Monthly Archives: August 2015

SADGURU NITYANAND SWAMI

Nityanand Swami was born as Dinmani Sharma in VS 1812, Kartik Sud 5 in a town called Dantiya. He was one of the saints to write Vachanmrut and he translated the Shikshapatri in Gujurati which was authenticated by Lord Swaminarayan.

Dinmani Sharma’s family were very rich. He went Kashi to learn and acquire knowledge from Jagjit Pandit. He wanted darshan of Lord Swaminarayan and to acquire this, he proceeded towards Badrinath. On the way, he joined other pilgrims and found no joy there. He then went to Jugnathpuri and done his pilgrimage but still could not find any happiness. He then proceeded to Dwarika and came near Vishuajar. He heard about Lord Swaminarayan and that He is Purshottam Narayan currently in Saurashtra.

He started searching for Lord Swaminarayan. He came to Faneni, met Prabhutanand Swami and learnt that Lord Swaminarayan will be arriving in a town called Uza. Lord Swaminarayan arrived there after a few days. He was at the bank of a lake where a sabha was being held. Dinmani went to meet Lord Swaminarayan with some other devotees. He saw a divine light emanating from Lord Swaminarayan. Dinmani felt that this person was Purshottam Narayan himself. Dinmani did darshan and felt fulfilled. He expressed his wish to stay as a servant of Lord Swaminarayan. Lord Swaminarayan accepted and Dinmani stayed there for few days. After some time, Lord Swaminarayan gave ‘Bhagwadi Diksha’ and named him Nityanand Swami. Lord Swaminarayan requested him to learn and obtain detailed knowledge of Sanskrit and other religious knowledge.

Lord Swaminarayan always kept Nityanand Swami with other Swamis. When Lord Swaminarayan met Sir Malcolm (representative of the British Empire) in Ahmdabad, Nityanand Swami was among the 4 sadhus with Him.
Nityanand Swami and Brahamand Swami would usually debate each other on religious topics. Sometimes Nityanand Swami would win and sometimes Brahamand Swami would win.

Nityanand Swami would always be consulted by Lord Swaminarayan when letters to government officials (British Empire) were written. Lord Swaminarayan also consulted Nityanand Swami when the Desh Vibhag Lekh was written.
Nityanand Swami would attend the discourses arranged by other sampraday. He debated with other saints and was always the winner. No one could put a constructive argument against him. He was one of the saints to write Vachanmrut and he translated the Shikshapatri in Gujurati which was authenticated by Lord Swaminarayan.

During the last days of Lord Swaminarayan, Nityanand Swami was with Him. Lord Swaminarayan gave the prints of His lotus feet to Nityanand Swami and told him to install them at Laxmivadi where a Temple would be erected on the ground where He would be cremated.

SADGURU GOPALANAND SWAMI

Gopalanand Swami was born as Khushal Bhatt in Monday, Maha Sud 8, 1837 in a town called Todla (Idr area). At Gadhpur, Khusal Bhatt was given Bhagwati Diksha on Samvat 1864 Kartik Vad 8 and was given the name of Gopalanand Swami.

Khushal Bhatt was married, but was not attached. He was very intellectual thus helping him learn Sanskrit and acquiring religious knowledge. Later on, he moved to Dabhoi where he set up a school and taught young Brahmins. He heard from Kashiram and Murlidhar about Lord Swaminarayan and later he learned more about Lord Swaminarayan from Sharveshranand Swami. The more he learned about Lord Swaminarayan, the more knowledge he acquired. His students started having ‘Samadhi’. From his teaching, he became a prominent person in the community and people started paying him respect.

One day Lord Swaminarayan disguised himself as a normal Brahmin and went to Todla. He told Khushal Bhatt that if he wants to see the Lord Supreme, then follow me. Both came to the outskirts of Jetalpur and suddenly Lord Swaminarayan disappeared. Khusal Bhatt went into Jetalpur and met Lord Swaminarayan. He immediately decided to serve Him. Khushal Bhatt went with Lord Swaminarayan to Gadhpur. At Gadhpur, Khusal Bhatt was given Bhagwati Diksha on Samvat 1864 Kartik Vad 8 and was given the name of Gopalanand Swami.

Gopalanand Swami became a prominent sadhu of Swaminarayan sampraday. He mainly stayed in Vadodra. After Lord Swaminarayan left this world, he lived for another 22 years making sure the Swaminarayan sampraday was running properly. He died in Samvat 1908 Vaishakh Ved 5 at Vadtal. During his lifetime, he wrote 19 books in Sanskrit and 6 books in other languages. One of them was the Shikshapatri in Marathi.

