संस्थाप्य विप्रं विद्वांसं पाठशालां विधाप्य च । प्रवर्तनीया सद्विद्या भुवि यत्सुकृतं महत् ॥
- शिक्षापत्री - १३२
They shall establish an institution with a learned Brahmin as a teacher, and through it shall propagate Sadvidhya (right knowledge) on earth for the promotion of such learning in this world is indeed a highly meritorious act.
- Shikshapatri - 132
Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan
Purna Purushottam Narayan, Shree Swaminarayan took incarnation on April 2, 1781 CE, (Chaitra Sud Navami, Vikram Samvat 1837) in Chhapaiya village (near Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh) in a Sarvaria Brahmin family.
In his early years, he was known as Ghanashyam. At the age of eleven years His parents attained liberation. Seeking to lead a life of asceticism for the inspiration to the human beings, he left His home and became famous as Neelkanth because of His observance of severe austerities. In the jungles of the Himalayas he performed Tapascharya at Pulhashram. He decided to proceed to Bengal. On his way, in Nepal, he met a great Gopal yogi, who taught him yoga. In Bengal, he dissuaded the monks from performing animal sacrifices. He then proceeded to south India, then to Maharashtra and finally entered Gujarat (Saurashtra) and met Shree Ramananda (believed to be an incarnation of Uddhavji, a great devotee of Bhagwan Krishna). On His request, Shree Ramananda Swami gave Him initiation (Diksha) and thus Neelkantha became known as Sahajanand Swami and Narayana Muni.
After declaring Him, at the age of 21 years, as the spiritual head of his disciples, Shree Ramanand Swami recommended Him to protect and propagate Bhagawat Dharma or Ekantika Dharma as prescribed in Bhagawat (11th Canto) and as in Vasudev Mahatmya of Skanda Purana. After His guru’s earthly departure He gave the ‘Swaminarayan’ mantra to His followers, henceforth became popularly known as Swaminarayan. He propagated the path of Bhakti or devotion to God.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s preaching transformed the once turbulent Gujarat into a land of peace. As an incarnation, He tirelessly worked for thirty years and affected a peaceful revolution by establishing morality and faith.
He deplored violence, and put an end to the bloody sacrifices in yagnas prevailing at that time. He eradicated the practices of female infanticide and burning of widows (sati). He advocated education for all, including women. More importantly, he said, ’I have incarnated upon this earth, not to kill demons, but to uproot demonic elements from the human mind; not to liberate man temporarily from the poverty and pain of this life, but to emancipate him forever from the trans-migratory cycle of births and deaths which lies at the root of all pain and poverty.’
Water was scarce in Gujarat. The Saints, led by Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan, dug wells and ponds. They begged and collected food for distribution to the needy. They taught people about the glory of God, instructed them to abstain from alcohol, meat-eating, stealing and adultery.
Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayana set the five vartamans (rules to observe daily) for the saints - Sadhus to follow: Nir-Lobh (No greed), Nish-Kam (No lust), Nis-Swad (No taste), Nis-Sneh (No attachment) and Nir-Man (No ego).
According to Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan, real devotion can flourish only when one realizes one’s nature as a spiritual being, not just a physical body. To reach this high state, one’s life has to be grounded in righteousness and chastity, and have a profound spiritual association with a God-realized guru.
He taught that, there are five ultimate, ontological, eternally existing categories, namely, Jeeva (individual soul), Ishwaras (devas), Maya (prakriti, primordial material substance), Brahman (God’s abode), Parabrahman (Supreme God). There are infinite universes and hence infinite Ishwaras but Parabrahman, the Supreme God, is one and without second.
Brahman, also known as AksharaBrahman, is absolutely a unique reality in the metaphysical hierarchy of the Swaminarayan Philosophy. Akshara Brahman is eternally emancipated, all-powerful and omniscient. It has the nature of sat, chit and ananda, and has eternal relation with Parabrahman, both as His ideal devotee in the personal form and as his limitless ultimate abode in the impersonal form.
