Bhagwan Swaminarayan (April 2, 1781 – 1830) was born to a samvedi brahmin family in the village of Chhapaiya, Uttar Pradesh, India. His father’s name was Dharmadev and his mother’s name was Bhaktimata. After serving his parents, he left home at the age of 11 to travel over 8,000 miles throughout India on a holy pilgrimage for 7 years, 1 month, and 11 days. During his travels, Ghanshyam was given the name Neelkanth Varni for his fearless acts against nature’s most ferocious animals. He eventually settled in Gujarat.
At age 21, he established Swaminarayan Sampraday, with the blessings of his Guru Sadguru Ramanand Swami. He initiated more than 1500 saints to spread the pious Sampraday. To achieve ultimate redemption he taught the “Swaminarayan” mahamantra.
To preserve the purity in the religion, he devised five basic Codes of Conducts for Haribhakt (Devotee) like not to steal, not to eat meat, not to drink, not to commit adultery, not to follow impurity and for Tyagi (Saints) like, Nishkam (Lust-less), Nirlobh (Greed-less), Nissenh (Attachment-less), Nisswad (Taste-less) and Nirman (Ego-less).
He established beautiful temples at Ahmedabad, Bhuj, Vadtal, Dholera, Junagadh, Gadhpur for Upasana – worshipping God in all His greatness & glory and Bhakti – Devotion. With all these, he gave a small but huge Code of Conducts with only 212 verses, The Shikshapatri. And the nectar of spiritual discourses performed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan, The Vachnamrutam.
Thus, in a short span of 49 years He revived Hinduism, glorified spiritual values and founded the Swaminarayan Faith and left for His Divine Abode, Akshardham.
The Swaminarayan Sampraday was established by Bhagwan Swaminarayan in early 18th Century. Founded on the pillars of practical spirituality, it reaches out far and wide to clear the confusions and questions that crowd the moral, social and material world of today.
Its strength lies in the purity of its nature and purpose. The Sect strives to better the world by consolidating character in societies, families and individuals. This is done not just by mottos and slogans but by mass motivation and individual attention, through elevating projects for all, irrespective of class, creed, color and country.
The Sect’s global network comprises of Mandirs, Children’s forums, Youth forums, Women’s forum and character-building centers are perennial sources of moral, social, cultural and spiritual activities.
Such moral purity and spiritual surety add a deeper brilliance to all the hundreds of social services performed for Better Life through its 6 basic organs, namely Deity, Mandir, Aacharya, Scripture, Saint and Disciple.