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Akshar-Purushottam Darshan is the classical name given to the set of spiritual beliefs based on the teachings of Swaminarayan.[1]

Contents

OverviewEdit

Spiritual seekers believe that they can achieve moksha, or freedom from the cycle of birth and death, by becoming aksharrup (or brahmarup), that is, by attaining qualities similar to Akshar (or Aksharbrahman) and worshipping Purushottam (or Parabrahman; the supreme living entity; God).[2]:275 The enlightened guru is always manifest on earth and is a form of Aksharbrahman, which is an eternal entity above the influence of maya, or worldly attachments and imperfections.[3] By associating with and understanding that Aksharbrahman guru, alternatively referred to as the Satpurush, Ekantik Bhakta or Ekantik Sant, spiritual seekers can transcend the influences of maya and attain spiritual perfection.[4]

The primary sources of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan are the Vachanamrut, which is a compilation of 273 oral discourses delivered by Swaminarayan that were documented by his senior followers during his lifetime; the Vedaras, a comprehensive letter written to his monastic followers explicating his doctrine and providing moral instructions; and the Swamini Vato, a collection of oral commentaries delivered by Gunatitanand Swami, who was Swaminarayan's senior disciple and his successor as guru in the lineage of the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS).[2]:13[5] Other sources clarifying Akshar-Purushottam Darshan include Bhagatji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj, and Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who in order were successors to Gunatitanand Swami as Guru in the BAPS Swaminarayan tradition,[2]:17 and Mahant Swami Maharaj, the current Guru.

The followers of BAPS lay particular emphasis on the creedal statement written by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, titled Swaminarayan Darshanna Siddhantono Alekh, which summarises Akshar-Purushottam Darshan. The Swaminarayan-Bhashyam is a published commentary written by Bhadreshdas Swami in 2007 that explicates the roots of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Brahma Sutras.[6][5] This is further corroborated in a classical Sanskrit treatise, also authored by Bhadreshdas Swami, called Swaminarayan-Siddhanta-Sudha.

MetaphysicsEdit

OntologyEdit

Swaminarayan's philosophy centres around the existence of five eternal realities, as stated in two of his sermons documented in the Vachanamrut, Gadhada 1.7 and Gadhada 3.10:

“Puruṣottama Bhagavān, Akṣarabrahman, māyā, īśvara and jīva – these five entities are eternal.”[7]

“From all the Vedas, Purāṇas, Itihāsa and Smṛti scriptures, I have gleaned the principle that jīva, māyā, īśvara, Brahman and Parameśvara are all eternal.”[7]

PurushottamEdit

Purushottam (literally ‘supreme being’) is interchangeably referred to as Parabrahman (higher Brahman), Paramatma (supreme self) and Parameshwar (supreme ishwar). He is the supreme existential reality and highest of the five eternal entities; God. The nature of Purushottam in Akshar-Purushottam Darshan is conceptualised in four distinct aspects:[2]:Chp.6

  1. Sarvopari (supreme): Purushottam is the highest singular entity that transcends all realities. Swaminarayan taught that Purushottam is one and incomparable: “After all, there is only one form of God. This God is extremely powerful and no one, including Akshar, is capable of becoming like him. This is an established principle.” (Vachanamrut, Loya 4)[2]:80
  2. Karta (all-doer): All actions in the universe ultimately depend on Purushottam, who is the final cause of all causes and the inner-controller of all entities. Even though jivas and ishwars have independent agency, no action can be performed without the support and will of Purushottam. The process of liberation entails developing this realization. Swaminarayan stated: “The jīva’s liberation is attained only by the following understanding: ‘All that happens is by the doing of the manifest form of [Parabrahman], but nothing at all is done by any of time kāḷa, karma, māyā, etc.’ In this manner, understanding God alone to be the all-doer is indeed the supreme cause of liberation.” (Vachanamrut, Kariyani 10)[2]:109–112
  3. Sakar (possessing divine form): Swaminarayan instructed his followers that Purushottam possesses a divine form. In Vachanamrut Gadhada 1.71, Swaminarayan stated: “One should never refute the form of God.” This form, he taught, was human in shape, yet still divine.[2]:121–130
  4. Pragat (manifest): God is eternally present on Earth to grant moksha to spiritual seekers in human form, either directly or through the human form of Akshar. In Vachanamrut Vadtal 19, Swaminarayan stated: “Whenever a jiva attains a human body in Bharata-khanda [i.e., the Indian subcontinent], God’s avatar or God’s Sadhu [i.e. Brahmaswarup Guru] will certainly also be present on earth at that time.”[2]:130–156

