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Significance of Holi

on Holi

The word purana comes from the Sanskrit word `pure nava', which `that which is new in the city'. It is a new way of presenting things. Puranas are full of colourful illustrations and stories. On the surface they appear to be mere fantasy, but actually they contain subtle truths.
An asura king, Hiranyakashyap, wanted everyone to worship him. But his son Prahlad was a devotee of Lord Narayana, the king's sworn enemy. Angry  king wanted Holika, his sister, to get rid of Prahlad. Empowered to withstand the fire, Holika sat on a burning pyre holding Prahlad in her lap. But it was Holika who was burnt, and  Prahlad came out unharmed.

Hiranyakashyap symbolizes one who is gross. Prahlad embodies innocence, faith and bliss and joy. The spirit cannot be confined to of material only. Hiranyakashyap wanted all joy to come from material world. It did not happen that way. The individual jivatma cannot be bound to the material forever. It's natural to eventually move towards Narayana, one's higher Self.

Holika stands for the past burdens that try to burn Prahlad's innocence. But Prahlad, so deeply rooted in Narayana Bhakti, could burn all past impressions (samskaras) and  joy springs up with new colours.

Life becomes a celebration. Burning the past, you gear up for a new beginning. Your emotions, like fire, burn you. But when they are a fountain of colours, they add charm to your life. In ignorance, emotions are a bother; in , the same emotions add colour.

Each emotion is associated with a colour – anger with red, jealousy with green, vibrancy and with yellow, love with pink, vastness with blue, peace with white,sacrifice with saffron and knowledge with violet.

So  Holi should be colourful and  not boring. When each colour is seen clearly, it is colourful. When all the colours get mixed, you end up with black.

So also in life, we play different roles. Each role and emotion needs to be clearly defined.

Emotional confusion creates problems. When you are a father, you have to play the part of a father. You can't be a father at office. When you mix the roles in your life, you start making mistakes. Whatever role you play in life, give yourself fully to it. Harmony in diversity makes life vibrant and more colourful.

One legend talks about the time when was in tapasya and Shiva was in samadhi. In facilitating the divine union of the Two, Kamadeva, the Lord of Love, gets burnt to ashes by Shiva. Shiva had to come out of samadhi to join Parvati, for  celebration to take place. `Parva' is festival and `Parvati' means `born out of festival' – celebration! For samadhi to unite with celebration, the presence of desire was necessary.
So, desire (Kama) was invoked. But again, to celebrate, you need to overcome desire. So Shiva opened his third eye and burned Kama. When desire in the is burnt, celebration happens.

A state of vairagya is not devoid of ‘ras'or colours- Vairagya is often misunderstood as ‘neeras' or monotonous. actually it is ‘navras', it has all the colours!

~~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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Krishna Reddy
Krishna Reddy
Founder and Chief Editor of A Post-Graduate from IIT Bombay, I am a social entrepreneur and Founder of iDiya Web Solutions, a Hyderabad based software company. Follow my ideas and updates on my profile !

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