With the blessings of present Guru Maharaj his holiness Devakrishna Dasji Swami, and Mahant Swami Devaprasad Dasji, and by the inspiration from his holiness Shastriji Maharaj Dharamjivan Dasji Swami (pioneer of Swaminarayan Gurukul Rajkot Sansthan), and Purani Swami Premaprakash Dasji Swami, Swami Shri Shastri Mukundswarup Dasji, and Dr. Shri Chaturbhai J. Babaria we were able to compile an Americanized English version of Shikshapatri from the Sanskrit, Gujarati & Sir William Monier translations. Language corrections and technical work were done by Mr. Andrew Scott (Ananda Bhagat), and Mr. Aaron Joy (Premanand Das Bhagat).
May the Lord open the divine pathway to one who follows Shikshapatri and achieves Vedic wisdom in this world and the world to come. We published the Spanish version of Shikshapari in Latin America thirty-eight years ago (January 14, 1984). That work was completed by native Spanish-speaking devotee Mireya Bobadilla (Ma Sarasvati) with contributions from Enrique Guzman (Ghanshayam Bhagat), Jorge Solano (Suresh Bhagat), Don Jose Reynoso (Yogesh Bhagat) and many other devotees.
Our American English Shikshapatri was edited by two American devotees with the blessing of His holiness Shastriji Maharaj and our Gunatit Parampara. We received cooperation from Swami Shri Shantipriya Dasji, Director of Swaminarayan Gurukul USA (Rajkot Sansthan), and Shri Dhirubhai J. Babaria, President of Swaminarayan Gurukul USA (Rajkot Sansthan).
May the Lord shower the divine light of Vedic wisdom on all who practice this Shikshapatri. Dedicated to all divine souls of the world who are seeking Vedic wisdom and the love of God.
Jai Shri Krishna
Jai Shri Swaminarayan
Jai Shri Ramachandra
With spiritual love:
Dr. Chaturbhai Jerambhai Babaria, MD, M Sc,
MD, Family Medicine
MD, Nuclear Medicine
MD, Palliative & Hospice
Founding member of Swaminarayan Gurukul USA and Arizona Vedic Cultural Center (Rajkot Sansthan)
CE: February 18, 2023
SY: Maha Vad 13 2079
The Shikshapatri is a religious text written by Lord Swaminarayan, the founder of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, in 1826 CE (Gregorian calendar). From his earliest days, Lord Shri Swaminarayan had been collecting the essence of all scriptures in a small booklet (or “Gutko”) which he carried with him constantly. His divine ability to capture essential meanings and complex concepts in small, concise verses ultimately culminated in his literary incarnation, the Shikshapatri. Lord Shri Swaminarayan wrote the Shikshapatri in Sanskrit. “Shiksha” translates into English as instruction, lesson, or teaching, and “Patri” into letter. So it represents a letter of instruction to his followers and his literary incarnation. It is one of the most important texts of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya and a code of conduct that is still adhered to by the followers of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya today. The text consists of 212 verses and covers a wide range of topics, including:
- Worship and devotion to God
- The importance of a guru (teacher)
- The importance of following the five main vows (abstinence from theft, falsehood, sexual misconduct, and intoxicants, and practicing non-violence)
- The importance of observing festivals and holy days
- The importance of following the caste system
- The importance of education and the pursuit of knowledge
- The importance of performing charity and helping others
- The importance of living a simple and austere life
- The importance of leading a virtuous and moral life
- The importance of controlling desires and passions
In Vadtal, Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan decided to write a leaflet teaching true religion to devotees. Through that leaflet, His devotees would always understand what they should do and not do without any doubt. That leaflet is Shikshapatri.
Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan wrote Shikshapatri and eight further copies to send in all eight directions to his beloved devotees.
No incarnation of God other than Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan has personally written any scripture for all humanity.
“When I leave this earth, Shikshapatri, in the form of clear sentences, will be the foundation of all devotees.” Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan states in Satsangi Jivan 4-43-21.