All the four distinct categories are below Parabrahman, who is completely independent, self-existent and the highest reality. He is transcendent, with eternal divine form and immanent. This Parabrahman is Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Ultimate liberation is achieved by attaining Ekantika Dharma. It consists of Dharma – the ethical code prescribed by Shrutis and Smrutis (scriptures), Jnan (Gyan) – the comprehensive knowledge of jeeva, ishwara, maya, Brahman and Parabrahman,Vairagya – non-attachment to everything except God, and Bhakti (devotion) – the intense love with the knowledge of greatness and glory of God. Among them Bhakti is the leading element and other three are necessary supportive components. This ultimate liberation is pursued under the guidance of the God-realized Sadhu.
Shree Swaminarayan enriched humanity by a tradition of sadhus, a legacy of Mandirs – Temples and spiritual centres, and treasures of spiritual and moral wisdom in two main texts: Vachanamrutam and Shikshapatri.
Bhagwan ShreeSwaminarayan established Mandirs for the propagation of Vedic Dharma at Ahmedabad, Bhuj (Kutchha), Vadtal, Dholera, Junagadh and Gadhpur. He performed the Pretishtha of the Murties of Shree Nar-Narayan Dev, Shree Lakshmi-Narayana Dev, Shree Gopinathji Maharaj, Shree Shree Harikrishna Maharaj (His own Murti), Shree Radha-Raman Dev, Shree Madan-Mohanji Maharaj and others in these Mandirs.
Bhagwan ShreeSwaminarayan’s great disciples, who contributed much to the Sampraday, are Gopalanand Swami, Muktanand Swami, Gunatitanand Swami, Nityanand Swami, Brahmanand Swami, Shukanand Swami, Nishkulanand Swami, Premanand Swami and many others.
Four senior sadhus compiled the sermons given by Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan, which is known as the Vachanamrutam. In this holy book, the philosophy of Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan is stated nicely in the form of questions and answers.
Bhagwan ShreeSwaminarayan Himself wrote the Shikshapatri, a booklet of 212 shlokas in Sanskrit which describes the codes of conduct for His sadhus and householder disciples. In addition to this, Satsangi Jivanam by Shree Shatanand Swami,Shree Haridig Vijay & Shandilyasutra Bhashyam by Shree Nityanand Swami, Brahmamimamsa by Shree Muktanand Swami, Dasopanishad Bhashyam and Gita Bhashyam by Shree Gopalanand Swami, Satsangi Bhushanam by Shree Vasudevanand Brahmachari, and Bhaktachintamani by Shree Nishkulanand Swami are the most prominent works, which clarify various aspects of the philosophy and traditions of the Shree Swaminarayan Sampraday.
Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan left for His divine abode, Akshar Dham at the age of 49 in 1830 CE at Gadhpur, Gujarat. Before leaving His human body, in 1826 CE, He sat two acharyas of two piths; (one at each, Shree Lakshminarayan Dev Pith at Vadtal and Shree Nar-Narayan Dev Pith at Ahmedabad) as His successors. The first acharyas were Shree Raghuvirji Maharaj and Shree Ayodhyaprasadji Maharaj, Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan’s own nephews. Presently Shree Rakeshprasadji (Vadtal) and Shree Kaushalendraprasadji (Ahmedabad) are the Acharyas of the original Sampraday
Shree Dharmajivandasji Swami
The Founder - Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul
Shree Dharmajivandasji Swami
The Founder - Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul
The Guru-Shishya tradition is the unique feature of Sanatana Dharma, otherwise known as Hinduism. From the Guru the disciple directly receives the knowledge, capacity, virtues, ideologies, values and objectives of life, in a practical, personal and vibrant manner. The vision of Guru becomes the life and mission of Shishya. In such a divine lineage of Guru parampara of Swaminarayan Sampraday, appeared Sadguru Shatriji Maharaj Shree Dharmajivandasji Swami, a great versatile scholar and man of vision, a tough minded optimist and kind hearted Guru, a staunch advocate of Karma and Bhakti yoga and considered to be the Saint of the century by thousands of people of Gujarat. He founded the first Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul at Rajkot in the year 1948, with the intention of providing a value based education system to everyone, especially to the under-privileged.
