Dhanteras also known as the festival of...
HOLI means ‘Holy’, ‘Pure’. HOLI when celebrated with its spiritual significance, it makes the person HOLY. Another term ‘HOLI hai, HOLI hai’ means we have become one with God (Parmatma ke ho liye).
It is a festival of colors. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm & revelry. People color each other lovingly & embrace each other saying, ‘We are one with God’ (Ho liye, Ho liye). The difference of cast and creed, high and low, old and young is forgotten. One comes in equanimity, oneness & sameness on this day. After coloring each other you cannot even recognize the face of the other person, hence all become ONE.
Holika Dahan- Burning of Desires
The ceremony of Holika Dahan is observed on the full moon night in the month of Phalgun. The mutation period of winter and spring, induces the growth of bacteria in the atmosphere as well as in the body. When Holika is burnt, temperature rises to about 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Following the tradition when people perform Parikrama (circumambulation or going around) around the fire, the heat from the fire kills the bacteria in the body thus, cleansing it.
Use Kapoor in Holika Dahan as Kapoor destroys the virus of Swine Flu. If all of us put one box of Kapoor then there will be lots of Kapoor and its vapors will destroy the virus.
India being an agricultural country, flourishes with the wheat crop by this time of the year. As the season changes, leaves fall. So the devotees light a big fire where all the waste is burnt. The ripe wheat is roasted in the same fire & distributed among each other.
Spiritually it means when our actions are burnt in the fire of knowledge & devotion (GYAN-AGNI), they do not bear any fruit & give freedom from all the sorrows & the cycle of birth & death. People participating in the Holika Dahan are pledging to “burn away” their bad habits accumulated over the year and renew their faith in Lord Vishnu.
Legend on Holi
The Spiritual Significance of this festival is that Prahlad, a devotee of God, worshiped Lord Narayana. His father Hiranyakashyapu, who was a demon, had taken a boon from Lord Shiva that “He cannot be killed by man, animal, any weapon, nowhere, neither in the day, nor at night”. He became invincible. He thought no one could ever kill him now. Hence he proclaimed, “I am God, worship me”. Prahlad refused! This infuriated Hiranyakashyapu & he became the worst enemy of his son. He tried to kill his son by all means.
Behold – ‘One who is protected by God, no one can hurt him’. Frustrated Hiranyakashyapu asked his sister to kill Prahlad. His sister Holika had a boon that fire cannot burn & kill her. She took advantage of this boon & sat on a pyre with little Prahlad in her lap. But God’s ways are different. Prahlad was saved & Holika got burnt in that pyre. This was victory of God’s love over ego. So people celebrated it as HOLI.
This day is also marked as the Birthday of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He was born nearly 629 years ago on Holi (Phalgun Purnima) , 1486 A.D. to Pandit Jagannath Misra and Sachi Devi at Nabadwip, West Bengal, India.
As a devotee of Lord Krishna, he revealed the most sublime sentiments and feelings of a devotee. He taught us by his own example, how to establish a connection with the Lord through the practice of pure devotion. That practice is Harinam Sankirtan, or the congregational chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord:
“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”
The religious element of the Holi festival consists of worship of Sri Krishna. In some places it is also called the Dol Yatra. The word dol literally means “a swing”. An image of Sri Krishna as a baby is placed in a little swing-cradle and decorated with flowers and painted with colored powders. The pure, innocent frolics (leelas) of little Krishna with the Gopis of Vrindavan are commemorated. Devotees chant the Name of Sri Krishna and sing Holi-songs relating to the frolics (leelas) of little Krishna with the Gopis.
A sweet specially made for this occasion, ‘Gujiya’ is distributed and enjoyed by all to mark sweetness and warmth all around. The colours of Holi brings vibrancy in our life and rejuvenate our mind and body.
On such holy occasions, there should be worship of God, Satsang, and Kirtan of the Lord’s Names, not merely the sprinkling of colored water and lighting of bonfires. These functions are to be considered most sacred and spent in devotional prayers, visiting holy places, bathing in sacred waters, and Satsang with great souls. Abundant charity should be done to the poor. Then only can Holi be said to have been properly celebrated. Devotees of the Lord should remember His delightful pastimes on such happy occasions.
We should forget the outgoing year’s ill-feelings and begin the New Year with feelings of love, sympathy, co-operation and equality with all. We should try to feel this oneness or unity with the Self also.
Chant the Holy name of GOD seriously. Do lot of Naam-Jap (name chanting). God says that all my power resides in my name, so when we chant His holy name with full devotion and enthusiasm then the power of Almighty comes within us. Thus, we become Holy.
Guru Bhagwan says, “As on holy, we apply colors to each other and become colorful. Similarly, let us color our hearts with the love and devotion of God”.
The call of Holi is to always keep ablaze the light of God’s love shining in your heart. Inner illumination is the real Holi. This time celebrate Holi being HOLY. Forget the difference of high and low, cast and creed, name and form, and become ONE with the Existence. All festivals come to bring love, enthusiasm and oneness in our lives. So enjoy every moment of this Holi.
* HAPPY HOLY *