Significance of Holi Utsav
Decoding ‘Holi Utsav’:
- Significance of the sacred bonfire and divine color Festival;
- Three facets of the Fire & Pujya Bhaishri’s Sandesh
- Hutāśṇī – Prior to consuming the first crop, this sacred offering to the Fire God is a mark of gratitude to all elements.
The Fire God plays the role of ‘couriering’ offerings and nourishment to to all divine energies (Devatā) and in this sense this is a Yajñá performed on this auspicious day.
By Rishi Jitendrabhai Yagnik (Sandipani South India Parivar)
Wheat, Channa are put in the urn which is buried in the ground below. The bonfire is already prepared- made of cow-dung patties; dry coconut tree branches and wood. The duly roasted grains from this urn are distributed the next day as prasāda to all.
2. Holika Dahan- Significance of Lighting the sacred bonfire at Holi. The triumph of Young Prahalad’s Faith over Evil.
‘Prahlāda was a very noble child, and a true devotee of ShriHari thanks to His Mother, Kayādhu and Guru, Nāradaji.
His father, however, was a powerful and cruel Demon King called Hiraṇyakaśipu who forbade worship of anyone other than himself.
Prahlāda’s deep love for ShriHari as the Supreme Being who exists equally in all places and at all times infuriated Hiraṇyakaśipu. He tried every method to kill his son for this.
The Demon King had a sister called ‘Holika’ who had a divine boon that she could sit in burning fire and not be burned.
So Holika sat with Prahlāda in her lap surrounded by huge flames aiming to kill him. Young Prahlāda was fearless and happily sat there chanting God’s Name.
What happens next? Holika burns to ashes instead because of her evil intentions and Prahlāda is left untouched by the fire! He was saved by His faith in God, who is always with him and within everyone. He saw God in Holika and in the fire as well and did not think of any as his enemy.
That is why we do the worship and circle the fire when we celebrate Holi!
To burn all feelings of hatred and harm in the fire and to be pure to play Holi with the loving colors of brotherhood and good will for all!’
Like Prahlāda, To be colored in divine love is the true ‘Rangotsava’, or festival of Colors, says Pujya Bhaishri!
3. The Tale of King Raghu and the Demoness Dhundha – encouraging children to bravely face negative energies. From Bhaviṣya Purāṇa by Rishi Jitendrabhai Yagnik
Interesting story of Raghu Rājā inspiring children of his kingdom to face the negative energy called ‘Dhuṇḍha Rakṣasī’ with sticks of fire and courage. She has been blessed with the boon of immortality by Mahādeva and so she does not die but will fear approaching you.
Children especially are encouraged to see this fire and develop inner courage, offer a coconut of their hopelessness, circle the fire thrice with water and protect themselves.
4. Rangotsav – How to play Holi with the Lord.
Click here to listen to the Significance of the 7 divine Colors from Rādhe-Shyam Shrimad Bhāgavat Katha – Vrindavan 2019.
1. White – represents the Peace and Purity of the five material elements as well as of the mind which belongs to material nature. This ‘clean slate’ of a purified four-fold mind and cleansed physical body, enables one to duly receive and be colored by God’s divine hues.
2. Yellow: True Wealth of Devotion is Rādhā’s molten Gold complexion. She is also seen as a brilliant flash of Lightening, who elicits the rain of grace from the full (dark blue) rain cloud of ŚrīKṛṣṇa.
3. Blue– As in the ocean and sky, blue appears where boundlessness and purity meet as seen in the case of Shri Kṛṣṇa, who is everyone’s Soul.
4. Red – The Goddess depicts this universal color for strength, vitality, Life (blood) and Love.
5. Green– represents the beauty of Mother Nature. Where the colours of yellow (Rādhā) and blue (Kṛṣṇa) combine to soothe the soul.
6. Pink – the color of divine romance, free of body identification. Seen in the love of Bharata, Gopis and Meera.
7. Orange – the Colour of fire representing renunciation and the revelation of self-knowledge.
5. Celebrations and compliance in the times of COVID-19. Pujya Bhaishri’s Holi Utsav- 2021 Sandesh
The other name of this material world or ‘saṃsāra’ is problem or ‘samasyā’. Whether it is ŚrīRāma, ŚrīKṛṣṇa or some Karsanbhai from our town—none of our lives are free from problems.
Our spiritual scientist Ṛṣis have endowed us with the rich tradition of on-going and regular celebrations, or ‘utsavas’ to alleviate depression from the ongoing struggle of facing these difficulties in daily life. These celebrations are unique opportunities that aid us in forgetting these manifold difficulties of the material world and in returning to our naturally blissful state of being— ‘nijānanda’.
Pujya Bhaishri clarifies the relevance of celebrations- even in a pandemic
The entire world has been facing enormous difficulties as of early 2019 with the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic and just as restrictions seemed to be easing, there is an upwards trend in the rise of corona virus cases in India and around the world once again.
As such, it is as important to enjoy and celebrate our celebrations, as it is to comply with government and medical guidelines- to ensure that both our mental and physical health remain in good form as we adjust to the ‘new normal’ around us.
For important celebrations such as Holi, we will get together with loved ones but in small groups as the need of the hour is for large gatherings to be restricted and as such public places and temples to remain closed to large public events.
Is your closest Temple closed at this time?
If a temple near you is currently closed, do not despair as one surely attains the same merit and blissful result of having darśana of the Lord by simply sighting the temple’s flag (dhvaja) from the outside, as in seen in the Dvārakādiśa temple when visited by Sudāmā.
Whilst celebrating Holi this year and abjuring all negativities such as hatred, sorrow, resentments etc we must take equal care to ensure we are not carriers for this material illness. Strict compliance with evolving Government regulations is vital to play our part in overcoming this second wave of the virus. The definition of the ideal of self-governance called ‘Rāma Rājya’ speaks of all human beings living in loving harmony with one another.
No-one can stop us from celebrating Life and certainly, celebrations are necessary to assist us in living Life as a celebration.
Merely having a job and food is not enough to fulfill us – the mundane routine of daily work demands a day off dedicated to relaxation and enjoyment to rejuvenate and continue to persevere in man’s pursuit for excellence and success. Just as a ‘Sunday’ is vital to help human being feel and experience that internal Bliss in their life, so too are these spiritually significant days needed for the Self.
Here at ShriHari Mandir (Porbandar), we uphold a tradition of celebrating Holi with great enthusiasm, and whilst all ritual worship of the Lord and devotional traditions shall take place without interruption, we shall maintain decorum in celebrations for the second year.
Dhuleti – the festival of color- shall be played only with the Lord and not with visiting devotees. Pujya Bhaishri urged all to continue to celebrate but with socially responsible best practices- such as a simple but symbolic tilak on the forehead or with a touch of color upon the cheeks.
We will fight through whatever circumstances befall us, but we will not let the colors of our zeal become dull! In this way, we shall accomplish both ends- celebrate our festivals, and also take care of ourselves. To enjoy uplifting devotional Bhajans called’ Holi Ke Rasiyas’ by Pujya Bhaishri, Don’t miss this collection!