Swaminarayan, Shree (1781–1830)
Famous saint of nineteenth-century India, born as Nilakantha
at Capaiya, near Ayodhya. He developed a revised form
of the traditional Vishishadvaita Vedanta of Shree Ramanujan
and traveled all over India for 30 years with his disciples, initiating
a religious revival that had an impact upon the masses in
Gujarat, Saurashtra, and Kutch. The movement eradicated violence,
drunkenness, and lawlessness among those who responded
to it and attracted favorable notice from both the
Christian bishop Heber and the British rulers.
Shree Swaminarayan performed miracles and was accepted
by his followers as an incarnation of the Divine, the first of a
succession of such incarnations, of which His Holiness Shree
Pramukh Swami is the current living representative. Modern
followers of Shree Swaminarayan number hundreds of thousands,
and prior to the expulsion of Asians from Uganda, this
faith was widespread among Indian people throughout East Africa.
The Swaminarayan faith has a popular following in Great
Britain and North America among Asian immigrants.
Dave, H. T. Life and Philosophy of Shree Swaminarayan,
1781–1830. London Allen & Unwin, 1974.