Born in the year 1901, on the auspicious day of the Rathayatra of Shree Jagannath Bhagawan of Puri, 18th June, to a humble farmer Shree Bhurabhai, in a small village Taravada on the banks of river Shetrunji, Amreli district of Saurashtra and was named as Arjan. As a child, he was very brilliant and studious. Since his childhood, he had a natural attraction towards saints and sadhus, as he aspired to attend all the spiritual gatherings. Even at the cost of sleep and food, he used to go and serve these saints at every opportunity he could find. One such occasion changed his life forever. He was privileged to receive divine blessings from Saint Shree Balmukundadasji. This created a spiritual fire in his heart and a calling in his soul that shaped the journey for the rest of his divine life.
From Arjan to Dharmajivandas
Being attracted by the pure and virtuous life led by the saints of Shree Swaminarayan Sampraday, Arjan started regularly attending Swaminarayan Satsangs. At the tender age of 16, Arjan was convinced that the pure life of the Swaminarayan Saints was the optimal method of supreme spiritual realization and salvation. Without hesitation, he took the vows of leading such a life and became a Saint. Arjan now became Sadhu Dharmajivandas.
His vision and mission of life started getting shape. He started studying Sanskrit and other spiritual scriptures as he regularly dwelled deep in to religious and philosophical studies under various renowned scholars. In a profound effort to enlighten the rural masses, he started traveling to all the nearby villages to conduct regular spiritual assemblies. He even attained the laurels & became the Mahant of Junagadh temple.
However, the routine rituals and monotonous life style was not acceptable to him. He felt the need to incorporate a pertinent void from the social structure. A void, if filled, would uplift whole society. In order for this seemingly impossible task to be accomplished, he felt the scope of education to expand and incorporate spirituality. Schools, colleges, and universities may multiply in numbers, students may get Degrees, they may flourish in their worldly lives, but the fundamental ingredients to uplift society are lost out. Unless devoted selfless persons with ideals practiced in life leads, the main purpose of education is vitiated.
The Himalayan Vision
Pondering over this, he went on a pilgrimage to Himalayas, where one day he saw a guru teaching his disciples, the Raghuvamsha of Kalidasa, one of the greatest poets of Sanskrit literature. This immediately struck his intellect and made him come to a realization that a value-based education system was the missing element in the society. The idea of rejuvenating the younger generation with modern education, complemented with spiritual principles of life, started taking shape and led to the creation of First Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul in the year 1948 at Rajkot.
Growth of Seeds
The foundation stone was laid on an auspicious day, the Vasant Panchami, the 11th of May, 1948. On the 15th of August, 1960, the first school was started. Slowly the Gurukul tree started growing and two more Gurukuls at Junagadh and Ahmedabad were established before he attained the feet of the Almighty, on the 5th of February, 1988. Even after his departure to Akshardham, the power of his vision continued as establishment of more Gurukul-branches and centres in Gujarat, India and cross the globe. Till date, thousands of students have completed their high school and college studies from Gurukul and its branches.
Simple and pious life
Shree Dharmajivandasji Swami led a very simple life of devotion, compassion, spiritual inquiry and strong righteous principles. This lifestyle had a major influence on his disciples as well. He led a very pious life of penance. He was able to sing more than 750 Kirtans, recite 3000 shlokas, and memorised all the 18 chapters of Bhagavad Gita in 18 days. He always emphasised the path of Bhakti and Dharma. Social welfare activities and betterment of the society were the pillars of his mission. He practiced a vow called Ayachak Vrat i.e., never to ask anyone for any money as donation. He had firm faith in God and believed that all the benevolent activities of the Gurukul should run only with the voluntary donations of the people inspired by the Almighty. This principle is still practiced as a vow by this Gurukul in all its activities. But his indomitable will power and staunch belief in the power of Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan, brought him success in all his endeavors. Success for him was nothing other than the betterment of the society. Success for him was not a destination, but journey. In fact, his life became the source of inspiration to so many saints of other sects, that they too started creating huge institutions for education and social welfare activities.
