“The soul is eternal. It accompanies you in every life. Provide it with the strength to escape from its relentless cycle of birth and death. Such strength, which can relieve a soul from its misery, is attained through true education, i.e. by instilling within one’s life, the rudiments of virtuousness, righteousness, and morality. This should be the aim of one’s life.”
-His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree
His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree has revealed here that education is essential and crucial for being a good disciple of the Lord and attaining aatyantik-moksh (ultimate salvation). Both Lord Swaminarayan and His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree value education. In accordance with this, our temples offer Gujarati and Sanskar Dipika (religious) classes to promote the learning of the Lord’s philosophy, which teaches one to have integrity, honesty, and good moral conduct. One needs to exhibit such qualities if they wish to achieve ultimate salvation.
Most of our religious scriptures are written in Gujarati, leaving the new generation a step behind in learning the Lord’s philosophy and teachings. Teaching Gujarati to young disciples is important, as it will help them understand the Lord’s philosophy and thus, broaden their knowledge of it. Comprehension of Lord Swaminarayan’s teachings will encourage more studying of religious scriptures and ensure the preservation of traditional and cultural values as well as ethical and moral values.
To make sure young disciples of the temple learn the language of Gujarati and the ethics taught by our Swaminarayan religion, Gujarati classes are held throughout the year at our various temples. The children are split up and into separate groups according to their proficiency level. Older disciples of the temple volunteer their time to teach these youths. Classes correspond with the school year, so they run from September through June. Examinations are given throughout the year to assess the students on all of the material covered throughout the year. The material taught includes basic reading and writing skills, vocabulary, and religious teachings.
To help disciples, both young and old, prepare for these exams, classes are offered several months in advance of upcoming examinations. During this course, instructors teach all of the material that will be assessed. Disciples as young as age seven have taken these tests.