The Scriptures of Swaminarayan Sampraday
Swaminarayan sampraday is thought of as having six organs:
For the whole of the sampraday, each of these organs is important in its own ways. This article is about scriptures.
What is the importance of scriptures?
Scriptures are the sacred writings. Normally, scriptures are considered the most authoritative source for any religion. The impact of scriptures is visible in principles and practices carried out at institutions and by their followers. For example:
• Scriptures Uniquely Identifies Sampraday: The Scriptures are key to the identity of a religion or Sampraday. Scriptures provide guiding light for people as well as traditions. Behaviors and words are constantly judged in the context of scriptures.
• Scriptures provide essential help to mumukshu in choosing Guru: Niskulananad Swami says one should evaluate potential Guru over and over because his or her guidance will be the key to your spiritual progress. How can one evaluate a potential Guru? It is said that a mumukshu must know enough from scriptures to be able to choose Guru. One must know the potential Guru from the point of view of Scriptures. It is then that person be accepted as the Guru who will lead him or her to God.
• Scriptures are key to the growth of a Sampraday: Shriji Maharaj states in Vachanamritm the scriptures are the key to the long term growth of a given Sampraday (Vachanamritm GII-58). The scriptures are immortal in a sense; they survive many of the great leaders of the Sampraday. What are the scriptures of Swaminarayan Sampraday?
Here are the scriptures of Swaminarayan Sampraday:
Lord Swaminarayan extracted the essence from many scriptures and wrote a code of conduct for the followers only in 212 verses. It was originally written in Sanskrit. He has written in Shikshapatri, the behavior of an ideal human life with piousness of thoughts, speech and behavior along with morality. He has given in it, the guidance for daily rites, and the behavior in the family of society. English translations of the Shikshapatri as well as a photocopy of the Shikshapatri given to Sir Malcolm by Shriji Maharaj himshelf can be found at http://www.shikshapatri.org.uk/.
Shreemad Satsangijivan is the main divine scripture describing the life of Lord Swaminarayan from his arrival to the earth and departure from the earth. It also describes His Philosophy and profound spiritual knowledge with ardent staunch devotion, non-attachment towards worldly objects, the way for ultimate redemption, the obstacles therein, the way to get rid of the obstacles, the ecstasy and the bliss in Akshardham.
Lord Swaminarayan gave Omniscient power (trikaldarshan) to the great Saint Satanand, enjoined him to write the philosophy, the movement and the life activities of Lord for the wide spread of his theory. It is written in Sanskrit. Lord Himself has authenticated it. It contains 319 chapters and 17627 verses. Some portion of the scriptures are also know as by special names, for exaample:
• Narayan Gita: Prakaran -2, Adhyay - 7
• Hari Gita: Prakaran -1, Adhyay 23-36.
Vachanamritm is the nectar of all the spiritual and philosophical knowledge.
The great Saints Muktanand Swami, Gopalanand Swami, Nityanand Swami and Sukanand Swami heard and compiled the original words of Lord Swaminarayan and got them authenticated by Him. These vachanamritms were thousands in number, but Lord has selected 262 only (Some versions, especially from Amdavad Gadi has 10 more vachanamrut, that is 272).
Each Vachanamritm starts with the day, month, year, time, place where the discourse was given, who were in attendance at the discourse, who asked questions, etc. Shatanand Swami has translated Vachanamritm in Sanskrit and is called "Harivakya Sudhasindhu".
Bhaktachintamni is composed by Niskulanand Swami by Lord’s order in 164 chapters in Gujarati language in poetic form. It describes many of the lord's activities during his stay on this earth. It also describes all of the vishnuyagas, festivals, the obstacles in preaching, the temples etc.
Nishkulanand Kavya is contains twenty-two smaller books. As name indicates these books are written by Niskulanand Swami. These books are Purushottam Prakash, Sneha Geeta, Vachana, Vidhi, Saar Siddhi, Bhaktinidhi, Haribal Geeta, Hriday Prakash, Dhirajkhyan, Harismruti, Chosathapadi, Managanjan, Gunagrahak, Harivicharana Arjivinaya, Kalyannirnaya, Avtar Chintamani, Chinha Chintamani, Puspa Chintamani, Lagna Shakunavali, Yamadanda, Vritti Vivah and Shikshapatri Bhashya.
Haridigvijay is composed by the great saint Nityanand Swami by Lord’s order in Sanskrit language in 49 chapters. It describes in detail the characteristics of Atman (soul), Parmatman and Maya thoroughly and very distinctly.
Gitabhashya By Gopalanand Swami
Satsangi Bhusan By Vasudevanand Varni
Harikrushna Lilamrut By Mahanubhavan and Swami
Shri Haricharitra By Akhandanand Varni
Harilila Kalpataru By Achintyananad Varni
Harililamrut By Acharya Shri Viswaviharilalji Maharaj
Following eight scriptures did not originate with in Swaminarayan Sampraday but Shriji Maharaj has praised them (Sikshapatri 93-95):
1. The four Vedas
3. Shrimad Bhagvat
4. Vishnu Sahastranam from Mahabharat
5. Shri Bhagavat Gita
7. Shri Vashudev Mahatmya
8. Yagnyvalkya Smriti Jay SwaminarayanY.C.Patel(USA)