Realizing God's glory is the first half of understanding Swaminarayan philosophy. The second part is appreciating the glory of God's eternal abode, Aksharbrahman. Aksharbrahman's authority is second only to that of Parabrahma in the entire universe. The Chandogya and Mundak Upanishads both mention that Aksharbrahman is responsible for the creation and sustenance of this universe.
Aksharbrahman is manifest both with form and without form.
When understood without form, he pervades God's entire creation and forms the basis of all that creation.
With form, Aksharbrahman can be understood in three ways; As the abode holding God and His liberated devotees; As being in personal attendance to God in His abode; And as being present on earth as the gunatit guru to guide Parabrahma's devotees.
In Vachanamrut Gadhada I-54, Bhagwan Swaminarayan cites the Shrimad Bhagavata Purana and says that the gunatit sadhu, Aksharbrahman, is the only pathway to God and to moksha. He is responsible for helping the jiva realize Parabrahma. God works and accepts the devotion of spiritual aspirants through Aksharbrahman. It is only through Aksharbrahman that a jiva can associate itself with God and understand Him well enough to seek complete refuge in Him, thereby bringing the jiva out of the darkness of maya and into the light of Parabrahma.
The Shrimad Bhagavata Purana states, “God dispels the ignorance of maya through His Dham [abode].” Aksharbrahman is that Dham. Bhagwan Swaminarayan elaborates by saying, “That Aksharbrahman has two forms. One, which is formless and pure chaitanya, is known as Chidakash. In its other form, that Aksharbrahman remains in the service of Purshottam Narayan.” (Gadhada I-21). Association with Aksharbrahman to help the jiva realize Parabrahma is known as becoming aksharrup or brahmarup.
In the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna tells Arjun, “One who becomes Brahmarup, whose mind is always content, who does not lament in any way, who does not crave for any object, who has equanimity for all living creatures – that individual attains my bhakti.” For the jiva to reach this state, it must be guided by Aksharbrahman. That Aksharbrahman should become the jiva’s guru and teach the jiva about the glory of God so that the jiva may understand Him.
Mahant Swami Maharaj is revered as the current form Aksharbrahman by Swaminarayan devotees around the world. He is helping aspirants on the path to spiritual enlightenment. His true greatness is not his dedication to society through humanitrarian services or even his construction of mandirs and complexes to preserve Indian culture. His true greatness lies in guiding jivas to realize their true form and steering them past the bounds of maya to attain moksha. Those that come into contact with him can sense that God resides in his pure heart.