Neelkanth Varni or Swaminarayan was born in Uttar Pradesh. After his birth, astrologers noticed that his hands and feet were marked with “Braj Urdhava Rekha” and “Lotus Flower”.
It was also predicted that this child is not ordinary, he will be instrumental in changing the lives of crores of people in the future.
He left home at the age of 11 and traveled to India. This is where the story of Neelkanth Varni or the story of Neelkanth Varni or the life character of Neelkanth Varni began.
Who was Nilakantha Varni?
- Neelkanth Varni’s Real Name Neelkanth Varni’s real name is – Ghanshyam Pandey.
- Other Names Neelkanth Varni Other Names – Bhagwan Swaminarayan or Sahajananda Swami, Varniraj.
- Date of Birth Neelkanth Varni Born – 3 April 1781.
- Place of Birth Neelkanth Varni Ka Janam Kaha Hua – Chhapiya village in Gonda district near Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.
- Nilakantha Varni Date of Death – 1 June 1830.
- Place of Death – Gadda.
- Father’s Name Neelkanth Varni Father’s Name – Shri Hari Prasad Rai.
- Mother’s Name Neelkanth Varni Mother’s Name – Bhakti Devi.
- Age at death – 49 years.
Nilakantha Varni Full Story or Swaminarayan was born in a Brahmin family in Uttar Pradesh. Neelkanth Varni or Swaminarayan’s real name was Ghanshyam Pandey.
They were named by their parents. His education started at the age of 5. At the age of 11, she wore a sacred thread.
He had a keen interest in the study of scriptures from childhood. At the age of 11, he studied many major scriptures. At an early age, the shadow of his parents ascended.
It is said that there was a quarrel with the brother over some matter and they got separated. Swaminarayan i.e. Ghanshyam Pandey left home to see India. From here the life character of Neelkanth Varni began.
Life of Nilakantha Varni
On the tenth day of the month of Ashadha, in the year 1792, the sun rose to make Ghanshyam Pandey “Neelkanth Varni” or “Swami Narayan”. Due to the rainy season, the Saryu river had surged.
An 11-year-old boy, Ghanshyam Pandey, was passing by the banks of this river. There a mad tantrik named Kaushik saw the boy. He threw the boy into the mighty current of the Sarayu River.
Kaushik Tantrika felt that this child could not live anymore. Kaushik Tantrik laughed out loud, pleased with this. In joy, he crashed into a huge tree. The tree fell on him due to which the Tantrik lost his life on the spot.
Ghanshyam Pandey was drifting in the stream of Sarayu river. Even a strong current was nothing against his intentions. After covering a distance of 12 kos, the boy crossed the Sarayu river.
After crossing the river they had a wonderful feeling and joy. He began to feel the joy of completing the journey of life freed from supernatural bonds. He changed his name, Ghanshyam Pandey to Neelkanth Varni.
He was swaying like an elephant drunk in his fun on the banks of the river Saryu. As it was Ashadha month, it was raining continuously. Colorful flowers were passing through the forest of Ghangarh and the lovely chirping of birds was welcoming them.
After about 10 to 12 kms saw the shade of a very ancient banyan tree and sat down to rest and meditated and meditated. When he opened his eyes, Lord Hanuman was standing in front of him.
Search by friends
Ghanshyam Pandey i.e. Neelkanth Varni had two friends, one named Beniram while the other named Raghunandan. With the departure of Neelkanth Varni, the entire village (Chhapiya village) including her friends was in mourning, worried and constantly engaged in searching for her.
When Nilakantha Varni i.e. Swaminarayan was not found even after many searches, his childhood friend Beniram thought that Ghanshyam used to dip in the village well many times, I am also looking for the same.
Beniram reached the well and jumped into it. After a long time when he did not come out of the well, Beni Ram’s father Motiram also jumped into the well.
Seeing both of them drowning, Neelkanth Varni came there and gave darshan to both of them and also donated life. Like Beniram, he had another companion named Raghunandan. Raghunandan felt that I should also search for Ghanshyam.
In search of Ghanshyam, he went to the banks of the Narayana lake and began penance under a tree. It is said that you became so engrossed in meditation that you gave up your life.
Here he rested at night for 5 days. Near this was a village called Amarpur. A large number of people flocked here after the news about this.