AksharEdit

Akshar (also known as Brahman or Aksharbrahman) is second only in transcendence to Purushottam; it is eternally above the influences of maya. Though a single entity ontologically, Akshar exists in four different forms:[1]

  1. As Purushottam's eternal transcendental abode, known as Akshardham: Swaminarayan states in Vachanamrut Gadhada 1.63, “Akshar is Purushottam Bhagwan’s abode...” Only liberated souls, those who have acquired qualitative oneness with Akshar, can enter Akshardham. Thus, along with Purushottam, Akshardham holds the countless liberated souls, known as aksharmuktas, and Akshar in its second form (see below), who personally serves Purushottam in Akshardham. As a form of Akshar, Akshardham the abode is singular, eternal, and forever beyond maya. Swaminarayan describes its transcendental greatness, extreme radiance and supreme bliss in the Vachanamrut. Within other sacred Hindu texts, Akshardham is also referred to by terms such as ‘paramadham,’ ‘pad,’ ‘parama-sthan,’ ‘param vyoma,’ ‘Brahmapur’ and ‘Brahmadham.’[2]:191–200
  2. As the ideal devotee of Purushottam within Akshardham: Akshar also resides in a personal form within Akshardham itself as an eternal and exemplary devotee of Purushottam. Like Purushottam, Akshar here has a human-shaped form, complete with two arms and other features. At the time of creation, Purushottam first looks towards this personified form of Akshar with the desire to initiate creation. In this way, by Purushottam's eternal wish, Akshar also becomes the cause of all creation.[2]:191–200
  3. As the Brahmaswarup Guru in human form on earth: Swaminarayan states that Purushottam manifests on earth along with Akshar (Vachanamrut Gadhada 1.71), through whom he remains completely and uninterruptedly present to continue his work of ultimate liberation and granting his devotees his own blissful experience by accepting their devotion. Gunatitanand Swami (1784–1867), Bhagatji Maharaj (1829–1897), Shastriji Maharaj (1865–1951), Yogiji Maharaj (1892–1971) and Pramukh Swami Maharaj (1921–2016) are believed to be a part of this lineage of Brahmaswarup Gurus. Mahant Swami Maharaj (b. 1933) is the current Guru in that unbroken lineage.[2]:191–200
  4. As Chidakash, the all-pervading, radiant consciousness: ‘Chidakash’ refers to an extremely radiant (‘akash’) sentient (‘chit’) entity. It pervades within and outside infinite brahmands and upholds them. In the Chhandogya Upanishad (8.1.1), this Chidakash is identified as daharākāśa. ‘dahar’ means subtle, and ‘daharākāśa’ means a subtle radiant entity. Aksharbrahma is identified as daharākāśa as it pervades and resides within the heart of every being. In Vachanamrut Gadhada 1.46, Swaminarayan identifies the knowledge of this daharākāśa as daharvidyā.[2]:191–200
Distinction of Akshar (Brahman) from Purushottam (Parabrahman)[2]:41,61Edit

One of the key distinguishing factors of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan from other schools of Vedanta is the inclusion of ‘Akshar’ (also known as Brahman and Aksharbrahman) as a specific metaphysical entity. It is thus ontologically distinct from Purushottam (also known as Parabrahman).