Important Events:
One day Khushal Bhatt met a dumb child and removed his dumbness. The child started talking. (Before Khushal Bhatt was a swami)
In Samvat 1878 Fagan Sud 3, the installation of Narnarayan Dev in Ahmdabad was taking place. Gopalanand Swami was appointed to perform the Havan. Lord Swaminarayan said, “this Gopalanand Swami can change a stone into a Dev.”
In Sarangpur, the installation of Hanumanji was taking place on Samvat 1905 Aso Vad 5. Shukanand Swami and Gopalanand Swami did the Aarti to Hanumanji. Gopalanand Swami stood infront of Hanumanji and concentrated his powers into the murti and suddenly Hanumanji began to move. Gopalanand Swami drew the picture and Kanji Kadiya sculpted it. Gopalanand Swami also had a stick which has immense powers to ward off evil. This stick is still being used and is kept in Sarangpur Temple

When the Laxminarayan Temple was being built in Vadtal, Kashiabhai of Petlad was asking for tax on goods which were being used in the service of the Temple. Lord Swaminarayan sent Gopalanand Swami to meet Kashiabhai. Gopalanand Swami talked to Kashiabhai and persuaded him to stop charging them tax. Kashiabhai ordered a ‘marble stone’ which represented God to be brought from Vadtal mandir and kept in his house. Gopalanand Swami tried to explain to Kashiabhai that what he was doing was wrong but Kashiabhai did not listen. Kashiabhai became ill (could not excrete) and apologised to Gopalanand Swami for his wrongdoing and later became well

Hemraj Shah from Sundariyana town was a Vaishna doctor. He had four sons, their names were Vana Shah, Pooja Shah, Jetha Shah and Heera Shah. Vana Shah and Pooja Shah were Swaminarayan satsangis and Hemraj Shah did not like this. Vana Shah and Pooja Shah requested Gopalanand Swami to make his father a satsangi. In response, Gopalanand Swami told Vana Shah that he was ill and requested Hemraj Shah to see him. Hemraj Shah went to see Gopalanand Swami and could not feel his pulse but Gopalanand Swami was still alive. He realised that Gopalanand Swami was no ordinary person; he must be a powerful man. Hemraj Shah became a very good devotee. He was shunned from his community and was made outcast but he did not budge and kept on praying to Lord Swaminarayan

Chaitanyanand Swami was a well know Swami. People gave him gifts and he started accepting them. When he had a lot, he started passing them to Lord Swaminarayan. Once Gopalanand Swami came to see him. He sat on a cloth laid on the floor and Chaitanyanand Swami sat on a mattress. Gopalanand Swami started preaching about being non-attached to anything. Chaitanyanand Swami got the drift of what Gopalanand Swami was saying, he discarded the mattress and sat on the floor. Chaitanyanand Swami said “I was a Guru for 12 years and a Sadguru for 12 years but I am a sadhu from today because of your preaching

Lord Swaminarayan gave Vadtal Gadi to Raghivirji and Ahmdabad Gadi to Ayodhyaprasadji. Nityanand Swami was given the task to look after the Vadtal Temple and Brahmanad Swami was given the task to look after the Ahmdabad Temple. But all the religious control and mediator ship was given to Gopalanand Swami. Lord Swaminarayan instructed everyone to obey Gopalanand Swami
The collection and the research of the Vachnamrut was done by Muktanand, Nityanand, Shukanand and Brahmanand Swami but deep knowledge was parted by Gopalanand Swami

Krishnaram Shastri miscalculated the eclipse and predicted there wasn’t going to be an eclipse but the other scholors said that an eclipse will occur. There was a heated debate between Krishnaram Shastri and the scholors. Krishnaram Shastri went home and recalculated and found his miscalculation. This made him very sad and he stopped eating his food. His son found out about this and went to Gopalanand Swami. He told Gopalanand Swami the whole story. Gopalanand Swami called Krishnaram Shastri and scolded him for miscalculating the eclipse. Gopalanand Swami said, “I will have to change the motion and the movement of earth, sun and the moon, go to the courtyard and tell everyone there won’t be an eclipse.” Because of Gopalanand Swami’s words, there wasn’t an eclipse

In Rajkot Mandir there was a thorn tree (Bordri). When Gopalanand Swami was walking past the tree, the thorns of the tree got attached to Gopalanand Swami’s Pagh (hat). Gopalanand Swami said to the tree, “you are very foolish, I am a saint of the Lord and still you do this to me.” At that moment, all the thorns from the tree fell. The tree became thornless and still is to this present day

