the strength to face the ire of his father, the powerful demon king.

Prahlad has been accorded a permanent place in our scriptures because of his unshakeable belief in the Supreme Power. How many of us can boast of such unswerving faith in Him? Yet we expect God to rescue us at every juncture.

Explaining the symbolic significance of the Holi festival, Sant Shri Aasaramji Bapu says Hiranyakashipu means one who is in the mad race of wealth and power while Prahlad stands for someone who is ever-smiling amidst all adversity and retains his immense faith in God. Prahlad is the Soul whereas our desires are the demon Hiranyakashipu. The Soul is desperate to unite with its Supreme Creator while the demon inside us repeatedly induces us to submerge ourselves in the blind ambitions of the world. Holika is the ignorance that takes the Soul in her lap and sits with it in the fire of the senses. If the Soul completely surrenders to God or the Satguru, they come to his rescue breaking all laws. The fire of desire transforms into the fire of wisdom. In such a fire ignorance is burnt, the demon gets destroyed and the Self gets liberated. The colors you apply on your physical body during Holi are temporary and last only for the day. But once a Satguru applies the permanent color of bhakti and Divine Knowledge in your heart that will remain with you till Eternity.

Revealing the meaning of Holi, Aasaramji says, in Hindu “Ho li” means that which has gone by. Criticism, praise, hatred, good and bad times, all have gone by. Holi gives us an opportunity to be free of all baser thoughts and memories stuck in our mind and heart. The poor forget their poverty and the rich their ego. The enemies forget their enmity, the downtrodden their fear. Every heart gets rejuvenated and purified. Holi is the best time to rebuild relationships, to mend broken hearts. On coming in contact with worldly people, our lives get colored with their temporary, artificial sensual colors. Holi reminds us to colour ourselves with the permanent colors of faith, spiritualism, wisdom and worship. Holi teaches us to face the hurdles of our life with patience. Remain steady like Prahlad; do not lose faith in God. Dip everyone in the colour of keertan (chanting His name), forget the disparities of class and know that all are equal for He exists in all. Remember, Prahlad was a demon not a devata. God makes no distinction between his devotees.

Holi emphasizes the need to live a life of fearlessness and manlines. Sanatan Dharma promotes only this truth: So-ham. (Thou art That). Thou stands for the Self and That stands for God. God is within you. Realise your Self even in the face of ridicule. During the Vedic period Holi was played with natural colors. With the arrival of the new season, the sun’s heat is more pronounced in the atmosphere and in the body leading to hot tempers and irritation. Extracting cool colors from the plants help us in bearing the onslaught of the coming summers. During holi new grain is sprinkled in the havan-fire after which it becomes suitable for consumption. The day after is Dhulendi. Dhul stands for dust. Put dust on your Ego, on your artificiality, on your tempers, on your past. Celebrate Hoi not just for a day but for each day of your life.

Also visit Holi
1. www.holi-festival.com

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