On Janmashtami, Samvat 1976 (1920 A.D.), Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree established the Satsang Mahasabha. The present section endevours to elucidate the reasons behind why its conception was vital for the supreme tenents of Lord Swaminarayan to remain alive and unadulterated.
The Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan is the self-illuminating truth that will spread its light, more and more as time passes. This occurs because the understanding differs from man to man. Having said this, the entire history and philosophy regarding Shree Swaminarayan Gadi is in fact contained in the Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Granth in a very copious manner. The beautiful Invitation Booklet for the Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Rajat Mahotsav pictorially narrates the history of this supreme Gadi.
The Shikshapatri has given us all clear cut directions on many important topics. It is like a small but very precious jewel, and in this sense, it needs thoughtful reading - reading with discretion. Lord Swaminarayan Himself has indicated this in verse 203 by directing us to read the other texts of the sampradaya.
For example, let us take verse 128. Here, Lord Swaminarayan states the reasons why the posts of the Acharyas (Dharmavanshi Acharyas) were created - for the protection of the dharma (religion) of the devotees. This was the duty that was entrusted to these Acharyas. Our Lord Swaminarayan is very kind and gracious. He in His greatness sites some examples regarding the duties of these Acharyas. For example, they should ensure that the followers pursue a life of righteousness, they should respect the sants, and they should study the holy scriptures with great reverence.
The history of the Karan Satsang shows that instead of attending to their duties, these entrusted persons neglected them and concentrated on amassing personal property, in disobedience of their rules of conduct. (This is not being elaborated on here.)
This unfortunate disobedience led to the creation of the Satsang Mahasabha. All devotees of Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan should eternally be grateful to Jeevanpran Shree Abjee Bapashree and Sadguru Shree Ishwar Bapa who undertook the heroic leadership of the Satsang Mahasabha and saved the principles and doctrines the supreme Swaminarayan Sampradaya from corruption.
We all accept that to work effectively, we need to work systematically. A proper system is a necessity. However, the system should not lose sight of its own clearly stated aims and objectives. When the system deems importance to other, new aims and objectives, and neglects the former, it loses its worth and importance. It then needs to be repaired or resettled. It has to then give way to another system which works, with the objectives clearly in sight.
The Supreme Lord Swaminarayan had commanded that the entire religion be under the control of Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa. This is documented in the Satsangi Jeevan and the Harileelamrut amongst many other granths. This was all well and good, whilst they were all obeying Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa's commands. However, with growing disobedience, the system started failing and the ever-obliging Supreme Lord re-appeared to fulfill His promises as Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree. Jeevanpran Bapashree subsequently created the Satsang Mahasabha, and saved the supreme Swaminarayan Sampradaya.
The words of Sadguru Shree Nishkulanand Swami asking all to respect the words of Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa and even the Lord's own expressed will that both the Dharmavanshi Acharyas should be governed by Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa mean that the welfare of the sampradaya is safe in the hands of the sants who are devoted to the Lord and are above petty selflessness. Their words also tell us that those who enjoy social status must pay due homage to the selflessness of the sants.
The holy and pious lineage (Guruparampara) starting from Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa and presently represented through our beloved Acharya Swamishree derives its direct heritage directly from Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan. This Guruparampara is very important. Lord Swaminarayan Himself in the Vachnamrit (Vadtal 18) states that it is vital that everyone should know their guruparampara.
This lineage :
Has kept and is keeping its followers on the path of righteousness.
Immensely respects all sants.
Ardently makes provision for the learning of the holy scriptures.
This is looking after the dharma (religion), protecting the dharma. For this protection of dharma (dharmarakshan) there exists the Acharya. The Acharya is bestowed the title Dharmadhurandhar (chief or head of dharma) - meaning that he will protect dharma. If the Acharya does not do so, this title loses its charm and meaning. Hence, true Dharma is only at Shree Swaminarayan Gadi.