In Northern India the burning of Holika is celebrated as the killing of the demon named Putna by Lord Krishna.
In Southern India the belief is that on this day Lord Shiva opened his third eye and burnt Kamdeva to ashes. He then applied the ash to his body and performed the Tandava dance.
As a result, Kamdeva’s wife Rati went into grave sorrow. Seeing Rati in sorrow, Lord Shiva gave a new life to Kamdev. Seeing this, deities were very pleased and showered colourful rain.
Since time immemorial, festivals have played a very important role in the Indian culture. These festivals enrich humans. That’s why people irrespective of their own faith, culture, or religion, celebrate all the festivals together and with great respect.
The festival of Holi, is unique. There are different beliefs in different regions of the country about this festival. Perhaps it’s because it’s symbolic of the unity in diversity pertinent to this country. Unity, despite having various cultures is typical of this country.
People celebrate this festival with a lot of fun and humour. People apply colours to each other and burn Holika at night.
But the question is, what’s the secret behind celebrating this festival on this day and in this way?
Due to Kamadeva story, on the eve of Holi in Southern India a bonfire is lit and people put sugarcane, mangoes, bear (Indian plum), and sandalwood into the fire.
Sugarcane represents the bow of Kamdeva.
Mangoes and bear represent Kamdev’s arrow.
Fire represents the burning of Kamdeva.
Sandalwood represents the calming of Kamdev from the burns,and getting a new life.
We hear many such stories on Holi. But we need to understand that every story of Holi has a similarity. Every story depicts the ‘victory of truth over evil.’
Evil cannot be destroyed by burning wood. Wood represents our bad habits, and vices which give us sorrow. Our bitter words, anger, and hatred which give us and others sorrow.
Fire is a symbol of yogagni. That is the Divine Fire of connecting with God, and burning all our vices in that fire. This Holika Dahan is burning our bad habits and vices in the Divine Fire of God.
Therefore this Holi, burn all your negativity by placing yourself in the Divine Fire of God’s love and power, and then color each other with forgiveness and compassion.
–Johan Thomas Unsplash