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Fuldol, also known as Pushpadolotsav, is celebrated on Fagun Vad 1, the day after Holi. Pushpa means flower; hence, this is the festival of flowers and colors. On this day, devotees place the murti of Bhagwan in a hindolo made of colorful flowers, which is then gently swung by devotees. People also spray colored water and toss gulal powder on each other. The sentiment behind the festival is to ask God to color one’s life with bhakti and to symbolically bring God closer to one’s heart by continuously striving to offer bhakti. In the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, Pramukh Swami Maharaj usually celebrates Fuldol every year in Sarangpur, Gujarat, where tens of thousands of devotees gather to be sprayed by the pichkari in Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s hands. At BAPS Swaminarayan mandirs around the world, a pichkari is placed in Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s right hand, from which colored water is sprayed on devotees.

Origins:
Once Shri Krishna and Arjun climbed Mt. Girnar in Junagadh, Gujarat. Shri Krishna delighted the devotees known as the Yadavs with his divine lila. In order to please Shri Krishna, the Yadavs made a beautiful hindolo from fresh flowers. To fulfill their wishes, Shri Krishna and Arjun sat on the magnificent hindolo. The Yadavs performed puja of Shri Krishna and Arjun and lovingly swung the hindolo. From this day forward, Shri Krishna and Arjun were worshipped as Nar-Narayan.

Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s Fuldol Lila:
In 1812, Bhagwan Swaminarayan celebrated Fuldol in Sarangpur on a grand scale. Devotees from all across Gujarat gathered in Sarangpur for this festival. He sprinkled gulal on all the devotees until everyone was covered in color. Then, the sadhus performed puja of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. That evening, Bhagwan Swaminarayan played raas, a traditional folk dance with sticks, at Rathod Dhadhal’s house.

While playing raas, Bhagwan Swaminarayan recited the following verse from Kabir’s poem as He struck the dandiya of Gunatitanad Swami with His own:

“Koti Krishna jode hath, Koti Vishnu name Nath,
Koti Shankar dhare dhyan, Koti Brahma kare jnan;
Sadguru Khele Vasant”

At this incident, Bhagwan Swaminarayan revealed that Gunatitanand Swami was that sadguru referred to in the poem. He further explained that He is Purushottam Narayan and that sadguru is Aksharbrahma. His ideal devotee, who constantly remains in His service, is Gunatitanand Swami.

Also during this Fuldol celebration, women devotees of northern Gujarat expressed their devotion by singing a special prayer to Bhagwan Swaminarayan: “Maha balwant maya tamari…” They asked Bhagwan Swaminarayan to protect them from maya. Nishkulanand Swami included this prayer in the Bhaktachintamani.

Rituals:

  • Devotees place the murti of Bhagwan on a hindolo made with colorful flowers.
  • They offer fagwaa made of popcorn, dates, and roasted chana to God.
  • People spray colored water and toss gulal powder on each other.
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