|April 20, 2002 |
Des Plaines, IL
Ghanshyam Maharaj (Swaminarayan Bhagwan) chose to manifest on earth on Ramanavmi (according to the American calendar, April 2, 1781) at 10:10 pm to Dharmadev and Bhaktimata. His parents were said to be the incarnations of dharma (religious duty) and bhakti (devotion). Thus it is said that where there is dharma and bhakti, Ghanshyam (God) is always present. Swaminarayan Bhagwan also left dharma and bhakti in the forms of the Shikshapatri and Vachanamrut, respectively.
Historically, Hindu scriptures discuss two main dharmas, one related to varna (caste) and another related to aashrama (stage in life). In the Shikshapatri, Swaminarayan Bhagwan introduces many dharmas for different categories of people, including aachaaryas, householders, celibates, and saints. Just as Krishna Bhagwan had released the sudarshana chakra (disc weapon) to protect King Ambrish, Swaminarayan Bhagwan has given His devotees 212 shlokas (verses) to protect them.
There are three Vachanamruts recorded on Swaminarayan Bhagwan's birthday: Gadhada First 68, Middle 30, and Last 35. In First 68, Swaminarayan Bhagwan explains that He is in the eight types of moortis (made of stone, metal, wood, earth, sand, gems, as a drawing, and mentally), and His ninth moorti is in the form of His saints. In Middle 30, Swaminarayan Bhagwan explains that on the path to becoming brahmaroopa (liberated), sonu and stree are binding. While this literally refers to gold and women, sonu refers symbolically to possessiveness and stree is attachment toward the senses. In Last 35, Swaminarayan Bhagwan assures that He is always in the protection of His devotees.