Nand Santos

Ramanand Swami - Guru of Lord Swaminarayan
Ramanand Swami was born in VS 1795 in Ayodhya under the name of Ramsharma into a Brahmin family.  He was the incarnation of Uddhavji, Ramanuj Acharya initiated him in Shreerangkshetra, Tamil Nadu.

 

Ramanand Swami first met Nilkanth Varni in Piplana VS 1856.  In VS 1857 Ramanand Swami initiated Nilkanth Varni with Bhagwati Mahadiksha.  Subsequently in Jetpur in VS 1858 Ramanand Swami handed over his Acharyaship of the Sampraday to Sahajanand Swami, it was at this time that he granted two boons to Lord Swaminarayan. 


Later that year in Faneni town, he passed away urging his disciples to serve and obediently worship Lord Swaminarayan.

Ramanand Swami

Muktanand Swami - Mother of Sampraday
Muktanand Swami was born as Mukunddas in VS 1814 in Amreli town (Saurastra) to parents Anandram and Radhadevi. 

Once there was a very learned ascetic called Muldas and he took in a poor disowned pregnant woman called Ratanbai.  She gave birth to a girl named Radhabai, in time she married a man called Anandram.  Their first-born was Mukunddas.  Mukunddas stayed celibate and wanted to leave to become a sadhu.

 

He was married but was not happy.  Mukunddas played dumb to make his parents feel that it would be all right to let him go but his parents still tried many things to cure him but none worked.  His parents and friends were becoming frustrated and fed up, finally Mukunddas decided it was the right time to leave and so he left. 

He obtained diksha from Ramanand Swami on Vasant Panchmi VS 1842.  He became a renowned poet and wrote Muktanand Kavya.  His first meeting with Nilkanth Varni was in Loj VS 1856 where he was asked to give the meanings of Jeeva, Ishwar, Maya, Brahm and Parbrahm.  Muktanand Swami died in VS 1887.

Muktanand Swami

Gopalanand Swami - Yogi Raj
Gopalanand Swami was born as Khusalbhatt in VS 1837 in Todla town near Idar.  He was an Audichiya Brahmin, his father was Motiram Sharma and his mother was called Kusladevi. 

 

He obtained diksha in VS 1864 in Vadodara. Lord Swaminarayan held Gopalanand Swami in very high regard and he was very learned in Ashtang yoga.  When the Lord left His mortal body and returned to Akshardham He left responsibility for the Sampraday and the Acharyas in his hands. 

Gopalanand Swami arranged for an idol of Kastabhanjan Hanumanji to be installed in Sarangpur in which he invested a large amount of divine power, which is still evident today.  If Gopalanand Swami was capable of instilling such powers in Hanumanji, one should appreciate and not under estimate the infinite power of his guru, Lord Swaminarayan.  Gopalanand Swami died in VS 1908.

Gopalanand Swami

Brahmanand Swami - Kavi Raj
Brahmanand Swami was born in VS 1828 in Khan, a town in Rajasthan on Vasant Panchmi.  His father was called Shambhudan Barot (Charan) and his mother was called Laluba. 

 

He obtained diksha in VS 1860 in Gerita town, near Sidhpur.  He was initially named Shreerangdasji, later named Brahmanand and was also referred to as Brahmmuni.  He was a very famous poet, had a jolly character and had a great bond of friendship with Lord Swaminarayan.  He wrote the Brahmanand Kavya.  He had skills in architecture and was tasked by the Lord to get land and money for building temples.  He was involved in the construction of the temples at Vadtal, Junagadh and Muli.

The Lord had high respect for Brahmanand Swami and said anybody who sings 100 of his verses everyday would receive darshan of Almighty God Supreme.  Brahmanand Swami died in Muli VS 1888.

Brahmanand Swami

Nityanand Swami - Pandit
Nityanand Swami was born as Dinmani Sharma in Dantia, a town near Lucknow in VS 1812.  He was born into a Gaoud (Yajurvedi) Brahmin family.  His father was called Vishnu Sharma and his mother was Virjadevi.  He also had a brother called Govind Sharma.   

 

He obtained diksha in Meghpur (Saurastra).  Nityanand Swami was a very strong debater, he had a profound knowledge of all scriptures.  He composed ShreeHari Digvijay and produced the first Gujarati translation of the Shikshapatri approved by Lord Swaminarayan. He died in VS 1908 in Vadtal.

Nityanand Swami

Premanand Swami - Premsakhi
Premanand Swami was born as Hathiram in the town of Dora Bharuch in VS 1840.  He was born to Hindu parents who abandoned him at a young age.  A Muslim family raised him, his foster father was called Dosatai.