The fifth chapter of the Prashna Upanishad explicitly delineates two ‘Brahmans’, a higher Brahman, i.e. Parabrahman, and a lower Brahman, i.e. Aksharbrahman. Verse 5.2 reads:

एतद्वै सत्यकाम परं चाऽपरं च ब्रह्म यदोङ्कारः ।

Satyakāma! The syllable Aum refers to the higher and lower Brahman.

Another clear indication of Akshar and Purushottam forming the crux of the highest spiritual truth, i.e. brahmavidya, can be found in the Mundaka Upanishad at 1.2.13:

येनाऽक्षरं पुरुषं वेद सत्यं प्रोवाच तां तत्त्वतो ब्रह्मविद्याम् ।

Brahmavidyā is that by which Akshar and Purush[ottam] are thoroughly known.

Akshar and Purushottam are also distinctly elucidated in the Bhagavad Gita. For example, verses 15.16 and 15.17 explain:

द्वाविमौ पुरुषौ लोके क्षरश्चाक्षर एव च ।

क्षरः सर्वाणि भूतानि कूटस्थोऽक्षर उच्यते ।।

उत्तमः पुरुषस्त्वन्यः परमात्मेत्युदाहृतः ।।

There are two types of beings within the world: ‘kshar’ and ‘akshar’. All those bound by maya are kshar, whereas the one who is unchanging – forever beyond maya – is Akshar.

The supreme being is distinct [from kshar and Akshar]. He is called Paramatma.

Verse 15.18 further describes Purushottam as being superior to, and thus distinct from, even Akshar:

यस्मात्क्षरमतीतोऽहमक्षरादपि चोऽत्तमः ।

अतोऽस्मि लोके वेदे च प्रथितः पुरुषोत्तमः ।।

I am superior to kshar and superior to even Akshar. Thus, I am known as Purushottam within the world and the Vedas.

Swaminarayan also states in his sermon in Vachanamrut Gadhada 2.3: “Parabrahman, that is, Puruṣottama Nārāyaṇa, is distinct from Brahman and also the cause, support and inspirer of Brahman.”[2]:163

MayaEdit

Maya is the only one of the five eternal realities which is insentient. It is the base substance from which the material world is formed and is characterized by the three qualities (gunas) – sattvaguna, rajoguna, and tamoguna. It also forms the ignorance of the jivas and ishwars – seen as ego, i.e. ‘I-ness’, and attachments, i.e. ‘my-ness’ – causing them to be bound in the continuous cycle of birth and death. Only Purushottam and Akshar forever transcend maya. Jivas and ishwars seeking liberation from endless transmigration can transcend it by associating with Akshar in the form of the Brahmaswarup Guru, who makes those souls brahmarup (or aksharrup), i.e. qualitatively similar to Akshar, thereby making them eligible for the highest devotion of Purushottam.[8]

IshwarEdit

Ishwar refers not to God, but a finite sentient entity shrouded by maya, like a jiva, but endowed with special powers and knowledge for fulfilling various functions within a particular universe. Virat Purush, Brahmā (not to be confused with Brahman), Vishnu, and Shiva are examples of ishwars within Akshar-Purushottam Darshan. These divinities enliven disparate forces of nature, including the sun, moon, wind, etc.[8]

JivaEdit

Jiva is a distinct, individual soul, i.e. a finite sentient being. Jivas are bound by maya, which hides their true self, which is characterized by eternal existence, consciousness, and bliss. There are an infinite number of jivas. They are extremely subtle, indivisible, impierceable, ageless, and immortal. While residing within the heart, a jiva pervades the entire body by its capacity to know (gnānshakti), making it animate. It is the form of knowledge (gnānswarūp) as well as the knower (gnātā). The jiva is the performer of virtuous and immoral actions (karmas) and experiences the fruits of these actions. It has been eternally bound by maya; as a result, it roams within the cycle of birth and death. Birth is when a jiva acquires a new body, and death is when it departs from its body. Just as one abandons one's old clothes and wears new ones, the jiva renounces its old body and acquires a new one.[8]

