Jagruti & Vandana: 'Holi' & 'Fagun'

'On a day when the wind is perfect, the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty. Today is one such day,' says Rumi

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In the line-up of Indian festivals, the spring festival of Holi stands out just like a naughty school kid. Its beauty is that it allows for some mischief, cajoling us to bring out the child inside us. For which other festival, one ponders, do you set aside your dirtiest of clothes? Any other festival that liberates us (especially the women folk) from compulsions of looking good, when it is okay to wear no make-up – in fact, heavily oiled hair is an entry ticket for worry-free enjoyment!?!

During Holi, breaking rules and boundaries - especially the frivolous ones around gender, age that we have built around ourselves - is completely allowed. This festival, to encourage us to shed our inhibitions, also keeps room for a wee bit of profanity. The phrase ‘Bura na mano holi hain’ (Its Holi today, so don’t mind it) fulfils its role as a supreme caveat emptor.

For this year’s Holi, here’s a jugalbandi (jamming) between the two spiritual stalwarts : Kabirdas and Meerabai. As if the two are playing Holi with each other, replacing colors with their bhajans.

In ‘Holi khele sant sujaan, aatamraam se’ (The truly wise play Holi with their inner selves each moment), Kabirji, draws the metaphor between the playing of Holi with our constant interplay with Maya – our chosen illusion of the world.

In ‘Faagun ke din chaar, Holi khel manaa re’ (Spring lasts for just a bit, so immerse in it and play Holi), Meerabai draws our attention to the ephemeral nature of the world. She exhorts us to drop layers of inhibitions and be available to the magic of the infinite. And like Rumi, she seems to says, ‘Today is the day.’

Check out these beautiful images of ​Indian widows colorfully breaking a 400-year-old taboo to celebrate the festival of Holi at Vrindavan.

Lyrics (Holi khele Sant Sujaan)

Holi khele sant sujaan aatamraam se
Pal pal holi chhin chhin holi, nishdin aatho yaam ... Holi khele

The truly wise and monastic play holi with their inner selves. Not just on one festive day, but every moment, every hour, each day of their lives.

Pandit khele pothi pathra se, kaaji kite quraan
Pativrata khele apne piya se, ganika sakal jahaan ... Holi khele

The learned play with their books and idols, the muezzin with his quraan The devoted wife with her husband whereas the courtesan with everyone

Yogi khele yogyukt sang, abhimaani abhimaan
Kaami khele kaamini ke sang, lobhi khele daan ... Holi khele

The yogis play with fellow yogis, the egoists engage with others of their own clan, the lustful play with the objects of their desires and the miser, with (illusions of) philanthropy

Atiprachand hain veg maayaa ki, bhari bhari maarat baan

Kahe kabir sirf wohi bache jo dhare guru ka dhyaan ... Holi khele

Enormous is the power of maayaa - it casts a loaded spell. Says Kabir, only those who meditate on the name of the Teacher can step out of it.

Lyrics (Faagun ke Din Chaar)

Faagun ke din chaar holi khel manaa re

Days of spring (good fortune) are few, so celebrate Holi, the festival of colours

Bin kartaar pakhaavaj baaje anahad kee jhankaar re
Bin sur raag chhatisoon gaavai rom rom rankaar re ... Faagun ke..

Beats, those produced sans percussion, reverberate in my being. I can hear all (thirty-six) musical notes without even singing it; the divine melody echoes in all the pores of the body​

Sheel santosh ki kesar gholi prem prit pichkaar re
Udat gulaal laal bhayo ambar barsat rang apaar re ... Faagun ke..​

Fill the colors of virtuosity and contentment in the piston of love, Sprinkle the red gulal (dry powder color) in the inner sky and you will witness the torrent of countless hues within

Ghat ke sab pat khol diye hain lok laj sab daar re
Mira ke prabhu girdhar naagar charan kanval balihaar re ... Faagun ke..​

All the layers have been removed, there is no concern about the opinion of the world, Mirabai says that she has sacrificed everything at the lotus feet of her Master Krishna​

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