Category: Hinduism Views: 2161
Swaminarayan Jayanti celebrates the birthday of Lord Swaminarayan (1781-1830), the founder of the Swaminarayan tradition.
Lord Swaminarayan was born in the village of Chhapaiya, Northern India, near Ayodhya, into a Brahmin family. He travelled extensively around India in his youth and eventually settled in an ashram in Gujarat. He was known as a social and moral reformer by the people of Gujarat, and by the British administration in that region. At the age of 21, he founded the Swaminarayan Sampradaya (or denomination) to promote his teachings. He initiated 3,000 sadhus (monks) and is recognised and worshipped as God by his followers.
To continue his work of promoting personal morality and moulding spiritual character, he promised to remain ever-present with his followers through an unbroken succession of enlightened gurus.
Devotees of Lord Swaminarayan celebrate his birthday by fasting and offering a large variety of food to sacred images of Swaminarayan in temples. The day passes in worship and reflection. In the evening, celebrations include scriptural discourses, devotional singing, and live enactments of episodes from the life of Swaminarayan. At precisely 10.10pm, believed to be the time of Swaminarayan's birth, the arti ritual is performed symbolising the auspicious birth.
Festivities continue into the night and with the breaking of the fast the following morning.
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