SADGURU PREMAMAND SWAMI

Premanand Swami was born in Vikram Samvat 1840, in the town Dora Bharuch. Owing to slandering by the villagers and risking the death of a child, his mother had to abandon him with a broken heart. Dosa Tai, who was a Muslim, found him and raised him. He learnt and mastered the art of music in Vadodara. At the age of eleven, he went to see the inauguration of Lord Swaminarayan at Jetpur with his foster father. He saw Maharaj riding the horse and immediately ran towards Maharaj and held the stirrup of the horse while walking alongside the horse till the end of the procession at Unnad Khatchar’s Darbar. Since then he remained at Maharaj’s service. Later on Maharaj sent him to Ujjain to a school of Music where he gained excellence in singing and instrumental music. Maharaj initiated him and named him Nijabhojdhanand Swami.

Once, Maharaj called Nijabhojdhanand Swami and asked him to compose a hymn. Even though he did not study in this field, he stood in front of Maharaj and observed His image minutely and started to describe Maharaj’s body in a hymn form. However his own name did not rhyme properly with the hymn so Maharaj renamed him as Premanand Swami. This name reflects his love for Maharaj, hence is also referred to as Premsakhi. Premanand Swami is known for his poetic contribution to the Swaminarayan Sampraday. His kirtan expressed strong love for Swaminarayan Bhagwan and described Him as Pratakshya Purshottam (Almighty God Himself). Maharaj and the devotees were completely engulfed by the songs composed by Premanand Swami. He composed kirtans for all times, starting from Prabhatya (morning kirtans) to the Chesta, which summarises the life of Lord Swaminarayan. One of the famous kirtan’s he wrote was ‘Aaj mare orade re…’. He left his physical body on the bright half of the month of Magshar, Vikram Samvat 1911.

SADGURU NISHKULANAND SWAMI

Nishkulanand Swami was born near Jamnagar in Vikram Samvat 1822, as Lalji Suthar. His father’s name was Rambhai Suthar and mother’s name was Amritba. From childhood it was obvious that Lalji Suthar was a true devotee. His parents married him off at an early age hoping to tie him in the life of householders. He accepted the family business of carpentry and lived a happy life. He became a father of two sons; Madhavji and Kanji. He still continued to pay attention to religion and devotion for the glory of God. Being a disciple of Ramanand Swami, he had met and heard about the leela of Nilkanth Varni.

During one of Maharaj’s journeys to Kutch, Lalji Suthar accepted to become His guide. This is when Lalji Suthar experienced the true spirituality of Maharaj and thus decided to forsake his married life and dedicate his life in the service of Maharaj. He got initiated as a saint and was named Nishkulanand Swami. He was known as ‘Vairagya ni murti’ because of his strong character of non-attachment. He clearly expressed this through the poetic kirtans he composed. He possessed strong attachment to Lord Swaminarayan and has expressed this particularly in the Bhaktachintami scripture. He was also an excellent preacher of the Swaminarayan Sampraday. He convinced his older son Madhavji to dedicate his life in the service of Maharaj. Madhavji became a saint and was named Govindanand Swami. Since Nishkulanand Swami had the skills of art and craft aswell, Maharaj put Nishkulanand Swami in charge of building a beautiful temple in Dholera. The dome-arches and the frame work of the temple doors at Dholera are really beautiful! At the age of 82, in Vikram Samvat 1904, Nishkulanand Swami left for Akshardham.

SADGURU BRAHMANAND SWAMI

Brahmanand Swami’s birth name was Ladudanji and was born to Shambhudanji Gadhvi and Laluba of Khan Gaam, in the month of Jeth, VS 1828(1772 A.D).

When Laluba was pregnant with Ladudanji, they were graced with a visit from Ramanand Swami. When Ramanand Swami was giving discoursed to the couple, a voice emerged from within Laluba’s womb, ‘Oh Ramanand Swami! Tell us about the glory and greatness of Lord Purushottam’. Ramanand Swami realised that there was a Mukta from Akshardham in the womb of Laluba, and said ‘Oh great soul! It is not me but it is you who has to sing the glory of the greatness of Purushottam Narayan on this earth.’

