Saturday, March 16th 2013 marked the first annual L.A. Festival of Colors in Norwalk, California. Well, technically, Norwalk isn’t exactly Los Angeles – but it’s at least in L.A. County, right? At any rate – the event was certainly a festival, and there were, indeed, colors. Caru Das Adikari, Temple Priest of Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah, is to credit (or blame, depending on your persuasion) for the joyous mischief that was the Festival of Colors. So what’s all the colorful excitement about? Holi. A Hindu holiday dating back many hundreds, if not thousands of years. A spring time festival – one entangled in many different stories from different times and traditions- but one embraced by hundreds of millions in India, Nepal, and other places with sizable Hindu populations. Regardless of the particular tradition, Holi has always been a celebration of the triumph of good over evil – and has come to be a celebration of Krishna and Radha, the Beloved Duo at the centerpiece of Vaishnava Hindu worship.
Modern kirtan celebrities, such as MC Yogi, Deepak Ramapriyan and the Breath of Life Tribe, Larisa Stow and the Shakti Tribe, DJ Drez and the Kirtaniyas riled the crowd with uplifting melodies and beats for one purpose alone – to sing the praises of Divinity. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare – Hare Ram, Hare Ram, Ram Ram, Hare Hare. It is said that one cannot even hear the words, the Holy Names of Krishna (God) once and not be uplifted by their transcendental sound vibration. One thing is for sure – young or old, Hindu or not, those in attendance had their spirits lifted by something. It is doubtful that mere bags of powdered color by themselves can create the type of brotherly love, unity, and spiritual ecstasy that was this years Festival of Colors – Holi – in Norwalk.