I know I am several weeks late on this. And I also know that shortly after Holi I made a “solemn oath” not to write about Holi anymore this year. But being that nobody’s life is in danger as a result, I’m going to break said oath.
It did not occur to me until after Holi but there is another level on which this festival can be, and I wish was, celebrated. It always has been a joyful experience for millions and millions of people. But it dawned on me over the last few weeks at some point that each one of us is to some degree an avatar of God. As such, we may very well consider one another murtis as well. As such, I think it would be fair to approach the playing of Holi colors as a form of abhishekam.
Proper abhishekam as normally celebrated is an anointing of the murti. Each element with which the murti is anointed has a special significance. Depending on the abhishekam, various different elements are employed: Water for purity, Milk for long life, honey for sweetness in speech, Sandal paste for mental peace, turmeric for healing and matrimony, Panjamrutham is for wealth, and so forth. Each element when gently poured over the deity radiates throughout the temple and infuses and enriches each devotee present.
Similarly, each of the Holi colors has its own significance, many which overlap some of the elements of proper abhishekam. Red is for purity, green is for vitality, blue is for calm. Yellow promotes a sense of piety. Each is sort of a blessing of certain characteristics or values that we hope to bestow upon one another. And certainly with all of these colors swirling amongst the crowd during Holi, all various combinations of each quality is bestowed upon each participant. Each devotee is, again, infused and enriched with these qualities.
Aum Namo Shankaranarayanaya Namah.
Jai Hari Aum.