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Gurus of Modern Yoga$
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Mark Singleton and Ellen Goldberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199938704

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199938704.001.0001

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Svāminārāyaṇa: Bhaktiyoga and the Akṣarabrahman Guru

Svāminārāyaṇa: Bhaktiyoga and the Akṣarabrahman Guru

(p.237) Chapter 11 Svāminārāyaṇa: Bhaktiyoga and the Akṣarabrahman Guru
Gurus of Modern Yoga

Hanna H. Kim

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the relationship of devotee to guru and to God in the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha. From textual and ethnographic sources, Swaminarayan bhaktiyoga is approached through a two-part conception of bhakti that connects devotional behavior to a desired ontological state, brahmarūpa. Sādhana bhakti is performed to attain the state of brahmarūpa, and sādhya bhakti is offered after becoming brahmarūpa. Swaminarayan devotees, or satsaṅgis, have the goal of pleasing God or Purushottam eternally, but this is possible only from the ontological position of having recognized the eternal self as distinct from the body and identifying with the qualities of the living Akṣarabrahman guru within whom God is fully manifest. The guru is thus the central link between devotees and their devotional goal to be liberated from rebirth and to eternally serve God.

Keywords:   Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayanan, Akṣarabrahman guru, Brahmarūpa, guru

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