Annually, the Fuldol festival, held in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in Sarangpur, is celebrated with grand devotion and joy. This year, on 7 March 2004, the Fuldol festival commenced with Swamishri’s puja at 7.25 a.m.
The stage decoration was themed on a beautiful garden – Yagnapurush Fulvadi. A large artificial mango tree with fresh green mangoes and several other artificial trees created an ambience of a lush farm and garden. A swing suspended from the mango tree had the utsav murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. An ornate shrine with the murti of Shastriji Maharaj was arranged under a canopy of lush trees. Swamishri’s seat was beneath the mango tree with the senior sadhus on both sides of the stage.
The Fuldol assembly commenced with a speech by Brahmavihari Swami who spoke about the development of BAPS. Viveksagar Swami spoke about the origin of Fuldol festival, its significance and application in life. Ishwarcharan Swami elaborated upon the hardships underwent by the Guru Parampara in developing the garden of Satsang. Dr. Swami charged the assembly with his inspiring address about the necessity of remaining steadfast in one’s morals in a materialistic society.
The winners of a recitation competition, held under the auspices of the Golden Anniversary Celebration of the Children’s Forum, were presented with prizes by Swamishri. Thereafter, Swamishri inaugurated a helmet for BAPS volunteers to be put on while driving scooters or motorcycles.
Finally, Swamishri blessed the huge assembly, “The Fuldol festival was celebrated by Bhagwan Swaminarayan on several occasions in Sarangpur. He once celebrated it in the small courtyard of Rathod Dhadhal. The songs of Holi were being sung and Maharaj asked ‘Who is that Sadguru?’ Then Maharaj touched Gunatitanand Swami’s chest with a dance-stick and said, ‘He is the Sadguru and I am God.’ Shastriji Maharaj built this beautiful mandir which is like Akshardham…One should offer devotion to God with the realisation that one is atmarup. This is the principle of Bhagwan Swaminarayan…”
Swamishri sprayed the fragrant coloured-water on Shri Harikrishna Maharaj and thereafter on the devotees as they approached the main stage. The joy and tempo of devotion was extraordinary. Bhajans sung by sadhus, ‘Yagnapursh fulwadie. Hindolo ambani dal..’ ‘He lage Vaikunththi rudu Vartal…’ ‘Yogi avo te rang mune shid lagadyo…’ set the festive ambience of joy and ecstasy. Swamishri coloured the devotees who had arrived from USA, UK, E. Africa, Far East and all parts of India.
More than 54,000 devotees attended the festival and departed after having maha-prasad.