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  • Shastriji Maharaj, born Dungar Patel and ordained Shastri Yagnapurushdas, was a saint of the Swaminarayan Sampraday and later accepted as the third spiritual successor of Swaminarayan and founder of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. Born in a family of farmers in central Gujarat, India, he became a sadhu within the Vadtal diocese of the Swaminarayan Sampraday at the age of 17 where he was given the name Yagnapurushdas Swami. The prefix Shastri was later added in recognition of his eminent scholarship in Sanskrit and the Hindu scriptures. He established BAPS after a doctrinal split from the Vadtal diocese of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya. Shastriji Maharaj is credited with establishing BAPS on 5 June 1907 CE in Bochasan, Gujarat to propagate the Akshar-Purushottam Upasana, which, he explained, had been revealed by Swaminarayan. A staunch proponent of this philosophy, he consecrated the sacred images of Swaminarayan and Gunatitanand Swami in the central shrines of major mandirs in the towns of Bochasan, Sarangpur, Atladra, Gondal, and Gadhada in Gujarat, India.

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