The Bhavishya purana narrates a story in the context of this festival which is as follows - A female demon invaded a village and she started harassing little children. Hence the people obscenely abused and cursed her, they lit a fire everywhere to frighten her and thus drove her away.
In this festival the main emphasis is laid on the burning of Holika or lighting of the Holi bonfire. The origin of the traditional lighting of Holi is attributed by some to the burning of evil demons like Holika, Holaka and Putana who troubled little children or to the burning of Madan (the Deity of Beauty who tried to distract Lord Shiva's meditation) according to others.
According to some scholars this is probably a remnant of the tradition of fire worshippers. However one should not light the Holi bonfire during the day. First the doer should purify himself and make the resolve 'I am performing this ritual of worship along with my family to overcome the trouble wrought by the demons' After the Holi sacrificial fire dies down, it should be extinguished by sprinkling milk and ghee and then fruits like coconuts and pomelo should be distributed to the people assembled there. The entire night should be spent joyfully in dance and song.
This particular full moon day carries special importance as this day holds the Raja-Tama in the atmosphere in its original fire-form (Tej). This is the day when the Principle of the Primal Shakti from the Universe, which imparts dissolution, is active in a Marak form. The worship of this Principle helps the jiva by purifying its subtle body and to a certain extent the atmosphere around it is also purified. The worship performed on this day liberates the jiva from its Raja-Tama orientation. Thus in a way, the jiva is reborn after this Pournima.
Hutashani Pourninma (nature's first sacrificial fire) and Ninad (yell) the reason for the yell.
Due to not being able to tolerate the marak Shakti and satvikta of the Deities that get prakat in this sacrificial fire, the negative energies get disturbed and begin to move at an incredible speed. Due to this, a negative pressure is created in the environment. The pockets of subtle vacuum in the atmosphere get filled with the negative energies and they start to dash into one another due to the sheer numbers rushing into the subtle vacuum at the same time. This causes them to create a yowling sound. This is why this Holi pournima is called Hutashani (yelling) pournima.
A representation or immitation of this sound is the yelling that people do during the Holi sacrificial fire. The spontaneous sound that is generated out of a person when falling from a great height is a shrieking type of sound which is known as Hutashana. (For example - The butterflies in the stomach that are experienced when in downward motion whilst sitting in a giant wheel are due to the pressure which is experienced in the pockets of vacuum in the stomach. This in turn creates surrounding vacuum pockets in the adjoining area in the stomach. In the entire stomach cavity, the air that rushes in to fill these pockets of vacuum creates a subtle sound due to the speed of its movement. There is no word to describe this sound and so it is called 'subtle hutashana' These subtle sounds which have been generated in the body cavity are released through the medium of the actual yelling sounds.) - Brahma tatva (18.5.2006 7.58 am.)
Seeing the form of the Holi festival as prevalent today one realises that this festival is basically celebrated at a social level. Though over the passage of time a number of religious and cultural rites and rituals have been included in it by more civilised people, yet the social form of this festival has still remained intact. Holikotsav, Dhulikotsav and Rangotsav are the three festivals which stand out easily. Holi, Dhulvag and Rangapanchami are their popular names.
Beginning from the full moon day (pournima) of the Hindu lunar month of Phalgun till the fifth day (panchami) this festival is celebrated for two to five days depending on the regional variations. It has various names such as Hori, Dolayatra in North India, Shimga, Holi and Hutashani mahotsav, Holikadahan (burning of Holika) in Goa, Konkan and Maharashòra and Kamadahan (burning of desires) in South India. One can also call it Vasantotsav or Vasantagamanotsav that is the festival celebrated to welcome the Vasant (spring) season.
It is a festival of radiance (Tej) in the universe. During this festival, different waves of radiance traverse the universe, thereby creating various colours that nourish and complement the function of respective elements in the atmosphere. - A Scholar (Through Ms Anjali Gadgil)
* Burn dry wood instead of wet wood.
* Do not steal wood for the Holi bonfire.