Dosatai was a good father and wanted Hathiram to learn the art of music.  For this reason Dosatai sent Hathiram to Vadodara to learn music.  After some time, Lord Swaminarayan had arranged a musical concert, which Dosatai and Hathiram attended.  This is where the affection and love between Hathiram and Lord Swaminarayan commenced.  Thereafter Hathiram stayed with Lord.

 

Lord Swaminarayan gave Hathiram diksha and named him Nijbodhanand Swami.  His name was later changed to Premanand, due to his extreme love for Lord.  He was a born poet, many of his hymns are sung daily by devotees.  Premanand Swami composed the words of the Chesta Pad, which is sung and recited daily at all Swaminarayan temples.  He also wrote the Premanand Kavya.  Premanand Swami died in VS 1911 in Gadhada.

Premanand Swami

Nishkulanand Swami - Vairagya Murti
Nishkulanand Swami was born as Lalji Suthar in VS 1822 in the town of Shekhpat, near Jamnagar.  He came from a Gujar Suthar family.  His father was Rambhai and his mother was called Amratbai. 

 

He married Kankubai and had two sons named Govind and Madhavji.  Nishkulanand Swami was strong in observance of penance and renunciation and non-attachment to worldly objects and pleasures.  He had many other skills including carpentry, masonry and sculpting.  Lord Swaminarayan personally asked Nishkulanand Swami to go and oversee the construction project of Dholera temple, when others were unwilling to go.  He wrote Bhakta Chintamani and Nishkulanand Kavya (22 parts).  He died in VS 1904 in Dholera.

Devanand Swami
Devanand Swami was born as Devidan in VS 1859 in Balol town near Dholka.  His father was called Jijibhai and his mother was called Benjiba.

At a very young age, Ashutosh (Shankar) told him that he would one day meet God.  He was also told that he would recognise God whilst God was licking ghee from His elbow.  After seeing this feat at an age of around six he renounced worldly objects.

His initial diksha name was Abheydanand, then later changed to Devanand.  He also was a poet and Brahmanand Swami was his guru.  He wrote Devanand Kavya.  He stayed as Mahant of Muli Temple for 22 years until his death in VS 1910.

Vasudevanand Brahmchari
Vasudevanand Brahmchari was born in VS 1855 in Malapur town in Gujarat.  He was a Trivedi Movada Brahmin.  He obtained diksha in Jetalpur and was initially named Gopalanand Brahmchari then later Vasudevanand. 


Once at Loya village he was asked to do a katha by Lord.  The assembly was overcome by his performance and Lord was very pleased.  It was at this time the Lord gave him the new name of Vasudevanand Brahmchari.  He wrote the Satsangi Bhushan and died in VS 1920 in Ahmedabad.

Shatanand Swami (Santdasji)
Santdasji was born in Meethila town in Nepal.  His father was called Vishnudatt, who was a brahmin.  He obtained diksha in Dabhan.

He had the gift of akhand samadhi, in which he could see Lord in divine form whatever he was doing, even during sleep.  Many times he had remained in samadhi for six months at a time.  At Gadhada the Lord asked him to compose Shreemad Satsangijeevan because of his power and divine vision.  He has written many other scriptures and stotras including Shikshapatri Artha Dipika.

Bhumanand Swami
Bhumanand Swami was born as Rupjibhai in VS 1852 in a town called Keshiya near Jamnagar.  His father was called Ramjibhai and his mother was called Kuverbai, his family name was Kadiya Rathod.

 

He was a sincere and devoted person and composed many kirtans about bhakti.  He composed the Ghanshyam Leelamrut Sagaar scripture.  He was persuaded by a friend to go to Gadhada to find the Lord.  There he did meet the Lord and the scene is captured in the kirtan, ‘Sarve sakhi jeevan jova ne chalo re …’.  After a four day fast he wrote the prominent 'thal' that is sung within the sampraday, ‘Jamo thal jeevan jau vari…’.  Bhumanand Swami died in VS 1924 in Manasa.

Shukanand Swami (Shuk Muni) - Personal Secretary of the Lord
Shukanand Swami was born as Jagannath in VS 1855 in Dabhan in Gujarat.  He came from an Audichiya Brahmin family.

Through Lord’s wish he obtained diksha from Muktanand Swami.  He was referred to as the personal secretary of Lord.  He wrote whatever the Lord wished.  Lord Swaminarayan often called him His right arm.  He wrote 16 scriptures, 7 in Sanskrit and 9 in Gujarati.  He died in VS 1925 in Vadtal.

Gunatitanand Swami
Gunatitanand Swami was born as Mul Sharma in VS 1841, in the town of Bhadra in Gujarat.  His father was called Bhodanath and his mother was called Sakarba.   He always saw the divine image of the Lord.  For about 40 years he stayed as Mahant at Junagadh Temple.  He died in VS 1923 in Gondal.