Those who abide by good conduct as described in the Shikshapatri, will attain happiness both in their current life and their next – Supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayan

On Saturday 9th July 2016, over 650 people from Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, Kingsbury and Bolton made their way to the University of Oxford, Bodleian Library in a special cultural yatra, pilgrimage, organised by Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Gujarati School. This magnificent library holds an original manuscript of Lord Swaminarayan’s code of conduct – the Shikshapatri with all 212 verses that serve to benefit everyone in society.

This particular manuscript of the Shikshaptri has a long history. On February 26, 1830 a historic meeting took place in Rajkot between Lord Swaminarayan and Sir John Malcolm, the then Governor of Bombay. At this meeting, Lord Swaminarayan presented a hand written copy of the Shikshapatri to Sir John Malcolm, which was kept by Mr Blane, a political agent who subsequently handed it down to the Indian Institute at Oxford University. In 1952, the Indian Institute was closed and the Shikshapatri was kept at the Bodleian Library, Oxford where it is currently resides.

Lord Swaminarayan has stated in the Shikshapatri, “These are My words and thus they should be regarded as My own Murti (form).” Thus, as the sloks (verses) of the Shikshapatri constitute the Murti of Lord Swaminarayan Himself, disciples from London and Bolton Mandir performed adoration and aarti of the Shikshapatri.

Housed alongside the Shikshapatri was a Murti of Lord Swaminaryan writing the Shikshapatri scripture. This was presented to the library by Acharya Swamishree Maharaj on behalf of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, the Worldwide Centre for Spiritual, Cultural and Social Welfare. Acharya Swamishree Maharaj performed aarti and adoration of the Shikshapatri manuscript when he visited in 2002. Seeing the work of the library for preservation and conservation the sacred manuscript pleased him immensely and he therefore presented a cheque to the Bodleian Library in recognition of their tremendous work. This, alongside other funds collected by the library were used to restore the manuscript and house it in a temperature and humidity controlled cabinet.

Following a tour of the library and the other colleges of Oxford University, the disciples gathered in the nearby Oxford Science Park where they concluded the day with an assembly, fun and games for the youngsters, and a mass picnic for all. The day brought together members of the Shree Swaminarayan Gadi parivar from across the UK and was hugely enjoyed by all who attended. This religious yatra formed part of the on-going celebrations to mark the silver jubilee of Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Smruti Mandir, which will be held at the end of September 2016.