CosmologyEdit

At the time of creation, Purushottam in Akshardham first looks towards the personified form of Akshar with the desire to create. This instigates the protological process. By this glance, Akshar understands Purushottam's wish, and thereafter looks toward the countless aksharmuktas residing in Akshardham. Among them, one mukta then unites with prakruti (a form of maya), thereby initiating creation. From this pair of an aksharmukta and prakruti, together called Prakruti-Purush, countless more pairs are created, each called Pradhan-Purush. From each pair, a ‘brahmand’ is created, which has Virat Purush, an ishwar, as its soul. The body of each brahmand is composed of several entities which subsequently produce from one another as a part of the protological process. This includes mahat-tattva, from which are produced sattvic ahamkar, rajasic ahamkar and tamasic ahamkar, from which are produced, respectively, the cosmic mind and deities presiding over the cosmic senses; the cosmic senses, intellect and vital breaths; and the five gross elements and five subtle elements. Together this forms the gross and subtle cosmic body of a brahmand, which has Virat Purush as its soul. With the special empowering and re-entering of Purushottam, from Virat originates Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (each metaphysically ishwar), and then from Brahma, originate the various daityas, devas, humans, animals, vegetation, and all other mobile and immobile life-forms.[2]:262–6

SoteriologyEdit

The primary goal of devotees is mukti, to escape the bondage of maya and the cycle of birth and death, which is the cause of all suffering and sorrow. Swaminarayan described maya as “nothing but the sense of I-ness towards the body and my-ness towards anything related to the body” (Vachanamrut Gadhada 3.39).

In contrast, Swaminarayan describes the nature of liberation as being a state where an individual has equanimity amid all dualities of life (such as pleasure and pain, success and failure), the absence of desires for bodily comfort, and independence from all influences other than God.[2]:Chp 11

LiberationEdit

More specifically, liberation in Akshar-Purushottam Darshan entails devotees achieving the highest and perfect spiritual state, which implies becoming like Aksharbrahman. This state, according to Bhadreshdas Swami, is described in the Upanishads as being “without evil, free from old age and death, free from sorrow, free from hunger and thirst [i.e., physical or worldly cravings]” and having “all desires and wishes fulfilled.”[9] Because becoming like Akshar is central to Akshar-Purushottam Darshan, Swaminarayan explained that Purushottam manifests in human form on the earth accompanied by Akshar in human form, to grant liberation to spiritual seekers. Akshar, in turn, is always present on the earth and is the model of spiritual and ethical perfection.[10]

Mukti in Akshar-Purushottam Darshan can take two forms:[2]:274–84

  • Videhi Mukti – liberation after death, i.e. attaining an eternal place in Akshardham, the divine abode of Purushottam, where the soul lovingly serves Purushottam and enjoys his supreme bliss.
  • Jivan-Mukti – liberation while alive, i.e. on earth.

Swaminarayan taught that liberation was possible in this lifetime: “When the devotee has kept his mind at the holy feet of God in this manner [like an iron nail firmly affixed to an iron surface], he does not have to die to attain the abode of God; he has attained it while still alive” (Vachanamrut Gadhada 3.7). The perfect state of being like Brahman can also be attained in this very lifetime.

Swaminarayan states in Vachanamrut Sarangpur 9: “Therefore, if one practices satsang with absolute sincerity, then no fault will remain in one’s heart, and one will become brahmarup in this very lifetime.” Here, ‘satsang’ refers to the association of the Brahmaswarup Guru. Swaminarayan elaborates in Vachanamrut Gadhada 3.2 that spiritual aspirants can achieve “the highest state of enlightenment (paramapada), or liberation (mokṣa), while being alive” by associating with the Guru, who Swaminarayan describes as being ‘pratyakṣa gururūpa hari’ (God manifest before the eyes in the form of the Guru). The Katha Upanishad (6.14) also states: “Through the firm association with the Brahmaswarup Guru, one attains immortality – the brāhmic state – here.”

