Of late, Holi has become a day when we add to the pollution by burning garbage and tyres right in the middle of the streets or open grounds and spraying harmful, colourful chemicals on unwitting passersby in the name of tradition.
Though it is a jolly good idea to follow our customs, we should not lose sight of the contemporary realities and organise ourselves to live in harmony with our surroundings. We could circumvent this custom by releasing ourselves from the darker side of our character in both word and deed and have loads of good-natured fun spraying chemical-free colours on our near and dear ones with their consent.
The true spirit of the festival lies in spreading good will and not in causing nuisance and hindrance to others. Mythology confirms that the festival is another instance of the triumph of good over evil.
Hiranyakashipu the demon king of the Treta Yuga who hoped to get even with Lord Vishnu and rule over the world found that his son Prahalada contradicted his vision and mission.
No amount of persuasion or threat could make his son swerve from the path of devotion towards lord Vishnu.
Hence Hiranyakashipu resorted to seek help from his sister Holika who was immune to fire. She placed Prahalada on her lap and immolated herself. As fate would have it, Holika was reduced to ashes and Prahalada remained unscathed by the flames.
This is the reason why the festival of Holi is celebrated with the symbolic burning of rubbish along with the chanting of evil expletives which represents the destruction of evil in us.
The Bhagavatha Purana has vivid descriptions of Lord Krishna and the Gopika maidens having a whale of a time spraying the customary turmeric and sandal scented water on one another during the Raasa Leela. This was one occasion when men and women mingled and enjoyed clean fun without any social stigma.
If you have noticed you must have observed that Mother Nature has been playing Holi for a couple of weeks now. All the plants and trees have shed their old and dusty leaves and have sprouted fresh sap green leaflets and have adorned themselves with buds and flowers of the brightest hues.
All this activity has taken place without the slightest fuss or noise in the most graceful manner possible, unlike man who loves to blow his trumpet and never loses an opportunity to advertise his achievements.
If we comprehend the core essence of the celebration “can spring be far behind” in our lives?