Holi: The festival of arousing the knowledge and joy of the bliss personified Self
– Pujya Sant Shri AsharamJi Bapu
(Holi: 17th March, Dhulendi: 18th March)
The festival of Holi is the time to do away with the differences between the great and the small and to arouse the ecstasy, knowledge and joy of the Truth absolute-Knowledge absolute and Bliss absolute abiding in their depth. This festival offers a nice opportunity to get rid of human narrowness and egotism.
The full moon of the month Phalgun is the victory day of Prahlada who had attained self-bliss. Hiranyakashipu stands for the one who does not see the truth or worth in anything other than wealth and sense enjoyments and sees truth only in the body and pleasures. Prahlada stands for the one who considers the body and pleasures unreal and their ‘Seer’ Supreme Self to be the Truth. Enmity developed between Hiranyakashipu the father and Prahlada the son, but Prahlada did not let his mind get distressed or agitated. Hiranyakashipu wanted to impose his ideas on Prahlada, but a devotional song defines such a person like this, “A mountain can possibly move from its place, but not the mind of a true devotee.” When Hiranyakashipu could not change Prahlada’s devoted mind through various efforts, he ordered his sister Holika, who had a boon to remain unburnt even in fire, to kill Prahlada. She sat on a heap of wood and Prahlada was made to sit on her lap; then the heap of wood was set on fire. However, surprisingly enough Holika was burnt and Prahlada remained alive. What happened was just the opposite of what was expected, because Prahlada had taken shelter in God, the Truth.
Most meritorious great night of Holi
Night of Holi is one of the four most meritorious great nights. Keeping night vigil, doing Japa and meditation, and living in the company of great saints gives great merits. On this night, if there is indulgence in sex, utter ruin would follow.
How to get health benefits?
* On the night of Holi, one should take food prepared without oil or Ghee. The secret behind this is that consumption of spicy and oily food increases Kapha. Therefore, if the supper is fat-free the accumulated Kapha will be absorbed by the dry food; and the digestive system will not get impaired. * It is beneficial to take out Kirtan Yatras (chanting procession) these days.
* One should chew washed 10-15 tender leaves of the Neem tree (margosa tree) with two black peppers for 15-20 days in this season which would ensure immunity for the complete year.
* One should take a salt-free diet for 10-15 days so as to balance Kapha. You will not become weak but remain healthy.
* Sucking sugar cane and eating bitter gourd in this season is beneficial.
* One should do Pranayama and Yoga Asanas in this season. It will develop your Life-force. * In this season, you should become more active and perform some vigorous exercises. Also, offer the freshly harvested and roasted grains to God; then eat and share it with others.
* One should take Panchagavya (made of five cow products) on the full moon day. It cures even bone-deep diseases.
The Aim of Dhulendi
The festival of Dhulendi is celebrated on the next day of Holikotsava. The objective of this festival is multifaceted. It encourages the jiva to attain spiritual truth, good health and social unity and cooperation in so many ways. It gives the message: “let the past bury its dead”. Forget the outgoing year’s ill feelings. It is Holi today. Now, while playing Holi with colours, say you meet 7 persons and your opponent is one of them. Would you like to separate the six persons to sprinkle colour on them? And when you will sprinkle colour on your opponent also, do you think that he will keep silent? He will also laugh. In all possibilities, his balloon of ego will also burst forth. Our heart becomes dirty when we give importance to attachment and aversion, and vanity of the world which give rise to feelings: “My shop…My house…My prestige”. Therefore, do not nurture attachment or aversion in your mind, which make it impure. Purify your mind, because it originates from the Atman that is identical with the Pure Supreme Self.
Play Holi with flowers of Palash
Now, after the Makar Sankranti, the Sun begins to move northwards. Hence sunrays will fall straighter on earth. So the seven dhatus and colours of the body will get disturbed a little. The tradition of playing Holi with the Palash flowers (Butea frondosa) was instituted with a view to keeping them balanced to ensure strong immunity in your body. Unfortunately, nowadays people play Holi with chemical colours. Scientists state that due to various toxic ingredients of the chemical colours which enter your body through pores the seven colours become aggravated, and it is possible that one may lose his eyesight due to the adverse effects thereof. Besides ensuring your own safety, you should spread this message amongst your neighbours also.
If you play Holi with Palash flowers, the virtues of forgiveness, solemnity and steadfastness will increase; and you will develop creativity, prosperity, strength and earnestness. It will protect you from the weakness of the heart and nervous debility. It will ward off sadness and delirium. If you play Holi with chemical colours, you remain deprived of all these advantages, and may even suffer possible harm. Such Satsang discourses are not available in foreign countries and the people there wear red clothes, and see exciting scenes (movies) and thus suffer more from diseases, irritability and suicidal tendencies compared to the Indians. We want that they also enjoy happiness; and may you too remain uninfluenced by obstacles in your life, and shine with joy and bliss like Prahlada.
Pious Message of Holi
It is alright to celebrate physical Holi, but one should celebrate Manasik (subtle at mental level) Holi also. Imagine in your mind: ‘I have reverentially sprinkled my colour on my Satgurudeva and He, in turn, sprinkled His colour on me.’ One gives only what one has. On this pious day, let us offer numerous salutations at the holy feet of the great saints such as Kabirji, Nanakdevji, Sant Bholay Baba and my Gurudeva (His Holiness Sai Shri Leelashahji Maharaj) who gave us the message to celebrate this festival by colouring our hearts with the colours of spiritual wisdom, faith, devotional love, generosity and spiritual joy!
The message of Holi is that the sense of being great or small is not real. Your consciousness is real. Such thoughts as – “I am less educated, I am less rich, I do not have any supporters”, are not good. The Supreme Self whose mere Thought is this whole world is verily abiding in your heart as your True Self. Don’t consider yourself to be poor and downtrodden. Give up petty narrow-mindedness. This is the rationale of Holi.