PraxisEdit

Swaminarayan advised those seeking liberation to achieve mukti by constant association with and guidance from the Brahmaswarup Guru, or the human form of Akshar present on earth. Through this process, spiritual aspirants transcend influences of worldly attachments and past actions, known respectively as maya and karma, and instead acquire the qualities of Aksharbrahman.[2]:Chp 11 Swaminarayan states in Vachanamrut Gadhada 2.31: “The jiva acquires the virtues of that Brahman, if it associates with Brahman through continuous contemplation.”

Ekantik DharmaEdit

Ekantik Dharma is the four-fold system of theological praxis that an aspirant must assume under the guidance of the Ekantik Sant, i.e. Brahmaswarup Guru, in order to secure spiritual liberation. Ekantik Dharma, also known as Bhagwat Dharma, comprises the following four aspects:[11]

  • dharma – righteous living by observing the moral codes of scripture
  • gnan – realization of oneself as the atman, distinct from the body
  • vairagya – dispassion towards worldly pleasures
  • bhakti – selfless devotion to God while realizing his greatness

EpistemologyEdit

God and GuruEdit

The highest and most direct form of revelation would be when God self-manifests in human form and reveals himself as God and the nature of Purushottam and Akshar. Similarly, the Guru elucidates Akshar-Purushottam Darshan through his discourses and daily living. His ontological position as Akshar sets him apart as being a perfect transmitter of brahmavidya. Hence the Mundaka Upanishad instructs at 1.2.12:

तद्विज्ञानार्थं स गुरुमेवाभिगच्छेत्समित्पाणिः श्रोत्रियं ब्रह्म निष्ठम्॥

To realize that brahmavidya, surrender to only a guru who has realized the shastras, is the manifest form of Aksharbrahma, and is ever steadfast in Paramatma.

ScripturesEdit

The teachings of God (Purushottam) and the Gurus (Akshar) are the basis upon which scriptures become sources of revelation. Because both Purushottam and Akshar are forever beyond maya, their words are the sole source of authentic theological knowledge; they cannot be perceived, articulated or conceived by ordinary senses, words or minds.[2]:27–9

VachanamrutEdit

The Vachanamrut holds the discourses of Swaminarayan compiled during his own lifetime between 1819 and 1829. Because Swaminarayan is worshipped as Purushottam, his teachings are the primary source of revelation. The Vachanamrut is thus the principal theological text of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, revealing the doctrines and praxis of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan.[12]

Paramtattvadas explains: “In fact, for his devotees, Swaminarayan’s teachings in the Vacanāmrut represent the most direct and authentic source possible of knowledge about God. What may have been germinal, scattered and abstract in other texts, has been able to be brought together more clearly and concretely than ever in the Vacanāmrut. To be even more explicit, for the Swaminarayan tradition, the Vacanāmrut – personally delivered by the self-revealed Parabrahman and ‘heard’ (i.e. received) via the Brahmasvarūpa Gurus... – is the climactic revelatory text by which its theological doctrines are established and articulated.”[2]:47

For example, the essence of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan is explained by Swaminarayan in his sermon at Loya 12:

Countless millions of brahmāṇḍas, each encircled by the eight barriers , appear like mere atoms in Akṣara. Such is the greatness of Akṣara, the abode of Puruṣottama Nārāyaṇa. One who offers upāsanā to Puruṣottama realising oneself as this Akṣara can be said to have attained the highest level of resolute faith.

Swamini VatoEdit

The Swamini Vato is a compilation of Gunatitanand Swami’s teachings. It draws extensively from the Vachanamrut, and also cites other Hindu texts. “By elucidating, elaborating and providing further insight upon many of the important teachings of the Vacanāmrut, the Svāmīnī Vāto serves within the tradition as a ‘natural commentary’ upon it.”[2]:17

Swaminarayan Darshanna Siddhantono AlekhEdit

On Guru Purnima in 2008, Bochasan, India, Pramukh Swami Maharaj penned the Swaminarayan Darshanna Siddhantono Alekh, a creedal statement summarising the key principles of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan. It stands as one of the most valuable and venerable sources of theological revelation for members of the BAPS Swaminarayan fellowship.

