Krishna & Holi, Light & Colours

Krishna & Holi, Light & Colours

Of Light & Colours

There is something within us that whispers, ‘choose me’. It is the voice of Light that has the potential to burst into a rainbow of colours. As we come upon Holi, the festival of colours, we also usher in the first month of the Hindu new year, Chaitra. The eve of Holi, Holika Dahan, is marked by a large bonfire where we surrender the past within us to the Light, to make way for the new. This is always a conscious choice, just as weeds grow wantonly but a flower needs deliberate planting.

So with Holika Dahan, we usher in the Light and with Holi the next day, we watch this Light explode into the colours of the spectrum, the celebration of life.

Krishna and Holi

There are many legends connecting Krishna and Holi.

The most prominent one is the story of Prahlad, a great Vishnu devotee whose demonic father, Hiranyakshipu, tortured the boy for his devotion to Vishnu. In an attempt to kill him, he asked his sister Holika to take Prahlad onto her lap and sit in the fire, knowing that she had a boon that she could not be killed by fire and so only the boy would die. However, the garment that Holika donned which protected her from the fire, flew off her miraculously and instead shielded Prahlad, thus killing her and saving him. Holika Dahan, celebrated on the eve of Holi, marks this victory of Prahlad and a resigning to the fire, of the ill and unwanted.

The other important connection with Krishna is that Kanhaiya, the prankster of Vrindavan, who seized any excuse to tease and harass the gopis, played Holi with great zeal and indeed is credited with starting the festival.

Krishna is that technology that turns the maya of Advaita into Leela (when Adi Shankaracharya labeled the world, ‘maya’, a spate of acharyas from the Bhakti Schools of Vedantas vehemently argued for centuries with him, taking particular offense at this philosophical stand; these Vaishnava schools instead described the world as real and as Krishna’s leela). That turns Light into colours. It is a time to choose our Light and bring it forth. And consciously enjoy the colours it reveals as it refracts through the prism of our human experience.

So when that voice whispers, ‘are you with the world, or are you with Me?’, then know that all the colours you see emerge from the one Light and then, even if you see colours, you know that you’re only seeing Light.



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