Born : in 1901 A.D. in a holy family in a small village of Amreli district.
Swamiji was a highly intelligent and profound visionary of our modern time.
Founder of the Gurukul Tradition :
The Guru-Shishya tradition is the unique feature of Sanatana Dharma,
otherwise known as Hinduism. The disciple from the Guru directly receives the
knowledge, capacity, virtues, ideologies, values and objectives of life, in a
practical, personal and vibrant manner. The vision of Guru becomes the life and
mission of Shishya. In such a divine lineage of Guru parampara of Swaminarayan
Sampradaya, appeared Shatriji Maharaj Shri Dharmajivandasji Swami, a great
versatile scholar and man of vision, a tough minded optimist and kind hearted
Guru, a staunch advocate of Karma and Bhakti yoga and considered to be the Saint
of the century by thousands of people of Gujarat. He founded the first
Swaminarayan Gurukul at Rajkot in the year 1948, with the intention of providing
a value based education system to one and all, especially the under-privileged
Born in the year 1901, on the auspicious day of the Rathayatra of Sri
Jagannath at Puri, 18.06.1901, to a humble farmer Bhurabhai, in a small village
on the banks of river Taravda, Amreli district of Saurashtra, he was named as
Arjan. As a child, he was very brilliant and studious. Since his childhood, he
had a natural attraction towards saints and sadhus, as he aspired to attend all
the spiritual gatherings. Depriving himself of sleep and food, he used to go and
serve these saints at every opportunity he could find. One such occasion changed
his life forever. He was privileged to receive divine blessings from Saint Shri
Balmukundadasji. This created a created a spiritual fire in his heart and a
calling in his soul that shaped the journey for the rest of his divine life.
From Arjan to Dharmajivan :
Being attracted by the pure and virtuous life led by the saints of
Swaminarayan Sampradaya, Arjan started regularly attending Swaminarayan Satsangs.
At the tender age of 16, Arjan was convinced that the pure life of the
Swaminarayan Saints was the optimal method of supreme spiritual realization and
salvation. Without hesitation, he took the vows of leading such a life and
became a Saint. Arjan now became Sadhu Dharmajivandas.
His vision and mission of life started taking shape. He started studying
Sanskrit and other spiritual scriptures as he regularly dwelled deep in to
religious and philosophical studies under various renowned scholars. In a
profound effort to enlighten the rural masses, he started traveling to all the
near by villages to conduct regular spiritual assemblies. He even became the
Mahant of Junagadh temple.
However, the routine rituals and monotonous life style was not acceptable for
him. He felt the need to incorporate a pertinent void from the social structure.
A void, if filled, would uplift all of society. In order for this seemingly
impossible task to be accomplished, he felt the scope of education needed to
expand and incorporate spirituality. Schools, colleges, and universities, may
multiply in numbers, students may get Degrees, they may flourish in their
worldly lives, but the fundamental ingredients to uplift society are lost site
of. Unless devoted selfless persons with ideals practiced in life are not there,
the main purpose of education is vitiated.
The Himalayan Vision :
Pondering over this, he went on a pilgrimage to Himalayas, where one day he
saw a guru teaching his disciples, the Raghuvamsha of Kalidasa, one of the
greatest poets of Sanskrit literature. This immediately struck his intellect and
made him come to a realization that a value-based education system was the
missing element in the society. The idea of rejuvenating the younger generation
with modern education, complemented with spiritual principles of life, started
taking shape and led to the creation of first Swaminarayan Gurukul in the year
1948 at Rajkot.
Growth of Seeds :
The foundation stone was laid on an auspicious day, the vasant panchami, the
11th of May, 1948. On the 15th of August, 1960, the first school was started.
Slowly the Gurukul tree started growing and two more Gurukuls at Junagadh and
Ahmedabad were established before he attained the feet of the Almighty, on the
5th of February, 1988. Even after his departure to Akshardham, the power of his
vision continued as four more Gurukuls, at Surat, Hyderabad, Navsari and
culminating at Chharodi, near by Ahmedabad, were created. Till date, around
35,000 students have completed their high school studies, in most of these
Gurukuls paying just Rs.30/- ( $ ¾ ) a month for boarding, lodging, books and
Simple and pious life :
Shri Dharmajivandasji Swami led a very simple life of devotion, compassion,
spiritual inquiry and strong righteous principles. This lifestyle had a major
influence on his disciples as well. He led a very pious life of penance. He was
able to sing more than 750 Keertans, recite 3000 slokas, and memorized all the
18 chapters of Bhagavad Gita in 18 days. He always emphasized the path of Bhakti
and Dharma. Social welfare activities and betterment of the society were the
pillars of his mission. He practiced a vow called Ayachak Vrat i.e., never to
ask anyone for any money as donation. He had firm faith in God and believed that
all the benevolent activities of the Gurukul should run only with the voluntary
donations of the people inspired by the Almighty. This principle is still
practiced as a vow by this Gurukul in all its activities. But his indomitable
will power and staunch belief in the power of Lord Swaminarayan, brought him
success in all his endeavors. Success for him was nothing other than the
betterment of the society. Success for him was not a destination, but journey.
In fact, his life became the source of inspiration to so many saints of other
sects, that they too started creating huge institutions for education and social
His Himalayan vision, which transformed the lives of thousands of people, still
continues and will continue forever through his disciples, who with the same
missionary spirit and zeal, are striving hard for the betterment of the whole