Swaminarayan Sect


The Swaminarayan Sampraday began as the Uddhav Sampraday and was led by Ramanand Swami. In 1799, Swaminarayan, then known as Neelkanth Varni, was initiated into the Uddhav Sampraday as an ascetic (Sadhu) by his guru, Ramanand Swami, and given the name "Sahajanand Swami". At the age of 21, Neelkanth Varni was given the leadership of the sect known as Uddhav Sampraday with the blessings of Ramanand Swami, who handed him control of the religious diocese shortly before his death. Fourteen days after Ramanand Swami died, Neelkanth Varni, now known as Sahajanand Swami, held a large gathering of followers at the town of Faneni. It was during this meeting that Swaminarayan introduced what he termed "the father of all Mantras", and then he was known as Swaminarayan. It should be noted that there was no swami who he had appointed his successor or as an ideal devotee at that time. The name refers wholly and solely to one entity, Swaminarayan. Thereafter the name "Swaminarayan Sampraday" came into existence

Swaminarayan (3 April 1781 - 1 June 1830),also know as Sahajanand Swami, is the central figure in amodern sect of Hinduism known as the Swaminarayan Faith.Swaminarayan Hinduism,also known as the swaminarayan faith or the swaminarayan sect,is a modern tradition in the Vaishnava denomination of hinduism, in which followers offer devotion to and worship Swaminarayan as the Supreme manifestation of God.

Since its origin, Swaminarayan Hinduism has been noted by its preservation of Gujarati cultural and linguistic traditions, devotion to the personality of Swaminarayan as supreme god, dedication to social service and a strict ethical code including uncompromising segregation of the genders.

The Swaminarayan Sampraday has its roots in the Vedas. It follows the Vaishnava tradition and to its followers represents a form of Hinduism. The faith focuses on salvation through total devotion (or bhakti) to the God developed through virtues (dharma), spiritual wisdom (gnana) and detachment (vairagya). The Swaminarayan Sampraday is devotion-focused and advocates God within the disciplines of virtues. Swaminarayan propagated a philosophy called Vishistadvaita, which says that God is supreme, has a divine form, is the all-doer and is completely independent. He simply stated that souls (jiva) never merge or dissolve into God and neither are they part of God, but are always subservient to God. Redemption consists in the realisation of ekantik dharma, comprising righteousness, right knowledge, detachment and devotion to that God.

The Swaminarayan Sampraday aims to consolidate characters in society, families and individuals by mass motivation and individual attention, through elevating projects for all, irrespective of class, creed, color and country. The organization believes that the hallmark of the Swaminarayan devotee is that he or she devoutly begins the day with pooja and meditation, works or studies honestly, and donates regular hours in serving others. Swaminarayan's lifetime objective for the organisation was to establish a permanent system of achieving the ultimate redemption from the cycle of life and death (aatyantik kalyaan).

Holy Place

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    Hari Mandap

    In the southwest side of central part of  the temple, one can see Hari Mandap, which was residence of Shree Hari(Just Like Akshar Auradi in Gadhpur). Lord Swaminarayan had got his residence constructed here, which is called 'Hari Mandap'.


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    Most honorable H.H 1008 Acharya Maharaj Shree Viharilalji Maharaj had accumulated the garments, ornaments, rails, hair, footprints of lord swaminarayan and other articles graced by the Lord Himself. These have been preserved in one place at vadtaldham in south of temple, this place is called Akshar Bhuvan today.On the First floor of the building there is the idol of Shri Ghanshyam Maharaj in standing position and all the divine objects (prasadi) are displayed around the idol.

    On the other side of  pradakshina (going round clock-wise) there is the chariot (Rath) of Shriji Maharaj and the Twelve-Door swing on which Shriji Maharaj used to swing in Twelve Form, has been kept  for sacred darshan of the devotees. On the upper floor one finds Shri Ghanashyam Maharaj in sitting position.

