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Showing posts from February 28, 2010


Today is Holika Dahan

Today, February 28, 2010 is the Purnima or full day in the Phalgun month and is the first day of the Holi festival when bonfires are lit in memory of young Prahlad’s victory over demon Holika. The day is known as Holika Dahan. In some regions, people burn old and worthless things in the evening. In other regions, fire is lit in the evening using wood pieces. You can read more about Holika Dahan hereTomorrow is Dhuleti Holi

Attukal Pongala Today

Attukal Pongala is observed today, February 28, 2010 at the AttukalTemple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The capital city of the state of Kerala in India, Trivandrum, will be transformed into a sea of women devotees annually on the Pooram Nakshatram day in the Malayalam month of Kumbham (February – March). More than two million women participate in the Attukal Pongala ritual, which is the largest annual gathering of women in the world. All the women that have descended to Attukal in Trivandrum from various parts of Kerala, India and around the world are here to cook Pongala to Attukal Devi, an incarnation of Shakti.The 'Pongala' ritual comprises preparing ‘prasad’ for the deity. Women cook rice and jaggery in earthen pots and they offer it to the goddess. They also cook different type of sweet dishes – called ‘mandaputtu,’ ‘appam,’ ‘therali’ – made out of rice powder and jaggery. Coconut tree fronds are used to cook the ‘prasad.’Fifty years ago the Pongala ritual was a small f…

Sri Sri Ravishankar Thoughts on Holika Dahan – Bonfire on the Previous Day of Holi

Puranas are full of colorful illustrations and stories and there is a story related to Holi. An asura king, Hiranyakashyapu, wanted everyone to worship him. But his son Prahlad was a devotee of Lord Narayana, the king’s sworn enemy. Angry, the king wanted Holika, his sister, to get rid of Prahlad. Empowered to withstand fire, Holika sat on a burning pyre holding Prahlad on her lap. But it was Holika who was burnt, Prahlad came out unharmed. Hiranyakashyapu symbolizes one who is gross. Prahlad embodies innocence, faith and bliss. The spirit cannot be confined to matter, only love. Hiranyakashyapu wanted all joy to come from the material world. It did not happen that way. The individual jivatma cannot be bound to the material forever. It’s natural to eventually move towards Narayana, one’s higher Self. Holika symbolizes past burdens that try to burn Prahlad’s innocence.. But Prahlad, so deeply rooted in Narayana Bhakti, could burn all past impressions (sanskaras). For one who is deep in…

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