Birth Place : Amareli
Distt. : Amareli (Saurashtra), Gujarat State.
Date of Birth : The 7th day of the bright half of Pausha, V.S. 1814.
Father : Anandram
Mother : Radhabai
First Name : Mukund Das.
At the time of his birth, the child Mukunddas impressed everybody by his spiritually wisdom and was therefore named 'Mukund Das.' In his childhood, he was quite different than the rest of the children in his age group. When children of his age group were indulging in sports, and games Mukund was sitting quietly in seclusion with the closed eyes. Mukunddas learnt Vedas, scriptures and music from his two teachers - Jaduram and Hathiram. Both of whom were scholars in literature and fine arts. The disciple - Mukunddas was a genius, within a few years he mastered the art of music and the knowledge of religious scriptures.
He practiced celibacy with a strong will and firm determination to propagate the path of devotion. His parents were much worried about the attitude of Mukunddas and were sacred of losing such a genius child. To tie him into worldly affairs they arranged the marriage of Mukunddas.
During his conjugal life, Mukunddas stood firm in his resolute of practising celibacy and detachment. Besides these great virtues, he began acting mentally deranged to invoke a sense of dislike from his family members. Thus, acting like a madman he posed himself as a great nuisance. Thus, in such self generated circumstance he left the region under the cover of night.
He visited many villages and towns in his countrywide search for a saint who can help him in overpower his senses against the objects of desire. Thus he reached Dhrangadhra and stayed with the sage Dwarkadas in Rang-Mahol. He served Dwarkadas with his best with a request to help him in controlling and out-rooting desires. Dwarkadas pointed him towards saint Kalyandas of Vankaner who had destroyed his sensual desires and wore an undergarment made of brass. Mukunddas surrendered at the feet of Kalyandas and prayed for his blessing in his mission of destroying sensual desires. But Kalyandas explained to Mukunddas the element of paramount of sense organs and their immense power. Also he disclosed flatly that it was impossible to destroy sensual desires.
Mukunddas was greatly perturbed and cried like a helpless child. In such a distraught state, he heard some divine words telling him to visit Sardhar to meet a great saint. Mukunddas came to Sardhar (Saurashtra). His journey was halted at Ramchandrajis Mandir where he met saint Tulsibhava and remained under his guidance. He earned the pleasure of Tulisbhava by doing Poojan Archan of the Gods in the temple, collecting Bhiksha for the residents of the temple, offering meals to pilgrims at the temple and reading Ramayan-Katha every evening. Saint Tulisbava entrusted to him total responsibility of pantry, Kitchen, store and treasure of the jewellery and ornaments of Gods etc. Mukunddas handled this responsibilities very carefully.
After some time, the audience at the Ram Katha reduced to a remarkable low number. When he inquired about the cause, Tulsibhava said that devotees these days have diverted to Ramanand Swami who was camping close by the temple. Out of his curiosity, Mukunddas went to do darshan of Ramanand Swami. No sooner had he laid his eyes upon the Swami all his mental anxieties and desires vanished. He felt a state of total bliss in the presence of the Swami. Mukunddas recalled the divine words he had previously heard and was sure that they been referring to this Great Swami before him.
Mukunddas began to daily visit the satsang sabhas held by Ramanand Swami and requested that he take him as a disciple .Ramanand Swami refused without permission from his Guru and Tulsibhava refused to permit him to go. Once again Mukunddas adopted the stimulated madness by wasting food grains and funds on the visitors and beggars. Seeing Mukunddas a nuisance Tulsibhava relieved him form his discipleship and Mukunddas came to Ramanand Swami with a written permission from his previous preceptor. Ramanand Swami was gracing Bandhia - a small village in the region at the time and asked Mukunddas to work as labourer in a farm of one devotee Shri Malubhai. Although he knew nothing about agriculture, Mukunddas followed the orders of the Swami and did the job to his best capacity. Mulubhai reported back to Ramanand Swami, highlighting Mukunddas's commitment and dedication. Swami pleased called him back to his hermitage, administrated Bhagwati Deeksha and gave him the sainthood name of Muktanandji.
Thus, Muktanand Swami held main seat as principal disciple of Ramanand Swami. He mastered the eight folded yogic state. Ramanand Swami in one of the sabhas of spiritual heights disclosed that he himself was a small time player of the hand-drum and the real showman was yet to come. He asked Muktanand to settle in village Loej to open free food camp serve all pilgrims there and one amongst these will be Purushottam Narayan. Thus Muktanand Swami awaited the arrival of Lord Purushottam Narayan.
One day, Sadhu Sukhanand a fellow saint and devotee residing at the hermitage found an young saint with divine aura bathing by a well near the village. Impressed by the sight of the divine attributes he took the young brahmchari to hermitage and introduced him to Muktanand Swami on the auspicious 6th day of the bright half of Shravan in V.S. 1856. Muktanand Swami found himself drawn towards the divine presence of the youthful saint and coming forward offered pranams. On a mutual introduction, Muktanand Swami gathered that the visitor was the son of DharmaDev and BhaktiDevi, and had spent seven years in the seclusion of the mountains and forests. His present name was Varniraj Shri Nilkanth Brahmchari.
Nilkanth Brahmchari stayed at the hermitage of Loej. Ramanand Swami in Bhuj during those days knew of this through the correspondence and advised Muktanand Swami to ask Nilkanth Varni to stay and wait for him at Loej. As per the orders from Ramanand Swami Nilkant Varni waited in Loej for Guru Ramanand.
