The festival of Jholi was celebrated on the evening of Saturday 12 January 2013 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
Marking the beginning of the sun’s northbound journey (‘uttarayan’), it is considered especially meritorious to donate on this auspicious day, when 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. Atmakirti Swami explained the concept of following religious observances by narrating inspiring incidents from the lives of various devotees who had sacrificed much for their spiritual progress.
A presentation, entitled ‘The Art of Giving’, highlighted the key aspects of Jholi, emphasising that when one gives to God with the correct sentiment, God in turn returns this generosity by eradicating one’s greed, anger, ego, and other base instincts.
Uttamcharan Swami discussed the personal sacrifice and tireless efforts of devotees in Los Angeles amidst the various challenges faced in building their new mandir. 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 Pramukh Swami Maharaj by placing a garland of roses, a shawl and a paagh upon his murti.
A short touching video of Swamishri in Jholi festivals from previous years was then shared before the traditional ‘ahlek’ was performed by the sadhus. Thereafter, devotees offered their donation according to their means.
The festival of Jholi was also celebrated in other mandirs and centres across the UK.