A spiritually powered saint, Gopalanand Swami was born as Khushal Bhatt in the Todla Village of Sabarkantha District, Gujarat. His father was Motiram Sharma and his mother was Kushaladevi.
He went to Varanasi for further study. He pursued deep study and became a dedicated scholar, with knowledge of Vyakaran, Nyaya, Mimansa, Vedanta, Astrology and numerous other disciplines. After coming in contact with Bhagwan Swaminarayan, he desired to become a saint. Bhagwan Swaminarayan Himself initiated him and gave name Gopalanand Swami. Bhagwan
Swaminarayan always held Gopalanand Swami in very high regard and used to take his advice. However Gopalanand Swami behaved like servant.
Gopalanand Swami was a master of Ashtang Yoga as well as a great Nadi Vaidya (Ayurveda physician who identifies illness using the pulse).
In Samvat 1878 Fagan Sud 3, the installation of NarNarayan Dev in Ahmedabad was taking place. Gopalanand Swami was appointed to perform the ceremonial sacrifice; Bhagwan Swaminarayan said of him, “Gopalanand Swami can change a stone into a Dev.” Gopalanand Swami was such a stalwart saint of the holy fellowship that before departing for Akshardham, Bhagwan Swaminarayan left responsibility of the whole fellowship to Gopalanand Swami and instructed everyone to obey him.
Gopalanand Swami remained at the helm of the holy fellowship for 22 years after the departure of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Under his direction, the fellowship continued strengthening and spreading. He prepared guidelines so activities related to Deity, Acharya, Saints, Disciples and Scriptures happened as per the command of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Gopalanand Swami was a great spiritual powered saint with an extraordinary and miraculous ability. Despite this, he used his skills solely in service to the holy fellowship and he himself remained humble and free of conceit. Nevertheless Gopalanand Swami not only garnered the respect of the leading Acharyas, saints and disciples, but also that of the most powerful people of Gujarat, such as Sayajirao Gaikwad, Ardeshar Kotwal and others.
Gopalanand Swami consecrated the idol of Kashtabhanjan Dev – Hanumanji – at Sarangpur, a village of Ahmedabad district, which stands today as the proof of the spiritual strength of Gopalanand Swami. This temple attracts millions of people of different faiths from all over the world every year.
In response to the invitation of Sir John Malcom, then Governor of Mumbai Province, Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan arrived at Rajkot on 26th February 1830. Bhagwan Swaminarayan had taken a seat in the assembly of the saints and disciples under a Ber tree. At that time, Gopalanand Swami happened to pass under this tree, and the thorns became stuck in his turban. Gopalanand Swami said, “Oh! Though you yourself came into direct contact with the Supreme God, you have not given up your nature!” On hearing these words, all the thorns of this Ber tree fell off. The tree became thornless and can be observed as such even today.
During his lifetime, Gopalanand Swami wrote nineteen books in Sanskrit and seven books in other languages. He wrote a commentary on the Bhagvad Gita, Shrimad Bhagvad and Ishavashyopanishada in Sanskrit on the basis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s philosophy.
He was one of the four saints who compiled Vachanamrut, the leading scripture of the holy fellowship. His discourse was compiled in a book called ‘Gopalanand Swami Ni Vato’ (Tales of wisdom), which reveals the glory of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and moral tales filled with wit and wisdom. This book provides an important aid in the realization of God to souls desiring salvation.
Gopalanand Swami left his body on May 11, 1852 (Vaishak vad 4, Samvat 1908) at Vadtal with yogic power. He was 71 years of age. In order to commemorate this great saint, a marble monument has been set up at the spot of his cremation at the holy land of Gnan Baug in Vadtal.
An Akshar Brahm
Samvat Year 1841 -1923 (1785-1867 AD)