Ramanand Swami was born in Ayodhya in Vasant Sud 1795 and became the son of Ajayprasad and Sumtidevi and named as Ram Sharma. He received sacred thread ceremony at the age of eight years and studied vedas upto eight years. He learned all the scriptures from Kashiram Shastri of Talaja in Saurashtra. From a young age, he was full of Dharma, Gyan and Vairagya. He then went to Dwarka and while on a return journey he met Atmanand Swami at Tramba village near Girnar and initiated him into his fold and beptised him as Ramanand Swami. Thus Ramanand Swami was the incarnation of Uddhavji, the staunch devotee of Shri Krishna.
Ramanand Swami was a staunch devotee of Shri Krishna and hence he had burning desire to have Shri Krishna’s actual audience. His guru Atmanand Swami believed in Adwait and worshipped shapeless Brahma (Nirakar Brahma). Ramanand Swami got disappointed and left Atmanand Swami in search for another guru who would bring him the audience of actual God. Walking down the South of India to Shri Rangam, he met Ramanujacharya who was the propounder of ‘Vishistadwaitmat’. Ramanand Swami met success after meeting him and he was initiated intrance into ‘Vaishnavi Bhagvati Mahadiksha’. Ramanujacharya is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Sheshnarayan. He commanded Ramanand Swami to propagate Bhagavat Dharma.
He then set on a pilgrimage and came to Vrindavan. He was blessed with actual audience of Lord Shri Krishna. As per command from Shri Krishna, Ramanand Swami imparted ‘Mantras’ given by Lord Shri Krishna, other than Ramanuj sect to the inquisitive souls. His sect came to be known as Uddhav sect. Ramanand Swami came to Prayag from Vridavan where he met Dharmadev and Bhaktimata. He initiated them to Bhagvati Diksha and imparted Mantras. He made them his principal disciples and commanded them to propagate the religion. Dharmadev was bestowed with the right to preach the menfolk and Bhaktimata to Womenfolk. Ramanand Swami came to Saurashtra on his holy journey. Ramanand Swami started moving around Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch area only to put into practice the directives from Lord Krishna. He started malls of free food at different places. Loj, Piplana, Sardhar and Mangrol were the main centres. Some fifty devoted desciples of him used to stay in Loj. Ramanand Swami used to tell his disciples and devotees that “I am merely a drum player. The real player is coming behind. I have only come here for the due preparation, The king is to follow just like the servants reach the place first before the king arrives.” This is how he was also waiting for the Lord to come.
Ramanand Swami was treated as a true Guru who taught them and helped them seek salvation. He had the power to put his devotees into Samadhi and give them the vision to see Bhagwan in his different Loks and avtars. One of his disciples was Muktanand Swami. When Muktanand Swami met Nilkanth Varni in Loj, he told Nilkanth Varni about the glory of Ramanand Swami. Then Nilkanth Varni remembered that Ramanand Swami had given diksha to his parents and therefore He was eager to meet Ramanand Swami. Both Nilkanth Varni and Muktanand Swami sent letters to Ramanand Swami. Mayaram Bhatt took these letters to Bhuj at Ganga Ram Mal’s house where Ramanand Swami was residing. When Ramanand Swami opened the letter, bright light emanated from it. He wrote two letters one to Muktanand Swami where wrote that not to lose Nilkanth Varni and asked them to gain more benefit from him and another to Nilakanth Varni where he suggested not to undertake further penance and requested him to teach Ashtang Yoga to everyone at Ashram. He also wrote that he doesn’t need to set out for Kutch, he should wait for Ramanand Swami at Loj only. Almost ten months passed and the day came for which Nilkanth Varni was curiously waiting. Ramanand Swami gave final bidding to his disciples and devotees of Bhuj and came to Piplana village near Junagadh. He sent message to the saints at Loj Ashram and Nilkanth Varni to come to Piplana.
Nilkanth Varni finally met Ramanand Swami on VS 1856, Jeth month, 12th day of Vad i.e. 19th June 1800 in Piplana. Nilkanth Varni performed Danvat of Ramanand Swami and started serving him.
On VS 1857 Kartik Sud 11 Wednesday (Prabodhni Ekadashi), Nilkanth Varni received Maha Diksha from Ramanand Swami and was given the names ‘Sahajanand Swami’ and ‘Narayan Muni’. Ramanand Swami gave his Gadi to Sahajanand Swami at Jetpur on VS 1858 Kartik Sud 11 Monday Where he was only 20years, 7months old.
A few months later, Ramanand Swami was realising that he was getting old and weak and he was not able to move around like before and it was his time to leave the world. He called all his disciples at Faneni town and said ‘I have grown too old and the time of my departure has come. Sahajanand Swami is your Guru. He is himself Lord Krishna, our own God. You should remain under his commands.
After feeding saints and Brahmins on the 12th day after a big festival, Ramanand Swami took a bath in Chacha River on the 13th day and left this world chanting Lord Swaminarayan’s name in mandir whilst doing meditation. He was relieved from Durvasha Rishi’s curse on the 13th day of Magshar Sud Thursday 1858.