His Himalayan vision, which transformed the lives of thousands of people, still continues and will continue forever through his disciples, who with the same missionary spirit and zeal, are striving hard for the betterment of the whole world.
HDH Purani Shree Premprakashdasji Swami
Purani Swami Premprakashdasji was like the Living form of Love and Affection. He had love for God and affection for everybody. He was enlightening the path towards God and thus literally justifying his name- Premprakashdasji.
He was always cheerful, kind and transparent-hearted pious saint,
He was born in the village Khadkhad (Ta. Jetpur) and left home at the age of seven years and later on he was got initiated as a saint by Purani Swami Shree Keshavpriydasji. He had also received hearty blessings of Mahant Swami Shree Krushnajivandasji.
He came in touch with Pujya Shastri Maharaj Shree Dharmajivandasji and joined the group of saints of Shastri Swami in about S.Y.2000.
He was a simple and serviceful saint with sober nature and saintly virtues.
From the beginning of Rajkot Gurukul, he firmly and sincerely stood by Shastri Maharaj. He suffered insults from narrow minded persons, still he never opposed but silently tolerated.
He was taking care of all the students of Rajkot Gurukul, as the superintendent of the boarding and was treating them with patron saintly. Hence the students had always revved high regards for him. He was giving medicines to the students and also serving them with smile during their sickness.
He cultivated good virtues in the students and by constant care moulded their character. This was his greatest contribution in fulfilment of the aim of the Gurukul.
He was a very impressive orator. He was talking about the supremacy of Bhagwan Swaminarayan in such a spiritful way, narrating the specialties of His Incarnation, that it filled the hearts of the listeners with firm faith in Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
By his preaching many persons had left addictions and vices.
He did not like writing himself but he dictated many events of Bhagwan, Swaminarayan, saints and devotees in monthly "SADVIDYA”, which have been subsequently published as books namely ‘SATSANG – STORIES’.
He has a special style of description of any event in such a natural way that actual picture of the events is portraited before the listener or the reader.
He left the physical body in the V.S. 2041 (1985) and the holy fellowship lost a lively impressive orator, preacher and writer.
HDH Shree Hariprakashdasji Swami (Jogi Swami)
Pujya Jogi Swami Hariprakashdasji is endowed with all saintly virtues and blessed with high spiritual power.
This realized saint was born at Bhadara (Dist-Jamnagar ) in v.s.1966 in the Bhanderi family He was named as 'Devji'.
From the age of five , he was going to Bhadara temple and during childhood he was thinking to leave worldly attachments and to join Tyagashram.
Devji Bhagat came in contact with Rev. Mahant Swami Krishnajivandasji , when he visited to Bhadara.
Mahant Swami could see the hidden abilities of Devji Bhagat and therefore he was taking keen interest in him and taking him to nearby villages alongwith him. Once Devji Bhagat had gone to Gondal , when Mahant Swami was there. He decided not to return to home and stayed over there in the temple , for which He was craving since long.
He was given initiation as a saint in v.s. 2001 and was named Hariprakashdasji.
He used to undergo penance and observed fasts (different Vratas) many a times.
Though he was not literate, he was able to read shikshapatri. · After passing away of Mahant Swami, he stayed with Shastriji Maharaj in Rajkot Gurukul,. Here he liked the religious atmosphere. Shastriji Maharaj also knew about his high spiritual achievement and was pleased by his devotional life.
He passes most of his time in meditation , chanting God's names with a rosary and hearing vachanamrutams which he likes the most .
Though he has not formal education and could not read vachanamrutams , he can recite reference of vachanamrutams by God's grace .
He is a very kind hearted saint and solved distress of many people by God's grace. Whatever he blesses from inner inspiration comes true.
By his inspiration many temples have been built in the villages by Rajkot Gurukul.
