In order to clean their stomachs, Indian people eat sweets made from sesame every Saturday. Yogis do shankhaprakshalana or kunjal for the same reason. The stomach, which is continually overloaded with impure and difficult to digest foods, must be cleaned at prescribed intervals.
It is the same with society which is comprised of people. The chief characteristic that distinguishes man from all other beings is his mind. Every person's mind has its own particular tendencies and this accounts for the diversity within society, institutions and families. But at the same time society has laid down certain rules and laws for the integration of man's individual characteristics. When people follow these rules blindly, whether they want to or not, and without weighing their consequences, social limitations develop. This results in suppressions of all kinds which are exhibited within society through various crimes, offences and social aberrations. Hence it is essential for each one of us to become aware of these suppressions within ourselves, and adopt some technique for eliminating them.
In the Yoga Shastras it is said that yoga can be done to purify the mind and for maintenance of good health. There are various techniques employed for this and one of them is antar mouna, inner silence. This is the way to see, express and eliminate one's inner frustrations, desires and disturbances. This aspect of mental cleansing is very important not only individually but collectively. The tantric technique for expressing and releasing the mounting inhibitions and tensions of society is the festival of Holi. Shivaratri takes place on the darkest night of the moon. Two weeks later on the following full moon we celebrate Holi. Throughout India it is a day of great abandon, a day of total freedom.
Tonight the burning of Holi is being celebrated. From our windows we can see the great bonfire around which the people are singing, dancing and abusing, enjoying their social freedom immensely. Through the streets pass many musical processions; the sound of the drum and Radhe, Krishna pulses through us and our fingers spontaneously tap out its rhythm.
However, as society becomes more and more suppressed by the weight of modem culture, the real significance of Holi is disintegrating. The fault does not lie with the festival itself, but with the lack of understanding of its function in society. To be able to enjoy the true spirit of Holi, people must be able to give vent freely to their suppressed frustrations, tensions and inhibitions. Holi is the cleansing technique for society.
The night is gay
My heart is innocent
Here every night is Diwali
And every day is Basant Holi.