Opinion Op Ed 23 Mar 2016 Mystic Mantra: Holi- ...
Kulbir Kaur teaches sociology at Shyama Prasad Mukherji College, Delhi University

Mystic Mantra: Holi- Dahan of hatred

Published Mar 23, 2016, 12:52 am IST
Updated Mar 23, 2016, 12:52 am IST
Holi marks the victory of good over evil and it is customary to celebrate Holi with a bonfire.
Holi Celebration. (Photo: AFP)
 Holi Celebration. (Photo: AFP)

The festival of colours, Holi, is an ancient festival and is celebrated at the end of winter, or on the 14th day of Phalguna. The literal meaning of Holi is burning (dahan). Originally Holi was known as Holika, indicating the relation of the festival to “Holika-dahan”. Though there are a number of legends associated with Holi, the most famous of all is the legend of Prahlad and Hiranya-kashyap.

King Hiranyakashyap had instructed all the people of his kingdom to worship only him and none other. But his son Prahlad became a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Despite his best efforts to distract Prahlad from the path of devotion, Prahlad refused to worship Hiranyakashyap. Enraged by Prahlad’s devotion and his own failure, the king instructed his sister Holika to enter fire with Prahlad.

 

Holika had a boon to endure the effects of fire without causing any harm to her. While Prahlad was saved by the grace of the Almighty, Holika, despite her boon, died because of her evil motives. Holi marks the victory of good over evil and it is customary to celebrate Holi with a bonfire. The festival, therefore, symbolises the dahan of hatred, anger, enmity, jealousy, greed and other ills of life. It is also the day to forgive others.

Holi is the day when people throw colours, especially gulal, and water at each other. Gulal symbolises happiness and love. Legend of Krish-na and Radha is associated with playing with colours and the festival of gulal comes to its full form in Mathura and Vrindavan.

 

In addition to this traditional Holi, Sikhs celebrate Hola Mohalla, which was given a new form, new significance and a new name by Guru Gobind Singh. The word Hola means halla (attack) and “a military charge”. Mohalla implies an organised procession in the form of an army column. The Guru, in true spirit of “saint-soldier”, made Hola Mohalla an occasion for Sikhs to demonstrate their martial skills and at the same time to be imbued with the spiritual word in the form of shabad. The event was reinvented to revive the spirit of brotherhood and martial ethics in the Sikh community.

 

The sacred Guru Granth advises Sikhs to play a pure Holi by immersing themselves in Namsimran. “I am imbued with the deep crimson colour of the Lord’s divine love; My mind and body have blossomed forth, in utter incomparable beauty,” says the Guru. Sikhs celebrate Hola Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib in a celebration marked by shabad-kirtan, langar, processions and poetry-recitals. The main attraction of the event are the feats shown by Nihangs like gatka, horse-riding, standing on speeding horses, etc. The festival of Hola Mohalla showcases the true colours of bravery.

 

 

...




ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
-->