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Swaminarayan HinduismTradition, Adaptation, and Identity$
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Raymond Brady Williams and Yogi Trivedi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199463749

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463749.001.0001

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Gujarati Socio-religious Context of Swaminarayan Devotion and Doctrine

Gujarati Socio-religious Context of Swaminarayan Devotion and Doctrine

(p.49) 3 Gujarati Socio-religious Context of Swaminarayan Devotion and Doctrine
Swaminarayan Hinduism

Françoise Mallison

Oxford University Press

This chapter is a study of the predominant religious currents and religious literature that influenced the thought and practice of Sahajanand Swami when he arrived in Gujarat at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Pushtimarg and other established Krishna traditions were influential, as were other devotional groups, for instance, the Mahapanthis, Nathpantis, Satpanthis, and the Kabir movement. In spite of rather unsettled political conditions, Gujarat witnessed economic improvements leading to a relative social progress of mainly peasant lower castes and of women. Religious monuments were built or rebuilt; manuscripts became numerous as aide memoires for the use of the ordinary person. Education and religious culture spread in the vernacular, no longer exclusively in Sanskrit, and became more accessible to the humble. Swaminarayan found in Gujarat among the peasants and craftsmen an audience ready to participate actively in his philosophical sermons. We know about this through the collection of the Vachanamrut.

Keywords:   Pushtimarg, Satpanthis, Gujarat, Vachanamrut, social reform, lower castes, Mahapanthis, Nathpanthis, Kabir, education

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