Jivan Charitra


Lord Shree Swaminarayan was born on the 9th day of the bright half of the Chaitra month in Samvat 1837 in Chhapaiya, a village near Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. His father Dharmadev was a Samavedi scholar Brahmin and His mother was called Bhaktidevi. He took birth to protect the righteous and religious people. Lord Swaminarayan is the incarnation of Narayan Himself. After the passing away of His parents when He was only eleven, the ascetic minded Nilkanth Varni later called Lord Shree Swaminarayan, renounced His home and set out on a pilgrimage visiting holy sites in India.

 

For several years of His pilgrimage He performed the most severe penances. As part of His pilgrimage through Gujarat He happened to arrive in the village Loj, situated midway between Somnath and Porbander in Saurashtra. There He met Muktanandji, the chief disciple of the great master Ramanand Swami; and later He came to have a face-to-face meeting with Ramanand Swami in a village called Piplana.


Having taken birth in a material body Lord Shree Swaminarayan too accepted Ramanand Swami, as His preceptor and as per set religious rules began receiving diksha at the hands of the great preceptor. The great preceptor later handed over the control and management of the entire Uddhava religious discipline to Lord Shree Swaminarayan. Many people became His disciples after properly checking and testing the meditation process by the Lord. Without giving much importance to mysterious performances and miracles, He engaged Himself in enriching the society by teaching them the purity of thought and food, in addition to conduct by removing bad habits such as addiction, blind faith, suspiciousness, immorality, corruption, luxury, inertness, theft, dacoity etc. Some scholars believed that there can be no incarnation of God in the Kaliyuga. He convinced them through proofs from the Geeta, the Bhagawad and other scriptures that Lord Swaminarayan is the Supreme incarnation and made them His disciples. Lord Swaminarayan is the Supreme Brahman and proof of this fact is found in ancient scriptures, for example


“Whenever religion suffers tormented regression I incarnate myself to uproot irreligion and re-establish good religion to protect the gentle folk and to destroy the evils in every era.” (Geeta 48-49)


"Hey Arjun, many births of yours and mine have passed but only I know them and not you." (Geeta 45).


"To protect religion I get another body, to eradicate irreligion I do manifest when the age demands." (Shrimad Bhagawat) Brahmapurana says:


"In Satyuga I manifest as Dattatreya, as Raghunandana in Treta, as Vasudeva in Dwapara and as Dharmadev's son Swami in Kaliyuga." Vishwaksena Samhita says:



Among all parts of the universe I take birth on the Earth, I shall adore Vaikuntha adopting the name Sahajanand. All these scriptures prove Lord Swaminarayan as the Vedic acceptance of incarnated supreme reality.

Like the previous incarnations He did not destroy demons but He removed the demonic inclinations and turned demonic persons into divine ones. He uplifted and elevated classes like Kathi, Koli, Ahir, Shudra, Bhil, Muslims, illiterate, peasants etc. Along with backward classes, great scholar-poets, officials, rulers and kings renounced worldly life and joined the Holy Fellowship and got initiated into asceticism, became stoics and spread the religion. Scholars and saints offered valuable devotional prose-verse literature by offering volumes written in Sanskrit, Hindi, Brijbhasha and Gujarati. He opposed violence including the killing of animals before deities and in Yagnas, and by offering scholarly counselling stopped violence performed in the name of religion. He advocated and popularised non-violent Yagnas. Lord Shree Swaminarayan provided welfare to many humans and animals by creating free food centres, wells, step wells and temples. He declared in the Shikshapatri-47,



that both Narayan and Mahesh (Shiva) should be understood as one, as both are forms of Brahm as confirmed by the Vedas. Thus he brought an end to the hostility between the Shaivas and Vaishnavas. In order to bring complete chastity of character into the Holy Fellowship, He ordered that the temples, meeting assemblies and initiating rites should be separate for male and female followers. He appointed married householders from His own family line as chief of the Fellowship and ordered the saints to observe eight types of celibacy from females, so that there would remain no possibility of corruption by crossing boundaries of self-control.

In order to prevent any blind tradition in pure devotion, the Lord instructed devotees to build large and beautiful temples. He also wrote a sacred volume called the Shikshapatri for the welfare of many souls after His departure from Earth. Having completed His mission of establishing the Bhagawat Dharma and the task of rejuvenating and revitalizing the ancient Vedic path, He left His mortal body and ascended to His divine abode Akshardham at Gadhpur (Saurashtra) on the 10th day of the bright half of the Jyestha month of Vikram Samvat 1886; from then onwards He has been offering His divine darshan in idol form in various temples in the Holy Fellowship.

The curse of Durvasa 

When the burden of sin increases on Earth, Mother Earth becomes unhappy. As her unhappiness increases something needs to be done to ease her plight. The saints and rishis pray to the Lord to help her during these bad times. Once, one hundred and thirty nine rishis and saints including Marichi, Harit, Gautam, Bhrigu and Bhardwaj, went to Badrikashram for darshan of Lord Shree NarNarayan. They bathed in the sacred River Ganga and then bowed down to Shree NarNarayan. Lord Narayan asked them, “O Rishis, what is the news on Earth?” The Rishis replied: “Lord, the burden of sin has greatly increased on Earth. Immoral behaviour has grown immensly, hypocrisy and pretence prevail everywhere in the name of religion. Innocent people are struggling to find religious leaders to look after them”. During this discussion, Dharmadev and Bhaktimata arrived. They were informed of Earth’s plight by Lord NarNarayan as everyone was engrossed in hearing these talks.

Meanwhile Rishi Durvasa arrived, but nobody noticed him. Durvasa had a temperamental nature, he felt insulted when no one welcomed him, he became angry and cursed them all: “You have failed to welcome me in the worry of the Earth, therefore you shall go and live on Earth as humans, and suffer at the hands of evil spirits.” Lord NarNarayan and the other saints came to their senses; they prayed to Durvasa muni, “O great saint, have mercy on us.” Durvasa replied “My curse cannot be reverted once given, but on account of my curse, the burden of sin on the Earth will decrease by your hands. Lord Narayan will be born as the son of Dharma-Bhakti, and will benefit the universe. You will be free from the curse after that.” Lord Narayan smiled gently and said, “The curse is the result of my wish. The curse of a saint is not a curse, but it is a boon in disguise. I will decrease the burden of sin on Earth; I myself will be born as the son of Dharma and Bhakti for the establishment of true religion and so you all will be born on earth.” On hearing this, everyone was pleased, and so the curse of Durvasa turned into a boon.