    The book containing the summary of sacred scriptures prepared by himself in his tiny age called “Gutaka”, which he used to carry as Neelkanth Varni, foodprints, rosaries, garments and other ascetic marks have been kept here as prasadi. On the third and last floor are kept the idol of Shree Hari (prasadi), engraved gates, palanquin, square platform, etc. Carefully.

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    Of all the holy meeting pandals(Mandap) in Swaminarayan fellowship no other one is as large and as decorative as the pandal at vadtal. Lord Swaminarayan used to hold devotee's meeting in the backyard of the temple.

    The great saint Sadguru Shree Pavitranandji Swami in Vikram Samvat 1925, under the instruction of the second Acharya H.H. Bhagawatprasadji Maharaj , got the majestic wooden building construction, especilly for sermon - listening and hymn - chanting saint - devotee gatherings.

    The design of the construction follows vastu shastra and is made after state of art technique using and strong teakwood. There is the traditional seat which is always graced by the Acharya Maharaj Shree.

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    On reaching vadtal one can realize the peaceful - meditative atmosphere on the sacred soil of gyan baug, which offers the coolness and serenity like that of vrindavan by its mango orchards. This is the place where shree hari had organized assemblies and gathering - festivals for devotees. Lord Swaminarayan used to sit here on the dais to offer darshan and to deliver sacred sermons.

    This place preserves the 12 - arched stone monument to commemorate his question-answer sessions with devotees to bring out profound religious meanings. This place is a prasadi's place because it includes otta, in  his memory, the place is know as gyan  baug, otta or bethak ( Lord Himself used to sit often here) is situated on the way to kanjari from vadtal.

    Divine places for darshan in gyan baug

    A. Lord swaminarayan used to celebrate here holi-festival of colours with saints and devotees

    B. The holy bodies of two mighty force of the holy fellowship-1. Gopalanand swami - the master yogi and 2. Nityanand swami - The great scholar were cremated here.

    C. This is the only well which is live today in Vadtaldham. The water of this well was hallowed many times by Lord Swamianrayan.

    D. Lord Swaminarayan had shown his godhead by assuming 12 form at a time while swinging in 12 doored Hindola under two mango trees here. To commemorate the event this monument is prepared here.

    This gyan baug stands as a witness to grand celebrations of numerous religious festivals. Saints - devotees consider the soil of gyan Baug most divine because shree Hari had graced this land by his frequent visit and divine plays. This place has been chastised by his divine foot - prints.

    By chanting, penance, fasting and religious observances over here one can become eligible for endless material and spiritual bliss. This place is humming with art galleries flourished with eye - catching paintings based on divine plays and teaching of lord swaminarayan. Gyan baug stands as a memorial to remind us of the divine sports of lord swaminarayan and such memory along with visualizing this holy land one can lend the path to spiritual progress.

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    Supreme Lord Swaminarayan had taken three major decisions for easy flourishment of the holy fellowship, of which one was that of establishing a tradition of consecrating the chief on the cardinal seat of religion who would be able to initiate people into the part of liberation through faith and devotion for future generation. Lord swaminarayan declared his decision the saints but as they were ascetic - minded they expressed unwillingness for the high seat and insisted on appointing the person form ancestral dynasty and family line of shri hari - Rampratapji's son Ayodhyaprasadji and young brother Ichharamji's son Radhuveerji were adopted and were consecrated to the seat of Acharya on Ahmedabad and Vadtal gadi respectively with full religious ceremony on 11th day of bright half of Kartik month of Vikram Samvat 1882. To commemorate the occasion a marble Chhatri has been constructed behind the temple. There are two Gadis(Chief Place) i.e. , dioceses - (1) the Vadtal Gadi, which is presently adored by H.H. Acharya Shri Rakeshprasadji Maharaj and (2) the Ahmedabad gadi, which is presently adored by H.H. Acharya Shri Kaushalendraprasadji Maharaj.

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    The land that includes  the Dharu lake or Gomatiji was donated by the Patidars of Vadtal in Vikram Samvat 1879 to lord Swaminarayan. Lord Swaminarayan instructed Aksharanand swami to build a the   lake and he did. The lake has significant spiritual significance for devottees because Shree Hari along with saints and devotees had taken bath in it many times.