Ladudanji was famous for his Poetic excellence right from his early age. The king was so pleased with Ladudan that he thought of spreading his poetic brilliance to other state. God inspired similar thought in Ladudan’s parent in their dream. Ladudanji went to Bhuj to learn Pingal Shastra – the science of Prosody. On his way back, he learnt Sanskrit and music from Vipra Bhattacharya at Dhamadka and received the blessing of Ramanand Swami.

Ladudanji came in contact with the Swaminarayan faith through the Udhvapundra Tilak, which he saw on a goldsmith’s forehead. Under the instruction from the King, he was sent to test the validity of Lord Swaminarayan’s glory and greatness. The goldsmith had warned him saying that he was like a doll made of salt venturing to float across the ocean. On his way to Gadhada, doubt arose in Ladudan’s mind ‘What if, Swaminarayan is God?’ He then said to himself, ‘if so, then he should fulfil my wishes.’ He thus desired for four things:
a) ‘Call me by my name and put the rose garland worn by him, around my neck.’
b) ‘He should identify me.’
c) ‘Show the sixteen divine signs on both his feet.’
d) ‘He should be reading the Bhagwatwrapped in a black-woollen cloth.’

On reaching Gadhda, all the above four desire were fulfilled. Ladudan’s heart swelled with joy and verses flowed from his mouth. He sang his first kirtan; ‘Aajni gadhi re dhanya’.

Maharaj later initiated Ladudanji and named him Shreerangdas but was later changes his name to Brahmanand. Brahmanand used his charm of giving speech and singing kirtans to attract people and convince them to take refuge in Lord Swaminarayan.

Brahmanand Swami was a great poet and composer, Maharaj Himself said that ‘anyone who sings 100 Kirtan composed by Brahmanand Swami with love and affection will receive darshan of His Devine form’

Brahmanand Swami was also involved in the construction of the great Temples of our Sampraday. Using this charm, he got agreement for the land and construction of the first temple in Ahmedabad. Maharaj later asked him to build a small temple in Vadtal, but instead he decided to build it three times larger to please Maharaj. He also built temple in Junagadh and then in Muli.

Brahmanand Swami was so attached to Lord that he could not bear a moment without Him. Maharaj too was attached to Brahmanand Swami. He knew that Brahmanand Swami’s love will not let Him leave His human body. For this reason, Maharaj instructed Brahmanand Swami to go to Vadtal before He departed His human form.

Brahmanand Swami left for Akshardham on the day of Janmashtami, Vikram Samvat 1882 (1832 AD) while chanting Maharaj’s name.

SADGURU MUKTANAND SWAMI

Muktanand Swami was born in the Samvat year 1814 to Anandraj and Radhaben of Amreli. As a child he was devoted to ‘Bal Mukund’ hence his childhood name Mukunddas.

Mukunddas started learning scriptures like the Geeta at a very young age and had a natural talent for music and poetry. He sang and composed many kirtans, including the first and most popular Aarti of our Sampraday – ‘Jay Sadguru Swami…’

He was determined to spread the pathway of religion and devotion to God but his parents wanted him to get married. Nevertheless his parents had their wish fulfilled and married Mukunddas. However, Mukunddas found married life intolerable and eventually, with the permission from his parents, left home to start a new life.

He served several different saints on the way before he met Ramanand Swami. Mukund Das felt total bliss in the presence of Ramanand Swami and lost all his stress and desires for worldly contacts. Mukund Das requested Ramanand Swami to take him as a disciple. Ramanand Swami requested Mukunddas to obtaining permission from his Guru. Mukund Das had to act as a nuisance and mad man in order to get a written permission his Guru. Mukund Das ordained Bhagwati Diksha in Vikram Samvat 1842 and was named Muktanand. Muktanand Swami mastered the religious discourses in Bhuj, thereafter he settled in Loj, where he first met Nilkanth Varni, in the month of Shravan, Vikram Samvat 1856.
Muktanand Swami acted as the guardian and always cared for wellbeing of his fellow saints. Swaminarayan Bhagwan called him, ‘The mother of Satsang’ because of his motherly love, tolerance and smooth interaction with others. His preaching and conversational skills were brilliant at arguing the supremacy of Maharaj and proved that the Swaminarayan sect was in accordance with the ancient scriptures. He has composed various Kirtans and Aartis in addition to seven scriptures of discourses in Sanskrit and a massive twenty-three scriptures in Prakrit. He left for Dham in the VS 1886

SADGURU RAMANAND SWAMI

Ramanand Swami was born as Ramsharma in VS 1795 Shraven Vad 8 in a town called Ayodhya.
Ramsharma’s parents were proper devotees of Shree Krishna. In young age, Ramsharma was full of Dharm, Gyan and Vairagya. As he grew older, he got the strength to get himself detached to the family ties. He left home at a very young age and started his pilgrimage in search of a Guru inorder to have darshan of Lord Krishna. He met Atmanand Swami who initiated him and called him Ramanand Swami.

Atmanand Swami believed in formless (God is light only). Ramanand Swami could not bear this and left his guru. He walked down South of India and came to Shrirang. He studied Ramanujacharays holy books and became a devoted disciple. Ramanujacharya gave Ramanand Swami his divine vision in trance where he had the darshan of Lord Supreme. He started preaching about Bhakti, Dharam, Gyan and Varagya. Devotees of Ramanujacharya did not like this so Ramanand Swami had to leave. He walked to the north and came to Vrandavan. Here he continued his preaching. Lord Krishna gave him Divya (Devine) darshan and reminded him that he was Uddhavji in his previous life and that he should now spread the knowledge that he has passed to him. Lord Krishna initiated him again and he started a separate sampraday called Uddhav sampraday from Ramanujacharya but following the same tenants of Ramanujacharya Sampraday.

Uddhav Sampraday flourished and many devotees and sadhus started joining this Sampraday. Many devotees and sadhus treated Ramanand Swami as a true Guru who would teach them and help them seek salvation. There were several sadhus and one of the important one’s was Muktanand Swami.

When Nilkhanth Varni came to Loj and met Muktanand Swami, Muktanand Swami told Nilkhanth Varni about the glory of Ramanand Swami. Nilkhanth Varni remembered that Ramanand Swami had actually given diksha to his parents. Nilkhanth Varni wanted to meet Ramanand Swami so He wrote a letter. Muktanand Swami also wrote another letter. 2 letters were taken by Mayaram Bhatt to Bhuj at GangaRam Mal’s house where Ramanand Swami was residing. When Ramanand Swami started to read the letter, bright light started emanating from it. Ramanand Swami wrote two letters back to Loj. Muktanand Swami read his letter and Nilkhanth Varni read his letter.

In the meantime, Nilkhanth Varni was teaching Yoga (learned from Gopal Yogi) to other saints. Time passed but nothing was heard from Ramanand Swami. Nilkhanth Varni was growing impatient and said he will go to see Ramanand Swami. Muktanand Swami requested him to stay for a little while.

Ramanand Swami arrived at Piplana and stayed at Narshi Mahta’s house. A Message was sent to Nilkhanth Varni and Muktanand Swami and they started towards Piplana along Bhktaraj and Parbatbhai. On the way there was a river which was overflowing. Somehow everybody managed to cross it. Nilkhanth Varni met Ramanand Swami at Piplana on VS 1856 Veth. Nilkhanth Varni did danvat of Ramanand Swami. Ramanand Swami sat Nilkhanth Varni next to him along with Muktanand Swami.

Nilkhanth Varni started serving Ramanand Swami. On VS 1857 Kartik Sud 11 Wednesday (Prabodhni Ekadashi), Ramanand Swami gave Maha Diksha to Nilkhanth Varni. He was given the name of ‘Sahajanand Swami’ and ‘Narayan Muni.’ Ramanand Swami gave him Acharyaship at Jetpur on VS 1858 Kartik Sud 11 Monday. (Nilkhanth Varni was only 20years, 7months old).

After a couple of months, Ramanand Swami knew he had to leave this world. He called all his disciples at Faneni town and instructed everyone “you have been obeying me, I am Uddhavji Avtar but this Shree Sahajanand Swami is the Supreme god, Purna Purshottam Narayan himself. You should now serve him obediently and give single minded devotion if you wish to acquire ultimate salvation. My work is now over.”

There was a big festival and on the 12th day Ramanand Swami gave food to many saints and Brahmins. On 13th day in the morning Ramanand Swami took a bath in Chacha River and sat in the temple doing meditation and left this world chanting Lord Swaminarayan’s name. He left this world on 13th day of Magshar Sud Thursday 1858 (17-12-1801AD) thus released from Durvasha’s curse.

Shree Sahajanand Swami and the followers performed death rites of the Guru till the 13th day.
We all follow rituals and manner in which they are performed as per Ramananand Swami i.e. Ramanujacharya. Also Shikshapatri instructs us to do this.

Ramanand Swami had powers to put his devotees in Samadhi and give them vision of Lord Supreme.

Shree Swaminarayan Jaynti

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The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.

Shree Swaminarayan Jaynti

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.