Victory Over Evil Tendencies : Holi (17th March) and Ranga Panchami (22nd March)

The Five Cosmic Elements help activate the Principles of the Deities according to the spiritual emotion of the individual !

Celebrate Holi only according to the traditional religious customs !

Holi is an ancient festival of India and was originally known as ‘Holika’. The festivals find a detailed description in the early religious works such as Jaimini’s Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Gruhya-Sutras.

One prominent legend about Holi

There are various legends to explain the meaning of this word, most prominent of all is the legend associated with demon king Hiranyakashyapu.

Hiranyakashyapu wanted everyone in his kingdom to worship only him, but to his great disappointment, his son Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Shri Narayan. Hiranyakashyapu commanded his sister, Holika, to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. Holika had a boon whereby she could enter fire without any damage to herself. However, she was not aware that the boon worked only when she enters the fire alone. As a result, she paid the price for her sinister design, while Prahlad was saved by the grace of God for his deep devotion. Celebration of the various legends associated with Holi reassures the people of the power of the Truth. The moral of all these legends is the ultimate victory of good over evil.

Deep devotion to God pays since God always takes His true devotee under His shelter.

Significance of Holi

Despite being such a colourful and gay festival, there are various aspects of Holi which makes it so significant for our lives. Ranging from socio-cultural, religious to biological aspects, there is every reason why we must heartily celebrate the festival and cherish the reasons.

Cultural significance

Legends such as Prahlad help people follow good conduct in their lives and believe in the virtue of being truthful. This is important in modern day society when so many people resort to evil practices for small gains and torture those who are honest. Holi helps people believe in the virtue of being truthful and honest and also to fight evil.

How to light the Holi fire ?

In the centre of the fire, there is either a castor-oil plant, coconut or areca-nut tree or sugarcane, around which dry cowdung cakes and dry wood are arranged. After a bath and recital of the place and time, the individual performing the ritual should first make the following resolve – ‘To get relief of the trouble caused by Dhundha, my family members and I worship Holika’. Next, the Puja is performed, followed by offering Naivedya.

After this, saying || Holikayai Namaha ||, the Holi fire should be lit and it should be circumambulated. Then a shrill noise should be made with the palm placed over the mouth. After the fire is burnt, it should be extinguished by sprinkling milk and ghee. Fruits such as coconut, grapes should be distributed to people who have assembled there.

At dawn after the Holi day, after paying obeisance to the ash of the Holi, it should be applied to the body and then we should bathe. In the morning, this ash should be immersed in flowing water after a prayer to the Holi.

Ranga Panchami

Shrichitshakti (Mrs) Anjali Gadgil

This is celebrated on the 5th day (Panchami) in the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Phalgun by throwing a red, fragrant powder (known as gulal) and splashing colour water, etc. on others.

The fire, which shines with its brilliance on Holi, decomposes the particles of Raja-Tama components in the atmosphere, and this helps activate the Principles of various Deities in the form of colours. Anand (Bliss) generated from this is celebrated by throwing colours in the air. Thus, Ranga Panchami is a symbol of victory over the Raja-Tama components.

It involves the invocation of Deities and is a part of the worship of the manifest form of the Deities. Its purpose is to activate the Five Cosmic Elements (Earth, Water, Wind, Fire and Ether) of radiant manifest colours and to touch and feel the Deities which are attracted to the respective colours.

These Cosmic Elements help activate the Principles of the Deities according to the bhav (Spiritual emotion) of the individual. Ranga Panchami is the worship of the Tarak (Saviour) form of the Deities.

– Shrichitshakti (Mrs) Anjali Gadgil

Avoid using chemical colours !

Earlier, natural colours were used in celebrating Holi and Ranga Panchami; however, these have been replaced by artificial colours, leading to health hazards for the people.

Hazards of chemical colours

In 2001, research conducted by companies such as ‘Toxic Link’ and ‘Vatavaran’ in New Delhi said that all the 3 forms of colours available (paste, powder and liquid) are dangerous for human health. Poisonous chemicals found in the paste and their adverse effects are as follows. Colours used in the form of powder have asbestos or silica which are harmful for the skin. In liquid colours, there is gentian violet which can change the colour of the skin and lead to skin cancer.

Preventing malpractices during Holi is our religious duty !

There are a lot of malpractices taking place under the pretext of celebrating Holi today; for example – Attacks on pedestrians, theft of property and goods and frolicking after consuming alcohol, blackening each other’s faces, forcible collection of donations, stealing wood to burn the Holi fire, etc.

Similarly, on the day of Ranga Panchami, people indulge in malpractices such as eve-teasing, throwing water balloons, applying dangerous dyes to the body, shouting, abusing, etc. These malpractices harm Dharma, culture and society, and hence, putting an end to these is our religious duty.

Such things are not done by the respectable and decent Hindus. We proudly claim that the Hindus abide by Sanatan Principles, are very progressive in their thinking and cultural matters; whereas, many Hindus indulge in malpractices. This is so unfortunate. Hindus should be firm and make efforts to stop such malpractices.

Spread this message in society, and even after doing so, if you come across such incidents, lodge complaints with the Police.