The founder of the original ‘Uddhav Sampradaya’ emerging in various areas throughout the world as ‘Shree Swaminarayan Sampradaya’ is Shree Ramanand Swami. He was born due to curse of Rishi Durvasa to mother Sumati in the house of Ajayvipra in Ayodhya in the morning on Janmastmi (Shravan Vad 8) of Samvat 1795. In his childhood he was known as Ramsharma.
Growing like a bright Moon, Ramsharma made his parents happy and influences the family as also the people of the city through his Bhakti, Vairagya and Swadharma (self accepted duties). After having pious Yagnopavit-threading ceremony, he left home and went out in search of a Guru to study the Scriptures like the Vedas. Starting the excursion from Ayodhya, Ramsharma met one Siddha Guru Shree Atmanand at the foothills of Girnar of Junagadh in Sorath region of Gujarat. He took Diksha and adopted the name ‘Ramanand Swami’. He observed Astang Yoga Sadhana and achieved the state of Siddha. During his Samadhi he had Darshan of a shapeless luminous glow of light which frightened him. He left this shapeless Guru and took his path towards the South India.
In Shrirang region, he took Diksha from Acharya Shree Ramanujacharya. During his Samadhi he had Darshan of the Lord Shree Krishna and he felt greatly obliged. But the local people could not withstand the fame and glory of an outsider. Disturbed a lot by such people Ramanand Swami came to Vrindavan and started his austere Tapa of the Lord and again he had Darshan of Shri Krishna. He was inspired to leave the place and to establish a new religious Sampradaya in Saurashtra region. Ramanand Swami came to Saurashtra and as per his inspiration started his efforts towards establishment of a new religious-Sampradaya.
On the basis of the Principle of self experience, Shree Ramanand Swami started propagating a new religion on the pious land of Saurashtra. Discussions started in every village about his Brahma-Gyan (Supreme Knowledge). In every village people respected him and accepted his religion. They started Bhajan-mandli and Sada-vrata and thereby the Sampradaya started progressing.
Among his many Ashrams in the region, Nilkantha-varni Shriji Maharaj graced his Asharam situated at village Loj on Shravan Sud 6 Vikram Samvat 1856. In Piplana village, Swami gave Diksha to Nilkantha-varni and gave him two names ‘Sahjanand Swami’ and ‘Narayan Muni’. In, Jetalpur, he handed over the reign of Gadi of the Sampradaya to Sahjanand Swami in Samvat 1858. He accomplished his life-task and left his body at Phareni on Magsar Sud 13 Vikram Samvat 1858. As per the wish of the Lord he got rid of the curse of Rishi Durvasa and attained divine body. And thus ‘Uddhav Sampradaya’ established by Sadguru Ramanand Swami later came to be well known as Swaminarayan Sampradaya.