Muktanand Swami, whom Bhagwan Swaminarayan always respected like a Guru, was born as Mukund Das in Amreli, Gujarat. His father was Anandram and his mother was Radhabai. Mukund Das learned scriptures and music from two teachers - Jaduram and Hathiram, both of whom were scholars in literature and fine arts. Mukund Das was very handsome had a beautiful voice. He was perfect blend of beauty as well as virtue. His life was that of an ideal disciple and he soon began his quest for God and left home in search of a true Guru.
Later, he became a disciple of Ramanand Swami and soon become his prime disciple when Ramanand Swami appointed him to be head of Loj ashram.
The saintliness of Muktanand Swami and his satisfactory answer to Neelkanth’s five questions was a major factor in Neelkanth’s decision to stay in Loj. After the passing of Ramanand Swami, Muktanand Swami was the most eligible to become the head of the fellowship, but, as per Ramanand Swami’s command, he remained a faithful servant of Bhagwan Swaminarayan for his entire life.
M.C. Parekh noted, “Swami Muktananda was a true Sadhu as we shall have ample opportunity to see later on, and in the absence of his master, he took care of this young stranger as only a parent could. It was some months before Swami Ramananda came, and during this time a kind of deep spiritual friendship, a sort of mutual reverence and looking upon each other as a Guru, sprang up between these two, which lasted for the next thirty years, to the end of their lives, and which forms one of the most beautiful chapters of the history of this fellowship. “Muktanand Swami fully possessed all of the saintly virtues. Indeed, was as though God had selected the best virtues of a saint and made Muktanand Swami around them! Bhagwan Swaminarayan Himself mentioned, “It’s easy to make the soul of whole universe Satsangi, but it is quite difficult to make a saint like Muktanand Swami.” Evil people who came to kill Muktanand Swami showered him with praise after experiencing his saintly nature and personality. Such was his saintliness and fascinating personality that he could instantly calm a man who was burning with hate and fury.
He had an unflinchingly firm faith and high regard for Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He presented the doctrines and precepts of Bhagwan Swaminarayan in a lucid, graceful and matchless style so effectively that all the doubts of listeners were cleared. For this very reason he raised a large groups of satsangis in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Bharuch, Khambhat (Cambay), Umreth, Anand and Nadiad.
Muktanand Swami was an instrumentalist and a vocalist. Even though Muktanand Swami was senior to Bhagwan Swaminarayan by 23 years, he used to dance and sing in front of Bhagwan Swaminarayan to please Him. Bhagwan Swaminarayan gave him title “The mother of Satsang” because of his motherly love, tolerance and caring. Bhagwan Swaminarayan chose Muktanand Swami to represent the Swaminarayan Sampraday at a debate in Vadodara, even though there were more erudite saints then available. Despite this, Muktanand Swami defeated a few among the best scholars of India and successfully established the Vedic base of the holy fellowship and Bhagwan Swaminarayan as God incarnate.
He was one of the four saints who compiled Vachanamrut, the leading scripture of the holy fellowship. The aarti that is sung in all of Bhagwan Swaminarayan temples, ‘Jay Sadguru Swami’, was written by Muktanand Swami in the praise of Bhagwan Swaminarayan in the village of Kalvani in 1802 AD. This aarti glorified the 21 year-old Bhagwan Swaminarayan as the Supreme Godhead.
Muktanand Swami composed many kirtans. The notable among them are compiled and published as Muktanand Kavya. Muktanand Swami also composed the great scripture named Brahm Sutra Bhashya in Sanskrit. He also wrote scriptures such as Panchratna, Vivekchintamani, Uddhav Gita,
Satsangshiromani, Satigeeta, Kapilgeeta, Narayangeeta and others. Mukund Bavani is a collection of his devotional poetry.
On the 12th day of the dark half of the month of Ashadh, Samvat 1787, only one-and-one-half months after Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s passing, Muktanand Swami departed from this world at Gadhada, aged 71 years.
The Yogic Powered Saint
Samvat Year 1837-1908 (1781-1852 AD)