On his call many have left bad addictions and have joined holy fellowship,
Shri Alexander, the Hon. Chancellor of South Carolina University Aiken, of America said after his experience regarding Swamiji that Jogi Swami can make unbelievable things possible by his spiritual power.
HDH Shastri Shree Madhavpriyadasji Swami
Madhavpriyadasji is the disciple saint of the spiritual Master Sadguru Shastri Shree Dharmajivandasji, the founder of Swaminarayan Gurukul Rajkot, India.
Upon completion of his high school studies in 1968 at the Gurukul Rajkot, Swamiji attended Sampurnanand Sanskrit University where, in 1977, he received the Master's degree of Vedantacharya with three gold medals, a rare feat. In 1974, he also received two gold medals for Sankhya Yoga and Vedanta in the All India Competition held at Tirupati. Swamiji has been awarded numerous gold and silver medals in various Sanskrit National & State elocutions.
HH Swamiji has played a vital role in the education field & development of Rajkot Gurukul and its branches. It is noteworthy here that SGVP school and traditional Sanskrit Mahavidyalay at Ahmedabad are the first one in India to receive an American Accreditation as an International school and Sanskrit college respectively.
It is his inspirations and active efforts which expanded the social services of Gurukul to the far and remote rural areas for the welfare of needy people.
To honor his social and spiritual services,
Shree Lakshminarayan Dev Peethadipati, Vadtal has given him the title of ‘Sadguru’ in the year 1990AD.
Sandeepany Vidyaniketan, Porbandar honored him with the title of ‘Devrshi’, in the year 2002AD.
Award of ‘Professional Excellence’ was conferred on him in the year 2005 by Rotary International.
On the basis of erudition and prophesy the degree of ‘Vidvatvibhushan’ was given to him by Sanskrit Research Academy-Melkot and Gujarat Vidwat Parishad.
For the propagation of true knowledge, H.H. Swamiji visited many countries of America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia.
H.H. Swamiji participated the World Religious conference in United Nations in the millennium year 2000.He participated in the World Hindi Conference at United Nations, July 2007AD.
He inaugurated the World Gujarati conference, August 2008AD, organized by ,Association of Indian – Americans in North America’ (AIANA), NJ, USA.
In context with the Inter faith religions conference, Swamiji participated in the conferences at Delhi, Jerusalem, USA and Cambodia as a representative of Hindu Dharm Acharya Sabha.
Because of the inspiration and efforts of H.H. Swamiji approximately thousand check dams have been constructed in water scarcity areas of Saurashtra, Katchh. Thousands of trees are planted and protected to maintain the ecological balance. The relief and rehabilitation works are carried out to face the natural calamities such as earth quake, flood etc.
To create religious harmony Swamiji has conducted hundresds of religious, spiritual and cultural discourses all over the world.
HDH Purani Shree Balkrishnadasji Swami
Pujya Balkrishnadasji swami was initiated on 21 April, 1967. After realizing his capacity to lead and motivate the saints and devotees as well, his spiritual Guru, Pujya Shastriji Maharaj Shree Dharmjivandasji Swami assigned him duties of being the Chief Coordinator saint at the upcoming, new Gurukul at Ahmedabad in 1976.
It was, then, the second branch of the Rajkot Gurukul. The amount of tasks to be completed, liaison with government for various approvals, seeking support from devotees and Gurukul well wishers, establishing new contacts with the local authorities, monitoring the undergoing construction, the work was paramount; but Pujya Swamiji never
looked back and now we cherish the fruits of the hard efforts put-in by him.
He is the saint whose determined efforts, observing every small detail minutely so that there are no deficiencies and motherly care for everyone who comes in his touch has played a major role in progress of SGVP and Ahmedabad Gurukul. Pujya swamji takes keen interest in all the day-to-day functions of the campus.
Under his expert guidance, the SGVP and Ahmedabad Gurukul have rapidly grown in academic, social and spiritual sphere. Loaded with lots of responsibilities, Swamiji’s absolute devotion, penance, and motherly care for all really inspires us.