Childhood as Ghanshyam

As prophesied in the various scriptures,  on 3rd April 1781 (Chaitra Sud 9, Samvat 1837),  at 10:10pm, on Ram Navami day, a celestial child was born in a small village called Chhapaiya, near Ayodhya in present day state of Uttar Pradesh.



Born into the brahmin or priestly caste of Sarvariya, Swaminarayan was named Ghanshyam Pande by his parents, Hariprasad Pande (father, also known as Dharmadev) and Premvati Pande (mother, also known as Bhaktimata and Murtidevi). The birth of celestial Ghanshyam (Lord Swaminarayan) coincided with the Hindu festival of Rama Navami, celebrating the birth of Lord Rama. The ninth lunar day in the fortnight of the waxing moon in the month of Chaitra (March–April), is celebrated as both Rama Navami and Swaminarayan Jayanti .


Ghanshyam had an elder brother, Rampratap Pande, and a younger brother, Ichcharam Pande.


Dharmadev and Bhaktimata along with young Rampratap, Ghanshyam and Ichcharam moved to Ayodhya when Ghanshaym was 2 year old.


Ashadh Vad 7th, VS 1837

On the 100th day from the birth of Ghanshyam,  revered saint, Sage Markandeya Muni named the divine child  with 4 names as   Hari,   Krishna, Harikrishna and Nilkhant. He revealed that this divine Ghanshyam, would establish Dharma on this Earth, eradicate pain and misery from people lives, and lead people to salvation, guiding them to the true path towards liberation from the cycle of life and birth.


This celestial being in human form mastered Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Ramayana, and Mahabharata by age of seven. Once at the age of 10, he accompanied his father Dharmade to a scholarly debate in Kashi. Ghanshyam participated in the debate instead of his scholarly father. He  was the only person who could accurately articulate, debate and provide a distinct understanding and explanation to senior Advaita and Vaishnav scholars. His impressive delivery on the merits of Ramunujacharya’s Vishishtadvaita philosophy captivated the minds of all the scholars present.


As years passed, this divine child exhibited his supernatural powers in various ways by achieving some miraculous tasks which are simply not humanly possible.


Vanvicharan (Pilgrimage) as Neelkhant Varni

Ashadh Sud 10th, VS 1848

Young Ghanysham, lost his mother Bhakti Mata and father Dharma Dev in quick succession by age of 11.  Twenty one days after performing the last rites of His father, Ghanshyam embarked on His journey in  search of Guru and to accomplish His true objective for this human birth, which was to –

On the tenth day of the first half of the month of Ashada, Friday date 29-6-1792 VikramEra 1848 young Ghanshyam left  Ayodhya on His Vanvicharan in search of His Guru (spiritual master) . He left home with meagre possessions of a Shaligram, loin cloth around his body, a small scripture, a kamandalu (gourd) deer skin around his waist, a jaap mala (rosary) and a dand (staff).


He started in the direction of Himalayas enduring the harshest of the weather conditions on this planet through dense forests and high mountains, through rivers and glaciers. Traveling towards Kedarnath from Rishikesh and then to Badrivan. He performed sever penance for 4 months standing on one foot in the most dangerous and arduous of terrains and conditions in the world. Traveling further from Badrivan to Kailas and Mansarovar and returning to Badrinath after 6 months to proceed to Gangotri. Along this most amazing journey by any human crossing glaciers at over 20,000 ft above sea levels draped only in loin cloth, He gave darshan to thousands of Rishis. He liberated innumerous ascetic yogis who lovingly referred to Him as Nilkanth Varni.


He mastered Ashtang Yoga in a span of nine months. As time passed by, this divine child exhibited his supernatural powers in various ways by achieving some miraculous tasks which are simply not humanly possible.  Young Neelkanth Varni traveled across the northern regions to the far east through to Kamakshi, Navlakha Parvat, Balva Kund turning towards southern part of Bharatkhand(present day India). He traveled through Jaggannath Puri, Aadikumara, Mannaspur, to Sivkanchi, Rameshwar along the eastern coast. Through this long arduous journey He gave darshan to thousands, served the needy, imparted knowledge to the masses about the true dharma, eradicated wrong practices prevalent in the society and liberated several ascetics by revealing His true form. He Continued his Vanvicharan across the western coasts of Bharatkhand, towards Pandharpur, Nasik and to the present day Gujarat. While He blessed and imparted knowledge to millions who crossed His path, the craving to find His Guru remained unquenched.


Ashram of Ramanand Swami in Loj, Gujarat

tithi Shravan Vad 6th, VS 1856 


Ghanshyam or Neelkanth Varni as He was by then known, was now 18 year old and has been traveling on foot for  7 years, 1 months and 11 days across the length and breath of the country.  On 27th August 1799, the young ascetic reached a small town called Loj in Gujarat. He was spotted by Sukhanand Swami, who was impressed by the grace and the brilliance that encapsulated this young ascetic and promptly invited Him to the ashram that was setup by Ramanand Swami and practicing the teachings of Uddhav Sampraday.


