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In the Swaminarayan Sampraday there are two spiritual heads, referred to as ACHARYA, ACHARYA MAHARAJ or MAHARAJSHRI. The current two Acharyas are His Holiness Shree Tejendraprasadji Maharaj (descending from Ayodhyaprasadji Maharaj) and His Holiness Shree Ajendraprasadji Maharaj (descending from Raghuvirji Maharaj). Lord Swaminarayan adopted two of His nephews as sons and installed them as Acharyas not just for administration purpose but also for installing idols and looking after all the followers including saints, who are expected to show full unswerving allegiance to them.
The selection of Acharyas is confined to the stock of family (Dharmakul) of Lord Swaminarayan's father, Dharmadev. There are only two Gadis (Chief Seats) established by Lord Swaminarayan in the 'Desh Vibhagh Lekh' dictated by Lord Swaminarayan Himself, which defines the territorial jurisdiction of each of the two Acharyas. The chief seat (Gadi) of the Acharyas are in Ahmedabad and in Vadtal, which are also referred to as NARNARAYAN dev Gadi and LLAXMINARAYAN dev Gadi respectively OR even Ahmedabad DESH or Vadtal DESH respectively
There are 9 main authentic temple in India whose idols were installed by Lord Swaminarayan Himself;
Ahmedabad, Bhuj, Vadtal, Dholera, Junagadh, Gadhada, Jetalpur, Muli, Dholka
(In some cases Lord Swaminarayan had installed the images before the construction of the temples was complete)
The first temple in the history of Swaminarayan faith was the Ahmedabad Swaminarayan temple where Lord Swaminarayan installed the divine idols of NARNARAYAN dev. But these idols are not of the NARNARAYAN dev of Badrikashram!! They are the images of Lord Swaminarayan Himself. At the time Lord Swaminarayan did not wish to cause uproar in the beginning by installing His own idols. Although the truth is very obvious and clear from the scriptures - that those images are of Lord Swaminarayan Himself. This applies to the other divine images installed by Lord Swaminarayan in other temples
Now there are thousands of authentic Swaminarayan temples all around the world. 'AUTHENTIC' temples refer to temples that have images which are installed by Lord Swaminarayan or His Acharyas descending from Ayodhyaprasadji Maharaj or Raghuvirji Maharaj.
The 3 MAIN scriptures of the Swaminarayan faith are:
Shikshapatri - book of commandments written by Lord Swaminarayan Himself
Vachanamrit - discourses spoken by Lord Swaminarayan Himself
Satsangi Jeevan- A biography of Lord Swaminarayan written by Shatanand Swami by orders of Lord Swaminarayan and the divine vision granted to Shatanand Swami by Lord Swaminarayan to be able to see the past present and future of the divine sports of His manifestation
Other divine scriptures include; Nishkulanand Kavyam, Muktanand Kavyam, Satsangi Bhushan, HariLeelamrut, Ghanshyam Charitra, Bhakti Chintamni
The saints present during the manifestation of Lord Swaminarayan are referred to as 'nand' saints in general. All saints of the Swaminarayan faith require to have been initiated by the Acharyas depending on which region they fall under, i.e. either the Ahmedabad Gadi or Vadtal Gadi. They need to be faithful/loyal to the Acharyas and initiated by Acharyas to qualify as Swaminarayan saints