* Celebrate Holi keeping in mind it's purpose of uniting the Hindus.
Recently, citing reasons of deforestation, Anti-Dharmik Organisations like the Andha-shraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ANIS) have been giving wrong advice to the people in society encouraging them to use garbage to light the Holi fire. One should not light the Holi sacrificial fire with garbage, since it pollutes the environment. Rather, if Holi is celebrated with the bhav of worshipping the Deity Holika, the atmosphere will become sattvik.
There is wide scale deforestation throughout the year on account of felling of trees for construction purposes, production of paper and other activities backed by man's selfish interests. However, so-called environmenta-lists ignore this and wake up from their slumber to create a hue and cry over the felling of trees on Holi, the religious occasion for Hindus that is celebrated once in a year. Their contention is that 'Trees are cut during Holi, which causes damage to the environment'. They also make fake appeals like - 'Burn (eradicate) evil thoughts in the fire of Holi' or 'Burn garbage in the fire of Holi'. Do not fall prey to such false, sacrilegious reasoning; but celebrate Holi and Rangapanchami as prescribed by Hindu Holy scriptures and use natural colours.
Dry wood should be used instead of felling good trees to light Holi fires. Also, the basic objective of celebrating Holi is to forget our differences and come together. If people bear this in mind and celebrate the festival, they can save wood by having just one Holi sacrificial fire for the entire village or locality instead of each group separately burning wood for Holi. When Holi is celebrated, as per traditional practices, it is essential that the sanctity of the religious practice be maintained. Sanctity will be lost if dirt and garbage is used for the sacrificial fire of Holi.
In the present times, there are a lot of malpractices taking place in the name of celebrating Holi. Similarly, on the day of Rangapanchami, people indulge in malpractices such as - throwing balloons filled with dirty water, applying dangerous dyes and colours to the body etc. These malpractices harm Dharma, and thus, putting an end to them is our religious duty. Spread this word in society and even after doing so, if you come across such incidents, lodge complaints with the Police. Sanatan Sanstha conducts public awareness campaigns in this regard.
On this day either the ashes of Holi or dust is worshipped. This is the first day (pratipada) in the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Phalgun. Dhoolivandan itself is Dhulvad in Marathi. After ritualistic worship the ashes of the Holi sacrificial fire is offered obeisance with the following mantra which means:"O dust (dhuli), Brahma,
Lord Vishnu performed Dhoolivandan at the beginning of Tretayuga. The implied meaning is, Lord Vishnu began His 'work' through the incarnation of various radiant colours. Rang panchami, played without Dhoolivandan signifies the 'Play' (Leela) of the Incarnation, which is manifest in the forms of various colours. The Dhoolivandan is the worship of the destroyer form of the Deities. - A Scholar (Through the medium of Ms Anjali Gadgil)
It is celebrated on the fifth day (panchami) in the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Phalgun by throwing a red, fragrant powder (gulal) and splashing coloured water, etc. on others.
The fire, which shines with its brilliance on Holi, decomposes the raja-tama particles in the atmosphere and this helps activate various Deities in the form of colours. This bliss is celebrated by throwing colours in the air. Thus, Rang Panchami is a symbol of victory over raja-tama. Rang Panchami, played on Falgun Vadya Panchami involves invocation of Gods and is a part of worship of the manifest form of Gods. Its purpose is to activate the five elements of radiant manifest colours and to touch and feel the Deities who are attracted to the respective colours. These five elements are a source, which help activate the element of the Deities according to the spiritual emotion of the Jiva. Rang Panchami is the worship of the saviour form of the Deities. - A Scholar (Through the medium of Ms Anjali Gadgil)
Let us stop immoral practices during this Rangapanchami and Protect Dharma
1. Do not apply colours forcibly. Stop people from doing so and give them the reasons.
2. Stop those who extort money from people on the roads.
3. Stop beggars from wearing masks of Deities.
4. Stop people from using excessive colours and hurling water balloons.
5. Do not use harmful chemical colours.
- A Scholar (Through the medium of Ms Anjali Gadgil, 26th February 2006, 11.09 a.m.)
