The festival of Jholi was devoutly celebrated on the evening of Saturday 11 January 2014 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
Jholi is also known as the festival of Uttarayan, derived from the Sanskrit words ‘uttara’ (north) and ‘ayana’ (movement), marking the beginning of the sun’s northbound journey. It is considered especially meritorious to donate on this auspicious day, where sadhus also traditionally beg for alms with the ‘ahlek’ (or call): “Swaminarayan Hare, Satchidanand Prabho!”
Youths began the assembly with the singing of devotional songs extolling the significance of this festival. Prabuddhmuni Swami further explained the religious concept of giving and its spiritual benefits by drawing upon inspiring incidents from the lives of various devotees. A short sketch followed thereafter, narrating the lives of some of these devotees from the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Satyavrat Swami discussed the personal sacrifice and tireless efforts of devotees from around the world. He also shed further light upon the history of Jholi, and shared touching incidents from the life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Following this, sadhus honoured Swamishri by placing a garland upon his murti.
A short, touching video of Swamishri in Jholi festivals from previous years was then shared before the sadhus performed the ahlek too.