In a village called Chapaiya, near Ayodhya lived Dharmadev with his wife Bhaktimata. Dharmadev was a man of great knowledge who possessed saintly qualities. Lord Narayan, according to his promise, was born on Earth in the house of Dharmadev and Bhaktimata on Monday, on the ninth day of the month of Chaitra (Chaitra Sud Navmi) in Vikram Samvat 1837 (3rd April 1781). As a young child He showed numerous miracles and in doing so killed demons and provided mukti to various bhaktas. The Lord in His early childhood was known by the names, Ghanshyam, Hari, Krishnaand Harikrishna.
At a very young age of 11 years, the Lord left his family in search of a guru and to spread the true knowledge. The Lord adopted the life of a hermitage. As a hermitage, the Lord was known as Nilkanth. He went round India for 7 years in search of the ultimate Guru. (Ramanand Swami)
Upon meeting with Ramamand Swami, the Lord established a religion based on purity and non violence. Ramanand Swami initiated Nilkanth as his disciple and gave him the name of Sahajanand. At that time there were a lot of violent yagnas being practiced (killing of animals as offering). The Lord re-introduced non-violent yagnas. The Lord also headed and established various charitable trusts and social welfare activities such as cultivating land and digging of wells.
After the passing away of Ramanand Swami, the Lord revealed to everyone that he is the Lord (Narayan). The Lord established various places of worship (Mandirs) in Bhuj, Ahmedabad, Muli, Vadtal, Junagath, Dolera and Jetalpur installing different manifestations of the Lord.
Shreeji Maharaj then appointed Ayodhya Prasad (son of Rampratap and brother to the Lord) and Raghuvirji Maharaj (Son of Ichcharam and brother to the Lord) as his 2 successors. The Lord appointed both of them on 2 different gadis. Ayodhyaprasadji headed the Ahmedabad Gadi (Nar Narayan) and Rahguvirji headed the Vadtal Gadi (Laxmi Narayan). At an age of 49 years, the Lord left the physical world and now resides in all bhaktas hearts.
The Swaminaryan Sampraday believes in four major philosophies highly emphasised by the lord.Dharma (rightousness), Gyan (True Knowledge), Bhakti (Worhsip) and Vairagya (Supreme Detachment).