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Bhagwan Swaminarayan
Bhagwan Swaminarayan


The teachings of Lord Swaminarayan draw authority from the sacred Vedic scriptures by Ved Vyas.
Note : References in brackets are from the Vachanamritam.

  1. Universal suffering
    'Greed for wealth and other things, the desire to remain in the company of women, great weakness for tasty foods, ego, a liking for evil company, attachment for relatives; a person who possesses these six faults will never experience happiness in life or after death.' (Gadhada III.38)
  2. Mundane pleasures '
    Craving the sense pleasures for fulfillment by enjoying them is akin to pouring water into a fissure which has opened up in the ground and reaches into the depths of the earth. It will never be filled. Similarly, the senses will never be satisfied even with the utmost enjoyment of the sense-objects. ( Gadhada II.47)
    The craving for the objects of sensuous pleasures can be eradicated by making the senses obey implicitly the rules laid down by God.' (Gadhada II.16)
  3. Removal of Desire
    'Desire can be eradicated from the roots by firmly imbibing the four attributes of: Jnan, Atmanishtha, Vairagya, Dharma and the full fledged devotion to God.' (Loya 16)
  4. Service to God and His Devotee
    'The mind (antahkaran) is purified by engaging the activities of the senses in the service of God and His devotees.' ( Gadhada I-8)
  5. Goal of Human Life 'One should identify one's Atma, beyond the three bodies (gross, subtle and causal), with Brahman (Aksharbrahman) and offer worship to Parabrahman.' (Shikshapatri 116)
    'There is nothing greater than worshipping God.' ( Jetalpur 5)
  6. Eternal Happiness
    'The devotee who
    • possesses unshakable detachment (from Maya),
    • strictly observes Dharma,
    • is master of his sense organs,
    • has a deep attachment to God and His Sadhu and has a deep friendship with Them,
    • is never upset or disappointed with Them,
    • who remains joyful in Their company, but never keeps the company of those who denounce God, will remain eternally happy in this world and in the world hereafter.'

