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Dr K K Aggarwal

Holi beyond Colors

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The story behind the festival, Holi, starts with Holika, the sister of Hiranyakashyap, the father of Prahlad. Hiranyakashyap had declared himself as GOD and wanted his son Prahlad to worship him and not Vishnu. When Prahlad refused to do the same, he was made to sit with Holika in an open fire. Holika had a boon that she could not be burned even if she was on live fire. When she was made to sit with Prahlad on the live fire, the opposite happened. She lost her life and was burned but Prahlad came out alive from the fire. The above story has a deep spiritual meaning. Hiranyakashyap represents “ego”, which when takes control makes a person forget about his own consciousness, so that the person thinks that he is the supreme power. The same symbolic representation is seen with Ravana in Ramayana and Kansa in Mahabharata. Prahlad symbolizes a person with self realization or the son of God or one’s consciousness or one’s true self. The consciousness cannot be burned, cut, dried or made wet by anything. It is imperishable and everlasting. All those people who have acquired self realization utilizing any of the pathway (Bhakti, Karma and Gnana) are in a state of GOD acquaintance and nothing can destroy them. The obstacles to the pathway of self-realization are mentioned as “attachment, anger, desire, greed and ego”. When all these negative factors overpower any individual, it leads one away from self realization or away from God. Holika denotes the sum total of the negative forces in the body which can kill you if not controlled in time. Getting attached to any of the 5 senses can end in a vicious cycle and one can get burnt in this ‘chakravyuha’ of attachments. If you are truthful, and have attained a state of one-point contemplation on a known truth, all the negative forces will stay away. All such negative forces if repressed within the body can burn you out over a period of time and that is one of the reasons why all negative emotions should never be suppressed or repressed. The practice of burning Holi a day before the festival symbolizes burning all your negative thoughts or emotions embedded in the mind and neutralize all the poison arising due to the negative feelings. As soon as the negativity is removed from the mind there is opening of the spiritual vision or the knowledge of the consciousness. Once this is done, only the positive thoughts remain, which is celebrated as sharing and loving each other, the next day. Sharing love is the biggest thing one can do in removing all the above mentioned obstacles to self-realization. Spreading love reduces anger as well as desires, detaches one from various attachments, reduces greed, and brings humility in a person. By burning one’s ego and other negative qualities, one also burns the ill-feeling amongst each other and makes everybody a friend. During Holi, the practice therefore, is to visit and meet not only your friends but also those people whom you are not friendly with. The festival of Holi is therefore an opportunity to spread brotherhood and happiness in the society. WHO defines health as not mere absence of disease but a state of physical, mental, spiritual, social and environmental wellbeing. Holi, therefore, is a classical example or a custom to create “social healthiness” amongst the general society. The habit of throwing water on each other also has a deep spiritual meaning. It basically means removing dirt from each other. Dirt here does not means bodily dirt but mental dirt, which once removed leads to spiritual cleanliness. The whole meaning is not to play Holi superficially or meet each other at a superficial level but to get rid of the negativity at the level of the mind as well. There is no point in celebrating Holi and meeting people unless you remove your negative thoughts about them from the mind. When you lovingly smear ‘gulal’ (coloured powder) on others, they reciprocate with doubled love and affection. Similarly, always think of good things about people. Express your positive thoughts about these friends loudly – not only in front of them but also in their absence. Don’t you think your heart will throb with pleasure when they reciprocate?

Holi beyond Colors

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The story behind the festival, Holi, starts with Holika, the sister of Hirnakashyap the father of Prahalad.

Hirnakashyap had declared himself as GOD and wanted his son Prahalad to worship him and not Vishnu. When Prahalad refused to do the same, he was made to sit with Holika in an open fire. Holika had a boon that she could not be burned even if she was on live fire. When she was made to sit with Prahalad on the live fire, the opposite happened. She lost her life and got burned but Prahalad came out alive from the fire.

The above story has a deep spiritual meaning. Hirnakashyap here represents “EGO” which when takes control; one forgets about his own consciousness and thinks that he is the supreme power. The same symbolic representation is seen with Ravana in Ramayana and Kansa in Mahabharata.

