Holi Utsav in New York


The beginning of spring seemed to be a very exciting time for Shri Surya Narayan Mandir, with devotees just returning from our Bharat Yatra to greet the celebration of spring and Holi. Celebrations for Holi began on Thursday night, where the selected SSNM youth-boys concluded their sacrifice and performed pooja on the night of Holika Dahan. The pooja consisted of worship to all the deities, followed by the burning of Holika in the courtyard where the men sang chowtaal, and beautiful bhajans and songs were sang by the women inside. Following the event, all the members of SSNM gathered inside the mandir for the singing of some lively chowtaals and a beautiful kickoff to the holiday weekend.

Our celebration was continued on Sunday, where devotees attending service were overjoyed to hear the story of Prahaladji’s devotion and Lord Vishnu’s might. Preceding the pravachan, the strotagans of the puja were allowed to “play” holi with the murtis before powder was applied to anyone, as per custom. After puja was concluded, devotees heard the katha of Prahaladji and his unrelenting faith in Lord Vishnu, defying his father while continuing to worship the Lord. There is something to be learnt from this story – we should never let anyone and anything come between us and God. As long we do perform our dharma and adhere to our values and beliefs that were passed onto us, and most importantly maintain sincere vishwaas, there is nothing that can harm us.

Guruji Ram Hardowar also delivered another beautiful message, reminding us that the celebration goes beyond the religious aspects. When we celebrate Holi, we become one. As we smear the beautiful colors of spring on each other’s faces, it is hard to tell who is who, and more importantly how we are different. Being able to forget our differences and erase these boundaries on this day brings about a whole new meaning to Holi; one of unity, peace, and love.

By Devina Persaud