Today the 8th of March 2012 is Dhuli, the festival of colours and it is coinciding with the women’s day. Last morning on the radio I heard the news of another dowry death where a woman was burnt alive. Last night Holi was lit all around the country. The external burning of some twigs with a crowd of worshippers offering in the fire coconuts, betel leaves, flowers and water is a regular ritual at the onset of spring in India.
Rituals however are live connections to the real thing. They are tangible and therefore the physical body of man which needs touch to experience reality, an object to see and believe, a sound to hear and listen gets a pathway through them. But if in the process of such rituals we were to get stuck to the sight and touch and sound of the outsides, our life would get knocked by the rocks of the physical. But if we with the gush of an inner awakening flow speedily to understanding of the real above the unreal, then the same rocks would get cut down by our inner strength and turn into silt which at our journey’s end we would collect as experience and deposit at the shore of a life.
The truth is, Holi is not a time to burn twigs outside but to burn the twigs of passions within us before they become big branches of lust. To burn and die to the unreality of the world and to be reborn in the spirit of care and compassion and mercy. The Dhuli is not to colour ourselves with the colours in hand but allow the colour of the spring of growth, of nurture, of giving, of fruitfulness to emerge within and shine from ourselves.
Holi and Dhuli cannot come only once a year as a celebration but they have to be brought into our life daily as a practice for our elevation above the worm like existence. Everyday we have to work to drive away the bitter cold of hatred and frustrations and hurt from our hearts and ignite the fire of love and hope of the spring of humanity. Then probably the once in a year external ritual will make any sense. The day when no husband will pour kerosene on his wife and no in-laws will strike match sticks to rejoice to the screams of her pains, the day when women will be worshipped as the light of life, the day when there will be no pangs of fire in any hungry stomach will be a day when once again festival will coincide with a true celebration of women’s day. Otherwise the ritual will most probably be futile and even not eco-friendly.