The Heart of Holi
The Heart of Holi
THE HEART OF HOLI
By reconnecting with our spiritual essence, we can attain unlimited happiness.
Holi is a much-awaited festival of spring and is not only confined to India but also popular in the west. It is a festival of colors, fun, happiness, love, and devotion. In many ways, it is the battle of love. These colors represent love. To win over each other with a love that’s what bhakti is all about. Holi also signifies the victory of good over evil.
This year we are in the middle of a pandemic; it may not be possible for most of us to celebrate Holi with the same vigor and vitality. Is everything lost? No! It is time for us to revisit what a festival is. The festivals we celebrate — Dusshera, Deepavali, and Holi — are essentially associated with the divine pastimes of the Supreme Lord and His devotees.
The festival of Holi is associated with Prahlad, a great devotee. He was in the midst of the most gruesome situation we could imagine. But he was undisturbed and was always blissful; he revived his eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord through Bhakti Yoga. He was experiencing the unlimited love of Narsimhadeva.
This loving relationship can alone bestow everlasting satisfaction and joy as stated in the Bhagwad Gita, 6:22. The Lord is the Supreme controller protected Prahlad from being burnt in the fire when Holika, who had the boon to enter the fire unscathed, took Prahlad on her lap and sat in the fire. Prahlad was saved by his devotion for the Lord, while Holika burnt. Thus, Holi is the time to remember this devotion of Prahlad and to revive it within us.
We are living in a world of uncertainties and limitations; today it is the pandemic, tomorrow it will be something else. We are constantly plagued by enemies of lust, anger, greed, pride, illusion, and envy. The only solution is to revive our devotion by following Prahlad’s footsteps. This way we can celebrate Holi every moment in our hearts, irrespective of our external situations. This Holi of the heart is the heart of Holi.
Each one of us wants to have a colorful life — a life full of newness, thrill, and fun. Every day, we try new fashions, cuisine, gadgets, apps, and hobbies. In fact, the whole economy today is based on promising and providing something new to the customers. Why are we searching for so much variety? It points to a deeper reality of our existence. We are searching for happiness. How we try to paint our life, but it soon loses charm. It is evident in our constant hankering for something new or our constant frustration with what we have.
Is it a dead end? Is our search for everlasting and ever-fresh happiness never going to succeed? Yes, it can succeed. The fact that we have a longing for everlasting and ever-fresh happiness, implies that we have had an experience of such happiness in the past. Where was it? When was it? Why don’t we have it now?
The Gita states that because of our unnatural and incompatible desires to enjoy, we are cast into a world of duality and illusion (7:27). There is nothing wrong with desiring to be happy; it is just that we are trying to find happiness in the wrong place. The canvas and the colors are wrong.
It is through reconnecting with our spiritual essence, through the process of Bhakti Yoga, one can attain unlimited happiness in the spiritual realm that fixes one stably in the Truth (6:21). It is possible for every one of us to attain this state of spiritual bliss. It is our natural position and can be easily achieved by chanting Holy Names and practicing the wisdom of the Gita. If we paint our life with the brush of Bhakti Yoga, on the spiritual canvas, we will never lose charm in life.