Satsang gives great importance to Muktanand Swami, because the foundation of this great sect was laid by him by closing interactive window between hermitage and neighbour, and separated women from the gents in Satsang Sabha on instance from Nilkanth Brahmchari.
He, though in age was senior to Shri Hari, but in succession to Ramanand Swami he proposed Shri Hari as the successive preceptor and head of the sect. Thus S.G. Muktanand Swami lived under the auspices of Shri Hari who always respected him like a Guru. Muktanand Swami too possessed such sentiments for Shri Hari, that he was always ready to act upon His words.
Muktanand Swami was also an expert instrumentalist, vocalist, preacher and orator besides being a great saint. He was equally at ease in dancing. He could transform any evil element into a divine entity by his affectionate discourses. Shri Hari called him 'The mother of Satsang' because of his motherly love, tolerance and smooth interaction.
Muktanand Swami and fellow saints had a deep influence on the society due to their commitment towards renunciation and strict behaviour. It was obvious that evil forces in general and Khakhi Vairagis in particular were facing hard times due to shortage of intoxicating substances. Therefore, Khakhi Vairayis were always angry at Bhagwan Swaminarayan and his saints. They saw them as their enemies and prowled upon them on any opportune time. Once a mob of 200 such Vairagis laced with deadly weapons rushed to the camping place of Muktanand Swami and his saints. Muktanand Swami was extremely wise and practical. He always acted in tune with time. Without wasting a moment, he rose and ran towards the mob of the Khakhi Vairagis and said loudly with both the hands raised towards the sky
'Great time ! Great fortune ! We have been blessed by the salvaged souls of Vaikuntha. Such an opportunity is available only if there are good deeds of the past ages. We are realy fortunate !'
Khakhi Vairagis were taken aghast at such reaction from Muktanand Swami and the saints following the steps of Mukta Muni ! Then Mukta Muni said to his siants. 'It is not the moment to wait. It is a unique gift. Come on, bow to them.' The atmosphere changed instantly and Khakhi Vairagis temper cooled automatically and bowed to Swami.
There are many instances of his practical wisdom. Though he himself was wedded to renunciation and strict rules of behaviour, he always behaved with practical wisdom and never allowed rigidity to enter into his behaviour. Once Muktanand Swami was on a religious tour along with sixty saints on a mission to propagate religion. They passed three days and three nights without any food in alms. One affectionate devotee invited the saints and cooked Khichadi for them. The saint had a vow to take only food in it's simplest form and as per the vow would not take ghee, milk, oil, jaggary, sugar and other savouries. The devotee cooked Khichadi accordingly, but he added Ghee into the dish which was meant to be offered to God in Thaal. After offering the Thaal, he mixed that Khichadi in the rest. The saints therefore rejected the Khichadi with Ghee. Already having fasted three days they saw a forth day coming. The day following next that was the day of Ekadashi. Hence to avoid the five consecutive days of fasting, Muktanand Swami said to the saints, 'Take Khichadi in Ghee today. Penalty from Shriji Maharaj for this disobedience shall be borne by me. I shall undertake the repentance if there is any from Shriji Maharaj.' With these words, he asked the saint to have the meal. Some saints complained to Shriji Maharaj for non compliance of His command by Muktanand Swami. Muktanand Swami confessed the facts before Shriji Maharaj and prayed for its' repentance. Instead of penalty or reprimand, Shriji Maharaj commanded him for taking care of the saint. he praised him for his timely behaviour and practical wisdom.
A similar episode also took place in Ahmedabad where young saints were studying sankrit. The saints were ordered to take the food only once in a day. But the young and studious saints, after a full day of hard work, felt hungry the next morning. One day, the saints were enjoying surplus loaves of the previous day. Meanwhile, Muktanand Swami came to visit. Seeing the swami before them, the younger saints in fear and panic of being caught dropped the loaves. Muktanand Swami being the Mother figure that he was went to the saints and said, 'I am also hungry. Give me some if you have !' The young saints relaxed and offered a piece of loaf to Muktanand Swami from which he ate a morsel from!
An incident in Gadhada exemplifies his versatility. Some musicians from Gwalior were come to Gadhada after establishing their superiority everywhere. They were very proud of their victories and sent a call to Shriji Maharaj to take part in a competition of instrumental and vocal music. They further prayed that they should be awarded a big prize if they win. Shriji Maharaj invited them into the evening assembly and gave them a befitting welcome at a well decorated venue. Shriji Maharaj asked Muktanand Swami to perform. Swami tied Ghungharu on his feet, took Kartaal in his hand and bowed to Shriji Maharaj before singing. Swami lifted his one leg from the floor and with the toe of the other leg he started slipping backward while singing on the stroke of kartal. He finished the session in half an hour. The musician from Gwealior were all full of praise for the Swami. Then Shriji Maharaj drew their attention towards the dancing floor. The musicians arose and saw for themselves that Swami had drawn with his toe and fingers of his foot a picture of an elephant while in reverse motion. They bowed to Shriji Maharja and Swami and prayed, 'Oh ! This saint is the treasure of arts. We are nothing before him.
Muktanand Swami was equally at ease with poetry too. He composed poems spontaneously. 'Mukund Bavani' is a collection of his devotional poetry. His creations are abstract and meaningful. He has written books on several subjects. 'Muktanand Kavya' is the collection of his works.