is a time when we will paint each other with bright
colors. It is a time when we rejoice in the victory of
pure, divine Prahlaad over his sister Holika.
story � in a simple, condensed way � says that
Prahlaad was a young, beautiful, pure, divine devotee
of God. However, Prahlaad�s father was a powerful
king who believed that everyone should worship him. At
Prahlaad�s refusal to do so, due to his singleminded
love of God, his father decided to have him killed.
Prahlaad�s aunt (his father�s sister), Holika, had
been given a special shawl as a boon from God (for
various austerities she had performed). When she wore
this shawl, she could not be burned by fire. So,
Prahlaad�s father and his sister devised a plan in
which she would wear her shawl and hold Prahlaad
tightly in her arms as they sat in fire. In this way,
Prahlaad would be killed, but she would emerge
However, as divine plan works, a strong gust of wind
came and blew the shawl off of her, as well as carried pure
Prahlaad to safety. Holika was burned in the fire of her own
One of the great obstacles in life to our spiritual
progress is the difference between what we do or say on the
outside and how we really are on the inside. Holika had
performed certain austerities by which she was entitled to
this boon from God. On the outside, she was �pious.� But,
on the inside she was not pure. Prahlaad, on the other hand,
was a simple, pure, loving devotee of God. This is what saved
him. This inner purity and inner piety is what truly save us,
what truly make our lives divine.
So many of us go to temple, do the rituals, offer
money to the priests, and chant a certain number of malas.
Then, we go out and act in selfish, unpious, dishonest ways.
These may not necessarily take the form of big transgressions.
It may simply be the way we speak to our children, or to our
loved ones. It may simply be the way we try to cheat those
with whom we do business. It may be the way we sit and gossip
All the rituals and puja in the world cannot make up
for a lack of piety, honesty and compassion. The goal of going
to temple is not just to perform rituals; the goal is to
become spiritual. God is happier with pure, innocent, devoted
Prahlaad than with all the austerities and rituals performed
by his father and aunt.
On Holi we chant: Holi I, Holi I, Holi I�. However,
let us not just chant this rhyme; rather, let us truly pray to
God that on this day �I� may become holy. Let us pray that
�I� may become pious, pure and devoted as Prahlad. In that
way our lives and our hearts and our souls will be forever
protected, forever sheltered at His holy feet. As we chant
�Holi I, Holi I, Holi I�.� let us also pray that our
�eye� may become holy, that we may be granted the divine
vision by which we behold Him in all whom we see. Let us pray
that through our holy eye, we never are led toward anger,
greed, lust or jealousy.
LET THIS HOLI BE A TIME WHEN WE CHANGE
NOT ONLY THE COLOR OF OUR FACES,
BUT THE COLOR OF OUR HEARTS.
LET US NOT ONLY "PLAY" HOLI,
BUT LET US BECOME HOLY.
LET THE ONLY COLOR THAT TRULY PENETRATES OUR BEINGS,
BE THE COLOR OF GOD.
FOR, ON THE MORNING OF THE 29th
THE OTHER COLORS WILL WASH AWAY.
BUT WE MUST LET THE COLOR OF GOD BE INDELIBLE
IN OUR EYES, IN
OUR EARS AND IN OUR HEARTS.