These responsibilities have been prescribed in the Shikshapatri, Satsangijeevan and Desh Vibhag no Lekh, and according to these shastras no other individual other than the Dharmavanshi Acharyas are permitted to carry out the above duties. “My Bhramin, Kshatriya and Vaishya followers who have received Shri Krshna Diksha (initiation) from the Dharmavanshi (descendants of Dharmadev) Acharyas, shall wear a double tulsi kanthi (rosary) around their neck and shall wear a U-shaped tilak on their forehead, chest, and both harms.”
Therefore, a Swaminarayan follower is only a genuine Swaminarayan follower once he has received diksha from the respective Acharya. A Swaminarayan sant is only a true Swaminarayan sadhu once he has been given diksha by the Acharyas.
In the Shikshapatri (62), Swaminarayan Bhagwan clearly states “And the form of Shri Krshna that has been given by your Acharya for the purpose of your worship and the forms that the Acharya has installed (i.e. in the mandirs) are the only forms of God worthy of worship. The rest are worthy of respect but not worthy of worship”
Shlok 71: “All my followers shall never enter into debate with their Acharyas and shall serve the Acharyas with food, clothing, money etc according to their capacity.”
Shlok 72: “Upon hearing of their coming, my followers should immediately go to greet and welcome the arrival of their Acharyas, and when the Acharya returns from the town my followers shall see them off to the outskirts of the town.”
In the scripture Purushottam Prakash, the writer Nishkulanand Swami describes the instance when Swaminarayan Bhagwan established the Dharmavanshi Acharyas. Sahajanand Swami felt that now that He had established the grand temples and splendid sampraday, He wanted to keep His sadhus free from the affairs dealing with wealth, power etc. He therefore decided that He will create leaders for each and every sadhu and householder, who will subsequently be responsible for the sampraday.
Sahajanand Swami then adopted Ayodhyaprasadji and Raghuvirprasadji as His own sons and made them the Acharyas – the Gurus of the Swaminarayan Sampraday.
Sahajanand(Purushottam Prakash Chapter 37, Verse 6-20) He then declared “Those who serve these Acharyas with food, jewellery, vehicles, animals, flowers etc shall be worthy of Akshardham... I shall emancipate those who serve and respect these Acharyas. Through these Acharyas I shall give kalyaan (give Akshardham) to all souls…”
Sahajanand(Chapter 39 Verse 8): “After a lot of thought and consideration I have decided to give the Gadi to them…”
“Therefore all of you shall obey the Dharamkul and serve them. They are not ordinary beings, they are great Devtas (Gods). As well as being my Sons they are Bhramin and my Bhaktas and by serving them you shall earn immense happiness. All your wishes will be fulfilled, this is my command that is to remain permanently.”
“So both householders and sadhus obey their (Acharyas’) commands, and not the fancies of the mind. Do not take any actions without their consent… do not enter into debates with them even if you are greater in knowledge or wisdom… you shall regard the Acharyas as faultless – you shall obey their commands. If you keep them pleased then I will be pleased with you because they are in place of Myself… I am forever residing in them. I am in them, and they are in Me. I am never far from them and I give darshan (divine sightings) residing in them…”
Sahajanand(Purushottam Prakash Chapter 40): “I am forever residing in the Dharmavanshi Acharyas. After seeing such followers I have decided to remain here (in the satsang), therefore those who worship the Acharyas have worshipped Me.”
SahajanandThe establishment of the Dharmavanshi Acharyas was therefore immensely important for both administrative and spiritual purposes.
SahajanandThe constitution of the sampraday is laid out in Desh Vibhag no Lekh which describes in detail the functions of the Acharyas.
(Desh Vibhag no Lekh):
“…it is my command to all sadhus, bhamcharis and all satsangies, that for the purpose of your kalyaan (emancipation) you must obey and follow the two Acharyas of Dharmavansh, and obey their commands by thought, action and speech. If this is compromised and whoever turns elsewhere ( rejecting the Acharyas) will find that they will never find sukh (happiness) in this world or the worlds beyond and will experience immense distress…” Furthermore, in one of the most authoritative scriptures the Vachamanamrut, Swaminarayan Bhagwan clearly states one of the prerequisites for attaining Akshardham.
(Vachanamrut, Gadhada Pratham Chapter 1): “…The devotee who is aashrit of Dharmakul (i.e. he who has received initiation from Dharmavanshi Acharya and remains loyal to the Acharya) gets a divine Bhram-state body by God's wish…” So it is imperative to be a humble loyal follower of the Dharmavanshi Acharya once receiving the diksha (guru mantra) in order to be qualified to achieve a bhram form.
Even Gunatitanand Swami, one of the main sadhus of Swaminarayan Bhagwan states (Swami ni Vato Prakran 5, Vat 104): “He who insults the temples, Acharyas, sadhus and satsangies will find his roots being destroyed and will inevitably fall from the satsang.”
Sahajanand Swami has decided to remain on this earth in His Acharyas. They are a version of Him. Being Purushottam Narayan Bhagwan, Sahajanand Swami kept an eternal method of attaining Akshardham by first requiring followers to obtain gurumantra or disksha and obey and respect the Dharmavanshi Acharyas. This is a system which He has established for each and every follower. It was not a system that was to be changed or altered in the future in any way.
Today there exist many sects that claim they are following the philosophies of Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan, where in fact nothing could be further from the truth. As Swaminarayan Bhagwan has emphasised, there is no Akshardham for those who do not honour, obey, respect and serve the Dharmavanshi Acharyas, no matter how great a devotee they are.
It has now become necessary to question ’Swaminarayan Temples’ whether they are in fact Swaminarayan Temples since the deities appear not to have been installed by the Dharmavanshi Acharyas, which is an outright breach of Swaminarayan Bhagwan's likings (refer Shikshapatri Shlok 10 and then Shlok 62).
It has also become necessary to question the authenticity of ’Swaminarayan’ sadhus. According to the scriptures mentioned, a Swaminarayan Sadhu is he who has received the initiation (maha-bhagwadi diksha) from Dharmavanshi Acharya- noone else.
Though other ’Swaminarayan’ views may appear a lot more glamorous and faultless, the fact is they are a nicely decorated vehicle which will lead to nowhere. Premanand Swami has stated in his kirtan:
“Shid jaao cho, bije shir kootva re lol aavo satsang meli ne moksha rup nar naari jene joiye te aavo moksha maagva re lol…”
The original, authentic Swaminarayan Sampraday is the only definite route to Akshardham- others are mere crowd-gatherers.
Once this has been appreciated, one can realise the true grandeur of the Dharmavanshi Acharyas. They are another form of Swaminarayan Bhagwan and though they appear as humans, they are at a status even higher than Akshar-Muktas. Therefore all Swaminarayan Satsangis should obtain initiation from one of the two Dharmavanshi Acharyas and remain under their instructions and always honour and respect them as they would Swaminarayan Bhagwan Himself.