Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 8th 2015 Contents A27
March 8, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
No, Phagwa (Holi) is not the
Hindu Carnival. It has a very tran-
scendental message for all
It is a message of truth, faith, hon-
esty, graciousness and about life
itself, although it is associated with
chowtal singing, shaking of jhalls,
tassa drumming and the throwing
of abeer throughout the country.
But what is this all about?
Is it just sheer merriment, or is
there another deeper and spiritual
How can one describe Hiranyaka-
shipu s behaviour not only to his
son, whom he had begged dearly for,
but to mankind? Is that message a
dead or irrelevant one with the pas-
sage of time?
How would one describe
Hiranyakashipu s attitude in the con-
text of the functioning of Prakriti,
and by extension the three Gunas
Legend has it that an old woman s
grandchild was to be sacrificed to a
female demon named Holika and a
religious leader in the community
advised her that abuse and foul lan-
guage would subdue Holika. The old
woman collected many children and
made them abuse Holika with foul
language, and the demon fell on the
ground and died, and the children
made a bonfire of her remains.
A connecting chord to this episode
is Bhakta Prahalad s devotion to Lord
Narayana and his subsequent escape
from death at the hands of Holika.
Prahalad s father, King Hiranyaka-
shipu, punished him in a variety of
ways to change his devotional mind
and make him worldly-minded. But
he failed in his attempts and at last,
he ordered his sister Holika (who
had a boon to remain unburnt even
inside fire) to take Prahalad on her
lap and enter into the blazing flames.
She did so, and she subsequently
perished. Prahalad remained
untouched in the fire and kept laugh-
ing. He was not affected by the fire
on account of the Grace of Lord
We mortals must not look at Pra-
halad s endeavour as just another
story without any moral, ethical or
For sure, Hiranyakashipu did not
measure up to the Sattvic aspect of
the Prakritri, which embodies purity,
light and harmony. He failed that
And look at the Rajas aspect which
comprises passion, activity and
motion, all of which failed as well.
Hiranyakashipu was a stubborn
man just like many today. He was
set to conquer the worldly objects,
senses and pleasures. Look how this
was a noble being on the threshold
of conquering death and obtaining
spiritual liberation through his devo-
tion to Lord Narayana, and he quick-
ly changed his agenda.
There is a being who has been and
who will always be in charge of this
world and our lives. This belief is
echoed in other religions. Phagwa
follows the religious Hindu obser-
vance of Shiva Raatri; and the Chris-
tian period of lent, all of which pay
homage to a Higher Force.
Phagwa recalls the victory of the
oppressed against oppressors and
the ideal that Supreme Justice will
prevail. It reaffirms that truth, good-
ness and justice will always be pres-
There is no doubt that Prahalad
suffered immensely at the hands of
his father and aunt, but the story
demonstrates that no matter what
punishment one may receive at the
hands of evil-doers, survival is cer-
tain once there is strong and uncon-
ditional faith in God.
Phagwa's story of sacrifice
Pupils covered in colourful abeer pose for a photograph as they enjoy Phagwa celebrations at the Shri Krishna
Kindergarten School on Todd Street, San Fernando, on Thursday. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Prahalad's situation was a
major family crisis having its
genesis in the innermost plateau
of the conscience.
It showed unconditional faith in
Lord Narayana, because he had
lived an exemplary life sourced
from the rich Hindu philosophy.
We need more Prahalads. We
have too many Hiranyakashipuses
in our world society. This year's
Phagwa must help us to identify
them and see how best we can
help them out of their Tamasic
state of life.
We must woo the Prahalads in
our society into sensitising others
to become clones of the ideal one.
Let us, therefore, give Phagwa a
microscopic power to examine
and solve our problems.
Phagwa affirms the concept of
divine omnipresence, whether on
our tiny planet or the billions of
galaxies spread across the infinite
universe. Each and every
individual, regardless of religion or
nationality, race or ideology,
embodies a spark of divinity.
The highest goal of life is to fan
this spark within each of us and
allow it to blaze into spiritual
So if it is known that all
humans have the divine spark,
then the entire human race
represents a single extended
family, and in the final analysis,
the inner spiritual link that binds
human beings together is
stronger than outer differences
which divide us.
Phagwa emphasises the dual
goal of human life: spiritual
release of our individual souls
from bondage; and the welfare of
society and the world community.
Our spiritual quest must not only
focus on internal spiritual
practice, but also on extreme
activity for peace and human
Let us get rid of the negatives
that continue to pervade our lives.
Let us start now.
MAJOR FAMILY CRISIS
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