There is wide scale deforestation throughout the year on account of felling of trees for construction purposes, production of paper and other activities which are fuelled by man's selfish interests. However, so-called environmentalists ignore this and wake up from their slumber to create a hue and cry over the felling of trees on Holi, the occasion of Hindus that is celebrated just once in a year. Their contention is that 'Trees are cut during Holi, which causes damage to the environment'. They also make fake appeals like 'One should burn (eradicate) one's evil thoughts in the fire of Holi'. They irreverently appeal to people to 'Burn garbage in the fire of Holi'. Hindu Janajagruti Samiti appeals to all Hindus that they should not fall prey to such misguided thoughts and pseudo appeals and should instead celebrate Holi and Rangapanchami as prescribed by the Hindu Holy Scriptures by using natural colours.
The appeal letter further states that dry wood be used instead of felling good trees for Holi. Also, the basic objective of celebrating Holi is for one and all to forget their differences and come together. Thus, if people bear this in mind and celebrate the festival, they can save wood by having just one sacrificial fire of Holi for the entire village or locality instead of each group separately burning wood for Holi.
If the directive of the so-called environmentalists to burn garbage in the sacrificial fire of Holi is followed, then poisonous gases emitted by poisonous waste will in turn lead to more pollution. Thus, do not implement such dangerous directives. When Holi is celebrated, as per traditional practices, it is essential that the sanctity of the religious practice be maintained. The sanctity of the festival will be lost if dirt and garbage is used for the sacrificial fire of Holi. The HJS also asserts that why does one need the pretext of Hindu festivals to burn (eradicate) one's evil thoughts; they (evil thoughts) can be eradicated at every moment, right through the entire year !
Several malpractices, such as the use of dangerous colours containing chemicals that harm the skin, throwing balloons at people which are filled with colours and dirty water, smearing colours on people forcibly, consuming liquor and misbehaving with ladies, eve teasing, fighting, polluting lakes and wells with colours, etc. have crept into the festival of Rangapanchami, which in reality is a blissful event. The HJS appeals to all to prevent the occurrence of such malpractices and celebrate the festival of Rangapanchami in a traditional way using natural colours.- Shri. Ramesh Shinde, Spokesperson for Maharashtra State, HJS
This news report appeared in the Times Of India regarding HJS' campaign to protect Khadkwasla Dam from pollution on Rangpanchami.
Volunteers to protect Khadakwasla dam
[23 Mar, 2005 TIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
PUNE: Volunteers of the city based Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) will deploy a team of volunteers to protect the Khadakwasla dam water from pollution on Holi and Rangpanchami day.
A statement released by the HJS here on Wednesday said that hundreds of youths smeared with colours come to bathe at the Khadakwasla dam on Holi and Rangpanchami. "The colours used for the festivals contain harmful chemicals. Since Pune draws its drinking water from Khadakwasla dam it was the duty of every Puneite to protect the dam water from this pollution", the statement said.
As many as 70 volunteers of the HJS will stand guard at the Khadakwasla dam right from morning till evening on March 26 (Holi) and March 30 (Rangpanchami). They will prevent revellers from entering the water and bathing in it. Another team of volunteers will also patrol the city areas to prevent incidents like eve-teasing and other untoward incidents during the celebrations.
The statement said that this time volunteers of the Khadakwasla grampanchayat, local police and employees of the irrigation department have also decided to assist HJS activists in their drive. It further said that during Holi and Rangpanchami a large number of youths come to the dam and park their vehicles haphazardly which results in traffic jams. This puts added pressure on the police, HJS said adding that the Samiti decided to pitch in and do the job of guarding the dam.
(Ref.: Sanatan's Publication : Holy Festivals, Religious Festivals and Vowed Religious Observance
Compilers : H.H. Dr. Jayant Athavale and Dr. (Mrs) Kunda Athavale)
Courtesy: Monthly Sanatan Prabhat