At about 10.30 a.m. Swamishri came to the lawn behind his residence to specially bless the sadhus with coloured water. First Swamishri performed pujan of Shri Harikrishna Maharaj. Then a tiny sprinkler in the hands of Harikrishna Maharaj was activated to spray Swamishri with coloured water, and Swamishri also sprinkled coloured water on Shri Harikrishna Maharaj.
Pujya Mahant Swami and Pujya Dr Swami honoured Swamishri with garlands, and Pujya Kothari Swami and Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami tied strings of flowers on Swamishri’s wrists. Thereafter, Swamishri first sprayed coloured water on the senior sadhus and then on all sadhus as they filed past before him. The tempo of devotion and joy was enhanced with the singing of bhajans and lively rhythms. For one hour Swamishri joyously drenched the sadhus with coloured water, making the occasion festive and memorable.
By 3.30 p.m. thousands of devotees from India and abroad had started flocking to the festive venue behind the Swaminarayan Vidyamandir (school) grounds. The stage backdrop had huge colourful fountains made of wood and papier mâché and the utsav murtis of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj were placed on a pedestal.
The theme of the assembly was ‘Colour of Joy’. Speeches by senior sadhus enlightened and inspired the audience about Swamishri’s life. Pujya Viveksagar Swami spoke about how Swamishri has tolerated hardships to please everyone.
Pujya Kothari Swami spoke about how we should bear physical hardships that may come our way to please Swamishri. Then Pujya Anandswarup Swami discoursed on how Swamishri has pleased his gurus and devotees according to their wishes. Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami talked on understanding the glory of all devotees to please Swamishri.
A number of Swaminarayan Aksharpith Publications were inaugurated by senior sadhus: Renunciation, Reform and Women in Swaminarayan Hinduism by Prof. Sureshbhai Raval, Prasangam 2009, India’s Glorious Heritage (all in English), Seva Aur Samarpanki Bhagirathi by Dr D.P. Garg, Upanishad Marma by Sadhu Bhadreshdas, Satsang Darshan, Pt. 115 (DVD), Shu na thay re Pramukh Swamine Kaje (DVD), Swaminarayan Bhashyam by Sadhu Bhadreshdas (in Sanskrit), Nilkanth Charitra (in Kannad).
Pujya Brahmavihari Swami talked about God and guru being the centrepoints in Swamishri’s life. Pujya Dr Swami explained what it means to have God and guru at the centre of one’s life. Pujya Mahant Swami elaborated upon how to sustain the thought of pleasing Swamishri in order to be blessed with his bliss.
After the inspiring speeches sadhus sang ‘Vartãl gãm fulvãdiye...’ Thereafter, senior sadhus garlanded Swamishri and honoured him on behalf of more than 100,000 devotees.
Swamishri blessed the mammoth gathering, saying, “We appreciate your coming here to the Fuldol Festival by leaving aside your work. Wherever God and his realized Sadhu have travelled, those places have become sacred.
“Shriji Maharaj, his sadhus and devotees travelled to such small villages. There, Maharaj celebrated festivals and pleased the devotees and liberated them from maya. Moksha is attained by an association with God and by developing firm faith in his greatness.
“One also attains moksha by remembering God, obeying his commands and observing moral disciplines.
“Shastriji Maharaj built this huge mandir here, and today thousands of people come for darshan.”
Then Swamishri performed arti and pujan of Shri Harikrishna Maharaj. Swamishri then sprayed coloured water on Harikrishna Maharaj and Harikrishna Maharaj coloured Swamishri with saffron-scented water from a small spray. Finally, at 7.35 p.m. Swamishri started spraying the devotees with sanctified coloured water. Swamishri sat for 20 minutes and thereafter departed from the stage. Thereafter an utsav murti of Swamishri was placed for darshan. In all, more than 100,000 devotees attended the festival.