    Therefore, it is considered sacred. In Chaitra Month of Vikram samvat 1881, Swami Sachchidanandji had invited Gomatiji from Dwarika following set religious procedure and the Lord had carried the clay from this lake on his head, so among all the spots this place is considered the best bathing spot.

    Acharya Shree Viharilaji Maharaj got built the bathing steps and platforms around this lake. By taking a dip in this holy lake, even bird and animals too can attain liberation. By having bath here according to rituals before having darshan; one's desire for son, learning, wealth and liberation is fulfills. Having sacred both in this holy lake gomatiji materializes all desires and expectations.


    As Shriji Maharaj was addressing a meeting a large group of monkeys arrived. The Kathi(Name of Particular Caste) devotees proposed to shriji to show some miracle through the monkeys because during Rama incarnation Lord had put the monkeys to the work of  building a bridge across the ocean. At Shree Hari's indication the monkeys squatted in Dhyanmudra. Then Shriji Maharaj asked the saints to offer their rosaries to the monkeys. The monkeys meditation on god began to chant on the rosary. This place is particularly great because lord swaminarayan showed such miracle hare.

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    Lord Swaminarayan in his process to bring non-violent revolution through Yajnas(Sacrifice). One Lord was performing a yagna in dabhan, a village near Nadiad where Joban Pagi of vadtal tried to steal the Lord's favorite mare Manki. Lord Swaminaryan appeared in different forms before each Mare. Realizing miraculous powers of Shree Hari the desire to steal turned into Shree Hari's devotion. On returning home he found the lord sitting at upstair-window offering darshan as par his will. The Lord has take bath, taken dinner and slept at this place and the pagi have worshipped him many time. The place is sacred at this magic of changing the heart and life of a robber who later turned into firm devotee.

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    Lord Shree Swaminarayan had adored vadtal as Neelkanth varni during his forest-roaming on the 12th  day of the bright half of falgun month in Vikram Samvat 1855, and had stayed here for night halt. He had felt extremely pleased so he placed his hands on the idol of Hanumanji. Devotees including joban pagi had got the first darshan of the lord at place, so it is considered as place of blessing.

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    Shri Narayan Giri Gosai in whose hermitage Muktanandji had offered first religious sermons. When there was no other residence for saints. Shree Hari was used to stay here. Shri Narayangiri Gosai had collected big amount of money, which he offered to shree hari for the construction of the vadtal temple. In this place there is Vadeu Mata temple, the deity within this temple is the family goddess of local Patidar community. Lord Swaminarayan had graced this holy place.

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    After Lord Swaminarayan’s renunciation of worldly life any member of his family (dharma kula) had not met him. Originally belonging to Ayodhya, Lord Swaminarayan's family member met Him On the bank of this tank. After celebrating colour festival in Gnan baug Lord Swaminarayan with his 500 Paramhansas and devotees had taken bath in this tank. As a mark of his blessings there is a marble platform and temple of 64 Jogani Mata here.

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    Khodiyar mata - the ancestral goddess of great devotee Joban pagi. Lord Swaminarayan sprinkled color on the idol of the goddess and thus paid honours to her. Taking non -  violent approach he stopped the animal killing rites at the temple. He had held meeting for delivering religious talks after the great floral festival. This place is also considered sacred by visitors and pilgrims.

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    The temple of Kedareshwar Mahadev is situated near the tank on the east of Vadtal near Gnan baug. Lord Swaminarayan offered worship here, so it is considered as a sacred place for visit and darshan.

Vadtal Dham


Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Vadtal, the head quarter of Shri LaxmiNarayan Dev Gadi. This temple contains three main shrines. Among which the central shrine is consecrated by installing the idols of Shri LaxmiNarayan Dev. On the right of this, the idols of Shri Radha Krishna accompanied with Supreme Lord Shri Swaminarayan in the form of Shri HariKrishna Maharaj are installed and on the left of Shri LaxmiNarayan Dev the idols of Shri Vasudev, Shri Dhamapita and Bhaktimata are installed. These idols in the temple were installed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan on 3rd November 1824, amidst the holy chants of Vedic hymns and devotional fervor of the installation ceremony.

