About Lord Swaminarayan
"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice and wicked actions predominate, I descend myself and assume a form."
"In order to protect the saints and to destroy and annihilate the devils and to establish the principles of religion, I advent myself and come into concrete existence from time to time." Geeta 4-7
It has been pledged by Lord Shree Krishna that He will reincarnate Himself, whenever there is deterioration in faith, religion and morality, with a view to protect the saints, destroy the sinners and re-establish Dharma. It was under these similar circumstances that Lord Shree Krishna manifested Himself in this mortal world as Sahajanand Swami. There was social and political chaos; might was right. There was no one to protect the poor and the downtrodden.
The condition of women was most deplorable. A few Brahmins dominated the masses in matters of religion. Gross superstition, atrocities, immoral deeds and looting were the order of the day. The standard of life was extremely low.
It was at this juncture that Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan took birth to protect the saintly persons, to destroy the sinfull elements and to re-establish true religion.
He was born of Dharmadev and Bhaktimata at Chhapaiya, a village near Ayodhya, on Rama Navmi day of Samvat 1837 (2nd April 1781), in a holy Brahmin family. He was named Ghanshyam at birth. Right from His early childhood He showed divine powers. He expelled many a danger from evil spirits and evil doers. He manifasted superhuman powers in many miraculous deeds. By virtue of such divine powers He earned various names, such as Shree Hari, Shree Harikrishna, Vasudev, Narayan and others. In His childhood, He exhibited a remarkable height of wisdom and knowledge. He mastered the Vedas and the Vedanta at the tender age of ten. He acquainted His mother of Maya (illusion), salvation and divine intergration.
After the departure of His parents to Akshardham, He forsook His home and like Gautam Buddha, set out to practise penance at the tender age of eleven.
Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj was a Bal-Brahmachari, a celibate all His life. He went to almost all places of pilgrimage, barefooted. During this pilgrimage He studied the Vedas, Vedanta, Bhagwad Geeta, Vishnupuran, Smritis, Vishnu Sahasranama, etc., and noted down important precepts out of those great books in a small pocket book which He kept with Him. For seven years He travelled to all the corners of India, collecting as much good as He could. On account of His celibacy and profound penance He had a rare radiant lustre on His face.
At the age of eighteen He came to Loj, a village in Gujarat. This was a prominent place amongst the followers of Ramanand Swami. Soon after Ramanand Swami saw Him, he declared Him as his successor and ordered all his followers to abide by His directions. He was given the name Sahajanand Swami by Ramanand Swami.
He, by His exalted spiritual magnificence, universal love and kindness to all souls, undertook to remove the miseries and woes of all human beings and animals.
He established His own Sampraday, which holds Bhakti in strict pursuance of Uddhav. Swaminarayan Sampradaya believes in Dharma (religious duties), Bhakti (devotion), Gnan (knowledge) and Vairagya (non-attachement). He preached love, non-violence, compassion, abstinence and purity of thought, speech and action. He made Himself accessible even to the humblest of man. The lowest of the low came to His feet and their standard of living was improved to the extent that they gave up their hereditary professions of theft and robbery, and adopted the religious way of life. The knife, sword and arrow were replaced by rosary beads.
He erected temples in Ahmedabad, Vadtal, Bhuj and various other towns, wherein the Deities of Shree Nar Narayan Dev, Shree Laxmi Narayan Dev, and others, were installed by Him personally. He initiated some of the most prominent saints in the Sampradaya, many of them scholars of the highest calibre. In a short span of forty-nine years, he did miraculous work, too herculean for a single person to perform.
Lord Shree Swaminarayan arranged to write several books based on the Bhagwat Dharma. He stayed at Gadhada, the village of Dada Khachar, on the banks of the River Ghela, where he often delivered lectures. He also lectured at other places such as Ahmedabad, Vadtal, Loya, Panchala, etc, on the subject of religion, humanity, honesty, non-violence and mercy to deserving people. These lectures were discourses with saints and devotees, and has been compiled as the Vachnamrat; and to crown all His other activities, He wrote Shikshapatri, for the spiritual welfare of every soul.
Lord Shree Swaminarayan's style of preaching is simple, loving and affectionate. It comes from the depth of His heart. It touches the very core of the readers heart. He performed Yagnas (sacrifices), all based on Ahinsa (non-violence).
When Lord Shree Swainarayan felt that the purpose for which He graced this earth - this blessed country was accomplished; the well planned Sampraday was working in full swing and the task He had undertaken was working on the right lines and was in safe hands, He divided the administration of the Sampraday into two Gaadis and placed each Gaadi under the Acharyaship of his two descendants(His adopted sons) and advised His followers to abide by their respective Acharyas.
This great incarnation of Purna Purushottam left his mortal body on the tenth day of the first half of the month of Jeth in Samvat 1886 (28th June 1830) at Gadhada at the age of 49 years 2 months and 1 day.