  7. Nature of the Bliss of God
    The blissful darshan of Paramatma even in the blink of an eye, is more blessed than all the happiness offered by the seductive sense-objects of millions of universes. ( Sarangpur 1)
  8. Moksha
    'The four Vedas, eighteen Puranas and Itihas (Ramayana and Mahabharat) all proclaim that only God and His Sadhu can give moksha.' (Gadhada II.59)
    'When God incarnates in human form on earth to redeem the Jivas, He does so with His divine abode Akshardham, the divine muktas (liberated Jivas) and His full fledged Lordship.' ( Gadhada I.71)
    'Just as one knows the glory of past incarnations such as Rama and Krishna as well as the glory of past sadhus, such as: Narad, Sanak rishis, Shukdevji, Jadbharat, Hanuman, Uddhav and others, similarly, if one realises the glory of God and His Sadhu present before you, then one has nothing more to realise on the path to moksha....
    'And if you ask Narad, Sanak rishis, Shukdevji, Brahma, Shiva, they will reveal in infinite ways that only God and His Sadhu can grant moksha. They will reveal the same glory of God and His sadhu manifesting before you, as the glory of past incarnations of God and sadhus. One who has a firm conviction of this, has understood the essence and will never fall from the path of moksha.' (Gadhada II.21)
  9. Endeavours to please God
    'The supreme endeavour that pleases God, out of all the endeavours such as: Ashtang Yoga, Samkhya, tapas, renunciation, pilgrimages, vows, yagnas and charity is Satsang.' ( Gadhada II.54.)
  10. The Means for attaining Moksha
    'The Jiva is redeemed by imbibing the four factors: worshipping God, extolling the episodes of God, chanting His name and observing Dharma.' (Gadhada II.35)
    'The Ekantik Sadhu of God, who is singularly devoted to God and who possesses the attributes of Swadharma, Jnan, Vairagya and Bhakti, is the upholder of Bhagwata Dharma. The gateway of redemption for the soul is opened only by associating with such a Sadhu.' (Gadhada I.54)
    'Profound love for the Satpurush (God-realised Sadhu) leads one to the path of Atma-realisation, and inspires in him the knowledge of the glory and greatness of such a Satpurush and it (love for the Satpurush) is also the only means for attaining God-realisation.' (Vadtal 11)
    'One should offer equal and intensely loving service to God and His Sadhu. Then, despite being a mediocre devotee who may be destined to become a great (Ekantik) devotee after either two births, or four births, or ten births or even a hundred births he can become a great bhakta in this very birth. Such is the fruit of serving equally God, and His Devotee.' (Vadtal 5)
  11. The Gunatit Sadhu
    'The scriptures say that nishkam, nirlobh, nirman, niswad and nissneh are the attributes of a Sadhu. The Sadhu in whom one observes such attributes has a constant rapport with God.' (Gadhada III.27)
    'The Sadhu who is venerable enough to be worshipped on par with God lives in a way in which he controls his indriyas and antahkaran, but is not subdued by them. He engages in God-related activities only, strictly observes the Panch Vartamans, realises himself as being Brahman and worships Purushottam. Such a Sadhu can be known neither as a human being nor a demi god, since neither man nor deva possess such attributes. Therefore, such a Sadhu, though he appears to be a human being, deserves to be worshipped on par with God.' (Gadhada III.26)
  12. Interpretation of Scriptures
    'The interpretation of the true scriptures should only be heard from the Satpurush.' (Loya 11)
    'One who understands the nature of God on the basis of the four scriptures, namely: Samkhya, Yoga, Vedanta and Panchratra is the accomplished Jnani (wise).' (Gadhada I.52)
  13. The Nature of God
    'He is one and unparalleled.' (Gadhada III.39)
    'He is the all-doer.' (Gadhada II.21)
    'God is eternally with divine form.' (Gadhada III.38)
    'He has a human form - with two hands, two feet and has a fascinating charm. He does not possess four hands or eight or a thousand. He is like a teenager (youthful looking).' (Gadhada II.13)
    'He is full of redemptive attributes and devoid of all the inauspicious ephemeral attributes of Maya.' (Gadhada I.66)
    'He is the reservoir of all bliss.' (Gadhada I.66)
  14. Lord Swaminarayan
    'Lord Purushottam, seated in His Akshardham accepts the worship offered by the muktas (released souls) out of grace. That Purushottam, having great compassion on the Jivas, has descended on earth to redeem them from Maya. He is visible to you and accepts your offerings. The divine form of Lord Purushottam visible to you and the divine form seated in His divine abode Akshardham are one. There is absolutely no difference in these twin forms. This Purushottam visible here is the controller of all, including Akshar. He is the Lord of all Lords, the ultimate cause of cosmic evolution and transcendentally the supreme one. All incarnations issue from Him, and in Him they finally merge. He is the ultimate God, who alone should be offered implicit devotion with Ekantik bhava.' (Gadhada III.38)
    'Millions of universes are evolved, sustained and destroyed only by My power... I am the transcendental highest and I, with My divine power, can move millions of universes only by a mere touch. Millions of suns, moons, receive light only from My divine light. 'Such is the divine power that, I the ultimate God, possess. I shall transport those Jivas who have sought refuge in Me to the divine Brahmadham, which transcends all other regions.' (Amdavad 7)
    In His own words, written during His lifetime in the khardas (old manuscripts) He revealed in Hindi:
    Doosra avatar hai so karya-karan avatar huwa hai, or mera yaha avatar hai so to jivoku Brahmarup karke atyantik mukti dene ke vaste Aksharatit Purushottam jo Ham vaha manushya jaisa banya hoon.
    i.e. 'The earlier avatars incarnated to serve a specific purpose. But My present incarnation is to Brahmanise the Jivas and grant them ultimate salvation. For this mission, I, the Purushottam, transcending Akshar, have assumed human form.'1
    During His short yet dynamic lifespan of forty-nine years, Lord Swaminarayan adroitly executed the purpose of his incarnation. Along with His phenomenal group of Paramhansas, His unflagging travels throughout the land eradicated ignorance and addiction from the people. He inspired them to live a life suffused with Ekantik Dharma, of Ahimsa and Brahmacharya, of detachment from mundane pursuits and, instead offer unalloyed Bhakti to God and the God-realised Sadhu. This, He ensured, would eradicate their cycles of birth and death, transcending them to the ultimate goal of human birth; God-realisation. He also assured them of His constant manifestation on earth through the Gunatit Sadhu. Fully contented with His mission, He departed for Akshardham on Jeth Sud 10, Samvat 1886 - 1st June 1830.