The temple in Vadtal, also known as Vadtal Swaminarayan. This temple having lotus shaped plinth is a rare architectural specimen. The nine domes on the temple adores the elevation of the temple. The temple was got constructed under the able guidance of Sadguru Shree Brahmanand Swami. The pillars of the temple bear colorful stone carvings. The construction-work was completed within just fifteen months by the grace of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The walls of the temple are decorated with colorful representations from the Ramayana.


Aacharya Tradition

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In 1826 at Vadtal on Prabodhini Ekadashi of Vikram Samvat 1882 , Swaminarayan established the dual Acharyaship in Dharmavanshi Acharyas, whom he intended as his successor. "Dharmavanshi" means "belonging to the lineage of Dharmadev" – the father of Swaminarayan.

Swaminarayan enthroned his two adopted sons, Acharya Maharajshree Ayodhyaprasad Pande and Acharya Maharajshree Raghuvir Pande, who were the sons of his brothers Rampratapji and Ichcharamji, as the spiritual leaders of the Nar Narayan Dev Gadi headquartered at Ahmedabad and the Laxmi Narayan Dev Gadi headquartered at Vadtal respectively. He installed them as the Acharyas for all followers, including householders and ascetics. Swaminarayan gave sole authority to these two individuals to install murtis in temples and to initiate sadhus and householders into the Sampraday. He did this using a legal document known as "Desh Vibhag no Lekh", which he dictated and was written by Shukanand Swami. Learned saints and elder satsangis witnessed this document.

The Acharyas of the Sampraday are administrative heads, spiritual leaders and the gurus of their followers. Since the acharyas are supposed to refrain from contact with the opposite sex, except close relations, the acharyas' wives are the gurus for female members of the sect, and must avoid contact with unfamiliar men.

The Acharyas are responsible for:

  • Initiating followers into the organisation with a Samanya Diksha by giving the guru-mantra
  • Initiating monks-sadhus by giving them the Maha-Bhagwadi Diksha
  • Perform murti-pratishtha, installing deities in the temples
  • Authenticating scriptures of the Sampraday
  • Acting as the Guru and leader of the entire Sampraday
  • Acharya Shree Raghuvirji Maharaj

    • Born on :21st Mar 1812
    • Became Acharya on :10th Nov 1826
    • Death :9th Feb 1863
    • Term :37 Years
  • Acharya Shree Bhagvatprasadji Maharaj

    • Born on : 11th Oct 1838
    • Became Acharya on : 09th Feb 1863
    • Death : 12th Aug 1879
    • Term : 17 Years
  • Acharya Shree Viharilalji Maharaj

    • Born on :19th Apr 1852
    • Became Acharya on :12th Aug 1879
    • Death :27th Sep 1899
    • Term :20 Years
  • Acharya Shree Laxmiprasadji Maharaj

    • Born on :15th Aug 1892
    • Became Acharya on :27th Sep 1899
    • Death :24th Apr 1909
    • Term :10 Years
  • Acharya Shree Shripatiprasadji Maharaj

    • Born on :18th Aug 1875
    • Became Acharya on :26th Apr 1909
    • Death :12th Feb 1931
    • Term :22 Years
  • Acharya Shree Anandprasadji Maharaj

    • Born on :22nd Jul 1906
    • Became Acharya on :12th Feb 1931
    • Death :08th Jul 1974
    • Term :28 Years
  • Acharya Shree Narendraprasadji Maharaj

    • Born on :25th Jan 1930
    • Became Acharya on :30th Apr 1959
    • Death :1986
    • Term :25 Years
  • Acharya Shree Ajendraprasadji Maharaj

    • Born on :16th Aug 1949
    • Became Acharya on :1984
    • Death :Present
    • Term :18 Years
  • Acharya Shree Rakeshprasadji Maharaj

    • Born on :23rd Jul 1966
    • Became Acharya on :31st Jan 2003
    • Death :Present
    • Term :Present