|March 17, 2001 |
Brahmanand Swami (also named Shrirangdas) was born as Ladudan Barot on Vasant Panchmi, 1828 VS or January 8, 1772 CE in Khangam (in the Shirohi district in Rajasthan). Studying in Bhuj, he became a great scholar, adept in many faculties, including poetry and music.
Prior to initiation, Ladudan was a renowned raaja-kavi (court poet). Once, pleased by his performance, the king ordered that Ladudan's measurements be taken to ornament him in gold. The person who was to make the gold ornaments happened to be a devotee of Swaminarayan Bhagwan, and thus wore the tilaka-chaandalo mark on his forehead. Hearing about Swaminarayan Bhagwan from him, Ladudan headed for Gadhada. On the way there, he mentally conjured four conditions that would indicate if Swaminarayan Bhagwan was in fact God: (1) He should have a rose garland, (2) He should be discussing the Shrimad Bhagavat which should be placed on a black cloth, (3) He should have the 16 signs of God on His feet, and (4) He should call Ladudan by his name.
When Ladudan entered Dada Khachar's court, all four conditions were fulfilled. [Given in Swami Ni Vato 9/56:] After being inspired by Jivuba and Laduba, Ladudan was soon initiated as Brahmanand Swami and sung, "Aajanee Ghadee Re Dhanya Aajanee Ghadee." When Brahmanand Swami's parents heard that he was initiated, they came to Gadhada accompanied with Ladudan's uncle and two sisters that were betrothed to marry him. In the evening assembly, Brahmanand Swami conveyed his feelings by singing, "Re Sagapana Harivaranu."
Swaminarayan Bhagwan had a jovial relationship with Brahmanand Swami. (For example, Brahmanand Swami instantly composed "Taaro Chataka Rangeelo" when Swaminarayan Bhagwan caught him dozing off during a discourse.) Swaminarayan Bhagwan also applauded his adherance to celibacy. (In Vachanamarut Jetalpur 2, Swaminarayan Bhagwan praises Brahmanand Swami as being a 'yati.') Brahmanand Swami composed over 8 thousand bhajanas on Swaminarayan Bhagwan and oversaw the temples construction.
When Swaminarayan Bhagwan decided to return to Akshardham, Brahmanand Swami tried to make Swaminarayan Bhagwan change His mind. Finally, Swaminarayan Bhagwan sent Brahmanand Swami to Junagadh, asking him to call Gunatitanand Swami to Gadhada. About one week later, Brahmanand recieved the news that Swaminarayan Bhagwan returned to Akshardham. By the time he arrived to Gadhada however, Swaminarayan Bhagwan's body was already creamated. At the time, Brahmanand Swami exclaimed that if Swaminarayan Bhagwan's body was kept, he would have brought God back. When Brahmanand Swami sung, "Praana sanehi ghara aavo abto," Swaminarayan Bhagwan emerged from the Gopinathji moorti and gave Brahmanand Swami a rose garland. Brahmanand Swami passed away in Muli on Janmashthami, 1888 VS or August 15, 1832 CE.