annual festival of Jal Zilani is celebrated in the presence of Swamishri
with fervor and devotion in Sarangpur. The festival inspires sentiments
that God is the supreme boatsman who redeems devotees from the vast
ocean of life.
From 8.45 a.m. to 9.45 a.m., the murtis of Harikrishna Maharaj, Utsav Murti, Lalji Maharaj (Sarangpur) and Ganeshji were ceremoniously paraded in a palanquin and two decorated floats through the alleys and streets of Sarangpur village. Sadhus and devotees, sitting in 38 tractors and 2 pick-up trucks, rejoiced and sang bhajans and dhun during the parade. The procession came to the banks of the river Utavali where a canopied hall and a decorative stage for the Jal Zilani festival had been set-up.
At 10.15 a.m., heralded by the local drummers, Swamishri arrived at the festival venue.
Getting into a decorated boat, Swamishri was taken to the main stage that was shaped like a giant yacht in the middle of the Utavali river. The maha-puja rituals had begun at 9.00 a.m. in the presence of Mahant Swami. When Swamishri arrived, Viveksagar Swami was explaining the glory, history and spiritual significance of the festival in the Sampraday. Thereafter, Swamishri performed pujan and arti of Harikrishna Maharaj and Ganeshji and concluded the maha-puja rituals.
Then Mahant Swami spoke on the glory of the festival and Swamishri's redeeming powers. After a bhajan, Swamishri blessed the assembly from the yacht-stage. Thereafter, Swamishri, Mahant Swami and Viveksagar Swami stepped into a boat with the murtis of Harikrishna Maharaj, Lalji Maharaj (Sarangpur) and Ganeshji to embark upon the customary boat ride in the Utavali river, Narayan Sarovar and Yagnapurush Sarovar. The tempo of bhajans and rhythm of percussion instruments inspired by sadhus filled and enriched the festive air with devotion and joy. The boat-trip was punctuated with 5 artis and offerings of prasad to Thakorji.
Swamishri then returned back to the main stage, where Swamishri bathed the murtis of Harikrishna Maharaj and Lalji Maharaj with the holy waters of Mansarovar amidst the chanting of the Janmangal stotra. After sprinkling the holy water on sadhus and devotees, Swamishri ceremoniously immersed the murti of Ganeshji in the river water. Thereafter, Swamishri chanted the Swaminarayan dhun for the fulfillment of various wishes and peace in the world. Finally, to the joy of everyone, Swamishri took the ceremonial dip in the waters. Then he swam to the banks and, after sprinkling water on sadhus and devotees, returned back to the main stage.
More than 6,000 devotees had availed of the devotionally-charged and memorable festival of Jal Zilani.