A child named Ladudan was born in Samvat 1828 (1772 CE) at Khangam in Shirohi district. His mother’s name was Laduba and his father’s name was Shambhudanji. He was a brilliant child who earned the titles of Rajkaviratna (royal poet), Pingal-vidyacharya, Mahakavishvar (great singer), and Shatavdhani. He learnt Sanskrit and the art of music from the great Vipra Bhattacharya.
As Ladudan grew older his fame as a great poet spread. During his travels, he came to the court of King Vajesingh in Bhavnagar. Here, the king witnessed the poet’s oratory at its best. The king called the royal goldsmith and instructed him to adorn the poet’s entire body with gold ornaments. Seeing an upright mark of sandalwood paste (tilak) and a large round vermilion mark (chandlo) on the goldsmith’s forehead, Ladudan was puzzled. He inquired about this mark. The goldsmith spoke glowingly about Bhagwan Swaminarayan. It was the first time that Ladudanji had heard about Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Thirsty for more information, he left for Gadhada. He decided to make four wishes on his way to confirm if Bhagwan Swaminarayan was truly God or not. On reaching Gadhada, Bhagwan Swaminarayan fulfilled each of his wishes. Ladudanji felt great peace and happiness in his heart. Instantly words flowed out from his mouth: Ãjni ghadi re, dhanya ãjni ghadi... “Blessed is this moment, Blessed is this moment…” He then decided to stay with Maharaj. Noticing the staunch devotion of Ladudanji, Maharaj initiated him into the sadhufold and named him Shrirangdas Swami. Later on he came to be known as Brahmanand Swami.
Brahmanand Swami would charm the greatest of scholars by his genius and deep knowledge. They would all then accept Maharaj’s refuge. He was known as a shigrakavi, that is one who is able to compose songs instantly. He frequently pleased Maharaj with his poetic abilities.
Sometimes Maharaj held discourses during the night. If anyone was caught dozing, Maharaj would wake them up by throwing a berkho (rosary made of big beads). On one such night, Brahmanand Swami was caught dozing. Suddenly, Maharaj playfully threw the berkho at him, waking him up. Brahmanand Swami immediately stood up and returned the berkho. As if annoyed, he asked Maharaj, “Why did you strike me with the berkho?” “Because you were sleeping,” replied Maharaj. Brahmanand Swami disagreed and said, “I was busy composing songs describing your form.” Maharaj was pleased with his witty reply and at once commanded him to sing. Brahmanand Swami started:
“Tãro chatak rangilo chhedalo, alabelã re.
Kãi naval kasumbi pãgh, ranganã relã re.”
As the other sadhus repeated the stanza, Brahmanand Swami would compose the next verse. Like this, he composed four devotional songs on the spur of the moment. Even though he fooled the assembly by using his talent, Maharaj was still pleased by his devotion.
Before Maharaj went to dham, he had commanded Brahmanand Swami to construct a mandir in Muli. Following Maharaj’s agna, Brahmanand Swami began to completely focus on this one task. After that command was fulfilled, Brahmanand Swami was now waiting for Maharaj to take him to Akshardham. On the Janmashtami day of samvat 1888 (1832 A.D.), Brahmanand Swami with the constant chanting of Shriji Maharaj’s name left his mortal body and went to Akshardham to remain in Maharaj’s service forever. He was one of the shining jewels in the senior circle of Maharaj’s disciples. He has contributed many services to the Sampraday in many ways.