Swaminarayan, Indian Saint - Informative & researched article on Swaminarayan, Indian Saint
 Indianetzone: Largest Free Encyclopedia of India with thousand of articlesIndian Religion

 Art & Culture|Entertainment|Health|Reference|Sports|Society|Travel
Forum  | Free E-magazine  | RSS Feeds  
Indian Food|Indian Religion|Indian Personalities|Indian Villages|Kamasutra|Indian Costume|Indian Weddings|Astrology|Indian Jewellery|Indian Women|Indian Tribals
Home > Society > Indian Religion > Indian Religions > Indian Saints > Swaminarayan
Swaminarayan, Indian Saint
Swaminarayan was an Indian saint from Uttar Pradesh. He was also popular as Sahajanand Swami. He devised many philosophies that were later followed by his disciples.
More on Swaminarayan, Indian Saint (4 Articles)
 Swaminarayan, Indian SaintSwaminarayan, also known as Sahajanand Swami, is the central figure in a modern sect of Hinduism known as the Swaminarayan Faith, a form of Vaishnavism. Within the faith, Swaminarayan is equated with the Supreme Being, Purushottama, or is venerated as an incarnation of Narayanafrom the Nara-Narayana deity pair.

Early Life of Swaminarayan
The original name of Swaminarayan was Ghanashyam Pande. Swaminayarana was born in a Brahmin family in Uttar Pradesh in 1781 to father Hariprasad Pande and mother Premvati Pande. Right from his early age he was spiritually inclined. At the age of eleven he travelled many places where he met Ramanand Swami. Swaminarayan got admission in his ascetic order known as Uddhav Sampraday. There he received his spiritual name Sahajanand Swami. In 1802 when Ramanand Swami died, he became the head of the sect. Through his devotion he established the sect that drew many followers.

Philosophy of Swaminarayan
The teachings of Swaminaryan are regarded as qualified non-dualism or vishishtadvaita. According to it the one and infinite Brahmin is considered as the supreme Godhead who has several attributes and traits. He has the ability to manifest himself into five fundamental realities like the Parabrahman, Aksharabrahman, Iswara, Jiva and Maya or Prakriti. These are different modes which stand as real as a Brahmin himself.

Texts of Swaminarayan
Shikshapatri is a small book written by saint Swaminarayan in Sanskrit language. He wrote it in the year 1882, at Vadtal. The book includes 212 verses in Anustup Chhand. The verses of Shikshaparti are meant to educate the monks who are part of the sect. it is equally beneficial for the common masses also. It describes vividly the duties of the disciples, Acharyas, Tyagis, Gruhasthas and females. They are considered to be inviolable and the basis of truth by the followers of the sect. The 212 Sanskrit verses that set down the do's and don'ts on different types of topics.

The Vachanamrit of Swaminarayan is well conserved by his disciples. It has the profound wisdom of Swaminnarayan on different subjects relating to renunciation, devotion, anger, lust, delusion, dharma, jiva, Ishwar, types of faith, soul and body, the form of God, tattvas, salvation and others. These discourses were personally approved by Swaminarayan to sustain their purity and authenticity. Some of his discourses illustrate on the ways of approaching our life.

Swaminarayan Sect
Swaminarayan sect is also known as Swaminarayan faith. It is a recent development in the Vaishnava denomination of Hinduism. The sect has been able to incorporate many followers who consider as their Swaminarayan as their God and ardently worship him. The followers strongly believe that Swaminarayan was an incarnation of Narayana who had descended on the Earth to save and guide the common masses.

Reforms of Swaminarayan
Swaminarayan, Indian SaintSwaminarayn had brought about many changes in the society through his teachings and discourses.

Reforms for women and the poor
Swaminarayan devoted his complete life for the upliftment of the poor and the women. After assuming the leadership of the Sampraday, Swaminarayan devoted himself for the poor. He distributed food and drinking water. He even constructed many almshouses for the poor. He also organized many relief projects for the people during times of drought. Swaminarayan also worked for the women. He stood against the sati system and even said that the life was given god hence it can only be taken by the will of god. Swaminarayan offered parents help with dowry expenses to discourage female infanticide, calling infanticide a sin.

Male followers of Swaminarayan also made provisions for educating the females. This helped in the increase of the literacy rate of the females. They were also given discourses on spiritual subjects. The followers of swaminarayan consider him as the pioneer of education of females in India.

Animal Sacrifices and Yagnas
Swaminarayan stood against animal sacrifices that were practiced by the Brahmin priests during Vedic rituals, such as yajnas. To resolve the problem, Swaminarayan carry out many large scale yajnas and invited priests from Varanasi. These yajnas did not involve any animal sacrifices and were conducted in strict accordance with Vedic scriptures. Swaminarayan was thus successful in restoring Ahimsa through these large scale yajnas.

Followers of Swaminarayan composed many devotional poems which are widely sung by the tradition during festivals.

Caste System and Moksha
It is said that Swaminarayan worked to put an end to the caste system by inculcating all into the Swaminarayan Sampraday. He had educated his paramhansas to collect alms from all sections of society. He dined along with the members of the lower castes. Members of the lower castes were attracted to the movement as it improved their social status. Swaminarayan dismissed the myth that moksha (liberation) was unattainable.

After the death of Swaminarayan in 1830 the sect got divided into three new groups. One group followed the Acharya system which was devised by Swaminarayan himself when he was alive. He had suggested his own relations to act as the Acharyas. This group was established in Ahmadabad and the other at Vadtal. This group adopted the name Swaminarayan Sampraday. The second group believed that Swaminarayan himself nominated a close disciple of his in his life time as his spiritual successor. They consider Swami Gunatitananda as his true successor. A third group considered itself as Swaminarayan gadi and declared Gopalananda Swami as the spiritual successor to Swaminarayan.

(Last Updated on : 18/10/2014)
E-mail this Article | Post a Comment
More Articles in Indian Saints  (188)
Guru Nanak  (10)
Chaitanya  (6)
Nimbarka  (3)
Ved Vyas  (2)
Recently Updated Articles in Indian Religion
Ponnur Hill Jain Temples
Ponnur Hill Jain Temples located in Tamil Nadu is the "Tapobhumi" of Acharya Kundakunda. The foot images of Acharya Kundakunda are present here.
Padmavati was an ancient city situated in the Vindhya Hills.
Gomaya Ganapati Puja
Gomaya Ganapati Puja is one of the important `Vratas of Lord Ganesha`. The ritual is commenced by installing an idol of Lord Ganesha which is formed of cow dung.
Ganesh Aarti
Ganesh Aarti is invocation of Lord Ganesha who is known as the God of Wealth and Wisdom.
Forum on Indian Religion
Free E-magazine
Subscribe to Free E-Magazine on Society
Swaminarayan, Indian Saint - Informative & researched article on Swaminarayan, Indian Saint
Contact Us   |   RSS Feeds
Copyright © 2008 Jupiter Infomedia Ltd. All rights reserved including the right to reproduce the contents in whole or in part in any form or medium without the express written permission of
Jupiter Infomedia Ltd.