For the purpose of bestowing eternal salvation to souls, Lord Shree Swaminarayan brought with Him divine entities from the divine abode onto the Earth. The first of His spiritual heirs was Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa.
Lord Shree Swaminarayan Himself appointed Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa to take His place as leader and ultimate authority of the entire Swaminarayan Faith.
This fact is verified in numerous scriptures of the time, written by eminent Nand-status Sadguru Sants.
Sadguru Shree Nishkulanand Swami has recorded the command given by Lord Shree Swaminarayan:
Sants, varnis and palas; all listen, Stay under Gopal Muni’s authority.
Bhaktachintamani, Prakaran 160, Verse 49)
Sadguru Shree Achityanand Varni states:
“Oh ascetics! My disciples! You all must abide by the commands of this Muni (Gopalanand Swami). Even though he may be within this Faith, if he does not implicitly obey
Gopalanand Swami, he is not My devotee.”
(Shree Hari-leela-kalpataru, Skandh 1, Adyay 41, Verse 10)
Shree Raghuvirji Maharaj, Acharya of the Laxminarayan Gadi has described the unambiguous words spoken by Lord Shree Swaminarayan Himself about the glory of Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa:
“When I am not within this world, people should consider this eminent Sant who possesses all the virtues and qualities, to be God. At that time, they all should perform adoration to him, just as they do now to Me. Just like I do at present, he will bestow salvation to
thousands of souls.”
(Durgapur-mahatmya Part 2, Chapter 83, Verses 19-20)
In the same manner, Acharya Shree Viharilalji Maharaj states:
He who is the son of Bhakti (i.e. Lord Shree Swaminarayan)
To all His disciples said, he (Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swami) is above all
He (the Lord) proclaimed him (Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swami) to be above
both Acharyas and placed their hands in his.
(Shree Harileelamrut, Kalash 1 Vishram 1)
Such an eminent Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa manifested upon this Earth on Samvat 1837 Maha Sud 8, 1781 AD in the village of Todla. To mark Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa’s 236th jayanti (manifestation day), Acharya Swamishree Maharaj performed poojan to him at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Maninagar.