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Hindu Council of New Zealand to celebrate Holi with grandeur

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Photo: blog.ninecolours.com

New Zealand: Hindu Council of New Zealand wishes everyone on the occasion of Holi (Hindu festival of colours), which this year is going to be celebrated very close to the Easter weekend.

Holi signifies the celebration of the colours (diversity), and usually falls very close to the date of UNO’s Race Relations Day in the last week of March.

On the occasion of Holi, the Wellington chapter of Hindu Council of New Zealand has organised two free events, both are open to public. The tradition of Holi events in Wellington is already a number of years old, and has provided joyous occasion for all to indulge in revelry with colours.

The evening before Holi is the time for Holika Dahan (bonfire) followed by a day of revelry with colours on the actual day of Holi. Both these events will be organised in Wellington as follows:

1. Holika Dahan (Holika bonfire), on Wednesday, 23rd March (5.30pm to 7.30 pm), at the Hutt River bed off street from Harcourt Werry Drive, Lower Hutt. This event is subject to lifting of the blanket fire ban in Wellington region, if that does not happen, you may still attend a small yagna in the Fiji Indian Association Hall, Jackson Street (Hutt river end), Petone.

2. Holi Colours, on 26th March (2.00pm to 4.00 pm), at the Riddiford Garden, next to War Memorial Library, Lower Hutt CBD.

In the spirit of Race Unity Day, the events are supported by the Hutt Multicultural Council, The Nepali society of Wellington, Wellington Hindi School and the Hindu Organisations, Temples & Associations (HOTA) Forum.

“Holika dahan was organised as a general public event for the first time last year, and it drew a lot of attention from members of public,” said Smt. Vijeshni Rattan, Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ) executive board member. “Over 300 people participated at Holika Dahan and Holi with colours last year”, added Dr. Rajiv Chaturvedi, national Vice President of HCNZ. Mr. Vinod Kumar, national President HCNZ, who has always supported the event by organising free delivery of colour powders, said: “Predicting from the increasing demand of colour powder, we have seen a steady growth of participants in Holi festival, and this year we are expecting more people to participate”.

At Holika Dahan, the bonfire symbolises burning of negatives in life (greed, jealousy, anger, power that is abused in wrong hands). After the bonfire, what is left and what shines is humility, compassion, love, the ability to share and care. These qualities are essential to respect diversity, and are celebrated in the most colourful way, that is, with colours. People celebrate by covering each other with coloured powder and drenching with coloured water. This colourful festival bridges social gaps and differences, bringing people and communities together. Holi is a festival of fun accompanied by folk songs and dances. Communities of Hindu Fijian heritage in New Zealand, strongly uphold the traditions of singing Holi folk songs.

Hindu Council of New Zealand upholds the Dharmic principle of “Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam” (the world is family). Through this free public event, we aim to celebrate with all members of Wellington public and any out of town or international visitors. The intermingling of all colours denotes the unity of all human kind at the festival of Holi. This year, there will also be donation boxes requesting a gold coin koha, which will be transferred to the relief fund for the victims of the recent hurricane in Fiji.

This festival is a smoke-free, alcohol-free and meat-free festival with free entry to the public.

Source: http://www.scoop.co.nz

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Puja for The Spiritualism, Not for Vulgar Entertainment

The westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures" and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those "holy books" only in the drawers of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods' idols !!!

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Hinduism
he westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures"

By Salil Gewali

Any auspicious days in Hinduism are expected to be observed with a complete purity of action and thought. The same holds true for other religions too. As per the Hindu scriptures, the believers are required to stay away from any kind of sense gratifications, particularly when the specific days are dedicated to Gods and Goddess such as Navratri, Laxmi Puja, Krishna Janmashtami, Shivaratri, to name a few. The pathway to devotion and spiritualism should not be “desecrated” by the blot of the brazen entertainment. The scriptures logically explain why it is antithetical, and its adverse consequences.

Hindusim
Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.

 But, what a huge irony, rather a blasphemy that many people these days have started to choose the auspicious days of Gods to satisfy their base senses. Without a wee bit of regret, a certain class of people holds almost every auspicious day as the most “unmissable” occasion to booze with the friends, and what not, and stagger back home, lol! Such bizarre practices are fast catching now than ever.  Sadly, hardly any conscious people and spiritual organizations stand up and take the right measures to check such godless deviations.

What is quite unpleasant is that such a kind of unholy practices are often being facilitated by certain “Hindu intuitions” as well. On this past Laxmi Puja, the “propitious time” to perform the ritual had fallen between 6 PM to 7:53 PM. Yours truly decided to use that span of time for meditation. But hell broke loose. Apart from fireworks around, the Bollywood songs in high decibel burst forth from a certain Hindu institution quite frustrated the mission.

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Sadhu Sanga Retreat, 2016

 One senior citizen laments – “Nothing could be irreligious than the fact that a favorable time for “puja” is also being used for the wrongful purposes. We rather expect the “Hindu institutions” to teach our children Bhajan, Kirtan, and other spiritual activities, not the loud and feverish parties and disturb others.”

Another college student adds “Having been much disturbed by the noise pollution, I have persuaded my parents to shift our place of residence to elsewhere, not at least near holy places with an unholy mission. I have started to see such institutions with the eyes of suspicion these says.” Is it that our institutions are unable to use their “discretion”, and as a result, they fail to differentiate between right and wrong?  One is deeply apprehensive that Bollywood songs and vulgar dances might as well be included as a part of the “puja ritual” as we have long accepted the fun of fireworks bursting as an integral part of Laxmi Puja which in fact is just an entrenched “misconception”.

Hinduism
Hinduism is expected to be observed with a complete purity of action

Needless to say, our roar for consumerism has almost drowned the whisper of inherent spiritualism. We are only just sending out the wrong messages. I’m afraid, the whole culture itself might be looked down with derision by other faiths. It might just become a subject of ridicule! It is no exaggeration, such negative notions against the “wrong practices” are all what we often read these days in several newspapers and social media. Do we want others to demean our profound spiritual heritage thus?  I believe it calls for a serious soul-searching.

Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.  It warns in the strongest terms that mankind should absolutely be careful not to fall under the influence of any short-lived sense gratifications. Or else, our endeavor to “practice and preserve” the sanctity of a religion/spiritualism will be a futile exercise.

However, on the other hand, the westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our “scriptures” and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those “holy books” only in a drawer of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods’ idols !!!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’.

Twitter:@SGewali.