In order to bring complete chastity of character into the Holy Fellowship, Swaminarayan Bhagwan ordered that the temples, meeting assemblies and initiating rites should be quite separate for male and female followers. So he appointed married persons as chief of the Fellowship, from His own family line, and ordered the saints to observe eight types of aloofness from females. So that there would remain no possibility of corruption by crossing boundaries of self-control.
In order to prevent any blind tradition in the pure devotion of the Lord with a form (figure) he got large and beautiful temples constructed and wrote a sacred volume called Shikshapatri for the welfare of many souls even after His leaving the human body. Having fulfilled His mission of establishing the Bhagawat Dharma and the task of rejuvanising and revitalizing the ancient Vedic path, He left His mortal coil and assented to His divine abode Akshardham at Gadhpur (Saurashtra) on the 10th day of the bright half of Jyestha month of Vikram Samvat 1886; thenceforward He has been offering His divine vision in the form of an idol installed by Him in various temples in Holy Fellowship.
Five Vows of Shree Swaminarayan Sampraday :
Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan established five (5) Vows Panch Vartaman for people in Ghruhashram i.e. house-holders and five (5) Vows for people in Tyagashram (Swamis/Saints).
The basic five Vows of house-holders :
The followers were increased in a large number. Only devotion and worship is not enough for salvation. The virtuous moral and devotional human life is absolutely necessary. So He (Lord Swaminarayan) preached the five basic Vows compulsory for all.
1. NOT to drink wine, liquor or any intoxicating drug of any sort in any form in any case, NOT even as a medicine.
2. NOT to eat meat in any form in any case. NOT even as the offerings of evil deities or sacrifice or as a medicine to save one's own life.
3. To abstain from adultery. NOT to look at a lady passionately. NOT to keep close contact with ladies except the nearest relatives.
4. NOT to steal even a smallest thing. Even the worthless flowers should NOT be taken for offerings to deities without the permission of the owner.
5. NOT to take food and drinks from improper persons and by improper sources.
Whosoever wants to become the follower of Lord Swaminarayan has to take an oath in presence of a great Saint keeping water in his right hand to abstain from these five. If anybody transgresses any of these five is not called a follower of Swaminarayan. He is excommunicated. These are the five basic Vows for house-holders. These are known as Panch Vartman.
The five Vows of Saints (Sadhus) :
Saints of Swaminarayan have to observe strictly their special five vows listed below as well as the five basic vows listed above. They are given them at the time of their initiation as Saints. They are initiated by either Vadtal or Ahmedabad gadi's Acharya.
1. Lustless: Desireless:- He has to observe Naishthik Brahmacharya i.e. eight-fold celibacy strictly. He has to observe a fast if he has seen a face of a lady. Not to expect any remuneration even of his good deeds or must not have any desire of anything.
2. Greedless:- He should not be attached at all to the worldly objects. He should keep clothes and things only permitted to him. He should not accept, touch or possess even any sort of currency of his own
3. Tasteless:- He should not be allured or tempted at all to any taste. Not to eat anything which is not offered to God, that also mixed togather with water.
4. Prideless:- He should not have any sort of pride of renouncement, penance, knowledge, efficiency religious austerity, devotion, etc. If anybody beats him, abuses him or insults him, he should endure patiently, not to be angry at all, should forgive, not to oppose, not to keep any grudge or any ill feelings for him, but to wish good for him and to pity for his ignorance.
5. Affectionless:- He should not have any affection at all towards his body, his relatives, his disciples or anything except Almighty God Supreme.
There are 11 Niyams that each Satsangi of Shree Swaminarayan Sampraday has to follow :
1. Hinsa na karvi (Be non-violentby any means)
2. Parstri no sang na karvo (Do not have any kind of relationship with other woman other than your wife)
3. Mansh na khavu (Do not eat meat, i.e. including seafood, poultry products, eggs)
4. Daru na pivo (Do not drink products that contain alcohol, i.e. wine, beer, medicine that contains alcohol)
5. Vidhva stri no sparsh na karvo (Never touch widow woman whom you do not know)
6. Atmaghat na karvo (Never commit a suicide in any circumstances)
7. Chori na karvi (Do not steal things that belong to others)
8. Koi ne kalank na devu (Never blame others for something that you may not know about)
9. Devo ni ninda na karvi (Never bad mouth about God, Goddesses, or any religion)
10. Jenu na khaptu hoy tenu na khavu (Never eat someone's food who does not follow these eleven rules established by Lord Shree Swaminarayan in Shikshapatri)
11. Bhagwan thi vimukh hoy tena thaki katha na sabhalavi (Never listen holy stories from a person who does not believe in the existence of God, i.e. a person who is an atheist)