While the International Nath Order is not a Hindu order, many of our members do enjoy the occasional Hindu festival. That being the case, I’d like to share my experience of Holi with our readers.
Atmadevi, our daughter and I attended Holi at the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram in Taos, New Mexico. Holi is a celebration of the coming of Spring and of color. We dropped Atmadevi off early as she took charge of the menu and had to be there to instruct the kitchen crew. When my daughter and I arrived at the temple, there was snow on the ground which, after a warm morning, was finally wet enough to build a snowman.
Next, we proceeded to the dhuni where my daughter helped Nikesha and Chandra Giri who were laying out a colorful yantra using colored rice. Once the yantra was complete, the dhuni walla carefully laid a fire built of juniper branches, wood, incense, and dried flowers on top of the yantra.
Inside the temple, the arti lamp was lit. I blew the conch as the lamp was brought outside to the dhuni. After offering arti (the waving of lamps) to the dhuni, the flaming ghee was shaken into the dhuni to start the fire.
The children had mixed the remaining colored rice and had drawn symbols and the name of Hanuman in colored rice on the surface of the rice in the bowls. Everyone took rice from these bowls to make offerings of color by throwing and sprinkling rice on each other’s heads.
Next there was chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa and mantras in the temple. The prasad was blessed and taken into the kitchen where dinner was served. As the chanting continued in the temple, some people went to eat, while others chanted in shifts. After a long day, we went home tired but happy.
Peace, Freedom & Happiness,
(Photos by Ram Rani used with her kind permission)