Kaviraj Shri Brahmanand Swami

Early life :

Brahmanand Swami was born in the village of Khan near mount Abu in Rajasthan, on the auspicious day of Vasant Panchmi of Vikram Samvat year 1828.  He was born in the Charan caste of father Shambhdan and mother Laluba.

Once Ladudan went to the local King’s palace and there he sang a few poems praising the King and his virtues.  Seeing the poetic genius of the young Ladudan the King asked Shambhudan Gadhavi to allow Ladudan to be taught Pingal (science of constructing poetry) at the royal expense.  Thus Ladudanji learnt Pingal and other scriptures and became an erudite in poetry, and other scriptures.

Soon Ladudanji was a well known poet in the royal courts of Dhangadra, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar.

Meeting with Bhagwan Swaminarayan and initiation :

The Maharaja of Bhavnagar, Vajesinh once invited Ladudanji to his palace.  There he sang poems and song in praise of the Maharaja, the Maharaja was very pleased and told one of his ministers to reward Ladudanj with gold ornaments so many that he gets covered in gold.  An artisan came to take measurements of Ladudanji’s body to make ornaments for him.  The artisan was a devotee of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.  He suggested that Ladudanji go to Gadhada and meet with the Lord almighty himself. Ladudanji agreed but he went with certain conditions in mind, the fulfillment of which would convince him that Bhgwan Swaminarayan is the supreme Godhead.  One of his mental conditions was that Bhagwan Swaminarayan be reading a scripture in an assembly kept in a black cloth (generally scriptures are placed on a red cloth), one other condition was that Bhagwan Swaminarayan be wearing a garland of roses in summer (it was scorching heat and roses were not found in that part of Gujarat), other condition being that Bhagwan Swaminarayan call him by his name even though they had not met previously etc.

As he entered the court of Dada Khachar in Gadhada Shreeji Maharaj greeted him with his name and his other conditions were also fulfilled and he was convinced that Bhagwan Swaminarayan was the almighty and sang the song ‘Aaj ni ghadi re dhanya aaj ni ghadi ….’  He stayed with Shreeji Maharaj after that.

Ladudanji lived a royal and majestic lifestyle.  He always adorned jewelry befitting kings. Bhagwan Swaminarayan wanted to change Ladudanji’s attitude towards materialistic goods and for the great poet that he was once Shreeji Maharaj sent him to convince Laduba and Jivuba to renounce austerity and get married, with his colorful poetry.  He thought that the task was easy and so he went to Jivuba and Laduba, and started telling them the beauty of the human body and pleasures of the material world.  From behind a cloth curtain the sisters listened him talk and when he was done, they told him ‘Ladudanji, if you are done we would like to talk.  A soul get all kinds of bodies from being an animal to plant or bugs or birds, but this human form of body is precious, should be used to attain salvation and not be wasted on decorating it as the beauty lasts for a short time in life….’.  These words among others transformed Ladudanji, he went back, bowed to Shreeji Maharaj, thanked him of freeing him of his ignorance and asked him to initiate him in his ranks of Sadhus.  Shreeji Maharaj gave him diksha and named him Shrirangdas.  One day early in the morning Shrirangdas was composing and singing kirtans for Shreeji Maharaj.  Shreeji Maharaj heard this and sat in front of him and gladly listened to the kirtan and told that Shrirangdas was enjoying the bliss of Brahman and called him Brahmanand from then on he was called Brahmanand Swami.

Swami as Bhagwan’s friend :

Brahmanand Swami had a very good sense of humor and used to amuse Shreeji Maharaj with his wit whenever the opportunity was there.  His devotion and love for Shreeji Maharaj was that of a true friend.  He is widely known as the Sakha (friend) of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.  His friendship was not merely for the sake of it. His friendship with Maharaj had put Bhagwan’s qualities in him.  One such incident was that he by mere touch made a horse free of sensual desires.  Shreeji Maharaj himself knew that Brahmanand Swami had the power to bring him back to the earth if he left for Akshardham in the presence of Brahmanand Swami and so as we know ordered Brahmanand Swami to go to Jungadh prior to leaving for Akshardham.

Swami’s works :

Brahmanand Swami was an excellent poet and has composed many kirtans for Bhagwan Swaminarayan compiled in a book called ‘Brahmanand Kavya’.  Shreeji Maharaj has also said that if one daily recites 100 of Brahmanand Swami’s kirtans ardently, He would give darshan to such a devotee.

Brahmanand Swami was also responsible for the construction of the temples in Vadtal, Junagadh and Muli.  He has also written scriptures in Hindi and Gujarati.