Swaminarayan Sampraday

The Swaminarayan Sampradaya, is a Hindu Vaishnava sampradaya rooted in Shree Ramanujacharya’s Vishishtad. The Swaminarayan Sampraday was formerly known as the Uddhav Sampraday founded by Ramanand Swami (re-incarnation of Uddhav ji, the close companion of Lord Krishna in Dwapar Yuga). In 1799, Lord Swaminarayan, who then known as Neelkanth Varni, was initiated into the Uddhav Sampraday as an ascetic (Sadhu) by Ramanand Swami, and given the name “Sahajanand Swami” and “Narayan Muni”. On Samvat 1858 Kartik Sud 11 (Monday 16th November 1801), Ramanand Swami called for a vast congregation of the followers of Uddhav Sampraday at Jetpur and declared Sahajanand Swami as the head of the Uddhav Sampraday and as his (Ramanad Swami’s) predecessor.  He also revealed that Sahajanand Swami was none other than the Supreme Lord Almighty, Purna Purshottama Narayan Himself.  On 31st December 1801 (Samvat 1858, Magshar Vad 11), Sahajanand Swami gave the world the Mahamantra, “Swaminarayan” and renamed the Uddhav Sampraday as the Swaminarayan Sampraday, as it is known today.


There are five schools of thought and ideology in Hindu philosophy. They are each elaborate and complex and are concerned with the distinction between the Lord, man and the nature of the cosmos. Advaita, Dvaita-advaita, Dvaita, Shuddhad and Vishishtad.


Vishishtad philosophy was founded by Shree Ramanujacharya (11th century AD). The ideology is that there are three ultimate realities; The Lord, Souls (Jiva) and Matter (Maya). Of these only the Lord is the independent reality and the other two are dependent upon Him. The Soul(Jiva) and the Matter(Maya) are thus distinct from the Lord but not separate from the Lord.


Lord Swaminarayan accepted the basics of this ideology but revealed there are five, not three, eternal and real entities; Jiva, Maya, Ishwar, Bhrama and Parabhrama.  Parabhrama is the supreme Lord, the other four entities dependent on and are obedient to Him. These four entities remain distinct, but not separate from the Lord.


In Swaminarayan’s doctrine, the ultimate goal of life is to become Brahmarūpa, attaining the form (rūpa) of Aksharbrahman, in which the jiva is liberated from maya and saṃsāra (the cycle of births and deaths), and enjoys eternal bliss, offering sādhya bhakti, continuous and pure devotion to God.  The faith focuses on salvation through total devotion (or bhakti) to the God developed through virtues (dharma), spiritual wisdom (gnana) and detachment (vairagya).


Lord Swaminarayan initially unveiled this ideology during a religious debate in Kashi.  Kashi is an eminent gathering place for learned scholars and the holiest of cities in Hinduism. Accompanying His father, Dharamadev at the age of 10, divine child, Ghanshyam (Lord Swaminarayan’s childhood name) eloquently lectured to those gathered in sanskrit. Arguing that the Lord has a definitive form, young Ghanshyam, advocated the Vishishtad philosophy and explained it further.


There are many means to please Lord. Amongst these, to have true loving devotion unto the Lord is the best means of all. One should develop this true loving chaste devotion unto the Lord, together with an understanding of the religious decree, spiritual knowledge and asceticism. By developing such devotion, the devotees should think of their own form to be that of God, and still maintain the sentiments of being the Lord’s humble servant.


Lord Shree Swaminarayan has said, “My philosophy is the Vishishtad philosophy.” He has elucidated its meaning.

Sacred Teachings and Timeless Wisdom!

Stay up to date by subscribing to our Newsletter.