Brahmanand Swami - Kavi Raj
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Birth Place: Khann (near Abu in Rajastan)
Born: Vasant Panchami 1828
Birth Name: Ladudanji
Ladudanji started studying at the age of seven by Pandit Shiv Shankar Upadhyaya. His parents decided to send their son to Bhuj for further studies as Bhuj was recognised for its education. The parents were worried how to send him as he was too young to go alone. Ladudanji later went to Bhuj with a Brahmin. He completed his study at the age of 28. After some travelling in Gujarat, Ladudanji decided to find Lord Swaminarayan which he heard while on his travels. Ladudanji decided to test Lord Swaminarayan to see if He is really Lord Supreme as described in scriptures. Before Ladudanji had the chance to ask Lord Swaminarayan the questions, He started talking about the journey that Ladudanji had to Bhuj. Lord Swaminarayan also revealed his lotus feet to Ladudanji and he realised he has met the Lord Supreme himself.
Ladudanji remained at Gadhada for a while, where he met Ebhal Khatcher and his daughters. Ebhal Katcher's daughters Jeevuba, Laduba, Nanuba and Panchuba didn't want to get married. Lord Swaminarayan asked Ladudanji to persuade the girls to get married. Ladudanji relied on his intelligence to persuade them. He thought he could convince Laduba to get married but the reverse happened. Laduba told him off for having one foot in the world and one foot with Lord Swaminarayan (attachment to the world or Lord Swaminarayan). Ladudanji decided to become a saint all by the teaching of Laduba.
Therefore he was named "Shree Rang Das" because he got his rang from 'Shree' Lakshmiji (Laduba), Diksha took place in 1861. One morning Shree Rangdasji was singing devotional songs. At the end, Lord Swaminarayan touched the head of the poet and said "Oh Brahmanand you are now drowned in an intoxication of Brahmin." Hearing the word Brahmanand, Shree Rangdasji said "I like this name, Shree Rangdasji does not suit to the poems." Lord Swaminarayan approved the name and renamed Shree Rangdasji as Brahmanand Swami. Brahmanand Swami was a saint that could make Lord Swaminarayan laugh even if He was in a bad mood. He supervised the building of 3 magnificent mandirs. These were Muli, Vadtal and Junagadh.
Some time passed and in 1886 Lord Swaminarayan was ready to return to his divine abode of Akshardham. Lord Swaminarayan realised that He would not be able to leave this world if Brahmanand Swami was present. Then, Lord Swaminarayan received a letter from Gunatitananda Swami at Junagadh which requested Lord Swaminarayan to send Brahmanand Swami to solve a few problems in the construction of a mandir. Lord Swaminarayan instructed Brahmanand Swami to go and sort it out. While working on the mandir Brahmanand Swami saw Baguji Bhagat coming. Brahmanand Swami heard the news that Lord Swaminarayan has left this world, he immediately went to Gadhada where the Agni Sanskar was taking place of Lord Swaminarayan. Gopalanand Swami consoling Brahmanand Swami stated that Lord Swaminarayan would be ever present with his astral body as He is Omnipresent. Brahmanand Swami went straight to Gadhada mandir in front of Gopinathji Maharaj. Lord Swaminarayan appeared in front of Brahmanand Swami and garlanded him. Brahmanand Swami realised that Lord Swaminarayan will always reside in the Murtis of Himself.
Brahmanand Swami left this world on 10 bright half of Jyesta in 1888. He lived for 60 years, 5 months and 5 days.