PrasthanatrayiEdit

The three sets of sacred texts known as the ‘Prasthanatrayi’ comprise the Brahmasutras, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. As canonical Hindu texts, they are also sources of understanding Akshar-Purushottam Darshan when read according to the teachings of Swaminarayan. Mahamahopadhyaya Bhadreshdas Swami has commentated on the Prasthanatrayi using the teachings of Swaminarayan. His five-volume Swaminarayan-Bhashya are commentaries on the Brahmasutras, the ten principal Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita. These ideas are synthesised and systematised in the Swaminarayan-Siddhant-Sudha, a classical dialectic treatise offering an exposition, justification, and defence of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan’s theological and philosophical principles.

EssenceEdit

Pramukh Swami Maharaj summarises and clarifies Akshar-Purushottam Darshan as “not the worship of two entities – Akṣara and Puruṣottama. Rather, it means to become akṣararūpa [like Akṣara] and worship Puruṣottama, i.e. to become brahmarūpa [like Brahman] and worship Parabrahman.”[2]:325

Swaminarayan MantraEdit

This meaning of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan is encapsulated in the ‘Swaminarayan’ mantra, provided by Swaminarayan to his devotees on 31 December 1801. ‘Swaminarayan’, though one word, in fact comprises two terms: ‘Swami’, which denotes Akshar, and ‘Narayan’, which denotes Purushottam. ‘Swaminarayan’ is thus synonymous with ‘Akshar-Purushottam’, instructing devotees to “become like ‘Swami’, i.e. akṣararūpa, and subserviently offer devotion and upāsanā to ‘Narayan’, i.e. Parabrahman Puruṣottama Nārāyaṇa.”[2]:325

History: revelation and propagationEdit

Akshar-Purushottam Darshan was revealed by Swaminarayan (1781-1830). He was neither a devotee nor an acharya, but believed by his followers to be the manifest form of Parabrahman Purushottam. His sermons, many of which were compiled during his lifetime as the Vachanamrut, thus serve as a direct revelation of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan.[13]

Swaminarayan also revealed Gunatitanand Swami (1784-1867) on numerous occasions as the personified form of Akshar and thus his first spiritual successor. Gunatitanand Swami, through his sermons (compiled as Swamini Vato), clarified Swaminarayan as Parabrahman Purushottam.[14]

Pragji Bhakta (1829-1897), known as Bhagatji Maharaj, received this knowledge from Gunatitanand Swami and especially propagated him as Akshar. Bhagatji Maharaj was the second spiritual successor of Swaminarayan.[15]

Shastri Yagnapurushdas (1865-1951), known as Shastriji Maharaj, received this revelation from Bhagatji Maharaj, and after his own historical and theological research verifying Gunatitanand Swami as Akshar and Swaminarayan as Purushottam, installed their sacred images in five traditional stone temples. He thus brought the terms ‘Akshar’ and ‘Purushottam’ together, popularising the name ‘Akshar-Purushottam’ when formally establishing Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS). He propagated the core doctrine of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan, i.e. worshipping Purushottam having realised oneself as Akshar, based on Swaminarayan's teachings from the Vachanamrut and Gunatitanand Swami's teachings from the Swamini Vato. He was the chief exponent of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan.[15][16]

Shastriji Maharaj, the third spiritual successor of Swaminarayan, was subsequently followed by Yogiji Maharaj (1892–1971) and Pramukh Swami Maharaj (1921–2016), who propagated the beliefs and principles of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan throughout India and abroad. They are regarded as the fourth and fifth spiritual successors of Swaminarayan, respectively.[15]

Currently, the propagation of Akshar-Purushottam Darshan is led by Mahant Swami Maharaj (b. 1933), who is the present guru in the Guru Parampara lineage of the BAPS Swaminarayan tradition, regarded as the sixth spiritual successor of Swaminarayan.[15]