The first, Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami, His abode, Akshardham incarnate, spread the Satsang in Saurashtra and Gujarat for over forty years. He extolled the glory of Lord Swaminarayan as the Lord Purushottam. Thousands attained God-realisation through his tutelage and grace.
Bhagatji Maharaj, a non-renunciate, succeeded him and continued nurturing the Satsang until 1897, when he instructed his ascetic and lay disciples to serve Shastri Yagnapurushdas, known fondly as Shastriji Maharaj. A saintly ascetic and a brilliant Sanskrit scholar, he installed the murtis of Akshar Purushottam in five grand mandirs. He reiterated the preaching of Lord Swaminarayan as Purushottam and Gunatitanand Swami as Akshar. In a similar manner to Lord Swaminarayan, people also experienced samadhi by his grace.
In 1907 in Bochasan, he consecrated the first mandir which housed the murtis of Akshar and Purushottam in the central shrine, thus founding the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (B.A.P.S.). He built four other mandirs in: Sarangpur, Gondal, Atladra (Vadodara) and Gadhada.
To devotees in East Africa he wrote inspiring letters, sowing the Satsang seeds.
In 1950, Shastriji Maharaj appointed a saintly ascetic and Sanskrit scholar, twenty-eight-year-old Shastri Narayanswarupdas as the Pramukh - President - of B.A.P.S.. Prior to passing away in 1951, he also instructed him and the devotees to serve Yogiji Maharaj as Guru after his own departure.
The Satsang activities under Yogiji Maharaj crossed the ocean to East Africa which he visited on three occasions, inaugurating mandirs and Satsang centres. In his final tour abroad, he created religious history by consecrating the first Swaminarayan mandir in England, in a converted church, in Islington, north London.
On 23rd January 1971, Yogiji Maharaj passed away leaving the Fellowship in the able hands of Shastri Narayanswarupdas, lovingly known as Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Since then, he has rapidly established a global network of centres and mandirs. He has also promoted the Hindu and cultural heritage of India abroad: the spectacular Cultural Festivals of India, in London in 1985, and in Edison, New Jersey in 1991, are two notable examples. (details inside back page)
During the centenary celebrations of Yogiji Maharaj in 1992, he inaugurated the Akshardham memorial, a grand pink stone edifice, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan, it incorporates a permanent exhibition of His life and work. Also included, are the preserved sacred relics of Lord Swaminarayan - a tuft of hair, two teeth and cut fingernails, in addition to garments and wooden sandals worn by Him; a mala, utensils, ox-cart and other objects used by Him.
Dioramas in the exhibition adjacent to the memorial, depict inspiring episodes from the Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharat, Shrimad Bhagawatam and the Gita. A multi-media and an audio animatronics show, using state of the art electronics and technology, reflects Swamiji's modern approach in propagating Vedic ideals.
Recently, in 1995, Pramukh Swami Maharaj created history, by constructing and consecrating the finest modern day Vedic mandir outside India, in London. Perhaps it is also the fastest mandir of its kind erected in Hindu history, in a record two and a half years! Vratza limestone from Bulgaria, Carrara marble from Italy, supplemented by marble from Ambaji, India, were intricately sculpted in India and then shipped to London, where Indian craftsmen and devotee volunteers assembled them on site. Adjacent to the mandir, rests the breathtaking vision of Pramukh Swami Maharaj - the largest and the most exquisitely carved teak Haveli built in the world this century. The mandir has been praised as the eighth wonder of the world by the Reader's Digest (Nov. 1996, U.K. edition). It has also entered the Guinness Book of Records as the largest stone Hindu temple outside India (1997 edition, p.185). Similar Vedic mandirs are currently under construction in India, and abroad in Nairobi and Chicago.
At the age of seventy eight, having recently undergone by-pass heart surgery, Swamiji continues his travels with youthful dynamism, to promote peace, harmony and the glory of Lord Swaminarayan.

Source References

Shri Swaminarayan's Shikshapatri. Amdavad: Swaminarayan Aksharpith, 1989.
Vachanamritam, op.cit., references in text.
1 Dave,K.M.Akshar Purushottam Upasana.Amdavad:Swaminarayan Aksharpith,4th. ed.,

Gunatitanand Swami Bhagatji Maharaj Yogiji Maharaj Shastriji Maharaj Pramukh Swami Maharaj Bhagwan Swaminarayan Gunatitanand Swami Bhagatji Maharaj Yogiji Maharaj Shastriji Maharaj Pramukh Swami Maharaj Bhagwan Swaminarayan

© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith