When in Samvat 1886 Lord Swaminarayan willed to cease giving darshan in His present body, He commanded everyone to obey Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa. Lord Swaminarayan made Shree Gopalbapa the successor of His own Gadi, Shree Swaminarayan Gadi and established Shree Gopal Bapa as the head of both deshs.
Lord Swaminarayan entrusted the helms of the entire religion to His dearest and choicest sant, Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa. Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa has narrated this in detail in the Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Granth. Furthermore, this has been stated in many of the divine scriptures written by the Nand Padvi Sants. These references have been collated here. Lord Swaminarayan in His Shikshapatri has indicated that consultation to the other scriptures of the Sampradaya is necessary to understand the real reasons for writing the Shikshapatri (Verse 203) and to comprehend the true intentions of the Lord.
The Shree Ghanshyam Leelamrut was written by Sadguru Shree Bhumanand Swami (the same sant that wrote the thar "Jamo thar jeevan jaaoo vari"). It is stated in this granth (chapter 49) that the reason that Lord Swaminarayan adopted the sons of His elder and younger brothers was to fulfil a wish that He had granted His elder sister-in-law, Suvasinibhabhi. This wish was that when He became ordained as King, He would not forget her. In accordance with this boon, Lord Swaminarayan created the Laxminarayan and Narnarayan Gadis and their respective deshs (lands). Thus Lord Swaminarayan created these Vyavharik Gadis and made arrangements for the welfare of these two Acharyas.
When in Samvat 1886 Lord Swaminarayan willed to cease giving darshan in His present body, He commanded everyone to obey Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa. Lord Swaminarayan made Shree Gopalbapa the successor of His own Gadi, Shree Swaminarayan Gadi and established Shree Gopalbapa as the head of both deshs.
This is written in the Bhaktichintamani (chapter 160, verse 49) which was written by Sadguru Shree Nishkulanand Swami. Here it says, "Sadhus, paras, varnis, listen you all with sincerity, stay ye under Gopal Munis authority".
Lord Swaminarayan proclaiming Gopalbapa above both Acharyas. In the Harileelamrut (karash 1, chapter 1, 35th chopai), written by Shree Viharilalji Maharaj (the third Acharya of the Laxminarayan Gadi), it is stated, He who is son of Bhakti (i.e. Lord Swaminarayan), proclaiming him (Gopal Bapa) above both Acharyas, their hands in his did He place.
In the 10th karash, 3rd chapter, 38th and 39th stanza of this same granth, it is stated, listen Gopalanand attentively, you are the controller of both deshs. Look after the satsangees of both deshs well. These orders the Lord did command, whilst the whole audience listened and vowed to obey His command.
In the 10th karash, chapter 8, 25th stanza, Shree Viharilalji Maharaj states, Gopalanand Sadguru who is, the controller and head of both deshs. He took a group of sants travelling and went from village to village to fulfill the wishes of all the people.
In the Satsangi Jeevan (55th adyaya, 24th slok) Shree Satanand Swami has narrated the words of Lord Swaminarayan, thus. "Hey all my disciples. You, all my followers must obey the commands of this Gopalanand Muni. Anyone, who does not implicitly obey him, is not my devotee. Of this you can be sure."
In the Vachnamrut (last section of Ghadhda, 21st chapter) Lord Swaminarayan has said "Above all the abodes, is the place where all of God's (Lord Swaminarayan's) servants reside. Above all of these servants is Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swami. I (Lord Swaminarayan) vow in the name of God and his devotees, that this is truly the case. Thus Lord Swaminarayan has taken an oath (sam) in the name of god that Shree Gopal Bapa is above all. Gopalbapa's supremacy and Lord Swaminarayan's commands for everyone to obey Gopalbapa has been written in many other texts. According to this command, the Dharmavanshi Acharyas of both deshs, sants and disciples have taken resort unto Shree Gopal Bapa. In the Harileelamrut (karash 10, chapter 14), Acharya Shree Viharilalji Maharaj describes how Shree Raghuvirji Maharaj and Shree Ayodhyaprasadji Maharaj, the first Acharyas of Laxminarayan Gadi and Narnarayan Gadi, respectively, emplored Shree Gopalbapa to perform the murti pratishtha in the newly built temples at Muli (in the Narnarayan - Ahmedabad desh) and Dholera (in the Laxminarayan - Vadtal desh). They both recognised that although they were the Acharyas of their own individual deshs, Shree Gopal Bapa was the Acharya of both deshs. Again, when the murti pratishtha was to be performed in Surat, Acharya Shree Raghuvirji Maharaj took Shree Gopalbapa with him to perform the ceremony. Acharya Shree Viharilalji Maharaj in the Harileelamrut (karash 10, chapter 15), describes this event.
The temple in Muli was being bulit by Sadguru Shree Brahamanand Swami. Therefore the murti pratishtha of this temple is described in detail in his biography, the Brahmsahita. In the 5th chapter 8th section, it is stated "Shreeji Maharaj has made Shree Gopalanand Swami head of both deshs, thus we are waiting for him to come and perform the ceremony." In the Vachnamrut (last section of Gadhada, 24th chapter), Lord Swaminarayan has said that this Sadguru Shree Brahamanand Swami was the epitome of propriety and that he would never convene with what is correct and appropriate. This quality can implicitly be seen in the present episode in his life. Not only was Sadguru Shree Brahamanand Swami older than Shree Gopal Bapa, but he had also become a sant earlier than he had as well. Further more, Lord Swaminarayan had commanded Shree Brahamanand Swami to look after the Ahmedabad desh. Thus he was more than suitably empowered to perform the pratishtha. However, Shree Brahamanand Swami knew what was right. He painstakingly travelled the long distance to Gadhada on horseback to invite Shree Gopalbapa to do the pratishtha. Shree Brahamanand Swami said to Shree Gopalbapa, "You are the controller of both deshs, and you are in the place of the Lord. If you do not perform the murti pratishtha, then I would not be obeying the Lord's wishes and commands. If you cannot travel on this day then I shall postpone the pratishtha, but it must be performed by you." This episode is all detailed in the Brahamsahita.
Thus Sadguru Shree Gopalbapa was entrusted the helms of the Satsang by Lord Swaminarayan Himself. This is a true and documented fact. In this supreme lineage then came Sadguru Shree Nirgunbapa, Shree Ishwarbapa, Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa and is presently represented by His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Purushottampriyadasji Maharaj. This is the lineage of Acharyas of Shree Swaminarayan Gadi, the Acharyas of Karan Satsang. This is the lineage that has descended directly from Lord Swaminarayan (The Guruparampara).