There are three scriptures that are unique and central to the Swaminarayan faith. Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s discourses over a 10 year span have been documented in the Vachanamrut, the main scripture of the Swaminarayan faith. Bhagwan Swaminarayan personally dictated the basic code of conduct to be followed by all disciples in the Shikshapatri, a short list of basic precepts. Quotations from the first spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Gunatitanand Swami, form the third main scripture, Swami ni Vato.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s daily discourses to devotees and sadhus have been documented in the Vachanamrut, the main scripture of the Swaminarayan faith. The Vachanamrut is a historical collection of 273 spiritual discourses delivered by Bhagwan Swãminãrãyan between 1819 CE and 1829 CE. The word ‘Vachanamrut’ in Sanskrit means ‘divine nectar (amrut) in the form of words (vachan).’ Bhagwan Swãminãrãyan has described the Vachanamrut as being the quintessence of all scriptures.
Bhagwan Swãminãrãyan has taken the most profound concepts of Hindu philosophy from the Prasthanatrayi and simplified them so that they can be universally understood. It is filled with sound logic, simple metaphors and analogies, and divine revelations that provide philosophical and practical answers to questions about spiritual living. Different talks in the Vachanamrut address a range of daily and philosophical topics, from removing base instincts of ego and jealousy to recognizing the true guru.
The Vachanamrut, considered as one of the most authentic scriptures in the world, was complied by four senior paramhansas of Bhagwan Swãminãrãyan: Gopalanand Swami, Muktanand Swami, Nityanand Swami and Shukanand Swami.
These four compilers truly grasped the intricate philosophical concepts elaborated upon by Bhagwan Swãminãrãyan in the Vachanamrut; it was only then that these discourses could be written accurately. They compiled the discourses of Bhagwan Swãminãrãyan verbatim.
One of the main factors confirming the authenticity of the Vachanamrut is its attention to detail with regard to its date, setting, people present, and lastly its endorsement by Bhagwan Swãminãrãyan. At the beginning of each Vachanamrut, the place, time of day, and date are given. The compilers then describe what Bhagwan Swãminãrãyan was wearing from head to toe, what He was holding in His hand, and what He was sitting on; what city and where in the building He was seated (many of these buildings can still be seen today); what direction He was facing; and who was sitting in the assembly before Him. Many of the descendants of the devotees present during the dialogues are still living in Gujarat today. The compilers also included the 18 Sanskrit aphorisms at the end of the Vachanamrut, the cities where the dialogues took place, and their numbers. The Sanskrit aphorisms are of great importance in establishing the authenticity of the Vachanamrut; their inclusion has prevented later interpolations. The details help give the reader a visualization of the Vachanamrut.
The four paramhansas then presented the collection of Vachanamruts to Bhagwan Swãminãrãyan for scrutiny. This can be seen in Loya 7, where Nityanand Swami shows the collection (as completed up to that date) to Bhagwan Swãminãrãyan, who examines it and is greatly pleased with it. Lastly, Bhagwan Swãminãrãyan also testifies to the truthfulness of His talks on several occasions. In Gadhada III-2, He says, “I swear by this assembly of sãdhus that there is not even the slightest untruth in this matter.” In Vachanamrut Gadhadã II-8, He says, “I have delivered this discourse having heard and having extracted the essence from the Vedas, the Shãstras, and the Purãnas and all other words on this earth pertaining to liberation. This is the most profound and fundamental principle; it is the essence of all essences. For all those who have previously attained liberation, for all those who will attain it in the future, and for those who are presently treading the path of liberation, this discourse is like a lifeline.” Finally, in Vachanamrut Gadhada III-39, Bhagwan Swãminãrãyan proclaims, “Whosoever understands these facts and thoroughly consolidates them has accomplished everything; indeed, he has nothing more to achieve….”