|December 31, 1998 |
Des Plaines, IL: Ketan's home
Muktanand Swami was born as Mukunddas in Amreli on Posh vad 11, 1814 VS or January 4, 1758 CE. Given in Swami Ni Vato 9/211, despite the desire to lead a celibate life his parents got him married at a young age. In order to leave home, he thus pretended that he was mad. In Wankaner, he met a baavaa by the name of Kalyandas who told Mukunddas that it was impossible to lead a celibate life. Kalyandas told Mukunddas that 40 years ago he had seen just the hand of a young woman, and he was still unable to forget her gesture! Frustrated, Mukunddas contemplated to commit suicide. At the time however, he heard a message telling him that in Sardhar he would find God. Mukunddas hurried to Sardhar and met Tulsidas who was the head of a local temple. In a short time, Tulsidas became pleased with Mukunddas's service and made him the mahanta with responsibility of the temple duties. One night, no one came to the temple for darshana. Upon inquiry, Mukunddas found out that a great saint by the name of Ramanand Swami had visited their town. Mukunddas thus recalled the omnipotent voice that told him that in Sardhar he would meet God. After finishing his temple duties, Mukunddas went to see Ramanand Swami. He finally felt at peace. After the discourses, Mukunddas remained seated, so Ramanand Swami inquired who he was. Discovering that he was a disciple of Tulsidas, Ramanand Swami explained that he could not come there. But for as long as Ramanand Swami was in town, Mukunddas would go to listen to Ramanand Swami's discourses, standing outside in the dark. One night, thinking he was a thief, one of the townspeople saw Mukunddas and thus told Ramanand Swami to let him sit inside. Mukunddas again pleaded Ramanand Swami to accept him as a disciple. Ramanand Swami replied that he could only accept Mukunddas if he brought written permission from his guru. Thus, Mukunddas again pretended he had gone mad and began giving away the temple's things. This eventually convinced Tulsidas to write a note that Mukunddas was leaving the group with the agreement of his guru. Ramanand Swami tested Mukunddas further by asking him to first help at the farm of a devotee, Mulubhai. Mukunddas humbly accepted these orders; but Mulubhai told Ramanand Swami that Mukunddas should not be engaged in farming. Now, Ramanand Swami told him to get a letter from his wife as well.
Finally, on Vasant Panchmi 1842 VS or February 3, 1786 CE, Ramanand Swami initiated Mukunddas and named him Muktanand Swami. Muktanand Swami became close to Ramanand Swami, and was soon appointed as the head of the group of saints in the town of Loj. It was he who finally answered the questions of Nilkanth Varni (Lord Swaminarayan) when He ended His journey across India in Loj. Lord Swaminarayan kept guru-bhaava for Muktanand Swami, who used all of his talents to devote to Lord Swaminarayan. Noted as the "mother of the satsanga fellowship," Muktanand Swami passed away on Ashadh vad 11, 1886 VS or July 23, 1829 CE.