The people of the village found a young monk named Neelkanth Varni and people decorated sweets, fruits and many dishes in his honor.
People of Amarpur village told Neelkanth Varni that you will save some fruits and dishes, they will be useful for you in future.
But Nilakanta Varni replied that if I think about food morning and evening and worry about the future, I do not go out of the house, so don’t worry about me.
The people of Amarpur village left and Neelkanth Varni also left to complete the onward journey. Raindrops, flowing river, flowing waterfall, sweet sound of birds, such a beautiful environment and walking on difficult path Nilakantha Varni came towards Himalayas.
Companion of ascetics
While proceeding on the road, Nilakantha Varni saw 4-5 monks sitting under a huge banyan tree. He asked Neelkanth Varni that hey boy, you are still very young and where are you going alone in these terrible forests?
Nilakantha Varni replied to him that I have renounced all family and home, the body you are seeing is only a soul form. When Neelkanth Varni seemed divine to them, all the sages went with Neelkanth Varni and decided to serve him.
After walking some distance all the sadhus and Nilakantha varnis stopped under a tree for night rest. Due to the dense forest and the scary sounds of wild animals, all the monks decided that they would sleep hanging from a tree with Jolly.
When Neelkanth is Varni he is lying on the ground near a tree. It was midnight, all the companions woke up after hearing the sound of jackal and they saw a jackal sitting near Nilakantha varni, at first they all got scared, then when it dawned, they came down and looked. Near Neelkanth.
Worshiped at Varni’s feet. Early in the morning Neelkanth Varni started moving towards Badrinath. He reached Haridwar on the day of Shukla Paksha Ekadashi and after reaching here he bathed in the Ganga.
Hundreds of sages present here also got the company of Neelkanth Varni and they also benefited the monks and saints, not only that, Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati also stayed with Neelkanth Varni as a Brahmin husband and wife couple.
Neelkanth left no stone unturned in the service of Varni. There was a temple of Lord Rama and Lakshman here. Neelkanth went to the temple of Varni Lakshmanji and offered obeisance to him.
Seeing this, Laxmanji appeared there and fell at the feet of Neelkanth Varni, seeing this, Neelkanth Varni assumed the form of Lord Sri Rama and gave darshan to Laxmanji.
It is said that Mother Ganga also assumed the form of a woman and offered many fruits and sweets as gifts to Neelkantha Varni (Swaminarayana).
Laxmanji felt that Nilakantha Varni i.e. Lord Swaminarayan must be thirsty, so he ran and fetched the holy water of Mother Ganga. Lord Swaminarayan was very pleased to see Lakshmanaji’s service and rested there for about 10 days.
After leaving here, Ghanshyam Pandey, Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Nilakantha Varni, whatever Sahajanandaji Swami said, reached the Alaknanda river. This was the place where Uddhavji passed away in memory of Lord Sri Krishna.
According to Naradji, stayed in a town called Sripur. After visiting Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi, he went further. After this he also visited Kedarnath Jyotirlinga.
Neelkanth Varni’s Mansarovar Yatra-
Drunkenly Swaminarayan started climbing the icy mountain without worrying about the height and snow to see Mansarovar and Badrinath Dham.
Neelkanth Varni reached Badrinath and had darshan there and stayed here till Diwali. Here Ranjit Singh, king of Punjab province, came only to visit.
After having darshan of Lord Bholenath, he saw a child yogi and was deeply impressed by his divinity. Ranjit Singh fell at Neelkanth Varni’s feet and asked permission to stay with him always but Neelkanth Varni said no you can’t stay with me.
You have to go back to your state to do your duty. You keep remembering me, I will come and meet you anytime. Raja Ranjit Singh and Neelkanth Varni (Swaminarayan) met at Har Ki Paidi in Haridwar.
King Ranjit Singh was very pleased to see Neelkanth Varni before him and requested him to sacrifice everything and serve him.
But Neelkanth Varni explained to him that you are born for public service, you should do your duty. I am with you all the time.
Returning to Ayodhya after 10 months of travel-
It was only 10 months after Ghanshyam Pandey (Neelkanth Varni) i.e. “Lord Swaminarayan” left home that he made up his mind to return to Ayodhya again.
