Bhagwan Swaminarayan

Bhagwan Swaminarayan was the manifestation of Supreme God, to whom BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is dedicated and whose sacred images are enshrined in the garbh-gruh (sanctum sanctorum).

He manifested in the north Indian village of Chhapaiya, near Ayodhya, on 3 April 1781, to grant eternal liberation to countless souls, remove misguided religious practices, and dispel misinterpretations that had crept into Hinduism.

As an 11-year-old child, he renounced his home to embark on a 7-year, 7,000-mile spiritual journey across the length and breadth of India. Walking alone, barefoot, and with almost no possessions, he sanctified places of pilgrimage and inspired thousands to lead a life rooted in morality and spirituality.

Ending his trek in the state of Gujarat, he established the Swaminarayan Sampradaya in 1801, at the age of 20.

Heading a socio-spiritual awakening, he introduced social reforms, served the poor and needy, and preached against superstitions, addictions, and violence.

During his lifetime, he built six majestic mandirs, inspired the creation of scores of scriptural texts, initiated a total of 3,000 sadhus (ordained monks), and was recognised and worshipped as Bhagwan (God) by countless individuals.

To continue his work of moral and spiritual regeneration, he promised to remain ever-present on earth through an unbroken succession of enlightened, God-realised gurus.

A summary of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s life and work is presented below:

AGE EVENT
Mastered the Vedas, Ramayana, Bhagawatam, and other Hindu scriptures
10Won a theological debate in Varanasi
11Renounced home and began his 7-year journey around India
14Mastered Ashtanga Yoga, the pinnacle of yogic endeavours
18Completed his journey and settled in Gujarat, western India
20Appointed as spiritual head; founded the Swaminarayan Sampradaya
25Initiated 500 sadhus (ordained monks) into the holy order of Paramhansa (the highest order of monkhood)
29Began social reforms for the welfare of women, children and the underprivileged
39Spiritual discourses began to be compiled into what became known as the Vachanamrut
41Began establishing mandirs
45Gave the Shikshapatri, a code of moral discipline
49Left for his divine abode, Akshardham, promising to remain present on Earth through a succession of enlightened gurus