Dadakhachar was a landowner in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. Uttamsinh was his real name and Dadakhachar was his pet name. His father was Ebhelkhachar (also known as Abhaysinh). Dadakhachar had four sisters, Jaya, Lalita, Panchali and Nanu. The entire family were strong followers of Lord Swaminarayan. The main family residence was in Gadhada.
Lord Swaminarayan first came to Gadhada on VS 1861 by request of Ebhelkhachar. A strong bond of love developed between Lord Swaminarayan and Ebhelkhachar’s family. Lord spent the greatest amount of time in Gadhada, in total 25 years. He treated the residence in Gadhada as His own. For these reasons Gadhada became a focal point in the sampraday.
When Ebhelkhachar left his mortal body for Akshardham, Dadakhachar became the sole owner of the entire estate. Lord tested Dadakhachar and his family members frequently, even though Lord realised that Dadakhachar and his family were strong devotees.
On one occasion, Lord asked Dadakhachar to leave the estate and take residence elsewhere. Dadakhachar did not hesitate for one moment, he immediately left following every command of Lord.
Once there was an assembly during the night. Lord commented to Dadakhachar, “It is bright at present just like daytime”, Dadakhachar agreed with Lord even though it was dark, thinking that he could not see the light. Dadakhachar had total faith and trust in Lord. Dadakhachar was unique in the sampraday, in that he gave all he owned to Lord Swaminarayan and would always obey His every command.
At a large yagna performed by Lord in Dabhan, Joban attempted to steal Manaki, Lord’s famous and divine horse. Joban wanted to test the divinity of Lord by stealing Manaki during the yagna. Joban tried to steal Manaki for three whole days, but whenever he tried to steal Manaki, Lord was ever present with Manaki at all times.
He realised the supremacy of Lord and asked for forgiveness. Lord Swaminarayan forgave Joban Pagi for his sins. From then onwards Joban Pagi became a strong devotee of Lord.
Such was his devotion to Lord that he collected dust, which had touched the divine feet of Lord Swaminarayan. He used to take a pinch of this dust with his daily meals. Once he had consumed all the dust he had, he fasted and ate no more for the remainder of his life.
Parvatbhai of Agatrai
Parvatbhai was a strong Kanbi devotee of Lord Swaminarayan. He was a person who had no attachment to his family members. He was a true example of how a jeeva should distinguish itself from the human body and its affairs, and how one should focus upon God.
Parvatbhai had only one son called Meghji. His son was very ill and had only a short time to live. Once, Parvatbhai received a letter from Lord calling him to Gadhada. Parvatbhai left for Gadhada as soon as he received the letter. As he reached the edge of the village, a man from his village came to inform him that his son had died. Parvatbhai told the man to perform the funeral rites of his son. Parvatbhai continued his journey to Gadhada.
On reaching Gadhada, Lord asked Parvatbhai about his son. Parvatbhai replied, “My son is now very happy, experiencing complete bliss in Akshardham.”
Parvatbhai was a man who understood that the only important thing in life is Lord. Parvatbhai realised that only devotion to Lord can release the jeeva from the cycle of birth and death. Parvatbhai had such faith in Lord Swaminarayan, that he could always visualise the divine murti of Lord at all times.
Ladhiba was a widow from Bhuj and a disciple of Ramanand Swami. With time she became a strong devotee of Lord Swaminarayan. Ladhiba was much younger in age than Lord.
It is traditional for widows to wear simple and dark clothing. Lord tested Ladhiba on one occasion. Lord said to Ladhiba, “Ladhiba, put on rich and colourful garments and fetch water from the well.” Ladhiba did not hesitate.
Whilst fetching water, ladies in the town asked, “At this old age whom have you married?” Ladhiba replied, “In this eternal universe, I have been born many times. I could not get an immortal husband, but now I have. I have found Lord Swaminarayan, He is my beloved ‘husband’ who will give me ultimate redemption and take me to Akshardham.” On hearing this Lord was very pleased with Ladhiba.
Ladhiba was a person who could see Lord in all His glory even when He was many miles away. She was able to place other female devotees into samadhi and show them the divine abode of Akshardham. Lord Swaminarayan has described the supreme qualities of Ladhiba in the third Vachnamrit of Loya.
Jivuba was the daughter of Ebhelkhachar and the sister of Dadakhachar. She was an avatar of Laxmiji.
Jivuba first had darshan of Lord along with the rest of her family. Whenever Lord Swaminarayan held festivals, Jivuba would always be in the kitchen cooking and preparing fine foods for Lord.
On one occasion there was a disagreement in the construction of Vadtal temple, between Lord Swaminarayan and Brahmanand Swami, who had sent a letter to Lord. Jivuba was present while the Lord was preparing a reply to Brahmanand Swami. The Lord was advising Brahmanand Swami to construct a smaller temple. At this point Jivuba stated that a grand temple should be constructed in Vadtal. Lord Swaminarayan then said, “Laxmiji has spoken, so let it be.”
In describing Manaki Ghodi’s beauty, Premanand Swami, later said in a kirtan that of the many different breeds of horse, Kesar, Beri, Bodali, Fulmal, Tajan and Thiki, the Manaki breed was superior to all.
Lord Swaminarayan took great care of Manaki Ghodi and took great effort to train her. Over time Manaki Ghodi became inseparable from Lord. She would take Lord across Gujarat as He wished and forever remained with Him.
When Lord Swaminarayan left His mortal body and returned to Akshardham, Manaki Ghodi could not bear the pain and loss of Lord leaving her. Manaki Ghodi took no food or water after Lord’s departure. Thirteen days after Lord’s departure Manaki Ghodi left her mortal body and joined Lord in Akshardham.