Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Sketches
In Swaamee Naaraayan we find a personality of extraordinary vitality and charm. He created a religious movement within the bounds of Vaidik orthodoxy and it was remarkable. At a time when people of this country were passing from the ancient and medieval India to a new world, he summed up all that was best in the past and manifested it before the world. He was a celibate, virtuous, self controlled, austere, ascetical with a large heart and a great aptitude to learn.
On April 3rd, 1781, in a rustic village of Chhapiya in North India a boy named Ghanashyaam was born. His father was a Braahman - Hariprasaad Paande - and mother Premavati (also called Dharmadev and Bhaktimaata). Ghanashyaam showed extraordinary supernatural powers even as a toddler and taught Ahinsaa to the king and fishermen. He showed many miracles like in the story of Krishn. At seven after his thread ceremony he started studying Ved etc and by 10, he had mastered all of them.
He set out on lonely journey when he was 11 with only a loin cloth and an image of Baal Mukund (Krishn). This has been named as Neelkaant's Kalyaan Yaatraa. He visited Haridwaar, Shreepur, Badaree Naath, Maanasasarovar, Mukti Naath, etc and continued like this doing intense penance for over 7 years and finally arrived at Loj in southern Kathiyaawaad, Gujaraat on 21st August 1799. He had traveled 12,000 Kms and visited 187 places in these 7 years one month and 11 days.
Raamaanand Swaamee initiated the 19 year old Neelkaant as a Sanyaasee and named him Swaamee Sahajaanand. A year later, he was nominated as the successor to Swaamee Raamaanand.
From here onwards began his divine leadership and guidance to the people.
He abolished animal slaughter in Yagya, introduced purity in the festivals and eradicated several superstitious practices. These cleared the way for more profound transformations which reflect greater effulgence. He provided great succor to women who were in a shocking plight in society of those days.
against Satee Prathaa, female infanticide which prevailed among the
Raajpoot, Kathies etc.
separate places for worship for ladies and appointed well versed women to
teach them. This helped them to think independently and as a result
schools for female education sprang up for the first time.
Contemporary society maligned him for his attempt in uplifting women even from lower Varn. However, his bold attempts induced many to forsake their cults to join the Swaamee Naaraayan Sampradaaya.
He was renamed
as Saadhwee Dharm Pravartak - propounder of women's Dharm.
He wrote the quintessence of the Shaastra (Shikshaa Patree) in 1826 which contains 212 Sanskrit aphorisms in couplets. This covers a wide range of subjects prescribing practical injunctions for the followers. These include subjects like Ahinsaa, Bhakti, company, diplomacy, ecological awareness, education, finance management, health and hygiene, morality, self control and veneration to deities, Shaastra, elders, Saadhu and holy places etc.
Vaachaanamrit is a collection of his sermons to the Param Hans. This expounds on the realization of Ekaantik Dharm and principles of spirituality.
The other books of the Sampradaaya are Hari Charitaamrit (biography of Swaamee Naaraayan), Bhakt Chintaamani glorification of his Leelaa and Yam Dand (suffering of Jeev in Yam Puree).
His important contribution is the renaissance of Bhakti. He taught that Bhakti is for all, Bhakti based on codes of Dharm, Bhakti believing the self as Aatmaa, Bhakti of the manifest form of Paramaatmaa, and Bhakti based on Moorti Poojaa.
In his life of just 48 years, what Swaamee Naaraayan achieved is some thing that an ordinary mortal could not have achieved. He is truly regarded as an Avataar of the supreme Par Brahm Naaraayan.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 10/18/13