Significance of Holi and Fuldol

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Devotees participate in the Holi bonfire, symbolic of the burning of evil and God’s saving grace. (this is a photo from previous year. no celebration has been organized last year and this year due to COVID19) Photo: BAPS

Holi is one of the most colorful festivals in the Hindu calendar. It welcomes the onset of spring and celebrates the new life and vitality of all that follows. It also marks the triumph of good over evil and the saving grace of God, symbolized by the lighting of the Holi bonfire.Holi also celebrates the story of Prahlad and Holika. Prahlad was the son of the evil king Hiranyakashipu.

He was enraged that Prahlad worshipped Vishnu as superior, not him.After several failed attempts to kill Prahlad, Hiranyakashipu recruited his demoness sister Holika. She had a special boon to withstand fire. But, when she sat in a raging fire with Prahlad on her lap, she was burned to death instead while the will of God saved the praying Prahlad.

The Holi bonfire is thus symbolic of the burning of evil and represents God’s saving grace. In the Gita (10/35), Shri Krishna proclaims spring as the foremost season and one of his Vibhutis -forms: Rutunaam kusumaakaraha.

His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj showers devotees with colored water during the Holi festival in Sarangpur. (this is a photo from previous year. no celebration has been organized last year and this year due to COVID19) Photo: BAPS

The ritual of offering roasted grain to Agni -fire-deity is known as Navaanineshti. In Sanskrit, the roasted grain is called Holaakaa, from which the Hindi ‘Holi’ is derived. Since Vedic times people availed the newly harvested grain only after offering it to the devas. This offering of new grain is Holi. This festival celebrates the arrival of spring on Fagun sud Purnima. Also known as Falgunika, people celebrate the changing season and the beauty associated with spring blossoms by spraying color.

Pushpadolotsav -Festival of Flowers is celebrated on the day after Holi, on Fagun Vad 1. The origin of this festival dates back to the times of Shri Krishna. Once Arjun accompanied Shri Krishna to Raivatachal -Mt. Girnar. Here Shri Krishna pleased the Yadavas with divine sports. In turn, to please him, the joyous Yadavas made a swing of flowers. They then seated Shri Krishna and Arjun on the hindolo (swing), performed pujan and swung the hindolo. Henceforth the two became renowned as Nar-Narayan and the Pushpadolotsav came into being.

By performing actions in accordance to the rules of Dharma, to please the Bhagwan, the devotee symbolically brings the Bhagwan nearer his heart. This is akin to pulling the hindolo swing towards himself. When the devotee falters in his devotion, the Bhagwan moves away, symbolized by the swing moving away.

Swamis of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha participate in the Holi bonfire, symbolic of the burning of evil and God’s saving grace. (this is a photo from previous year. no celebration has been organized last year and this year due to COVID19) Photo: BAPS

Therefore, the devotee strives to offer better bhakti, which results in the Bhagwan’s incessant proximity.The ritual on the day of Pushapadolotsav is that devotees construct a hindolo of flowers, install the Bhagwan’s murti and swing Him. They also spray colored water on each other. On the day of Pushapadolotsav (also known as Fuldol), people traditionally offer roasted chickpeas (chana), dates and popcorn to God and partake of the prasad.

In the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, Fuldol is traditionally celebrated with immense fervor. A water hose attached to Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s murti in the central shrine sprays colored and fragrant water on the devotees.

Murtis (Sacred images) of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Gunatitanand Swami and Gopalanand Swami adorned with vibrant colored to mark the occasion of Holi. Photo: BAPS

Besides being solaced they feel spiritually charged in being graced with sanctified water by God.Bhagwan Swaminarayan celebrated Pushpadolotsav in many different places during His period. Of these, the two most prominent were in Samvat 1872 (1816 CE), in Vartal and in Samvat 1868 (1812 CE), in Sarangpur. Pramukh Swami Maharaj celebrates this festival on a huge scale in Sarangpur in Saurashtra, with devotion and fervor. The Swaminarayan Sampradaya also celebrates the birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s second spiritual successor, Bhagatji Maharajon this day.

– used with permission from BAPS

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