Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami, Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s first spiritual successor, once asked Bhagwan Swaminarayan, “What do you value most: meditation, behaving as self-realized person, serving the sick, or talking about Bhagwan’s mahima?” Bhagwan Swaminarayan replied, "Talking about Bhagwan is the greatest service a devotee can perform." Taking this command as his divine duty, Gunatitanand Swami would not miss a single opportunity to speak to people about the supremacy of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. To fulfill this, Gunatitanand Swami incessantly used his speech through katha in the praise of Bhagwan. In Junagadh, Gunatitanand Swami set a schedule for sadhus to continuously do katha for 24 hours a day!
Some of Gunatitanand Swami’s closest devotees, such as Swami Jaga Bhakta, Thakkar Naran Pradhan, Harishankarbhai Raval, Sadguru Balmukunddas Swami, Sadashankar Amarji and many others who lived and traveled with Gunatitanand Swami, had taken note of all these talks with great devotion. These were then compiled and called Swamini Vato, which means ‘[Gunatitanand] Swami’s discourses.’ Afterwards, Gunatitanand Swami instructed Achintyanand Brahmachari to give discourses on these talks and recognized it as a religious text. These talks were first published by Balmukund Swami in five chapters and then in seven chapters by Krishnaji Ada. BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha published a new edition based on the latest research and critical study of the original text.
The Swamini Vato are the essence of the spiritual teachings of Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami. They are regarded as a comprehensive commentary on the Vachanamrut and offer the spiritual aspirant a lucid explanation of the Vachanamrut. In the Swamini Vato, Gunatitanand Swami has emphatically spoken about the glory, divinity, and supremacy of Bhagwan Swaminarayan; the importance of swadharma (one’s own dharma); atmagnan (knowledge of the soul); the futility of sensual pleasures; detachment; and devotion with the knowledge of the glory of Bhagwan. Gunatitanand Swami often said, "These are the revelations of Akshardham. They will grant you liberation from the cycle of birth and death. They are capable of resolving all our doubts and misgivings. These are narrations of divine episodes related to Bhagwan Purushottam. They will abolish the darkness of ignorance."
The following are a few excerpts from the Swamini Vato:
- “God Himself has said, ‘I am not so won over by penance, sacrifices, yoga, vows, alms-giving and the like means as by satsang.’ And what is satsang? It is to be humble with and to live by the commands of the great sadhu, who has dharma, divine knowledge, detachment and devotion to God accompanied by profound knowledge of His glory and greatness.”
- “True meditation is of a higher worth than the observance of moral codes, but spiritual knowledge excels meditation. Yet higher still is to live in accordance with the wishes of a bona fide sadhu, because this encompasses the former three.”
- “Human birth is meant for God realization. However, death may steal this opportunity any moment. This act of 'realization' is an accomplishment to be fulfilled in a short life-span, like stringing a pearl by the light from a flash of lightening.”
- “This body is not yours and to identify yourself with it is ignorance. You can never be freed from this ignorance save by the grace of God and His sadhu.”