A Short Biography
Jai Swaminarayan! Dr. Chaturbhai J. Babaria requested that I post my biography on our website, so I will try to make this as brief and informative as possible. I am Ananda Bhagat (Andrew Scott). Without going into too much detail on my past, I have done my fair share of spiritual seeking throughout my life. I had attended many temples and organizations (too numerous to mention here), but although I gained some knowledge and experience from them, I never found a spiritual home. In fact, until Thursday, November 14th, 2019 (when I first met Dr. Babaria at our Gurukul), I never really understood what a spiritual home was.
Following my wife’s two-year battle with bladder and breast cancer, we moved into a home in a small town where I would be closer to work. I noticed the Gurukul two blocks from there and called to make an appointment to speak with them about the Swaminarayan Sampradaya and attending Satsang. Dr. Babaria made time in his busy schedule to open the Gurukul to talk to me in private. He gave me a copy of Shikshapatri and Vachanamrut. Then he signed, dated, and inscribed his blessings for my family and me on each one. I began reading both and attending Satsang regularly from that point on.
At the Satsang on November 30th, 2019, Tayagvallabh Das Swami and other sadhus were scheduled to visit our Gurukul. Dr. Babaria asked me if I wanted to take my Diksha. I was honored, immediately accepted the opportunity, and have never regretted it. Later when COVID-19 struck, and the Gurukul had to be closed for regular Satsang meetings, Dr. Babaria and his wife invited me to meet with them every Saturday to hold Satsangs and make videos for the other devotees. Dr. Babaria invited me to his home on several occasions during this time, and we soon came up with a plan that I make a website for our Gurukul to preserve the sacred memories of all of the visiting Sadhus and hard-working devotees that attend there and hopefully to encourage and inform others about the Swaminarayan Sampradaya.
Dr. Babaria had collected hundreds of video tapes (in all kinds of formats) over his decades working for the Gurukul that we wanted to preserve. I spent the next three or four months digitizing and uploading them for use on our website. I have an associate degree in computer science and a couple of trade certifications, but since my wife became ill, I took a position as a custodian for our district school board as it was more stable work with a wonderful work environment. I was very happy to have the opportunity to use my knowledge and training in the service of our Lord Swaminarayan.
Since that time, I have had the honor of meeting Shri Dhirubhai J. Babaria, (founder of the Swaminarayan Gurukul in the western world on behalf of his Holiness Shastriji Maharaj Dharamjivan Dasji Swami and trustee of Swaminarayan Gurukul Rajkot Sansthan), Shri Makundswarup Dasji Swami (and attending many of his online Vedanta classes with wonderful devotees across America, Santo Domingo, and Columbia), and countless other Sadhus and dedicated devotees in our Sampradaya.
We have received many generous donations to our Gurukul because of our website, for which I am truly grateful. I am most grateful for the new members of our Sampradaya that are either across the country or that I see at every Satsang, that I know are there (some even moving to our area) to be a part of our Sampradaya because of the website Dr. Babaria and I had decided to create and collaborate on only a few years ago.
I have read and continue to read all of the wonderful publications created by our Gurukul about our Sampradaya and the lives of our great saints and have had the recent honor of collaborating with Dr. Chaturbhai J. Babaria, Shri Makundswarup Dasji, and (new devotee) Premanand Das Bhagat to create an American English Version of Shikshapatri (that is posted on this website in downloadable PDF and audio formats).
This is a very short summary. My life has been blessed in so many ways that an exhaustive list would be beyond the scope of this post. It is enough to say that attending and doing any seva for Swaminarayan Gurukul has become the joy of my life.
My most sincere thanks: