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When Bishop Heber came to know about Bhagwan Swaminarayan, he wanted to have a meeting to discuss various matters. Where did this meeting take place?

  • Could you provide some context? who were these people and why was their meeting important? – Mark C. Wallace Mar 31 '18 at 2:10
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Collector Williamson briefed the Bishop Heber, a Christian missionary, about the extraordinary socio-religious reforms of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Heber was astonished by the work of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.They then met in Nadiad - A city of Gujarat.

  • From what I can see of Swaminarayan, his teachings (practical Montheisim, along with a puritanical streak) do seem likely to impress a 19th Century Christian acquainted with typical Indian religous beliefs. "Astonished" is a very strong word though. Do you have a reference for this? – T.E.D. Jun 20 '12 at 14:30
  • www.BAPS.org or www.Swaminarayan.org is authentic source of this information. swaminarayan.org/lordswaminarayan/saga/18.htm However, I'll add a book reference in short time. – AksharRoop Jun 21 '12 at 10:22
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Since this came up again, I did a bit more research. Heber actually wrote a journal, so we can read his thoughts on the meeting directly.

It seems the main things about "Swaamee Narain" that impressed him was getting "these wild people" to behave more "orderly", and the possibility of his preaching of monotheisim paving the way for Christian conversion of the region.

According to Heber, the meeting itself happened at about 11AM on March 26th, at lodge in Nerriad. Here's his description of the location:

We marched to Nerriad, a large and well-built town, containing, as its Cutwal told me, about 15,000 people. ... We were lodged, by Mr. Williamson's order, in his cutcherry, a part of which is used for the occasional reception of himself and his friends. It consists of an enclosure surrounded by a high wall and buildings of various descriptions in the heart of the town, and calculated to hold and shelter, conveniently, a considerable number of horses and people.

It seems the main thing that impressed him about the meeting was that the Swami showed up with a huge guard including 200 horsemen. Otherwise, it seems from his account that the main hope of both men was to convert the other (and in this of course they were both disappointed).

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