Lord Swaminarayan i.e. “Neelkanth Varni” came and stopped at the town of Bansi on the banks of the river. While going to bathe in the river, Neelkanth Varni saw two young men of Mansi town passing by with guns in their hands.
Perhaps he was looking for prey, when a pair of birds came there to drink water and began to torment him with the hunters’ gun. Both parties die in agony, the incident leaving the “Neelkanthavarni” deep inside.
He became restless, sat by the river bank for a whole day and finally said, What is the use of burning such a body to ashes? As soon as the word fire started coming out of his mouth, the whole city started burning.
Seeing all this, Neelkanth took a dip in the cold water of Varni river, as soon as he plunged into the water, the fire of the city was extinguished. It is said that in this incident both the hunters who killed the birds were burned to death.
2 girls named Ila and Sushila-
After leaving here Nilakantha Varni continued to advance. Neelkanth Varni reached Vanshipur. He sat down to meditate under a tree outside the village.
Then the king of Vanshipur was passing by for hunting, when his eyes fell on the child Yogi Neelkanth Varni, he came down and sat at his feet.
He understood that perhaps this child had arrived in our city as an incarnation of God for his welfare. The king requested Nilakantha Varni to accompany him to his palace.
He was served a lot in the king’s palace, he was served a variety of fruits and dishes. The queen was very impressed to see them, she had two girls there, one named Ela and the other Sushila.
Rani requests Neelkanth Varni (Swaminarayan) to marry the two girls to her. Regarding this Neelkanth Varni said that I have left everything for the welfare of the people.
The welfare of your people will also be through me and I have to continue on the path of progress for the welfare of thousands of girls and devotees like you. Saying this, Nilakantha Varni (Swaminarayana) left there and went to the dense forests (Kalparvat) of Nepal.
After completing the journey of 1 year and 47 days, Neelkanth Varni sat down to meditate under a huge tree. Seeing Neelkanth Varni, Hanumanji came and sat there.
It is said that as the evening wore on, various ghosts and spirits along with the wild animals were moving towards Nilakantha Varni.
Then Hanumanji assumed a colossal form and put an end to all. Moving closer to Nepal, it was entering the dense forests of the Himalayas. There was a very deep chasm between two mountains named “Dhavalgiri and Shyamgiri”. which he crossed and crossed.
Sadhu Mohandas showed the way –
A sage named Mohandas, who was sitting there, was greatly impressed by the sight of the child Neelkanth Varni, who was assuming divine form in the forest. He bowed to Nilakantha Varni and said.
O divine child, why do you wander in such a state in this dense and fearful forest. I have lost my way. Then the child Neelkanth Varni replied that I have come out to show people like you the way.
Arrival at Butolnagar-
Gradually, while Nilakantha Varni was studying towards Tibet, there came a settlement called Butolnagar. Nilakantha Varni stayed outside the city where the king and his sister arrived early the next morning. Seeing the divine child, he touched his feet and requested him to walk in the palace.
The king’s name was Mahadatta and the queen’s name was Mayarani. Both attained pure knowledge and in the morning Nilakantha Varni (Swaminarayana) left for the next journey of his life.
Meeting and teaching with Gopal Yogi-
During his further journey, while passing through the Himalayan forests, an old Baba sat in front of the Neelkanth Varni, absorbed in meditation. Baba’s eyes opened as Neelkanth Varni passed him and he stood up and hugged Neelkanth Varni.
And said you are too late to give me darshan, now I will not let you go. Then Neelkanth Varni said that you are very wise. There is no age to learn yoga, you teach me yoga.
Neelkanth Varni served Yoga Guru Gopal Yogi with great dignity and took the teachings of Yoga with complete devotion. Finally, Nilakantha Varni assumed the form of Swaminarayan and gave darshan to Gopal Yogi and left for further pilgrimage.
Visit to Kathmandu in 1796 AD
When Neelkanth Varni reached Kathmandu, Nepal was ruled by “Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Saha”. Prithvinarayan Saha was succeeded by his grandson “Ran Bahadur”.
The divine child Nilakantha Varni i.e. Swaminarayan reached Kathmandu and sitting there had darshan of Lord Pashupatinath and performed Jalabhishekam. At this time the arrival of saints in Nepal had almost stopped.
