Holi Moly! Holi is the Hindu festival of color and the welcoming of spring. People walk through the streets throwing paint…a pink, purple, green, red, yellow, orange explosion. Young boys hide on roofs with water guns full of dyed water waiting for an unsuspecting passerby. A water balloon or two gets thrown. Old women in bright saris walk up to you with a smile on their face, say “Happy Holi!” and smack you in the face with pink paint. Cows, dogs, people, trees…no one is safe. The paint stains your clothes and skin and can be quite toxic, and I was advised to steer clear of participation and stay within my ashram cell.
But curiosity got the best of me. As a white woman who walks around dressed in all white, I was a ridiculously brazen target, so I bought purple pants and a purple and red top for the occasion, hoping to look like I had already been someone’s victim. I wanted to see Holi but not participate. One of the Rishikumars, the boys who are attending the monastic school here at Parmarth Niketan, came up to me and asked me if I wanted paint thrown on me. I said I did not. He said, “But it’s Holi!” Then he gently smeared paint all over my face. I gave up. I was Holied.
Beatrice, my special cow and the star of this blog, was no longer white either. She was a rainbow. The two of us stood in the street watching the dancing festival, people running through the streets shouting and throwing paint, everyone a crayola experiment. To celebrate, I bought a can of coconut water and after taking a long sip to cool off, I poured the rest onto Beatrice’s tongue. “Happy Holi, Beatrice!”
Let the springtime into your life. Don’t be so worried about the purity and holiness of yourself that you forget to experience the joy of color and a celebration of holi-ness. There is a time for meditative austerity and a time to run through the streets, dripping like a melting rainbow, shouting “Happy Holi!” to the Divine Love Intelligence that painted the canvas of this universe with such gleeful, colorful exuberance.