Swaminarayan instructed his followers of the Swaminarayan Sampraday to wear a double stranded Kanthi to symbolise Krishna and Radha. The length at which a person should wear a kanthi is also standardised to the level of the heart, the place in which god is said to reside.
The Kanthi is a double stranded necklace made of Tulsi. This is a significant symbol of the Swaminarayan Sampraday, and has been directly referred to by Swaminarayan in the Shikshapatri, where he states in Slokh 41-44 that all his disciples that have been initiated by the Acharya, must wear the Kanthi and a Tilak Chandlo. Female satsangis are initiated by the wife of the acharya, who is the leader of women in the Swaminarayan Sampraday. Female members of BAPS are generally initiated by senior women followers and males are initiated at the hands of a sadhu or senior male devotees.
The Tilak is the name of the ‘U’ shape and the Chandlo is the circular dot between the tilak. The tilak is said to be Urdhva Pundra. Urdhva Pundra represents the shape of the lotus feet of Swaminarayan.
The tilak is adorned by male satsangis on four parts of their body using Gopichandan (a yellow paste sanctified by the Gopis, which is found on the banks of the Lake Gopi in Dwarka). It is impressed on the forehead, chest and both the upper arms.
The Mala is threaded with 108 beads and one larger bead. It is principally used as a counter whilst reciting the names of God. The almighty god supreme has thousands of names, the main names are shortlisted into 108, and this is the reason for 108 beads.
Nitya means daily and pooja means worshipping God. Therefore, pooja performed every day is known as Nitya Pooja.
Darshan is a form of worship. It is a way of connecting a devotee to god and to gain his blessings.
Aarti is a religious ceremony performed to gain darshan and blessing of god.
Aarti is conducted by the singing of a special prayer to God and the playing of musical instruments. Muktanand Swami composed the words of the Swaminarayan Aarti as expression that Swaminarayan is almighty God supreme.
Vandu and Chesta Pad
For the purpose of meditation the Vandu Pad was compiled by Premanand Swami on the 14th day of the dark half of the month of Maha Vikram Samvat 1880, during the presence of Swaminarayan. The Vandu Pad describes the beauty and appearance of Swaminarayan.
The tradition of reciting these Pads has remains an important part of the evening ceremony at Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs.
Conduct of a Satsangi
A Satsangi must show :
- Reverence for god
- Reverence for the Shastras
- Reverence for the Acharya of the Gadi the Satsangi comes under (NarNarayan Dev Gadi or LaxmiNarayan Dev Gadi)
- Reverence for festivals
- Reverence for elders
- Overall good conduct
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- Behramji Merwanji Malabari; Krishnalal M. Jhaveri; Malabari M. B (1997). Gujarat and the Gujaratis. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 81-206-0651-5. Retrieved May 7, 2009. Page 264
- University of Oxford (Indian Institute Library and Refugee Studies Centre). "The Digital Shikshapatri". Shikshapatri.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-06-24.