What is the difference between BAPS and Swaminarayan Sampraday?

Description: What is the difference between BAPS a Swaminarayan Sampraday?
I Find The BAPS flourishing green in the USA


The BAPS is an organization and mainly an outgrowth of the original Swaminarayan Sampraday. As time progresses, changes are bound to happen. BAPS is one such change.

It was formed on 5 June 1907. The reason for such an outgrowth is not clear, but knowing from the history of Vadtal and the original Swaminarayan Sampraday, I found that the Vadtal organization had deteriorated due to various controversies and corruption right from the lowest to the highest members of the sampradaya. It is sad that corruption creeps in the purest of the systems, and Vadtal also suffered the same fate.

The most evident reason for the outgrowth was the misinterpretation of spiritual texts by Shartriji Maharaj, which was naturally opposed by Vadtal, and as a step to prevent such outgrowth, the Vadtal organization decided to demote Shastriji Maharaj to a Parshad, knowing this, Shastriji Maharaj escaped Vadtal at night and then went on to establish the new Sect called BAPS.

Now, the problem with such a step was, it gave rise to more controversies and further gave rise to a rift between the two sects, and the BAPS organization fed on the deterioration of Vadtal Management.

The BAPS flourished well and is still expanding well enough as it has better management, and it will continue to flourish until they are managing well. I admire their efforts to promote BAPS. (And not Lord Swaminarayan or his true principles.)

This is nothing new that I have posted, you may find this on Wikipedia as well. Now something which is not from Wikipedia.

  • The difference in the true philosophy

The BAPS has major flaws and that is their philosophy. The ‘Akshar Purushottam Upasana’ philosophically deviated from the original Swaminarayan Sampraday. This changes the whole principle behind the establishment of the Swaminarayan Sampraday. They morphed and misinterpreted the ontology to suit their needs, they went as far as changing the original scriptures to establish their philoosophy as the true philosophy.

This raises a huge question, A religion stands firm on the foundation of its principle, and if the principle is incorrect then the ultimate purpose is not served. It does not have an ‘Acharya Parampara’, and to link Shastriji Maharaj to Gunatitanand Swami, they use Bhagatji Maharaj. But it is clearly evident that Gunatitanad Swami has many other disciples (Balmukund Swami etc) which were more spiritually advanced than Bhagatji Maharaj. Shastriji Maharaj is not in the Gunatit tradition, he was a saint of Vadtal organization initially. So he does not even come in Gunatit tradition.

An analogy that can be given here is a woman who marries her brother-in-law. From her perspective, nothing has changed, her other in-laws, her house, her surname etc, all remain same, but her husband(the only person that matters) has changed.

There is absolutely no mention of Akshar Prushottam upasana for 100 years and suddenly Shastriji maharaj comes up with that idea, no other great saint and just him? And why didn’t other follow him if he was right?

They say it was Lord Swaminarayan’true philosophy and he wanted to popularize it, but he couldn’t! They mean that the omnipotent, omniscient, ultimate sovereign Lord couldn’t fulfill the true purpose of his incarnation? And doesn’t that make Shastriji even greater than Lord Swaminarayan himself! (which is exactly their philosophy, that saints are Gods, worship them!)

So, similarly, the BAPS and other such diversion/outgrowths have kept the lectures, the Kirtans, the scriptures, almost same, but the only difference is their principles pertaining to Upasana, that changes the whole purpose behind the sect and that is why no matter how good one becomes dedicated to those outgrowths, the ultimate purpose will not be solved.

The reasons they kept lectures, scriptures, etc same is so that it wasn’t to be accepted as a Swaminarayan Sect, just a fake currency has to resemble the original currency somewhat to be accepted in the market.

  • Swaminarayan or swami+Narayan.

    If you see e word Swaminarayan, it is a single word and not a combination of two words. If you ask any sanskrit scholar he will explain you that Swaminarayan is a single word grammatically and Swami in the Swaminarayan is not a noun but an adjective. So to propagate their false philosophy, they even changed the mantra and its meaning.

  • Are the saints of BAPS saints of Lord Swaminarayan or his original sect?

Doctrinally, it is a different sect altogether and the saints of BAPS are surely saints of BAPS, but are they saints of Swaminarayan Sect? Absolutely not, as they are not initiated by an “Acharya.”

  • The dominance of Akshar, more than Purushottam

It is clearly seen that the BAPS worships it saints(Akshar is more dominant) more than God, although they hide it very well under the veil of worshipping God.The propaganda of worshiping saints is more dominant in BAPS, and as it is an independent organization, different from the original sect, they have their own set of rules and their own way of worship, which is why it is not the original sect and it is questionable that is it even a Swaminarayan sect or not?

See any of their followers, they usually have pictures of their saints as their display picture, with no trace of God anywhere. Even the names of their goodwill are by Akshar and not Swaminarayan or any other name portraying lord Swaminarayan.

  • The temple of Gadhada

They say Lord Swaminarayan wanted to build the temple of Gadhada near the ghela River, but again, he couldn’t, there is no proof of lord Swaminarayan stating such a thing,and if so, I again question, is the all potent God impotent to build a temple where he wants!

Why does it continue to grow so well in spite of being philosophically wrong?

Most people are not concerned with philosophy as such, they are concerned with their needs, and where their needs are met, they devote themselves there.

It is because it has better management than and all of its funds are concentrated at BAPS, whereas the original sampradaya is diversified into various temples and organizations. Gurukuls are a separate organization yet it follows the original philosophy, and therefore it is accepted in the original sampradaya.

Now, do not get me wrong, I am not against BAPS in any way, in fact, there is a lot that can be learned and is being learned by the original Swaminarayan Sect.

Also, I do not imply that each and every saint and devotee of Original Swaminarayan Sect is star-spangled awesome. So try to critically analyse and then arrive at a conclusion. And try to work on yourself, your spiritual progress than to fight between Vadtal and BAPS. It is encouraged that you know the truth, but do not forget your true purpose which is devotion to God.

So, to conclude, BAPS is an outgrowth of the original Swaminarayan Sampraday, which challenged the original Sampraday by changing the true philosophy and is now feeding its own personal motive under the name of Swaminarayan, and it will continue to grow until there are people who want to follow such organizations.

Do read pages 27 to 31 in the following book to know more about this: Madhvapriyadasji Swami-An interview

What is the difference between worshipping an alive person or a dead person or a God?

Why did Lord Swaminarayan establish an Acharya tradition?

More such outgrowths of Swaminarayan Sect:
  • In 1905, Under the Acharya Kunjavihariprasadji Maharaj, Vadhvan Gadi was established.
  • In 1966, a disciple of Yogiji Maharaj(BAPS), Shri Hariprasaddasji Swami established Yogi Divine society. Better know as Sokhada.
  • In 1941, under the leadership of Shri Muktajivandasji Swami, Shri Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan-Maninagar was established.
  • SMVS by H.D.H. Devnandasji was established in 1987 in Vasna area in the city of Ahmadabad of Gujarat state in India with the construction of a grand and holy temple.
  • Apart from these, there are more or less 40 such subdivisions which work independently from the original Sect with their own philosophy and rules.