Gopalanand Swami

Gopalanand Swami was born as Khushal Bhatt in the village of Todala on February 2, 1781 (Maha sud 8, VS 1837) to Motiram Thaker and Khushal Devi, a pious Brahmin family. From a young age, he began studying Sanskrit and Vedic scriptures under his father and pundits. Once, at the village temple, the statue of Shamlaji Bhagwan was missing an anklet ornament and a silk garment. When villagers began accusing the temple priest, a voice from Shamlaji explained that the ornament and garment fell while Shamlaji was playing with Khushal. The villagers thus found the missing items and came to realize how special Khushal was. When the ruler of Idar imposed heavy taxes on Brahmins, the villagers pleaded Khushal to help them. Khushal asked the king to change his ruling, but the king refused. Due to the king's bad behavior, soon the entire family became constipated. After three days of suffering, the king finally asked Khushal for forgiveness and gave in writing that he would not unfairly tax the Brahmins.

Khushal first heard about Lord Swaminarayan from Sarveshvaranand Swami near the village of Nabhoi. Renouncing family life, Khushal journeyed with the help of a Brahmin (whom Khushal later realized was actually Lord Swaminarayan) to Jetalpur and first met Lord Swaminarayan in Dabhan. In 1808 (Kartik vad 8, VS 1864) Lord Swaminarayan initiated Khushal as Gopalanand Swami in Dada Khachar's darbara in Gadhada. Lord Swaminarayan asked Gopalanand Swami to go to Vadodara (Baroda) to flourish the satsanga. By his saintliness and divine powers, many became satsangis. (Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad II of Vadodara became a disciple of Lord Swaminarayan due to Gopalanand Swami and welcomed Lord Swaminarayan to Vadodara on November 28, 1825. Gopalanand Swami gave samaadhi to Nawab Hamid Khan who thus helped with the construction of the Junagadh temple.) Gopalanand Swami also invested great power in a statue of Hanuman in Sarangpur in 1849 (VS 1895) which to this day is known for its divine power.

It is said that after Lord Krishna, Gopalanand Swami mastered ashtanga (eightfold)-yoga. His commentaries on the Gita, Shrimad Bhagavat, Brahma-Sutras, etc. are renowned in explicating Hindu philosophy. Gopalanand Swami was also one of the authors of the Vachanamrut. Gopalanand Swami Ni Vato also reveals the glory of Lord Swaminarayan and His saints. Before passing away, Lord Swaminarayan asked the Acharyas of the Amdavad and Vadtal Gadis to stay under the command of Gopalanand Swami. Gunatitanand Swami explained Gopalanand Swami's glory as Anaadi Maha Mukta; Gopalanand Swami explained the glory of Gunatitanand Swami as Anaadi Mul Akshar. Before passing away in Vadtal, Gopalanand Swami asked saints and devotees, including Bhagatji Maharaj and Jaga Swami, that their vision should now be towards Lord Swaminarayan in Akshardham or Gunatitanand Swami of Junagadh. Gopalanand Swami left his body on May 11, 1852 (Vaishak vad 4, VS 1908).

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