Because the king there, Ran Bahadur, is suffering from an incurable disease. He expected all the sadhus-saints who came there to be cured of their disease, but when no treatment was received from the sadhus for that incurable disease, he would imprison them as captives.
When Nilakantha Varni (Swaminarayana) reached there, some sages told him about this, they said that if we are sages, there should be no fear.
Come, come with me, Hearing this, confidence rose in the minds of all the sages and they parted with Nilakantha Varni.
When this news reached Raja Ran Bahadur, he called Neelkanth Varni to his palace and told him about the incurable disease. Nilakantha Varni was very kind natured, so he eradicated the incurable disease from the root.
Raja Rana Bahadur was greatly impressed by this act and happily requested Neelkanth Varni to ask for anything as per his wish. Then Neelkanth Varni said that I am not enchanted by Maya, release the sages imprisoned by you. Saying this, Raja Rana Bahadur freed all the captive saints.
King Siddhavallabha of Sirpur and rescue of Brahmin-
After leaving Nepal, Neelkanth Varni reached Sirpur on his way to Tibet via China. Wherever Swaminarayan went, he would like to stay in a place where there was a garden or natural beauty.
Swaminarayan (Nilkanth Varni Sahajananda Swami) stayed in a garden at Sirpur. The area around this park was surrounded by sages, sages and tantrics.
When King Siddhaballabha of Sirpur learned that some saints had arrived in a park near the kingdom, he immediately went to meet them.
After meeting Neelkanth Varni, King Sidhu Vallabh was very impressed and requested Neelkanth Varni to come to our palace but Neelkanth Varni refused.
Then King Sidhu Vallabh engaged a saint Gopal Dasa in his Seva Chakra. Day after day, the king also came to Nilakantha Varni to listen to his preaching, seeing the king’s immense love and respect for Nilakantha Varni, the Tantrik sitting there became jealous.
They thought that we have been living here for a long time, but the king did not show us the respect that this child gives to Nilakantha Varni.
Because of this he cast black magic on Gopaldas, who was stationed in the service of Nilakantha Varni, due to which he fell unconscious. Nilakantha Varni knew everything, so he brought Gopal Dasa back to his conscious state.
Seeing this, many Tantrikas took shelter at the feet of Nilakantha Varni. A Brahmin named Telangi lived in the same state. The Telangi Brahmin was very handsome and rich in many talents. Because of his ability and talent, the king gave many elephants and big gifts to the Telangi Brahmin.
Because of this Telangi Brahmin became ugly. I sincerely apologize for my mistake. Hearing this, Neelkanth Varni made the Brahmin as beautiful as before.
Neelkanth Varni in the court of Kamakhya Devi in Assam-
Neelkanth Varni reached Assam to visit Kamakhya Devi. On the strength of his melodious voice, the number of people who believed and listened to Neelkanth Varni started increasing day by day. Seeing this, the saints already present there were surprised.
There lived a Tantrik named ‘Pibak’. Vivek Tantrik was very powerful and learned many black magics. Due to which he dominated there and the people there feared him.
He used to kill sages daily or take them with him. The saint community was very afraid of him. It was about 1 day that Nilakantha Varni was sitting there, people who had heard his sermons were also present and many sages who had been living there for years were also present.
Then Pibek Tantrik came wandering there. As soon as Pibek Tantrik arrived, all the sages were frightened and eager to accept his submission.
Regarding this Neelkanth Varni (Swaminarayan) said that there is no need to be afraid. No matter how big black magic people are in this world, they are nothing in front of God.
God is everywhere’ cannot harm you, you must stick to your values. Hearing this, the sages said that you do not know the child Nilakantha Varni.
This very powerful Pibak Tantrik was also listening to him. He got angry and started using his powers against Nilakantha Varni.
But none of his magic had any effect on Nilakantha Varni. This enraged him and invoked Lord Hanumanji with his special sadhana.
Hanumanji came and he first bowed to Nilakantha Varni and Vivek proceeded to kill only Tantrik. Vivek Tantrik’s condition became very bad due to Lord Hanuman’s attack.
He understood that Nilakantha Varni was no ordinary saint. This is the real Swaminarayan i.e. God, he fell at the feet of Nilakantha Varni and begged his forgiveness.
Nilakantha Varni (Swaminarayana) was very generous, so he forgave Pibak Tantrik and removed all his sufferings.
