Saints of Swaminarayan Sect
Each soul on the path of spiritual salvation starts his journey lost in this material world. When Swaminarayan Bhagwan arrived on this Earth, His goal was to free as many souls as possible and guide them to His divine abode Akshardham. To assist in this mission, Swaminarayan Bhagwan ordained nearly 3000 ascetic saints, collectively known as the Nand saints. They withstood an insurmountable amount of hardship in order to lay the foundations of Swaminarayan sampradaya (sect) and spread Swaminarayan Bhagwan’s principles throughout India.
These Nand saints were from all walks of life—many were accomplished scholars, while others were ordinary farmers. Some were young bachelors, while some were already settled with families. However, once their paths crossed with Swaminarayan Bhagwan, their devotion awoke and became fully enamored with Him. All saints had to renounce the material world and strictly abide by the five vows—known as the panch vartman as listed below.
- Nishkam: They were to maintain complete abstinence from women
- Nirlobh: They were to free themselves of all wealth and greed
- Nirman: They were to completely abolish themselves of ego and pride, in order to humble themselves to God
- Niswad: They were to transcend their desire for all taste
- Nis-sneh: They were to detach themselves of all relationships with birth relatives and materialistic possessions
Though these monumental vows seem impossible, all Nand saints abided to them strictly. And in turn, Swaminarayan Bhagwan gave them everlasting, divine sukh in Akshardham.
Nand saints’ devotion to God and their renouncement of the materialistic world led them to an incredible power and ability. It was through their resolute faith that the foundations of the Swaminarayan sect were established. They ventured to the most remote villages in order to ensure that all salvation-seeking devotees could find their way to Swaminarayan Bhagwan through satsang. They authored countless scriptures and penned thousands of kirtans to guide generations of devotees towards Swaminarayan Bhagwan. They worked tirelessly at the command of Swaminarayan Bhagwan to erect marvelous temples across the state of Gujarat. They had to pass 117 short-term vows known as Prakrans prescribed by Swaminarayan Bhagwan. And despite all of this, they had to suffer violence from jealous bigots. Their sacrifice in all facets of life is truly the reason why the Swaminarayan sect shines amongst all religions today.
Today, we are endowed with a flourishing sect due to the infinite sacrifices and wisdom of Nand saints. We are also blessed to have saints today that descend from the disciple lineage of Nand saints and possess similar caliber in guiding millions of devotees towards supreme Swaminarayan Bhagwan.