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.