Cloak of Ignorance

Many a time, people believe their own version of self-perpetuating, pre-conceived notions to ‘cloak’ their mental abilities. All it does is inflate their egos further, blinding them from ignorance negating critical thinking. I recently posted about Holi and it ‘upset’ some people that, I being a #Sikh, should endorse Hola Mohalla instead (a Sikh tradition, started by Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur, Punjab).

I’m not posting this to preach to anyone nor a flex of my muscles as a show of intellectual supremacy, but perspectives. Acceptance of knowledge, wisdom, metaphors, symbolism, traditions, cultural beliefs can go a long way in harmonizing peace and tranquility in our much deluded and deteriorating world.

Aforementioned, I highlighted the word ‘cloak’. Let me expound a little. In ancient Vedic texts dating back thousands of years (before Sikhism – or even Hinduism as a matter of fact), a demon named ‘Holka’ sat on fire with her nephew ‘Pralaad’ with the intent of burning him alive. He challenged the status quo. He was a thinker, a progressive soul. Not a sheep. His father wasn’t impressed by his antics. Holka, his sister, was gifted a special ‘cloak’ by God to protect her from fire. She could not burn. Hence, she sat on a pyre under this cloak with young Pralaad in her lap. As the fire enraged, the proverbial cloak flew up, uncovering Holka, yet wrapping Pralaad as pyre exploded. Pralaad survived, Holka perished. Moral – the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, wisdom over ignorance, acceptance over resentment.

Second Vedic reference, Krishna is a well-established, well-renowned symbol of godhead in Hinduism. He was playful, extremely naughty, wise beyond his years. Physically, he was dark. His complexion and skin tone was different from the rest. He fancied Radha, his love interest. He was afraid of rejection by her, so his mother (a wise, awoke woman) put different colored powders on a plate and urged him to present them to Radha. She prompted Krishna to let her decide which color she preferred. Radha picked all the proverbial colors and applied them on Krishan’s face, one by one. Moral – love transcends beyond physical appearances, outwardly appearances are just a mere ‘cloak’ over souls, love vibrates beyond physical realms.

Now coming to the Tenth Master of Sikhs. He did not shun Holi. He did not disregard Holi. He did not discriminate nor did he reject the practice of Holi (which is celebrated by throwing colors on each other). He EXTENDED the celebration by incorporating the martial traditions of the Sikhs. We are all fighting our vices, our internal demons, to emerge victorious one day, from our ignorance, darkness, pre-conceived notions, stereotypes et al (hopefully). To emerge purely from underneath the proverbial filth-laden cloak. He extended the celebratory dance, referring to it as Hola Mohalla, to honor each and every warrior (that is battling within us). To rejoice in our victories, to appreciate the daily battles. Moral – the victory of good over evil, the victory of virtues over vices, the victory of tolerance over tyranny, the victory of light over darkness, the victory of color over dullness.

Let’s not shrink our minds to conform to baseless, meaningless notions and ‘cloak’ our minds from the beauty of living. If anything, remove the cloaks of ignorance and celebrate the little victories daily, colorfully. Bring down the silos of division, which are baseless constructs of our minds spurred on by traditions, cultural misappropriations. Life is a beautiful journey, let not the ‘cloak of ignorance‘ blacken your colorful soul and char it black completely.

Happy and rejoiceful celebration of the festival of colors.. not just Sikhs, not just Hindus or Vedic cultures .. every soul that burns glow to their own path and that of others!

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