Guru of Lord Shree Swaminarayan
Born in VS 1795/1739 AD in Ayodhya, Ramanand Swami was the reincarnation of Uddahavji from Lord Krishna Bhagvan’s time and the founder of the Uddahv Sampraday based on the divine knowledge given to him by Bhagvan.
When Bhagvan went on pilgrimage as Nilkanth Varni, He met Ramanand Swami in Piplana for the first time. Ramanand Swami handed over his Acharayaship of the Sampraday to Nilkanth Varni in Jetput and gave Him two names: Sahajanand Swami and Narayan Muni. Ramanand Swami also granted Sahajanand Swami two boons:
- If a follower of the sampraday suffers the pain of a scorpion sting, that pain must befall on me millions upon millions of times, but the satsangi of this sampraday should enjoy peace.
- If a follower of the sampraday suffers hardship such as getting food and clothes, and has to beg accordingly to his fate, I beg those hardships befall on me and the satsangi should get food and clothes easily.
Mother of our Sampraday
Muktanand Swami was born in Amreli, VS 1814/1758 AD as Mukunddas. His parents forced him to get married, but as he was not happy with this, he left home and started a new life as a celibate. He met Ramanand Swami and accepted him as his guru.
Muktanand Swami had a deep affection towards the other saints and cared greatly for their well-being, just like a mother. Hence the name ‘Mother of our Sampraday’. He was an extremely great poet who compiled many kirtans, including the aarti ‘Jay Sadguru Swami’.
Yoga Murti/Yogi Raj
Gopalanand Swami was born in the year of VS 1837/1781 AD as Khushalbhatt in a town called Todla. He was very learned in grammar, Indian philosophy, astrology, astronomy, Ashtang Yoga and had attained a very high level of spirituality.
Born in VS 1828/1772 AD as Ladudanji in a town called Khan, Brahmanand Swami’s character was very jolly and he was known to be able to deliver great speeches. He was also a very famous poet and portrayed excellence with his music. So much so, that Bhagvan was immensely pleased with Brahmanand Swami and his songs, He said that whoever sings a hundred songs written by Brahmanand Swami daily, will receive His divine darshan.
Brahmanand Swami had great architectural skills and was asked by Bhagvan to help in the construction of the grand temples in Junagadh, Vadtal and Muli.
He composed Shree Hari Digvijay in Sanskrit which describes the glory of Lord Swaminarayan. It also explains in detail God, the soul and Maya. He also produced the first Gujarati translation of the Shikshapatri authenticated by Lord Swaminarayan.
Premsakhi/An idol of love
Born in VS 1840/1784 AD as Hathiram in a town called Dora Baruch, he was abandoned by his parents and raised by a good Muslim family. He was a born poet who had mastered the arts of music and instruments throughout his youth and very well known for the contribution he has made to our Sampraday through the kirtans he has composed.
Once Hathiram had become a sant, Lord Swaminarayan changed his name to Premanand due to the extreme devotional love he expressed in his kirtans. We sing Premanand Swami’s kirtans every day, for example, ‘Chesta Pad’ or the kirtan ‘Aaj Mare Orade Re’.
Vairagya ni murti/Idol of attachment only to God
Nishkulanand Swami was born as Lalji Suthar in VS 1822/1766 AD in Jamnagar. He was married with two sons, but spent all his spare time devoting himself to God. Once he had seen Lord Swaminarayan and experienced Him in His true glory, he left his life as a householder and became a sant.
Nishkulanand Swami is known for his strong non-attachment towards worldly pleasures and materialistic objects. He performed severe penance showing he was devoted to God and God only and also wrote the Bhaktchintamni and Nishkulanand Kavya.
Sukhmani/Personal Secretary of Lord Shree Swaminarayan
Sukhanand Swami was born as Jagannath Batt in Dabhan, VS 1885/1799 AD. He was a very humble devotee of the Lord and very skilled in writing and literacy. He compiled many pieces of literature and was involved with the Vachnamrut and Satsangi Jeevan.
Born in the town of Meethila, Shatanand Swami had the gift of true Samadhi and sometimes remained in Samadhi for up to months. He could see the Lord in his divine form despite whatever activity he was doing and even during sleep.
Born in VS 1852/1796 AD in a town called Keshiya, his birth name was Rupjibhai. He has written many kirtans praising Lord Shree Swaminarayan and in particular, has written the thaal ‘Jamo thal jeevan jau vari’, which is sung everyday when we feed God.
Devanand Swami was born in VS 1859/1803 AD as Devidan in the village of Barol. He was a great poet, an excellent singer and a master in playing the sitar.
He served 20 or so years as chief of the temple in Muli after Brahmanand Swami had passed away.
Sachidanand Swami was a great devotee of Lord Swaminarayan, with an immense amount of love for the Lord. He would see God in everyday activities and when he did samadhi. So intense was his love for the Lord, if there was a moment where he did not see God he would go mad looking for Him.