Three days, late my local Temple held it’s Holika Dahan, the fire which represents Holika the supposedly fire proof, and Pralad the rebellious devotee of Vishnu.
It was raining but we went ahead with it anyway. I wore a wool cap and a hood, and a winter coat (it is still about 40 degrees Fahrenheit here). I couldn’t get too close to the fire because it was surrounded by a muddy yard and I was planning to go back inside the temple afterward for prasad, and I didn’t want to have to clean up my wheelchair too much when going back in. My mobility at this point was limited.
So it was cold, and wet…and the thick woody smoke from the fire appeared to be blowing directly in my face. I did not care, I did not move, I did not hold my breath, and I did not experience any breathing problem either. I just let the smoke surround me just as I had during the Narayana Puja when devotees purify themselves with the incense smoke. I did not care. I have missed so many auspicious events at the temple over the last few months that at that moment, I was there, and I was communing with my ishtadevata.
At that moment a devotional mantra to Maa Lakshmi that I apparently made up on the spot began to resonate in my head, words that I cannot now recall. But it doesn’t matter. It had to do with Her spiritual wealth and how She gives all of Herself yet an Eternity of abundance remains in Her. It was really quite lovely. I am sure I will revisit some version of this experience during Navratri in a few weeks.