A versatile scholar and a visionary, a tough optimist and a kind Guru, pioneer of many spiritual and social activities, a staunch advocate of Karma and Bhakti yoga, Shastriji Maharaj Shri Dharmajivandasji Swami, the reviver of the Gurukul Tradition was born on 18th June, 1901, the auspicious day of Rathayatra in Gujarat, India. At the tender age of 16, he was initiated as a saint and became a successor of the Gunatit tradition.
While on a pilgrimage by foot to the Himalayas, he saw a Guru teaching his disciples and was inspired to institute the first ever Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul at Rajkot in 1948 AD, with the intention of providing a value based education to everyone, especially to the under-privileged.
His simple life of devotion, compassion and strong righteous principles influenced his disciples too. He practiced Ayachak Vrati.e., never asked anyone for monetary donation. He had firm faith in God that all the benevolent activities of the Gurukul should run only by voluntary donations of people inspired by the almighty. His indomitable will and belief in Bhagwan Swaminarayan brought him success. Success for him was nothing but the betterment of the society.
His Himalayan vision, which transformed the lives of thousands, still lives and will continue forever through his disciples, who with the same zeal, strive hard for the betterment of the world.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan incarnated on the Earth in the latter half of the eighteenth century, a time that is aptly considered one of the darkest periods in history. Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s achievements in religion, society and education were absolutely herculean in nature, considering his short lifespan of 49 years and the acute anarchy that afflicted India at the time.
Many intellectuals, after recognizing Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s achievements in the fields of society and religion, have established Him as a grand reformer. Some go one step further and identify Him as a divine personage. Moreover, a large number of people consider Him an incarnation equal to Bhagwan Ram and Bhagwan Krishna. In actuality, however, He is the Supreme God.
At the tender age of 11, Bhagwan Swaminarayan left His home and began His journey of spiritual revival throughout India. From the Himalayas to Kanyakumari, from Jagganath Puri to Loj and through harsh winters, monsoons and summers, His journey spanned more than 12,000 Kilometers and lasted for more than seven years. He endured these conditions barefoot and wearing nothing but a loincloth. He finally settled in Gujarat and became the head of the holy fellowship at the very young age of twenty-one. In less than three decades, He founded the fastest-growing holy fellowship ever, comprising more than 1800 saints, 800 female ascetics and over 500,000 disciples. Six magnificent temples were constructed by the holy fellowship and more than 100 scriptures and 30,000 kirtans were composed. Most importantly, Bhagwan Swaminarayan was worshipped as Supreme God by hundreds of thousands devotees during His lifetime.
If, without any prejudice or preconceived notion, one attempts to evaluate the life and work of Bhagwan Swaminarayan in context of that era, one will invariably be convinced about His Supreme divinity. We sincerely hope this book will help anyone in do so.
This book is a humble attempt to delve into the glory of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. It depicts Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s biography and His unparalleled work as a reformer in social, religious, educational and economic fields. The five pillars of the holy fellowship (i.e. Disciples, Saints, Acharya, Temples and Scriptures) are explained, along with a brief note on philosophy. Twenty-nine unique personality traits of Bhagwan Swaminarayan are described. Finally, various scholars’ opinions of Bhagwan Swaminarayan are noted.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s life, action, vision and personality were so unique, unparalleled, limitless, incomprehensible, charming and thoughtful that it is impossible to provide a complete account, but this book is a humble attempt to present His glory to anyone interested in learning about it. The responsibility for any mistakes and for any ideas expressed herein is mine alone.
I have already been rewarded in this project by the sheer joy and satisfaction I have derived by being given the opportunity to study various scriptures and books related to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and considered myself fortunate to be a part of this book.
There were many books used for reference as mentioned in bibliography, but the below three books were used extensively and deserve special recognition:
1. "Contribution of Swaminarayan Sampraday to Gujarat in nineteenth century" (in Gujarati) by Rashmiben Tribhuvanbhai Vyas. 1st edition published by Shri Swaminarayan Gurukul, Rajkot in 1997.
2. "Swami Sahajanand athawa Swaminarayan Sampradaya" (in Gujarati) by Kishorelal Mashruwala. 2nd Edition published by Navjivan Prakashan, Amdavad in 1940.
3. "Sri Swami Narayan" by Manilal C Parekh. 2nd Edition published by Sri Bhagwat Dharma Mission House, Rajkot in 1960.
Throughout this book, some original terms whose translation cannot convey the intended meaning have been italicized. The glossary explains each word with a brief definition.
This book is the product of the blessings of saints and intense teamwork.
At this juncture of publishing of this book I consider myself lucky to surrender my deepest regard and gratitude to His Holiness Jogi Swami, who at the age of 108 provides divine inspiration to myself and to thousands of disciples like me.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Item Code: NAS019 Author: Harikrushna Changela Cover: PAPERBACK Edition: 2011 Publisher: Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul, Rajkot Language: English Size: 8.50 X 5.50 inch Pages: 248 (6 B/W Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 0.28 Kg