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:: Holy Saints

S.G. Devanand Swami is the saintly poet from the group of eight great saintly poets contemporary to Shri Hari. Balol is the brith place of S.G. Devanand Swami. He was born on the full moon day of Kartika in V.S. 1859, in the house of Jijibhai and Benjibaa in Balol.

In his early childhood, he was named 'Devidaan'. and since childhood he was a firm devotee of Lord Shiva. His father too, worshipped Lord Shiva and the heritage of the devotion of Lord Shiva was maintained well in Devidaan. Both father and son went to offer prayers to Lord Shiva in the temple of Lord Sankaleshwar Mahadev at the outskirt of Balol.

Once, Devidaam went alone to the temple to worship Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva pleased at the devotional love of the child gave Darshan. Child Devidaan was elated with this divine view of his God and prayed to Lord Shiva for his ultimate benediction. In response to his prayer, Lord Shiva directed him to Lord Swaminarayan Bhagwan and told him that the omnipresent supreme Lord Shriji Maharaj has descended on the earth. Maharaj would visit your village and you will recognise him by a leela He will conduct of His tongue touching his elbows. Surrender to His godly shelter. You would earn the fame as a great poet and would attain Moksha (ultimate emancipation).

Lord Shriji Maharaj graced Balol after concluding a sacred fire in Jetalpur Dhaam. Whole village came to him for his Darshan. Entire village community insisted He come for meals at there homes, but Shriji Maharaj avoided their hearty invitation , because of his commitments elsewhere. He was in great hurry. But His devotee Raiya Khatana offered a porridge of sweet milk. While gracing a seat on bullock cart, Shriji Maharaj honoured this hearty meal from His firm follower. Pretending to act like a human being to give devotional pleasure to his devotees, he allowed the stream of the milk flow on his hand and reach his elbows. Then he licked it of with his tongue. Devidaan, who was standing in the crowd of the devotees, saw this act of Shriji Maharaj and words of Lord Shiva echoed in his mind 'remember this sign and recognise Him.'

He fell at the Lords feet and prayed, 'Oh Lord ! Please accept me in your service.' 'I have come here to receive you,' said Maharaj in reply. Thus, Devidaan became a firm follower of Shriji Maharaj, and Shriji Maharaj entrusted him to Brahmanand Swami. Brahmanand Swami arranged his Bhagwati Deeksha and Devidaan became Devanand Swami.

Devanand Swami learnt from his Guru Brahmanand Swami the art of constructing poems and mastered the technique of musical verse. With the grace of God and with favour of his guru, he became an excellent poet within a short time. Ragas appeared in human form before him as soon he began his devotional music.

Devanand Swami presented Kirtans on the tunes of musical instruments at the special Satsang Sabha, when Shriji Maharaj installed the idols of Lord Narnarayandev and other gods in Ahmedabad temple. Other singers and composers were highly impressed by vocal and instrumental music of Devanand Swami. With the due blessing from Shriji Maharaj, when he presented devotional music in front of royal musicians of Dharampur State the musicians at the court surrendered to him and worshipped him as their Guru.

Devanand Swami was become Mahant Swami of Muli temple on Aksharvaas of Brahmanand Swami. For rest of his life he served Lord Radhakrishna Dev in Muli Dhaam. His Kirtans are simple, pointed and sharp like the literary works of Bhoja Bhagat. His devotional fever, touches the heart of the listener. Devanand Swami is the Guru of the great poet Dalpatram of Gujarati Language.

On the nineth day of the dark half of Shravan in V.S. 1910, Devanand Swami sent for his devotee tailor and told him that he was to leave for Akshardham on the next day. Devotee tailor was shocked at such words, 'But Swami ! You are fully fit and in sound health. Why are you talking such words ?' Then in answer to it, Devanand Swami instructed him that in the next morning if he sees five steps of Kumkum on the threshold of his house, he should understand that Devanand Swami has left his earthly dwelling. On the next day, i.e. on the tenth day of the dark half of Sharavana, he saw five steps of Kumkum on his threshold. He ran immediately to the temple and found Swami departed to Akshardhaam. Such was the majesty and glory of Devananand Swami.

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