Holashtak Aarambh – Start of Holashtak – Faagan Shukla 8
Lalita lavanga latapari silana, komala malaya samire
Asht means octave (Eight). What the West calls an octave is called "Ashtak" in devnagari language.
Today heavy play of Holi takes place with Shreeji. According to our own margiya pranali (routine), today the play is done with the bhav of Shree Swaminiji.
The intimate Sakhi (women friend in divine sports) of shree Swaminiji i.e. women friend named ‘Hori’, with the orders of Shree Swaminiji, incites or invokes the pure holy desires (Kaam) to play holi with Shree Prabhu. This sakhi incites the ‘Kaam’ inside the heart of bhaktas (devotees) and makes devotees excited and thus emerges the aesthetic pleasure (Ras) inside bhaktas heart. The Yugal swaroop (both Shree Prabhu and Shree Swaminiji) does the transcendental (Alaukik Lilas) plays during day and night and thus it is known as ‘Holashtak’. Shree Prabhu bestows the Ras through the Astang i.e. eight branched body and Ashta Sakhi i.e. Eight main women friends of Shree Prabhu. Today Shree Prabhu is offered various new types of samagris.
The Special unique routine during Vasant, Faag,Dhammar and Hori in Pushtimarg
- To Shreenathji at Nathwara, Holi play (Khel) is done only with four powders i.e Chova (dark in color), Gulal (red in color), Abir (white in color) and Chandan (Yellow in color).
- First Chandan, then Gulal, abir and Chova are applied and sprinkled on Shreenathji during the khel in sequence.
- Chandan is sprinkled first with the bhava of Shree Swaminiji’s glory then Chandravaliji’s and Lalitaji’s Red color of Love towards Shree Prabhu is sprinkled and at last chova(dark) is sprinkled with the bhav of Shree Yamunaji.
- Before the khel, the Charans (Lotus like feet) of Shree Prabhu, Jhariji (water pot), Banta, Gaadi (cushions) and takiya (pillow) are covered with a cloth. This is because Khel (play of holi) is not possible without equality i.e. the difference between Parbrahm and Bhakta has to be removed during the keel so that bhakta can play holi with Shreeji with complete Madhurya Ras. Now, Das bhav comes if bhakta does the darshan of Charans of Shreeji thus, charans are covered.
- The kirtan ‘Vraj Yuvati Satsange Haririh’ is sung from Vasant Panchami upto Kunj Ekadashi when Dol kirtans are started.
- Only during the Rajbhog Aarti, the flowers are sprinkled, because this Ras lela is viewed by several dev ganas and to celebrate they sprinkles flowers on Shree Prabhu to express their devotion.
- The color syringe i.e. Pichkaari and Potli of colors does not come during the first 10 days of vasant.
- Kirtankaar does the Kirtans standing because how can the sevak of Shree Prabhu can sit when Swami and Swaminiji does not sit during the khel.
- After sprinkling the colors, the colors are not removed and cleaned from the floor since this is not with the bhav of Nandalay but with the bhav of Vraj Angan.