The Christian missionary Bishop Heber met Bhagawan Swaminarayan at Nadiad and was astonished to see hundreds of disciplined devotees from various unruly tribes serving the Lord. They were ready to sacrifice their lives for Bhagawan Swaminarayan, whereas his bodyguards protected him only to earn a living. Bhagawan Swaminarayan’s spiritual heights became obvious. Bhagawan Swaminarayan gave Bishop Heber His book of moral codes, the Shikshāpatri.
On the 26th of February 1830, Sir John Malcolm (governor of Bombay) arrived at Rajkot to have the darshan of Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan. Maharaj himself gave a handwritten Shikshapatri to him. He accepted it with devotion. That pious Shikshapatri still gives us darshan at the Bodleian Library of Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
The moral, social, and spiritual codes of conduct for all devotees lie within the Shikshapatri of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Shikshapatri is the divine speech of Shri Hari preaching universal brotherhood and eternal love and maintains an unparalleled link to the highest Indian philosophy.
Shikshapatri is the fruit of the penance of the entire life of Shreeji Maharaj and the essence of all the scriptures that He studied throughout his life. He condensed all scriptures into two hundred and twelve golden verses and made it possible for us to live a divine life in the age of Kali, where there is seldom time or inclination to read or understand such great and voluminous works.
If we follow Shikshapatri, Maharaj will consider this equal to following all scriptures. We need not apply our logic or search every scripture. Maharaj and His saints guarantee our salvation, and Akshardham awaits us only by following it.
We founded our Gurukul upon the shloka, “It is necessary to introduce true knowledge on earth, which is a great and pious deed.” that has transformed the lives of countless teachers, students, and devotees.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Ex-Home Minister of India, said this about the Swaminarayan sampradaya and the Shikshapatri, “The fragrance of high morality has spread over all Gujarat through the pious and virtuous conduct of Shree Sahajanad Swami (Lord Swaminarayan) and His saints. The sampradaya played a great role in transforming thousands of illiterate, brutal hearts into highly moral and cultured ones.”
He declared once in a large public meeting that, “If the public acts according to the Shikshapatri written by Shree Swaminarayan, the police stations and legal courts will have to close.”
Shikshapatri teaches us the behavior of an ideal human being with piousness of thoughts, speech, and behavior with moral values. Bhagwan Swaminarayan has instructed His devotees about their health, hygiene, dress, diet, etiquette, diplomacy, finance, education, friendships, morality, habits, penance, religious duties, celebrations, and other areas.
Maharaj is not concerned only with adult human beings and animals. He is also concerned with children still in the womb, trees, and insects. Maharaj is concerned about the well-being of all souls and wrote that one should not intentionally kill a fetus or small insects.
Shri Krishna spoke Bhagwat Gita to Arjun to fight the enemies standing before him. Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan wrote Shikshapatri to fight our inner enemies of anger, greed, infatuation, envy, and jealousy. Shikshapatri is the modern Gita. It helps a man through his daily battles in life.
Shikshapatri is a set of practical rules emphasizing self-improvement rather than correcting the world. Shikshapatri is the core of all the scriptures. It is an educational bulletin for his dependent followers. Shikshapatri is the commandment and the set of norms for all His Satsangis and saints. Shikshapatri is the textbook of religion in practice. Shikshapatri is the master key to an ideal life. It is a powerful scripture and is the ladder for an upward flight toward emancipation. Like axiomatic religion, Shikshapatri is the eternal commandment holding eternal majesty.
Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan has mentioned that Shikshapatri is a personified form of His divine self, to be read, and worshiped daily by all His followers. If you follow this Shikshapatri, your life, health, and wealth will improve.
Shikshapatri explains that spiritualism is a subject of practice and not mere deliberation. Swaminarayan Bhagwan has effectively defined in his Shikshapatri the terms: Jiva (soul), Ishwar (cosmic God), and Maya (eternal entity). He has explained in His Shikshapatri the form of Dharma (ethical duties), Gyan (the knowledge of the Ultimate), Vairagya (detachment and asceticism), and Bhakti (devotion).
Start reading it today. If you are reading and following it, get your family and friends to read and follow it. This great scripture will enlighten your path toward a better life leading to salvation.
Some information adapted from Shikshapatri – “The Eternal Spring of Benediction” , What, Who, Why Swaminarayan and About The Shikshapatri.