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Established on 5 June 1907 by Shastriji Maharaj after leaving the Vadtal Gadi of the Swaminarayan Sampraday. It was formed on the founder's interpretation that Swaminarayan was to remain present on earth through a lineage of Gunatit Gurus or Akshar dating all the way back to Gunatitanand Swami - one of Swaminarayan's prominent devotees.[2]:55[3] Gunatitanand Swami was succeeded by Bhagatji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, and Mahant Swami Maharaj.[4] Due to the organizational emphasis on the Akshar Purushottam doctrine, it essentially forms the organization's middle name. The fundamental beliefs of BAPS include spiritual guidance through the living Akshar or Guru who is believed to have attained oneness with Swaminarayan. Mahant Swami Maharaj is the current Guru and the president of the organization.

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