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The Origins of Holi

8 March 2011 One Comment Print article Print article


Holi Festival in Rajusthan (copyright Ishan Khosla)



Holi is a day of celebration in India. Also, it was on Holi that Guruji achieved the ultimate goal of self-realization. Along with Shivaratri, Janmashtami (the birth of Lord Krishna) and Kali Puja, Holi is an extremely powerful night for spiritual practice and one of the most significant days of the year to gather for group practices such as chanting, japa, puja, and meditation. Dhyanyogi has said that any practices done on these nights bring 10 times the benefit.

This year Holi falls on March 19th. Ma asks that we try to get together with disciples in our local  areas to do group practices. If that is not possible, then set the goal to do extra practices on your own on this auspicious occasion.

As that process of daily practice continues, we expand our capacity to receive more and more grace from the guru. It is the guru’s grace that is the most significant tool and force that can destroy ego. Without that grace, it is impossible.

In this story, Ma tells of Guruji’s love for the story of Holi and the significance it holds for all of us:

As a boy, Guruji loved to hear the story of the child saint named Prahlad. Prahlad’s realization inspired Guruji’s faith that He, too, could attain such a state even at His young age.

Prahlad’s devotion was so strong that He withstood the demon king Hiranyakasyapu’s attempts on His life. On the day of Holi, Hiranyakasyapu’s sister Holika tried to kill Prahlad by taking Him on her lap and sitting on a pyre of wood which was set ablaze. Holika was burnt to ashes, while Prahlad remained unscathed!

The spiritual significance of the festival of Holi is to mark the burning of self-conceit, selfishness, greed, lust, and hatred—in fact, all the undesirable tendencies, propensities, thoughts and behaviors.

In day-to-day living while we strive to achieve our spiritual goal, one of the most significant aspects in life is the ego. It is a tremendous force that tends to lurk in a corner of the mind of our being in a subtle way. Whether the ego is internal or external, the trick is to be able to be free from it.

Holi is the night when we consciously focus upon that and burn our ego. But how can we truly dissolve the ego? There are two major factors that can help. The first is consistent, regular, daily practice. That is the force, which can slowly but very profoundly begin to burn and destroy the ego. As that process of daily practice continues, we expand our capacity to receive more and more grace from the guru. It is the guru’s grace that is the most significant tool and force that can destroy ego. Without that grace, it is impossible.



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One Comment »

  • satya said:

    So simple and profound that daily practice is the doorway to the grace of the Guru. It has troubled me for years that being free of my ego seems impossible, unreachable and beyond my abilities. Duh – exactly! I give up trying to do this and instead see that grace is all i will yearn for and practice for. I am in your hands Ma.

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