Proceeding from here, Nilakantha Varni reached Navalkha mountain (Assam China Tibet) where many saints worshiped the Lord for thousands of years.
He was not an ordinary saint, so ordinary people could not even see him. Before the arrival of Nilakantha Varni, there was a celestial message that Lord Swaminarayan was coming directly here, in the form of an ordinary child.
Hearing this all the monks present there were very happy and started making preparations for his reception even before his arrival. As soon as the boy Neelkanth Varni reached there, flowers started showering on him, nine lakh saints visited him and attained merit.
During his further journey Neelkanth reached the Varni Kapil Ashram. Where Kapil Muni used to do penance years ago. This was a very charming ashram, where Neelkanth Varni stayed and it is said that Kapil Muni came in the form of an idol and served Neelkanth Varni.
Jagannath Puri Journey
Neelkanth Varni never stopped or got tired while performing day and night and continued his journey without stopping. Meanwhile he reached Jagannathpuri.
There is a temple of Lord Sri Krishna in Jagannathpuri. When the King of Puri came to know about Neelkanth Varni, he also came running and paid obeisance to him. They also started coming regularly to listen to his preaching. .
Naga monks were also seen there, working according to their will. Gradually, he came to resent the growing influence of Nilakantha Varni.
Because of which he wanted to remove Nilakantha Varni from there, that’s why he wanted to fight with Nilakantha Varni but was defeated with the help of Puri king.
Neelkanth Varni Manaspur Yatra-
A king named Satra Dharma was ruling in Manaspur, here too Neelkantha Varni reached there and preached to him and proceeded to remove the adultery prevalent here.
Neelkanth Varni also gave the last sermon to Jairam Das here and asked him to return to his home again.
Neelkanth left for Kanchipuram via Varni Venkatadri. From Kanchipuram he proceeded to Bhootpuri, where Lord Bholenath and Mother Parvati had darshan.
Visited the pulpit of Swami Ramanujacharya at Totadri. Walking from here, he left Kanyakumari and reached Trivandrum. Neelkanth Varni was passing through the Shabari forest and passing through Maharaj Sugriva’s city Kishkindha while continuing his pilgrimage to Akhand Bharat Darshan.
Gradually Neelkanth Varni reached Suryapur (present day Surat). From here they reached Pimpli village, visited the Kapileshwar temple and reached the court of Ambali and Anasuya Mata.
They reached Bochasan via Vartal to Baroda Mandvi. Wherever Nilakantha Varni passed by, people everywhere started worshiping him, imbibing his teachings in life and always requesting everyone that O Nilakantha Varni, you come again to our place.
On the path that Nilakantha Varni (Swaminarayana) was treading for the welfare of people, everyone was getting salvation and the immense love of God.
During the journey of Bharat Darshan and Kalyan, Neelkanth Varni i.e. Lord Swaminarayan reached a village called Lodhwa.
Lakhubai was such a great devotee of God that she could sit in her room and watch the events from far away. Also, they didn’t need any doors to move here and there.
The name of Lakhubai’s guru was Atmanand Swami. Two brahmacharis named Vitthalananda and Balananda also lived with him.
When Neelkanth Varni came to Lakhubai’s house, Lakhubai recognized him because of his divine vision, and kept and served him there for several months.
Neelkanth Varni reached Junagadh via Prabhaspatan and Bhalka Tirtha. Here Neelkanth Varni gave darshan to Narsingh Mehta in divine form.
End of journey and death
Neelkanth Varni traveled for 7 years one month and 11 days. The last village on their journey was Lodge. Eventually Neelkanth Varni i.e. Swaminarayan spent most of his time with Ramananda Swami.
As time passed, Ramananda Swami left the body. Now it was time to go to Nilakantha Varni i.e. Swaminarayan.
The purpose for which he came to earth and took birth in human form and performed benevolent works during Bharat Darshan, were all fulfilled. He stayed in the village of Funeni, and himself contracted an incurable disease that would have taken his life.
Convincing his followers and devotees, Nilakantha Varni (Swaminarayana) assured them that the divine man never leaves the earth.
They only need to be recognized and whenever humanity needs benevolent saints, they keep taking birth from time to time. Saying this on 1 June 1830 at a place called Gadda, he became engrossed in meditation and passed away.