Svaminarayan Movement. Founded by a high-caste brahman, Sahajānanda Swami, known as Lord Svaminarayan, in Gujarat, India, in the early 19th cent. Since then there has been considerable segmentation. A follower of the Vaiṣṇava teacher Rāmānuja, Svaminarayan made qualified monism a fundamental precept and developed his movement in the bhakti tradition of devotional worship. Svaminarayan is regarded as an avatāra of Viṣṇu who took on an earthly, human form in order to bring salvation to his followers. The movement spread from India to Britain in the 1950s, to become one of the largest Indian religions in that country. In 1995, it opened a large temple in Neasden (London), to be a centre for pilgrimage. Built at great expense, it revived skills of temple-carving and traditional decoration.
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