The life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan on this earth is a saga of tender humanism and infinite divine compassion. On the auspicious day of 2 April 1781 CE ?(Chaitra sud 9, Samvat 1837) he descended in a small village named Chhapaiya near Ayodhya in North India.
From his very childhood he had given a glimpse of his spiritual supremacy. He acquired complete authority over the Vedas, Upanishads, Gita, Bhagvat and Ramayan at a very young age. When he was just ten he won a debate against great scholars in Kashi.
Then, at 11 years he renounced the world and pilgrimaged barefooted to every nook and corner of India in just seven years. Finally, he came to Gujarat and was blessed by guru Ramanand Swami. At the age of 21 years he accepted the spiritual leadership, and with patient perseverance he inculcated the eternal values of Hindu culture into the lives of countless people. He initiated 3000 sadhus and parambansas, who dedicated their lives for this cause.
His magnetic, genial and divine personality attracted the best men in different fields to an avowed discipleship. People worshipped him as Parabrahma- the Supreme God.His compassion towards the meek, downtrodden, backward and the sinners transformed them and elevated them to the acme of spirituality. With the help of committed followers he caused a peaceful spiritual revolution. He purified and remedied a society that was politically corrupt, socially disordered and spiritually bankrupt. He disentangled society from malpractices, addictions, superstitious and skepticism, nourishing it with love, non-violence and spiritual values.He eradicated discrimination based on caste, colour and sect. He accepted one and all , granting everyone moksha.
Having made unparalleled contributions to society by building six towering shikharbaddh mandirs, and inspiring shastras such as the Vachanamrut and Shikshapatri, he left his mortal body at 49 years of age. Nonetheless, he promised that he would eternally prevail upon this earth through a lineage of Gunatit gurus. Gunatitanand Swami was the first in this lineage of spiritually perfect gurus and he continued Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s spiritual mission. Thereafter it was furthered by Bhagatji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj and, today, it is being continued by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Through the blessings and inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj we present a selection of enlightening stories from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan: from his travels as Nilkanth Varni and subsequently as Bhagwan Swaminarayan or Shriji Maharaj during his stay in Gujarat. Each story leaves an abiding impression about his divine personality. In all, there are fourteen stories in this first part of Impressions, together with colour illustrations.
We offer our gratitudes to Sadhu Vivekjivandas for translating the Gujarati version of Shriji Charitra Vihar-3 by Sadhu Aksharjivandas and also to Jignesh Joshi for redrawing and colouring the originally pencilled illustrations by Meghavi.
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