Amar Krishna Paul
India is a land of festivals. Interestingly, every festival has a message to promote welfare of the common people. Our annual Holi festival has also a special message. This festival of colours unfolds the end of misrule by demonic kings like Hiranyakashipu, according to our rich Vedic literature.
There are stories that date back the origin of Holi and recounts tales in the Vedic literature. The essence of colour compels us to shun our logical minds in the hope of a dreamy world full of rainbows.
Holi was also known as “Holika”. Since time immemorial, the festival has found colour in numerous scriptures, such as in works like Jaimini’s Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras with even detailed descriptions in ancient texts like the Narad Purana and Bhavishyad Purana. The festival of “Holikotsav” was also mentioned in the 7th century work, Ratnavali, by King Harsha.
The legendary story goes alike: Lord Vishnu had assassinated the younger brother of the demon lord, Hiranyakashipu. Apart from avenging his brother’s death, the demon king had the ulterior motive of ruling the heaven, the earth, and the underworld by defeating Vishnu. Powered by a boon granted to him, Hiranyakashipu thought he had become invincible. On his orders, his whole state started praying him, dismissing the gods. But his son, Prahalad, maintained his deity to be none but Vishnu. Angered, the tyrant king decided to kill Prahalad with the help of Holika, Hiranyakashipu’s sister, who was immune to fire. A pyre was lit and Holika sat on it, clutching Prahalad. Surprisingly, Prahalad emerged out of the fire unscathed, whereas Holika burned to ashes. Hiranyakashipu, too, was eventually killed by Vishnu. Even today, this saga is re-enacted by millions of Krishna devotees on Holi. It is also known as “Daul Utsav” in Assam, “Gaur Purnima” in West Bengal and “Basanta Utsav” in many parts of India.
In fact, the Holi carries the most confidential message of ‘universal love and care’ armed with ‘universal brotherhood and sisterhood’ among the common people. So, to fine-tune the spirit of Holi festivity, there should be a sense of “God Consciousness’. Again, God Consciousness depicts the ‘Science of Universal Family’. Since all are the children of God in this Universal Family.
In deeper connotation, grossly foolish so-called civilised men are claiming proprietary rights on God’s property because they have now become godless. We cannot be happy and peaceful in a godless society.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that He is the factual enjoyer of all the living entities’ activities, that He is the Supreme Lord of all universes, and that He is the well-wishing friend of all beings. When the people of the world know this as the formula for peace, it is then that peace will prevail.
In the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 5 and Verse 29, Lord Krishna puts: “The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.”
That is, we can turn this Earth planet into paradise by spreading the message of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is our supreme father. We are all His children. We belong to a big and single family of Lord Krishna. We should not fight among ourselves. We should develop a culture of love, brotherhood, unity and tranquility.
At the present juncture, Dr. Thoudam Damodara Singh (His Holiness Bhaktiswaroop Damodara Swami Maharaj of ISKCON) pens, “All the scriptures proclaim that we are all God’s children. Hence we are all brothers and sisters although we speak different languages, have different colours and different religions. If we recognise and practice this culture of universal brotherhood and sisterhood because we have one common father, then the world will be a very different place.”
India is one of the oldest and culturally rich civilisations in the world. As we now make the transformative change from being a developing to a developed economy, there will be immense pressures on our socio-economic and moral fabric. It is, therefore, imperative that we reconnect to our spiritual dimensions. There can be no better way of doing this than spreading the Bhagvad Gita’s message of universal love and humanity.
On March 24, 2021, the Central Government has asked the States and Union Territories to impose local restrictions to check the second wave of Covid-19 while celebrating the Holi festival this year.
Additional Secretary in the Health Ministry Arti Ahuja, in a letter to state chief secretaries and union territory administrators, stated that the battle against COVID-19 is at a critical juncture with rising number of cases and deaths being reported from many parts recently.
To sum it up, Lord Krishna has taught common masses both the art of living and art of dying. He has showed how to enliven family way of life, social way of life and spiritual way of life. Only humbleness, dutifulness, pridelessness, simplicity, tolerance, etc. are the ultimate means of sophistication. We can bring permanent peace in the world by spreading and practicing the message of Lord Krishna far and wide. Finally, let’s pray to God to paint the canvas of our lives with the colours of joy, love, happiness, prosperity, good health and success in the fastest changing international scenario.
(Amar Krishna Paul is the Principal, Creative Academy, G.S. Road, Lachitnagar, Guwahati-781 007. Feedback may be emailed to creativeacademyg @gmail.com) [On e-mail]