Holi, also known as Holika Purnima, appears on the Purnima of the month of Phalguna. Holi festival is widely famous in our country as we burn the effigy of Holika on the night of Holi. We also celebrate Gaur Purnima on this day as Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu appeared on this most auspicious day.
Nowadays, we celebrate Holi just as indecent fun, but no one genuinely knows the reason behind its celebration and has no knowledge about its importance. Anything done in ignorance is bound to be felt like a burden, but when we are fully aware, it makes the same things color our life in a beautiful light.
And the very same festival of a variety of colors is Holi. Just as lively colors are spread throughout nature, our emotions are also vividly colored in this manner. A person is a storehouse of various emotions, which keep changing. Sometimes, just like fire, it burns us from within, but when it is in a rainbow-like state, radiant, it brings enthusiasm, happiness, and zeal into our lives.
Story Behind Holi
Hiranakashyap and Hiranyakashipu were Lord Vishnu’s gatekeepers Jaya and Vijaya, who were cursed to take birth as demons for three births on the planet of Earth. In their first birth, they appeared as the demon brothers Hiranakashyap and Hiranyakashipu. Their sister was Holika.
Out of fear, everyone used to worship Hiranyakashipu, even the great demigods were afraid of him, but his son Prahlad chose to worship Lord Vishnu.
Prahalad’s Strong Minded Devotion
Hiranyakashipu was in deep fury due to his son’s single-minded devotion to Lord Vishnu. He tried to convince Prahlad several times to leave his devotion for Lord Vishnu. Still, when Prahlad did not abide by his father’s words, Hiranakashyap tried to kill Prahlad in so many ways, like drowning him in water, putting him in a snake well, throwing him from a cliff, leaving him to be squashed under the feet of mad elephants and tried to kill him with many weapons and in many other ways. Still, he could not harm Prahlad a bit.
Frustrated, Hiranyakashipu called his sister Holika who had a boon from Lord Brahma that she could not be burnt in a fire. So on Hiranyakashipu’s order, his sister, Holika, sat in a fire pit with Prahlad in his lap. Prahlad had full faith in his Lord. He believed that Lord Vishnu gave him this body and could take it back if he wanted. So he sat with Holika while chanting the Lord’s name. The fire could not harm Prahlad one bit. The blistering flames could not hurt even a single hair on his body. However, Holika got burnt completely.
The Lord Protects His Devotees
The story of Prahlad is the major reason why we celebrate the festival of Holi. The story also teaches us that no one can ever harm the devotees of Lord Vishnu. In Bhagwat Gita, Lord Krishna instructed Arjun, “Oh son of Kunti, declare it to the world, my devotees never perish!”
And true to his promise, the Lord took the divine form of Narsingh Dev and killed Hiranyakashipu. This signifies truth, and kindness always wins. To remind us of all these things, we celebrate the festival of Holi.
We burn Holika made of cow dung in the evening. The next day, we celebrate its joy by applying colors to each other. In some parts of India, the ashes from the fire after burning Holika are preserved in homes to invite an auspicious presence and safeguard the family protected from evil forces.
Braj Holi is very famous as we celebrate Holi in Braj for one month whereas in other areas Holi is celebrated for just two days. Barsana’s lath maar Holi is the most famous. It is also known as Dhuli Vandan, which means Braj Dhool or dust, applying the dust of place where Lord Krishna had his past times on our foreheads, and with the blessings of the lord and his devotees, keeping in mind that no one can harm anyone if Krishna is protecting us all.
Also Read: How You Can Contribute to Temple and serve the Lord
Lord Krishna played Holi with colors. However, the varied style of playing Holi in Vrindavan and Barsana is equally famous. Therefore it’s okay if a devotee wants to play with colors with Lord Krishna. Many people (including me) play Holi with the lord using Kesar and Gulab Jal, then with flowers. I do Pushpa Abhishek once a year – on Holi. In that colored condition, I offer at least Thandai, along with other Bhoga if possible, and then clean up the place, deities, and the altar. In our house, we start by playing Holi with the lord and then, if desired, play among ourselves.
Have a Happy & Safe Holi!