Nishkulanand Swami was born as Lalji Suthar in the village of Shekhapat, Gujarat. His father was named Rambhai and his mother was named Amrutbai.
He grew up to become an expert carpenter. He was a disciple of Ramanand Swami before he met Bhagwan Swaminarayan and was married and had two children. Despite this, he still lived the life of an ascetic even before becoming a saint. He and Mulji Sharma (later Gunatitanand Swami), would meet regularly and have Satsang at night after finishing their day’s work, despite living in two separate villages.
Before his departure, Ramanand Swami commanded Lalji Suthar to remain a disciple of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Lalji Suthar fulfilled this and became Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s ideal disciple.
Once, Bhagwan Swaminarayan had to go to Kutch and He asked Lalji Suthar to be His guide. Bhagwan Swaminarayan wanted to stress the importance of reliance on God rather than on one’s own ego. The entire tale is fascinating but of particular note is that during their journey, in the village of Adhoi, Bhagwan Swaminarayan initiated him as a saint, named him Nishkulanand Swami, and asked him to beg bhiksha (alms) from his wife, all of which he devotedly obliged to.
In the same village, as per Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s command, Nishkulanand Swami wrote the first scripture of the holy fellowship called Yamdand in 1904 AD, which describes the pains and sufferings of a sinful person after death in hell. Bhagwan Swaminarayan is hailed as Supreme Godhead in the ‘Yamdand.’
Nishkulanand Swami’s most prominent scripture is Bhaktachintamani, in which he describes the life-long activities of Bhagwan Swaminarayan in a poetic form and is written with great attention to detail and utmost devotion. It is one of the most authentic biographies of Bhagwan Swaminarayan as most of it was written in His very presence. Bhagwan Swaminarayan Himself used to proofread the work in a small room, that still present in Laxmi Vadi, Gadhada.
Nishkulanand Swami also composed twenty-two other very impressive scriptures on various subjects which are compiled as Nishkulanand Kavya.
Many scholars have obtained their doctorate in studies over them. Nishkulanand Swami’s non-attachment was of superior quality. Once, Bhagwan Swaminarayan was considering giving the headship of Gadhada Temple to Nishkulanand Swami. Nishkulanand Swami came to know about this and as he had no likings for such a prestigious post, he woke up early morning and went away to a nearby village. Soon after, Bhagwan Swaminarayan changed His plan and called him back.
When Bhagwan wished to leave the world, He informed Nishkulanand Swami three days in advance, and asked him to prepare a palanquin for His bier.
Nishkulanand Swami prepared it that night. When Bhagwan left His human body, all the saints asked Nishkulanand Swami to prepare a palanquin. He said, “It is ready” and brought it out. The saints asked him, “When Bhagwan was alive, how did you know to prepare it?” He replied, “I am a heavy-hearted, obedient servant. I must obey every command of the master.”
Nishkulanand Swami strengthened the heritage of the holy fellowship with his art and religious literature. The swing with the twelve doors which one can still see in Vadtal and the most artistic wooden thresholds in the inner temple of Dholera are a few of the treasures from his art. In Gadhapur he displayed his art in the Diwali celebrations by presenting artistic plants and trees decorated with kindling lights and a beautifully lighted canopy to cover the beautiful seat of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Nishkulanand Swami also used to create a podium for Bhagwan Swaminarayan in big celebrations. Because of his natural liking for non-attachment, Nishkulanand Swami spent most of his time in Dholera after the departure of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Dholera was drought-prone region and was under developed, so it is very difficult to live there and few people choose to do so.
A British Officer of high rank wanted to meet Nishkulanand Swami after he was very impressed hearing one of his kirtans. He came to Dholera and saw Nishkulanand Swami working at the age of eighty, while covered in white stone dust. The officer was very pleased in seeing such a remarkable personality that was doing such menial task with such devotion.
This stalwart saint of the holy fellowship departed from earth at the age of 82 in Dholera temple in Samvat Year 1903.
The Personal Secretary of the Bhagwan Swaminarayan
Samvat Year 1855 -1925 (1799-1869 AD)