The Holi festival is the most playful event in the divine calendar, Charles Cameron reports from America. Groves of fifty and sixty foot bamboo trees, tulip trees with brilliant red blossom hovering over every leaf. Coconut palms, creepers that have overrun the roofs of houses, and great vines hanging down from every stout tree. Doves, an army of crickets, butterflies, songbirds. The clear blue sky, and the unbelievable sea Miami, Florida.
Quite a few premies are staying in the ashram, meditating in a banyan tree whose trunk looks like four baby elephants rubbing each other's backs. A statue of Buddha sits calmly in the garden, overgrown with creepers for a thousand days. They call this place Mayami it's so close to paradise. Mangos in springtime, avacados in the fall And right now, bittersweet starfruit are in season.
We drive past the purple blossoms of Vizcaya, a coral rock palace in the Spanish style with wrought iron gates and formal gardens, here an Italian fountain, there a Moorish arch. We take the Rickenbacker Causeway past a thousand yachts and catamarans to Key Biscayne and across it, stopping in Cape Florida State Park
Premies are everywhere, setting up sound systems, relaxing on the beach, wandering in search of lost younger brothers, or listening to the satsang of Mahatmas under the trees. Suddenly everyone is on beach, a small speck, a boat, a speedboat is approching along the shoreline, it swings out and round, it beaches.
Guru Maharaj Ji walks directly up the beach, leaving two lines of pranaming premies in his wake. Mata Ji waits until the waves of excitement and dust have subsided and tben smilingly walks with Bhole Ji to join Guru Maharaj Ji by the trees. They climb into a balloon festooned golf cart, and head off for their Residence of the Moment, a small mobile home in a clearing of the trees. Soon Maharaj Ji is on the roof, letting fly the first of many buckets of paint.
Mahatmas, their robes covered in blue dye, are everywhere. Jaques Sandoz tries to climb on top of the Divine Camper to film the amazing scene, and someone unloads a bucket on his head. After a few minutes, Guru Maharaj Ji orders the premies to stand round a stage which has been built onto the flatbed of a truck. He joins them on top of the stage, and begins to squirt everyone with an ultra pressure jet.
People are literally awash with grace. Faces are covered with green, purple, red and blue dye. Mahatmas dash around the stage with crazy-foam containers, Mata Ji is throwing balloons filled with coloured water to the premies, Bhole Ji diffidently unloading buckets on unwary Mahatmas' heads. Fakir and Mahatma Gyan Bairaganand are performing an Indian dance, while Mata Ji and Maharaj Ji color them all colors of the rainbow.
Mata Ji's face is alight with a smile of purest joy. I am speechless. How can we possibly understand the love that she and Maharaj Ji are drowning us in this day? All that I know is that this is the first time Holi Festival has been held in the West. This is that same most childlike of festivals that I witnessed in India, and the devotees here have the same love, the same bond with Maharaj Ji. The Indian scriptures tell us that we must dye the cloth of our life in the color of the Holy Name. Here at Holi festival, this teaching is vividly expressed.
After an hour or so, Maharaj Ji, Mata Ji and Bhole Ji retire to the Camper, and then to the beach. While Mata is in the water, one devotee swims thirty feet underwater past the WPC guards, and surfaces next to her. He pranams underwater at her feet.
One Mahatma tells us this festival was first held in the time of Lord Vishnu. "Holi was celebrated by Lord Rama, Lord Krishna celebrated it by the banks of the Jamuna River, and now Guru Maharaj Ji has celebrated it by the side of the ocean. Really he is showing us that Rama was Ganges, and Krishna was Jamuna, but Guru Maharaj Ji is the Ocean of Grace." And the premies are deep in that ocean, waving to Guru Maharaj Ji as the speedboat at last carries him and Mata Ji round the curve of the bay.