Lord shree krishna while leaving his human body gave his spiritual knowledge to shree uddhavji , his private secretary as well as His ardent pet disciple. He asked him to propagate it in Badrikashram and left His body. Again when anarchy, atrocity and low-morality pervaded throughout in India in every respect, uddhavji incarnated himself from the pious Rigvedi Brahmin family i .e from the Ajay sharma and his wife Sumati Devi, at Ayodhya. He was named as Ram Sharma. At about 12 years of age, he left home for further spiritual studies and pilgrimage, but did not return.
In the course of his spiritual studies and pilgrimage in the Saurashtra near Girnar, He met a great preacher Atmananda Swami. Atmananda initiated Ram Sharma and renamed him as ” RAMANAND “. Since guru i.e. preacher Atmananda was believing in as only the formless light, Ramanand left him.Ramanujacharya was believing and worshipping the glorious splendid divine human form of god in the midst of the effluent light i.e. Brahmajyoti, Ramanand went to Shreerangam and studied all Ramanujacharya’s literature eagerly with keen interest and full faith. Shree Ramanujacharya gave him his divine vision in trance , initiated him, marked twelve tilaks i.e. signs of his fellowship and gave him his divine charms.
Ramanand swami then went to Vrindavan and worshipped Lord Shree Krishna ardently yearning His divine holy sight.
Ramanand swami started his fellowship. He moved restlessly in Saurashtra, Gujarat and Kutch to give the public distinct and thorough knowledge for the welfare of the present life and the life thereafter. Thousands of people followed him who discarded all the vices and used to live virtuous devotional lives. He also established alms-houses at various places. There he used to give food and likewise aids to the poors.
There were about fifty ideal saints in his fellowship who helped him in his mission. He established a Monastery at Loj, near Mangrol in Saurashtra. The saints lived there and moved about for fulfilling the mission. Ramanand swami who started this sampraday was the incarnation of Uddhavji, the pet disciple of Shree Krishna , so it is known as the Uddhav Sampraday
At this time, Almighty Lord Shree Swaminarayan manifested Himself at Chhapaiya about 20 K.M north of Ayodhya at 10-10 p.m on monday , the nineth day of the bright half of the month of Chaitra of Samvat year 1837 dated 2nd April 1781. The prominent astrologer Muni Markandeya named Him as Krishna, Hari, HariKrishna and Nilkanth, while his family members used to call Him as Ghanshyam by his pet name.After seven years of severe penance and pilgrimage, Nilkanth varni finally came to Ashram of Ramanand swami. Swami was in Kuccha for preaching. There were about fifty disciples at Loj Ashram. Muktanand swami was the main of them.
On the Eleventh day of the bright day of the month of kartik samvat year 1857, on wednesday 28-10-1800 A.D., Shree Ramanand swami initiated Nilaknth Varni bhagawat Mahadiksha of his fellowship. He gave Him two names, Narayan Muni and Sahajanand Swami.As a disciple, He served Ramanand swami heartily, Restlessly He remained always with Shree Swami in his every work and in his every activity for his ready service.
Ramanand swami was old then , so he thought to handover his Acharyaship to somebody. He called upon all the disciples and asked them to name the sucessor. All of them unanimously pointed out the name of Shree Sahajanand swami. Hearing this, Ramanand swami was very pleased. Ramanand swami called all his disciples at Jetpur and with all religious ceremonies, he invested the Acharyaship to Shree Sahajanand Swami on the 11 th day of the bright half of the month of kartik Samvat year 1858 on monday 16-11-1801 A.D. Sahajanand swami was only twenty years and seven months old then. On that occasion Shri Sahajanand Swami asked for two boons from Ramanand Swami.
1.If any of your devotee suffers the pain of one scorpion-bite, let the pain come to Me in crores of bites (stings).
2.If any of your devotee is fated to hold a begging bowl, let it come to Me and let not any of your devotees should feel the want of food and clothing.
At the time of handing over the Acharyaship Sahajanand Swami refused to accept it. Ramanand Swami told that he was old and nobody was as capable as He (Sahajanand Swami). Thereupon,Sahajanand Swami said, “If at all you wish to hand me over the Acharyaship please grant me my two requests. If a follower of this Sampraday has to suffer a poisonous sting of a scorpion. I beg those pains and agonies may befall on me, crores times more than that nut he should enjoy peace. If a follower has to suffer hardship of getting food and clothings and has to beg acording to his fate, I beg that such hardship may befall on me and he should get them easily.
After handling over the charge of the acharyaship, Ramanand swami left his mortal body and joined in the divine service of God supreme on the thirteeenth day of the bright half of the month of magasar samvat year 1858 on thursday 17-12-1801 A.D. On the 14th day of the passing away of Guru Ramanand swami, Sahajanand swami organised a great meeting of all the disciples. As an Acharya, He was preaching them for leading an ideal devotional human life. Meanwhile Shitaldas, a Brahmin form Bihar came there.
Sahajanand swami said to him ” Ramanand swami has gone but the greatnes of his divine field is the same. Stay here and you will be able to see him. Addressing all the disciples, Shree Sahajanand Swami said ” Till now we were worshipping Almighty God by different names and the different forms , but for the ultimate redemption, for the concentration and meditation there should be uniformity. There should be only one name and one form of God supreme. I may give you a new name supreme in every respect.
Word Swami means the Master, the Almighty, the Omnipresent, the Omnipotent, One who is independent, one who is incomparable, and who is all-in-all. Word Narayan is used for the Amighty God. By joining these two words i.e. ” SWAMINARAYAN ” , it means all-in-all Almighty God Supreme.
Sahajanand swami started repeating the word SwamiNarayan. Shitaldas and others followed. After an hour Shitaldas entered into trance. He lost his entity. He saw a large effulgent splendid divine light. In the midst of the light, he saw a divine abode. On that abode , he saw the Almighty God Supreme in a human form. Also he saw innumerable Muktas i.e. released souls in the divine human form in the service of Lord Supreme.
Getting out of trance, Shitaldas prostrated before Shree Sahajanand Swami. He told in the assembly that he saw Sahajanand Swami as the Almighty God Supreme on the ultimate divine abode ” Aksardham”. Thus Sahajanand Swami visited many villages, made innumerous saints, established Gaadi , wrote Scriptures and celebrated many festivals. There were 2000 saints and 3 lakhs devotees who accepted Him as the Supreme God. This was a short insight of the Uddhav Sampraday.