Although Swaminarayan did not author a commentary on the Prasthantrayi, by the instructions, blessings and guidance of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Bhadreshdas Swami composed the Swaminarayan-Bhashya, a five-volume comprehensive commentary on all three sacred texts of the Prasthāntrayi, i.e. the Brahmasutras, the ten principal Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita, based on the teachings of Swaminarayan and the successive gurus. With the blessings of Mahant Swami Maharaj, Bhadreshdas Swami also authored a vāda-grantha entitled Swaminarayan-Siddhanta-Sudha. These texts substantiate Swaminarayan's Akshar-Purushottam Darshan from a scholarly perspective.[17]

Modern ReceptionEdit

The Shri Kashi Vidvat Parishad, a highly eminent scholarly council for adjudicating matters of Vedic studies and tradition throughout India, affirmed in a meeting in Varanasi on 31 July 2017 that Akshar-Purushottam Darshan is a distinct school of Vedanta, and acclaimed Bhadreshdas Swami as an acharya in line with Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva and Vallabha. After critically reviewing the Swaminarayan-Bhashyam and Swaminarayan-Siddhanta-Sudha, the council proclaimed in a written statement:

The Prasthānatrayī-Svāminārāyaṇabhāṣya and the Svāminārāyaṇasiddhāntasudhā are sacred texts on Parabrahman Svāminārāyaṇa’s revealed Akṣarapuruṣottama Darśana. These sacred texts are in every manner the protectors of the eternal Vedic religious tradition.

Acclaimed by all scholars, respected Mahāmahopādyāya Sadhu Bhadreshdas is an ācārya and a contemporary commentator in the lineage of commentators on the Prasthānatrayī.

Within philosophy, just as Śrī Śaṅkara’s Vedānta is identified as the Advaita Darśana, Śrī Rāmānuja’s Vedānta is identified as the Viśiṣṭādvaita Darśana, Śrī Madhva’s Vedānta is identified as the Dvaita Darśana, Śrī Vallabha’s Vedānta is identified as the Śuddhādvaita Darśana, and others are respectively known; it is in every way appropriate to identify Sri Svāminārāyaṇa’s Vedānta by the title: Akṣarapuruṣottama Darśana.

Therefore, we all collectively endorse that this Akṣarapuruṣottama Siddhānta that has been revealed by Parabrahman Svāminārāyaṇa is distinct from Advaita, Viśiṣṭādvaita, and all other doctrines and is a Vedic siddhānta.

Present during the proclamation were senior scholars of the council: Mahamahopadyaya Acharya Ramyatna Shukla, President of Kashi Vidvat Parishad; Mahamahopadyaya Acharaya Vashistha Tripathi, Vice-President of Kashi Vidvat Parishad and former Vice-Chancellor of Sampurnanand Sanskrit University; Mahamahopadyaya Pandit Shivji Upadhyay, General Secretary of Kashi Vidvat Parishad and former Vice-Chancellor of Sampurnanand Sanskrit University; and Acharaya Ramnarayan Dwivedi, Secretary of Kashi Vidvat Parishad.

The declaration was later presented by members of the Kashi Vidvat Parishad as a copperplate inscription, in a public assembly at Swaminarayan Akshardham, Delhi, on 13 August 2017. This led to several public felicitations of the texts and Bhadreshdas Swami, including in Vadodara, Gujarat, by vice-chancellors and representatives of 27 universities, and in Bengaluru, Karnataka, by vice-chancellors of 35 universities and representatives of 5 others. Akshar-Purushottam Darshan was also recognised as a distinct school of Vedanta in a plenary session at the 17th World Sanskrit Conference, organised by the International Association of Sanskrit Studies, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, on 9 July 2018.[18]

