Thursday, October 31, 2013

Correct History of Holi Festival (by Gadhadhar das, Dallas)

Prahalad Maharaj, Sister of Hiranyakashipu Holika, and Festival of Holi


Mayesvara Prabhu's article regarding Holi Festival states: "The Festival of Holi evolved from the teachings in Bhagavad Gita where Lord Krishna clearly declares that He can be seen in the flowers which bloom in the spring:

"Of the hymns in the Sama Veda I am the Brhat-sama, and of poetry I am the Gayatri. Of months I am Margasirsa [November-December], and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring. " - Bhagavad-gita 10.35

The frenzy of colors that are tossed all about at the Holi Festival represents the beautiful colors which emerge in the spring after the cold winter comes to an end. In India everyone knows this and that is the reason why Holi is always celebrated in the spring."

[PADA: As usual, the Gaudiya Matha folks like Mayesvara cannot place the proper history of Vaishnava events.]

Festival of Holi has not evolved from teaching of Bhagavat-gita, but from the incidence of Hiranyakashipu's attempt to kill Prahalad Maharaj by fire. Here is the correct description fromWikipedia:

"The word "Holi" originated from "Holika" sister of Hiranyakashipu. The festival of Holi is celebrated because of a story in the old Hindu religion. In Vaishnavism, Hiranyakashipu is the great king of demons, and he had been granted a boon by Brahma, which made it almost impossible for him to be killed. The boon was due to his long penance, after which he had demanded that he not be killed "during day or night; inside the home or outside, not on earth or in the sky; neither by a man nor an animal; neither by astra nor by shastra". Consequently, he grew arrogant and attacked the Heavens and the Earth. He demanded that people stop worshiping gods and start praising respectfully to him.

According to this belief, Hiranyakashipu's own son, Prahlada, was a devotee of Vishnu. In spite of several threats from Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada continued offering prayers to Vishnu. He was poisoned by Hiranyakashipu, but the poison turned to nectar in his mouth. He was ordered to be trampled by elephants yet remained unharmed. He was put in a room with hungry, venomous snakes and survived. All of Hiranyakashipu's attempts to kill his son failed. Finally, he ordered young Prahlada to sit on a pyre in the lap of Holika, Hiranyakashipu's demoness sister, who also could not die because she had a boon preventing her from being burned by fire. Prahlada readily accepted his father's orders, and prayed to Lord Vishnu to keep him safe. When the fire started, everyone watched in amazement as Holika burnt to death, while Prahlada survived unharmed. The salvation of Prahlada and burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi."

I grew up in a village in Gujarat. Besides color throwing on each other, in every village a pyre of wood and straw, etc. will be set up and fire will be ignited in the evening, and at the end some man will walk through the burning coals to symbolize the survival of Prahalad Maharaj and the death of Hiranyakashipu's sister, Holika.
The message of Holi Festival is that - na me bhakta pranashyati - my devotee will never perish.

The way Holi is being celebrated in ISKCON is a deviation - so are Rasa Garba dances, Demigod worship, etc. The argument of yukta vairagya - take money from bums by hook or crook and use it in Krishna's service - does not hold water, as most of the people are bums. At the end of the day the question will remain: who will reform these bums? We will degrade ourselves into thinking (as is happening) how can we get more money from these bums instead of thinking how can we help these bums spiritually.

Duhsyant Prabhu's article, "Vision 2020 from Bhaktivedanta Manor" states that a $2.8 Million Goshala is called 'Cow Protection' (that is $56,000 / per cow to rest on a concrete floor) and "No one is paid more than UK 60,000 (that is about $90,000)" is considered to be "Vaishnava Devotees in Good Standing". What can they teach others about Cow Protection and simple living and high thinking?

In pursuit of maximum essential is lost. I was at the Sunday Feast on October 27th in Los Angeles. The book table had hundreds of books by authors other than HDG Srila Prabhupada. End result is that Srila Prabhupada's books are crowded out by other books and are competing with other books, and his books are DE-emphasized in this way -- as if every author and every book is as good as Srila Prabhupada and his books. The good part is that there was a good feast and hundreds of Americans as well as Indians were taking part.

Srila Vyasadev compiled 17 Puranas and Mahabharat and still remained unsatisfied. ISKCON leaders should stop concocting different ideas and come back to the simple process of chanting, dancing, feasting, and philosophy and follow do's and dont's as defined by HDG Srila Prabhupada.

Mukund Datta Prabhu (I know him from Houston and Dallas) writes in his article, "Aitihya—Tradition as Authority": "Only one generation of neglect is enough to erase thousands of years of cumulative purification, wisdom, and human attainment in every field." 

[PADA: Right, the GBC says that in our Vaishnava tradition the gurus fall down into illicit behavior, that is deviation.] 

Deviation is more dangerous than neglect. Deviation takes you in the opposite direction from where you want to go and puts you in illusion that you are on the right path. Neglect incurs loss of further progress for yourself and a lack of clear direction for the next generation.

The GBC needs to clearly define and enforce do's and don'ts. Wishing You Well, yhs- Gadadhar dasa

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