Prahalad here represents a person with self realization or the son of God or one’s consciousness or one’s true self. The consciousness cannot be burned, cut, dried or made wet by anything. It is imperishable and everlasting.

All those people who have acquired self realization utilizing any of the pathway (Bhakti, Karma and Gnana ) are in a state of GOD acquaintance and nothing can destroy them.

The obstacles to the pathway of self realization are mentioned as “attachment, anger, desire, greed and ego”. When all these negative factors overpower any individual, it leads one away from self realization or away from God. Holika here represents the sum total of the negative forces in the body which can kill you if not controlled in time.

Getting attached to any of the 5 senses can end in a vicious cycle and one can get burnt in this ‘chakarvyuha’ of attachments. If you are truthful, and have attained a state of one-point contemplation on a known truth, all the negative forces will stay away. All such negative forces if repressed within the body can burn you out over a period of time and that is one of the reasons why all negative emotions should never be suppressed or repressed.

The practice of burning Holi a day before the festival symbolizes burning all your negative thoughts or emotions embedded in the mind and neutralize all the poison arising due to the negative feelings. As soon as the negativity is removed from the mind there is opening of the spiritual vision or the knowledge of the consciousness. Once this is done, only the positive thoughts remain, which is celebrated as sharing and loving each other, the next day.

Sharing love is the biggest thing one can do in removing all the above mentioned

5 obstacles to self-realization. Spreading love reduces anger as well as desires, detaches one from various attachments, reduces greed, and brings humility in a person. By burning ones ego and other negative qualities, one also burns the ill feeling amongst each other and makes everybody a friend.

During Holi, the practice therefore, is to visit and meet not only your friends but also those people to whom you are not friendly. The festival therefore, is an opportunity to spread brotherhood and happiness in the society.

WHO defines health as not mere absence of disease but a state of physical, mental, spiritual, social and environmental wellbeing. Holi, therefore, is a classical example or a custom to create “social healthiness” amongst the general society.

The habit of throwing water on each other also has a deep spiritual meaning. It basically means removing dirt from each other. Dirt here does not means bodily dirt but mental dirt which once removed leads to spiritual cleanliness.

The whole meaning is not to play Holi superficially or meet each other at a superficial level but to get rid of the negativity at the level of the mind as well. There is no point in celebrating Holi and meeting people unless you remove your negative thoughts about them from the mind.

When you lovingly smear ‘gulal’ (coloured powder) on others, they reciprocate with doubled love and affection. Similarly, always think of good things about people. Express your positive thoughts about these friends loudly – not only in front of them but also in their absence. Don’t you think your heart will throb with pleasure when they reciprocate?

Play safe this Holi: Balloons may be Harmful

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Water balloons used by children during Holi can be dangerous and can cause blunt eye injury or even head injury. There can be bleeding in the eyes, lens subluxation, macular edema or retinal detachment. These can lead to loss of vision or even loss of the eye.

Most synthetic colours are harmful to the eyes or skin.  Home-made colours from flowers are always better. Chemical colours may contain heavy metals like lead, which is harmful to the eyes and skin. Other health hazards due to the exposure to heavy metals include skin allergies, dermatitis, drying and chapping of the skin, skin cancer, rhinitis, asthma and pneumonia.

Make your own colours

  • Mix ‘Haldi’ (turmeric) with besan (gram flour) to get yellow colour
  • Soak Tesu flowers overnight or boil them to get saffron or bright orange colour.
  • Soak ‘Beetroot’ pieces in water for magenta colour.

Chemicals that enter the eye may cause mild allergy or even severe chemical burn in the eye. A patient may present with allergic conjunctivitis, chemical burn, corneal abrasion or blunt eye injury. Most colours used during Holi usually cause mild redness and irritation lasting for up to 48 hours. If clarity of vision is affected, it’s an emergency. The particles in colour powders (shining mica particles in ‘gulal’) can cause damage to the cornea. Corneal abrasion is an emergency and one should immediately consult the eye doctor or ophthalmologist.

First aid: Splash your eyes with a lot of tap water, if colour enters the eye. If there is loss of vision or corneal abrasions, rush to the eye doctor.