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The Swaminarayan Sampraday is a Bhakti Sampraday founded by Bhagwan Swaminarayan on 31 December 1801 CE. It belongs to the Vaishnav tradition and represents the purest form of the Hindu religion. It focuses its faith on salvation through total devotion - bhakti - to the Supreme God developed through dharma, jnan and vairagya (righteousness, knowledge and detachment).
Lord Swaminarayan, was born on 3 April 1781, in the village of Chhapiya, near Ayodhya, North India. Having mastered the scriptures by the age of 7, he left home at the age of 11 to travel the whole of India on a holy pilgrimage, eventually settling in Gujarat where he was given the headship of a religious sect known as Uddhav Sampradaay (later known as Swaminarayan Sampradaay),with the blessings of his Guru Sadguru Ramanand Swami, at age 21. He later became known as Swaminarayan after the mantra he taught. Swaminarayan was known by many names such as Shreeji Maharaj, Shri Hari and Sahajanand Swami.
The Swaminarayan Sampradaya is a Bhakti Sampradaya which advocates God within the disciplines of Dharma. Lord Swaminarayan has propagated a philosophy where He says that God is Supreme, has a divine form, is the all doer and always present on earth. He simply states that jivas never merge or dissolve into God and neither are they part of God but always subservient to God. The Jiva, through absolute surrender and attachment toward the Guru, attains the realized state and becomes eligible to offer pure worship to God.