Birth Place : Village - Todala
Tehsil : Idar
Distt. : Sabarkantha
Father : Motiram Bhatt
Mother : Kushalbaa
First Name : Khushal Bhatt
Date of Birth : The 8th day of the bright half of Maha in V.S. 1837.
At the time of Gopalanand Swami's birth his elated parents listening to the prophecy of a brahmin astrologer, named him 'Khushal' (pleasurable).
Khushal Bhatt, learnt scriptures at his schooling age. A brahmin - Kashiram came to Todala in those days from who he learnt about the glory and greatness of Lord Swaminarayan Bhagwan. It was at this stage in his childhood that he vowed to go and do darshan of Lord Swaminarayan.
Meanwhile, he learnt about a visit of Sarveshwaranand Swami in Dabhoi. Khushal Bhatt reached Dabhoi and attended discourses of Sadhu Sarveshwaranand Swami and joined the religious pilgrimage with Sarveshwaranand from Dabhoi to Dabhan where he did darshan of Lord Sahajanand.
Lord Shriji Maharaj rose from his seat, came forward and hugged Khushal Bhatt with great love and affection. Khushal Bhatt submitted to Shriji Maharaj his desire to live with Him forever, but Shriji Maharaj asked him to go back. Honouring the command of his Lord, Khushal Bhatt came back to Todala, started a school there and taught the village children. Besides academic teaching, he gave theological knowledge and spiritual insight to his disciples.
Once a Brahmin came to his village and exhibited his mystic power on the idols Lord Vishnu in his Pooja .. Khushal Bhatt made up his mind to test the spiritual strength of the Brahmin and invited him to his house for a meal. Brahmin came, had a meal, gave an idol of Lord Vishnu to Khushal Bhatt and returned to his camping place. The Brahmin then tried all his mystic means and tantrums throughout whole night to recall Lord Vishnu back to him, but the idol would not go. As he found his prestige at stake, he escaped overnight to other place.
Once, there was no rain in the Todala area and the people, under the fear of the oncoming draught, came to Khushal Bhatt and prayed for him to help to them. Through his meditation, Khushal Bhatt brought the rain along with prosperity in the area. Once during his meditation trance luminosity was emitted in such a great amount from his person that he was become visible from far flung places.
Now came the time for meeting his Guru and God Lord Shriji Maharaj. Khushal Bhatt desired to meet Lord Shriji Maharaj and remain in the everlasting shelter of his God. Shortly after this a Brahmin came to Khushal Bhatt and told him that he was on a visit of Kathiawar. Khushal Bhatt joined him in his pilgrimage. On the way , they discussed divine episodes of Lord Shriji Maharaj and reached Jetalpur. Then the brahmin informed Khushal Bhatt about Lord Shriji Maharaj camping at Jetalpur and asked him to do darshan of Shriji Maharaj. No sooner had he said this the brahmin disappeared into the air!
With this meeting in Jetalpur Dhaam, Khushal Bhatt became a permanent member of this cosmic family and stayed with his God - Lord Shri Hari - till his last breath.
Khushal Bhatt was capable of transforming the impossible into possible. One Brahmin of Bhavnagar changed his mind after promising to sell his Mahabharat Scripture for Rupees 300/-. Khushal Bhatt came to Bhavnagar and visited him. The Brahmin was in Pooja of his Gods but the idols of God turned off their faces from him. This happened repeatedly throughout the rituals of Poojan-Archan but the brahmin though frightened by this miracle continued his pooja. That night and in the middle of the sleep, he saw the God of death to take him to the hell. He jumped from his bed and ran with the scripture and handed it over to Khushal Bhatt at his camping place.
When Khushal Bhatt graced Baroda under Shriji Maharaj's orders, Lord Shri Hari blessed Bhattji by His divine presence by having meals with him regularly. Devotee families used to witness the food disappearing gradually from the Thaal (plate) of Khushal Bhatt. Thereafter, Khushal Bhatt was made a saint and disciple in this Sampradaya by the aministration of Bhagwati Diksha by Shriji Maharaj. Shriji Maharaj gave him the name Gopalanand.
In Baroda, when the devotees in a religious ceremony desired to do darshan of Lord Yagyanarayan. The swamii offered sacrifice to the holy fire with invocation to God of fire and Lord Yagyanarayan appeared before him in His blissful form to receive the sacrifice. Throughout that holy-fire Lord Yagyanarayan gave the divine pleasure of his darshan to the devotees present at the place of holy-fire and received the sacrifice personally from Gopalaland Swami.
Kasiyaji of Petlad was a senior officer in Gaikwar-Government but was against the temple being constructed in Vadtal Dhamm. Out of vengeance he imposed heavy bill on the items being sent to the temple. Observing his attitude for quite some time, the swami came once to the court of Kasiyaji with Dada Khachar and two saints, and sat before the court in a blissful mood. Kasiaji jolted with fear on just one glance at the Swami. Meer Sahib who was sitting besides Kasiaji too felt the fear created by the presence of the Swami. Meer Sahib inquired sheepishly after some time about the purpose of the visit. In response the swami demanded directly the documents related to the exemption from the octroi, for completion of the construction of the temple. Both were so much crushed under the mental pressure that they issued it on the spot and handed it over to the swami.
Vagha Khachar of Saranagpur was serving the devotees and thus was favouring Satsang by all his means. Gopalanand Swami pleased at this devotional love and blessed him by installing the idol of Lord Hanumandada in his place of service and invoked great divine power in that image. The majesty of that image is still famous and Godly power of Hanumandada helps the people troubled by ghosts and other spirits.
One of the swami's followers Narashibhai Maheta conquered his desires for the sense objects and removed it roots and branches with the due blessings of S.G. Gopalanand Swami. While patting the back of his devotee Narshibhai, Swami said to him that his response now to a sensual object shall be similar to that of a supporting pole.
Gopalanand Swami was grandiose and miraculous and also possessed equal opulence as Shriji Maharaj did. Clairvoyance, omniscience, control over universe, instant Samadhi, removing evil notions by mere a sight or touch, sensing others resolves etc. Shriji Maharaj declared him as the leader of the sect because of overall superior qualities. He was elder to Shriji Maharaj by only four months. Hence he enjoyed brotherly and friendly interaction with Shriji Maharaj. His submission to Shriji Maharaj was unparalleled. His opulence and grandeur were boundless. Such a great soul worshipped Shriji Maharaj. It is difficult to imagine the grandeur of Shriji Maharaj Himself.