Happy Holi


As promised, a recipe for the holiday’s I’ve decided to keep. Today is Holi, the Indian festival of color. From Wikipedia: Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March. 

There are lots of traditions and stories associated with this holiday, but this one is my favorite:

the young Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about why Radha was so fair and he so dark. Yashoda advised him to apply colour on Radha’s face and see how her complexion would change. The central ritual of Holi is the throwing and applying of colored water and powders on friends and family, which gives the holiday its common name “Festival of Colors.” This ritual is said to be based on the above story of Krishna and Radha as well as on Krishna’s playful splashing of the maids with water, but most of all it celebrates the coming of spring with all its beautiful colors and vibrant life. It is also associated with the enduring love between Lord Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu) and Radha, and Krishna in general.

There seem to be literally hundreds of interpretations of the story of Radha and Krishna. I personally like it for a couple reasons. One is that it exemplifies that lovely idea of spiritual recognitions in another person. Radha and Krishna recognize the ‘divine’ in each other. Of course in most Indian stories someone is an incarnation of some god or goddess and they know it. But on a very human level, Radha is a woman of non-convention. She is not a model of social duty, but of a woman who is true to her own spirit. After all, Radha is not only married but is also generally depicted as older than Krishna. This is not a perverse relationship, they are not lovers until Krishna is an adult. It is a sophisticated representation of love in many forms.

I could read some very romantic, undying-love, western-ideology into this story, or I could tell you about the Indian idea of Radha’s love for Krishna as it represents a pious person’s love of god. I’m not sure that either of those interpretations stand on their own and I think that there are better reasons for part of this love story to be associated with Holi.

A picture speaks a thousand words.

The interpretation I like the most is the one that understands Radha as a representation of the field of time, shown in part by the fact that she is older and in part by the celebration of sex. Krishna represents the field of the eternal, he is an incarnation of Vishnu. (Surprisingly, I didn’t read this from Joesph Campbell.) Radha-Krishna is symbolic of the mysterious source of life that burst forth into being through union. When two become one. They exemplify the spring time when sex is in the air and life blossoms in Koda-chrome color.

From the Sakthi Foundation: Consciousness is Unconditional,  and we exists as Awareness which is nothing but un-conditional Consciousness conditioned in space and time.Through conditional love we experience short transient happiness and through Unconditional love one experience eternal “Bliss” , this is what is symbolized as Radha-Krishna.This is what Radha achieved in her life and with that she has become immortal golden words in the Book of Love. We celebrate the symbolism of their love as the colorful Holi festival. 

Vegetable Korma

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 fresh red chile, chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  •  tomatoes chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into small pieces
  • 1 large potato, cut into chunks
  • 1 3/4 cup cauliflower folrets
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 2/3 cup plain curd (yogurt)
  • 2/3 cups light cream
  • 1 oz. fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic, and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the chile and ginger and cook for a further 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, potato, cauliflower, salt and spices and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in yogurt and cream and cook and additional 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and serve with rice.

I just had to throw this picture in for the hell of it.

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3 thoughts on “Happy Holi

  1. I thought about just deleting your comment, but then I realized it is an opportunity for understanding. Last year, I made little rice-paste foot prints with my friends on Krishna’s birthday and her Pati gave us sweet butter when we got to the kitchen. She told us the story of the mischievous little baby Krisna who was always sneaking sweet butter from the kitchen. I remember a story I heard once of Krishna telling Indra not to take himself too seriously when Indra wanted to build himself a giant palace. I may be wrong, but what I think the image of Krishna tells us is to not take ourselves or our ideologies too seriously. It reminds us to be a little mischievous sometimes and embrace the joys and humor of life. I don’t know what you believe, but my intention was not to offend, but to examine. Perhaps you have a stronger belief in religious ideas being factual rather than informative, but I would ask you: is your response to me consistent with the values inherent in your religion?

  2. To this person “dfssd” there is a kinder way to give your opinion. Calling someone names & offending their Mother is not Vaisnava like. Vaisnava’s (Krsna Bhakta) doesn’t behave like that. Remember, when you point a finger you have 3 pointing at you.

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