Further readingEdit

  • Sadhu, Paramtattvadas (2017). An introduction to Swaminarayan Hindu theology. Cambridge University Press.
  • Sadhu, Brahmadarshandas (2015). Invaluable Scriptures of Brahmavidya: Vachanamrut and Swamini Vato. Ahmedabad: Swaminarayan Aksharpith.
  • Sadhu Brahmadarshandas (2015). Realization of Brahmavidya: Swaminarayan Theology. Ahmedabad: Swaminarayan Aksharpith.
  • Sadhu Brahmadarshandas (2015). Royal Path of Brahmavidya: Swaminarayan Sadhana. Ahmedabad: Swaminarayan Aksharpith.
  • Swami Bhadreshdas (2012). Essence of the Upanishads: The Wisdom of Ancient Rishis. Ahmedabad: Swaminarayan Aksharpith.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Aksharananddas, Sadhu; Bhadreshdas, Sadhu (2016-04-01). Swaminarayan’s Brahmajnana as Aksarabrahma-Parabrahma-Darsanam. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463749.003.0011. ISBN 9780199086573.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Sadhu, Paramtattvadas (2017). An introduction to Swaminarayan Hindu theology. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 47. ISBN 9781107158672. OCLC 964861190.
  3. ^ Trivedi, Yogi (2016-04-01). Multivalent Krishna-Bhakti in Premanand’s Poetry. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463749.003.0012. ISBN 9780199086573.
  4. ^ Kim, Hanna (2016). Williams, Raymond Brady; Trivedi, Yogi (eds.). "Thinking Through Akshardham and the Making of the Swaminarayan Self". Swaminarayan Hinduism: Tradition, Adaptation, and Identity. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463749.001.0001.
  5. ^ a b Amrutvijaydas, Sadhu; Williams, Raymond Brady; Paramtattvadas, Sadhu (2016-04-01). Swaminarayan and British Contacts in Gujarat in the 1820s. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463749.003.0005. ISBN 9780199086573.
  6. ^ Bhadreshdas, Sadhu (April–June 2014). "Guru's grace empowers philosophical treatise". Hinduism Today.
  7. ^ a b 1781-1830., Sahajānanda, Swami. The Vachanāmrut : spiritual discourses of Bhagwān Swāminārāyan. Bochasanvasi Shri Aksharpurushottama Sanstha. (First ed.). Ahmedabad. ISBN 9788175264311. OCLC 820357402.
  8. ^ a b c Sadhu,, Paramtattvadas. An introduction to Swaminarayan Hindu theology. Cambridge, United Kingdom. ISBN 9781107158672. OCLC 964861190.
  9. ^ Sādhu, Bhadreśadāsa (2012). Svāminārāyaṇabhāṣyam : Chāndogyopaniṣatsvāminārāyaṇabhāṣyam (Prathama saṃskaraṇa ed.). Amadāvāda. pp. 367–8. ISBN 9788175265318. OCLC 837902130.
  10. ^ Gadhia, Smit (2016-04-01). Akshara and Its Four Forms in Swaminarayan’s Doctrine. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463749.003.0010. ISBN 9780199086573.
  11. ^ Kim, Hanna H. (2013-12-04). Svāminārāyaṇa: Bhaktiyoga and the Akṣarabrahman Guru. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199938704.003.0012. ISBN 9780199345892.
  12. ^ Swami,, Brahmadarśanadāsa. "Vachanamrut: Its Structure and Topics". Invaluable scriptures of Brahmavidya : Vachanamrut and Swamini Vato. Swaminarayan Aksharpith (1st ed.). Ahmedabad. ISBN 9788175266865. OCLC 953775498.
  13. ^ Sadhu, Paramtattvadas (2017). An Introduction to Swaminarayan Theology. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. pp. 32–34. ISBN 978-1316611272.
  14. ^ Sadhu, Paramtattvadas (2017). An Introduction To Swaminarayan Theology. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-1316611272.
  15. ^ a b c d Sadhu, Paramtattvadas (2017). An Introduction To Swaminarayan Theology. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-1316611272.
  16. ^ Sadhu, Paramtattvadas (2017). An Introduction To Swaminarayan Theology. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-1316611272.
  17. ^ Sadhu, Paramtattvadas (2017). An Introduction To Swaminarayan Theology. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. pp. 19–21. ISBN 978-1316611272.
  18. ^ "'Swaminarayansiddhantasudha' Acclamation by the ⁠⁠⁠Śrī Kāśī Vidvat Parisad, Varanasi, India". baps.org. July 31, 2017.