Shukanand Swami was born as Jagannath in the village of Dabhan near Nadiad in Gujarat, in a Brahmin family. From his childhood he was detached from the material world and did not seek worldly pleasures, but was more interested in scriptures. He was bright, with sharp intellect from a very early age.
When he met Bhagwan Swaminarayan in Gadhada, he wanted to become a sadhu and was given initiation. Muktanand Swami then named him Shukanand Swami.
Shukanand Swami was referred to as the personal secretary of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Whenever Bhagwan Swaminarayan had something to write, he would call upon Shukanand Swami and dictate it to him. Bhagwan Swaminarayan also asked him to compose scriptures for the holy fellowship. His love for the Bhagwan Swaminarayan is evident in the many hymns that he composed.
He prepared the original drafts of Vachanamrut and wrote treatise on Satsangi Jivan and translated a number of volumes into Gujarati. He also compiled drafts pertaining to the administration of the Sampraday – i.e. ‘Desh Vibhag no Lekh.’ He also dealt with all of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s correspondences. In light of this, Bhagwan Swaminarayan often referred to him as His “right arm.” Hence, he earned his reputation as Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s personal secretary. His handwriting was impeccable and his knowledge of Gujarati and Sanskrit languages is clearly evident in his works. He wrote fourteen scriptures, seven in Sanskrit and nine in Gujarati.
Once, Shukanand Swami stayed up all night writing in the veranda in front of the Akshar Ordi. He had written fourteen pages by the time Bhagwan Swaminarayan came out of His room in the morning. Bhagwan Swaminarayan took Shukanand Swami’s work in His hands and suddenly tore it in half and threw it into the courtyard. Shukanand Swami, however, did not utter a word in protest. Nityanand Swami later questioned Shukanand Swami, “Weren’t you upset that Maharaj tore up a whole night’s work without even looking at it?”
Shukanand Swami replied without thinking twice. “I wrote it to please Maharaj,” he said. “If tearing it up pleased Him, then so be it.” Shukanand Swami thus never allowed his feelings get in the way of his Bhakti towards Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan once said, “This Shukanand Swami is a very great sadhu. From the day he began staying with Me, his enthusiasm has been never diminished; in fact, it has been ever increasing. Thus, he is like Muktanand Swami.” (Vachanamrut, Kariyani 3)
After Bhagwan Swaminarayan passed away, Shukanand Swami travelled from village to village to spread the Satsang. Still, he dearly missed Bhagwan Swaminarayan. During his travels, due to his zeal for renunciation and detachment, he would often pray that he be blessed with illness of fever. The reason for this was that his body would become weak, helping him avoid the pleasures of the senses. Bhagwan Swaminarayan answered his prayers. Thus, Shukanand Swami would serve the Satsang during the day and would get fever at night. This routine continued for twelve years. He departed from the world at the age of 70 years in Vadtal on Samvat Year 1925.
A Master Poet and Idol of Love
Samvat Year 1840-1911 (1784-1855 AD)