Ramanand Swami had traveled to Bhuj at that time and had deputed Muktanand Swami, a senior disciple as the head of the ashram.  Muktanand Swami, who was 22 year older than Ghanshyam, warmly welcomed young Ghanshyam to the ashram and immediately recognized that this young man was no ordinary human. He requested Neelkhant Varni (Ghanshyam) to make the ashram His home until the return of  Ramanand Swami. Ghanshyam had previously declined many such requests in the past 7 years from many revered ashrams and saints.  He had not yet found a Guru or a place that could convince Him as the right place and association to stay on. Therefore, before accepting the invite to reside in the ashram, He wished to test the knowledge and understanding of the truth of Muktanand Swami.


To test Muktanand Swami the young ascetic asked,  What is the difference between Jiva, Ishwar, Maya, Brahma and Parbrahma; what are their qualities and differences? Ghanshyam had asked many revered saints and scholars these very questions in the past but no one had yet answered him accurately. Muktanand Swami answered these questions based on the teachings of his spiritual Guru (Master) Ramanand Swami. Ghanshyam was fully satisfied with the answers provided to these questions and now  convinced that finally He has arrived at the right place and that Ramanand Swami could be His potential Guru.


Intruiged to meet Ramanand Swami, Ghanshyam agreed to wait at the ashram until the Masters return from Bhuj. As time elapsed and the eagerness to meet the Guru grew, Neelkhant Varni and Muktanand Swami, both wrote letters to Ramanand Swami requesting a meeting. Reading the letter from Neelkhant Varni, Ramanand Swami instantly recognized that Neelkhant Varni was none other than Lord Supreme Himself.


Ramanand Swami was none other than the reincarnation of Uddhav ji, the close companion of Lord Krishna in the Dwapar Yug. Before His departure from earth, Lord Krishna had imparted the knowledge of true Ekantic Dharma to Uddhav ji and had instructed him to propogate this knowledge to form the true Dharma. The same Uddhav ji in the reincarnation as Ramanand Swami had established the Uddhav Sampraday on the teachings of the Lord.


Neelkanth Varni Meets Ramanand Swami

Tithi Jeth Vad 12, 1856

Ramanand Swami left Bhuj for Piplana and sent a message to the ashram asking all the shishyas(desciples) and Ghanshyam to come to visit him at Piplana.


This was the message which Ghanshyam had been awaiting all these months. Without any delay, all the disciples left for PFinally Nilkant Varni meets  Ramanand Swami at Piplana on Vikram Samvat 1856, Jeth Vad 12 (Thursday- 18th June 1800. ) It is said that those who witnessed the meeting of the Ramanand Swami and Neelkanth Varni, could instantly feel the divine connection between the two. It was none other than Supreme Lord Narayan meeting with his old companion Uddhav ji. Ramanand Swami instantly recognized the Neelkanth Varni was none other than the Supreme Lord who has come to establish the true Ekantik Dharma. Time stood still as both warmly greeting each other with young Neelkanth Varni paying his obisanse to the revered spiritual Guru. Sitting down at the feet of Ramanand Swami, Neelkhant Varni demonstrated yet again, that although the Supreme Lord is almighty, but in human form, the only way to salvation is via the grace of Guru. Same as Lord Rama set at the feet of His Guru Sage Vashishta.


Initiation and Coronation.

Kartik Sud 11th, VS 1858


Few months later, on the auspicious day of Samvat 1857 Kartik Sud 11 (Wednesday 28th October 1800) young  Neelkhant Varni received the ceremonial diksha (initiation)  by Ramanand Swami into the Uddhav Sampraday as a sadhu (monk or sant). Ramanand Swami chirstened Nilkant Varni as Sahajanad Swami and Narayan Muni,  formally adopting Sahajanand Swami as his shisya (disciple). Thus finally Neelkhant found his Guru in Ramanad Swami.


Ghanshyam was now referred to as Sahajanand Swami traveled extensively with His Guru (Master) Ramanand Swami and revealed His superior prowess in austerity, dharma( religious decree), bhakti (devotion), gynan (knowledge), yog (yoa), dhyan (meditation) and siddhis(power to perform miracles). Ramanand Swami decided to appoint young Sahajanand Swami as his successor and head of the Uddhay Sampraday that he had established.


On Samvat 1858 Kartik Sud 11 (Monday 16th November 1801), Ramanand Swami called for a vast congregation of the followers of Uddhav Sampraday at Jetpur. In this congregation Ramanand Swami revealed that his activities of establishing the Uddhav Sampraday was pre-cursor to the main event, that being the arrival of Sahajanand Swami to take the leadership of the Uddhav Sampraday. He (Ramanand Swami) was merely the drumbeater, awakening and alerting all to the imminent arrival of the Supreme Lord Almighty who is truly worthy of worship and that Supreme God was none other than Sahajanand Swami. He has finally arrived amongst us.


Shree Ramanand Swami then proceeded to seat the Lord (Sahajanand Swami who is none other than Lord Swaminarayan) to the throne as the head of the Uddhav Sampraday. This throne on which the Lord presided is the Swaminarayan Gadi.

Sacred Teachings and Timeless Wisdom!

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