Shastriji Maharaj Shri Dharmajivandasji Swami
Pioneer of Gurukul traditions
Gurukul Education system is the distinctive formula of Sanatana Vedic Dharma; The Shishya receives knowledge, capacity, virtues, ideologies, values and objectives of life directly from the Guru. In a practical and personal manner, the vision of Guru becomes life and mission of Shishya. The heritage of that Guru Parampara appeared Shastriji Maharaj Shri Dharmajivandasji Swami, a great versatile scholar and man of vision, a tough minded optimist and kind hearted Guru, he was one of the great Sadguru amongst the Guru Parampara of Swaminarayan Sampraday, He founded the first Swaminarayan Gurukul at Rajkot in the year 1948, with the intention of providing a value based education system to everyone, especially to the under privileged community.
Born in the year 1901, on the auspicious day of the Rathayatra, 18th June, to a humble farmer Shri Bhurabhai, in a small village Taravada on the banks of river Shetrunji, Amreli district of Saurashtra and was named as Arjan. As a child, he was very brilliant and studious. Since his childhood, he had a natural attraction towards saints, as he aspired to attend all the spiritual gatherings. Even at the cost of sleep and food, he used to go and serve these saints at every opportunity he could find. One such occasion changed his life forever. He was privileged to receive divine blessings from Sadguru Shri Balmukundadasji. This created a spiritual fire in his heart and a calling in his soul that shaped the journey for the rest of his divine life.
Being attracted by the pure and virtuous life led by the saints of Shri Swaminarayan Sampraday, Arjan started regularly attending Swaminarayan Satsang. At the tender age of 16, Arjan was convinced that the pure life of the Swaminarayan Saints was the optimal method of supreme spiritual realization and salvation. Without hesitation, he took the vows of leading such a life and became a Saint and Arjan renamed as Dharmajivandasji Swami.
His vision and mission of life started getting shape. He started studying Sanskrit and other spiritual scriptures as he regularly dwelled deep in to religious and philosophical studies under various renowned scholars. In a profound effort to enlighten the rural masses, he started traveling to all the nearby villages to conduct regular spiritual assemblies. He even attained the laurels & became the Mahant of Junagadh temple.
However, the routine rituals and monotonous life style was not acceptable to him. He felt the need to incorporate a pertinent void from the social structure. A void, if filled, would uplift whole society. In order for this seemingly impossible task to be accomplished, he felt the scope of education to expand and incorporate spirituality. Schools, colleges, and universities may multiply in numbers, students may get Degrees, they may flourish in their worldly lives, but the fundamental ingredients to uplift society are lost out. Unless devoted selfless persons with ideals practiced in life leads, the main purpose of education is vitiated.
The Himalayan Vision Pondering over this, he went on a pilgrimage to Himalayas, where one day he saw a guru teaching his disciples, the Raghuvamsha of Kalidasa, one of the greatest poets of Sanskrit literature. This immediately struck his intellect and made him come to a realization that a value-based education system was the missing element in the society. The idea of rejuvenating the younger generation with modern education, complemented with spiritual principles of life, started taking shape and led to the creation of first Shri Swaminarayan Gurukul in the year 1948 at Rajkot. The foundation stone was laid on an auspicious day, the Vasant Panchami, the 11th of May,
Sadguru Shastriji Maharaj Shri Dharmajivandasji Swami led a very simple life of devotion, compassion, spiritual inquiry and strong righteous principles. This lifestyle had a major influence on his disciples as well. Social welfare activities and betterment of the society were the pillars of his mission. He practiced a vow called Ayachak Vrat, as per this Vrat he never to ask anyone for any money as donation. He had firm faith in God and believed that all the benevolent activities of the Gurukul should run only with the voluntary donations of the people inspired by the Almighty.
He attained the feet of the Almighty Lord Shri Swaminarayan, on 5th February, 1988. Till date, thousands of students have completed their high school and college studies from Gurukul and its branches.