HOLI is a national, social and spiritual festival of Hindus. The festival reminds us of how Prahlad, who remained steadfast on virtue, came out unharmed while the evil-natured Holica was destroyed. It is social festival when people sprinkle coloured water on and thereby express solidarity with one another forgetting their differences.
The Holi festival is the celebration of the change of weather in the form of onset of spring season. The crops of wheat and grams are ready at the time of Holi. In some regions, people bury pitchers filled with grains and burn the Holi fire on the place. The half-roasted grains are then distributed as Prasad the next day. This half-roasted rice is helpful in alleviating Vata and Kapha disorders. Half-roasted grains are called Hola.
The real purpose of this festival is to penetrate the veil of external distinctions and to get to the unity hidden underneath. With this end in view, it is prescribed that Lord’s idol should be seated in a chariot and a procession should be taken out from the Ekadashi of bright fortnight of Falguna; and prabhatferies, japa, meditation, discussion of the Lord’s glory, kirtana and company of saints should be undertaken till Purnima.
On the day of Holi, one should invoke the virtues of unwavering devotion, divine love, forbearance and equanimity like those of Prahlada and should develop in oneself the divine virtues of divine love, goodwill, sympathy, faith in one’s tutelary deity, faith in japa, in recollection of God’s name and in satsang; compassion, etc. while resolving to get rid of luxurious life-style and desires.
The Holi falls on Purnima (full moon day) and thus gives the message of going beyond the distinctions of ‘I’ and ‘you’ and attaining fullness. Dhulendi coming on the next day gives the message of throwing ‘I’ and ‘my’ into dhul (dust). When your outer body is coloured by Holi colours, your subtle body is simultaneously coloured by Bhakti and you yourself are coloured by Self-Knowledge and you become a jivanmukta (one having attained oneness with God); your ego and attachment is consigned to the dustbin.
Dhulendi is celebrated to mark this throwing away of the baggage of births and deaths into dhul (dust).
He, who is firm like Prahlada, will not abandon noble thoughts even in the face of a thousand obstacles in life. Their evil nature itself becomes the cause of their doom. People with pious thoughts are never deterred from their path. Man is a conglomeration of ideas and the origin of his mind is the Self-god endowed with amazing powers, the Supreme Soul. It is a divine arrangement that His devotee should face opposition so that his hidden courage is awakened and he completes his journey to the divine, be it Narasinh Mehta, Adi Shankaracharya, Dadu Dindayal, Swami Ramsukhdas, Mirabai or Bhakt Prahlad. Obstacles and oppositions came in Prahlad’s life to awaken his dormant powers. When you face oppositions and obstacles in life, don’t complain that you are facing troubles even when you are worshipping God. True, trouble has come, but it has come to awaken in you the power to trample all troubles, to break free from the cycle of transmigration. Stay firm in this conviction. Do not be disheartened, be firm like Prahlad.
The festival of Holi gives us the pious message that we too should face the obstacles and problems in our life with courage like Prahlad and have unwavering devotion towards God, however, difficult the circumstances be. We have celebrated many Dhule- ndis, but let it be the real Holi this time. If you have not dyed your heart with the colour of divine love, you have not played Holi. If you have not eradicated your ego and attachment, you haven’t celebrated Dhulendi.
Similarly, when your mind realizes the Real Self, you need not play Holi with the toys of samsara. Play with your Rama, your Lord. Offer your whimsical thoughts, which you have been nurturing for aeons as oblations to the flames of Self-knowledge on the day of Holi. Celebrate a splendid Holi by burning your capriciousness and evil tendencies in the fire of Holi.
Instead of the toxic colour, dye yourself and others with the colour of the name of the Supremely Pious Lord. Forget all distinctions of superiority and inferiority, ‘mine’ and ‘yours’, behold the one Truth Absolute, Consciousness Absolute Supreme Soul in all and progress on the path of attaining blessedness in life.— Asaramji Bapu