There is a small village in the valley of mountains near the district of Sabarkantha. The name of that village is Torada. Two hundred years ago, a child was born in the house of a Brahmin named, Motiram Bhatt, in this village. The child's name was Khusal. He was very intelligent right from his childhood. He, at the very early age, studied Sanskrit and got mastery over the language. But, he was not satisfied with mere scholarship, he wanted to have Darshan of God. For this, he used to go to a Shiva Temple very far from the village, in a dense forest and practiced yoga. Time passed and he advanced satisfactorily in the science of yoga.
During this time, he came into the contact of two Vaishnavs, at Vadasinor. These Vaishnavs spoke to him about Shriji Maharaj. On hearing the talk, Khusal has a keen desire to see Shriji Maharaj. Shriji Maharaj was staying at Dabhan village at that time. Khusal Bhatt reached there. He prayed to Maharaja, “Give me initiation (DIKSHA). I want to be a sadhu.” “Wait a little. You will be initiated when the time comes. Let the fruit be ripened,” said Shriji Maharaj. Khusal Bhatt returned home. But now his mind was not at rest in anything. Some time passed thus. Then, one day an unknown Brahmin came to him and said, “I am going for the Darshan of Maharaja. Would you like to accompany me?”
Khusal Bhatt was ever ready. He started off with the Brahmin. The Brahmin would pull out thorns from Khusal's feet. He would tell Khusal the tales of saints, Maharaja and the Vaishnavs. Maharaja was staying at this time at Jetalpur. Brahmin and Khusal Bhatt came to Jetalpur. But when they reached the outskirts of Jetalpur, all of a sudden the Brahmin disappeared. Khusal Bhatt did not know where the Brahmin disappeared. He was very much surprised,“ The Brahmin himself brought me here for Maharaj's darshan and where has he disappeared ? ” Khusal Bhatt alone went to have the Darshan of Maharaj. After having the darshan, he stood before Maharaj with hands joined. Maharaja was chuckling on seeing Khusal Bhatt. Maharaja asked, “Khusal Bhatt, where have you left the Brahmin? What a fine hotchpotch he prepared for you last night!” Khusal Bhatt was stunned at this. He simply stared at Maharaj. Khusal Bhatt saw that Brahmin's face in the face of Maharaja. At once he was enlightened, “Here is that Brahmin! Maharaj himself, in the disguise of the Brahmin had come to me here.” He was mad with joy. He fell at the feet of Maharaja. “Maharaja, have mercy on me. Initiate me.”
Maharaja said, “It's not time yet. As and when time will come, you will be initiated.” “I am not leaving now”, said Khusal Bhatt.“I am not going to send you back”, replied Maharaja. After the lapse of some time, Maharaja initiated Khusal Bhatt at Gadhada. He was renamed as Gopalanand. Gopalanand Swami was a great Sanskrit scholar. So Maharaja sent him to Baroda. At Baroda, Khusal; had to work among many scholars, learned men and diplomats. Swami did it well. Satsang established a great name in Baroda.
Sarangpur is a village near Gadhada. Shriji Maharaja visited this place many time. Saints and Vaishnavs also had a halt while going to Gadhada. Kathi Darbar of Sarangpur used to give hospitality to these people. They were called Darbar having estates but their condition was very ordinary. Yet they revered saints and Vaishnavs so warmly that they looked after saints and Vaishnavs even though they (the Darbars) would go hungry. Gopalanand Swami knew this. So Swamiji also looked favourably on these Darbars.
On surrendering himself to this favour Gopalanand Swami installed the idol of Hanumanji. He touched the idol with his stick. He poured in the idol, his power of yoga, and the idol began to tremble. Even today the power of this idol of Hanumanji is well-known. Swami was such a powerful yogi. Powerful as Swami was, he was also practical. Once a certain vaishnav broke a vow. All dismissed him from Satsang. That devotee importuned a lot but nobody listened to him. When Swamiji came to know this, he took interest in that devotee's affair. He said to all Vaishnavs, “If you drive him from Satsang, he will fall a prey to bad company, and will be a great sinner. You will be responsible for this.”
Swamiji left the burden of decision on the Vaishnavs. The Vaishnavs recruited him again in Satsang. This had a wonderful effect. That man became a real Satsangi. Now every Vaishnav was proud of him. Once Maharaja was seated in AKSHAR-ORDI at Gadhada. It was a meeting of Sadhus and Vaishnavs. Maharaja, calling every saint by name, asked about his speciality. Every one narrated their speciality. It was now turn of Gopalanand Swami. Maharaja asked him the same question. Swami replied, “Your favour is my speciality. Only with that favour of yours I would like to do what I wish in this universe.” Swami had such a self-confidence. Swami served the Sampraday and brought credit to the Sampraday. Hence, before leaving this world, Shriji Maharaja handed over the total responsibility of the Sampraday to Swami in presence of all saints and advised them to respect his commands. Swami has written many volumes in Sanskrit. Among them, his commentaries on the Bhagwat Gita, the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutra are well-known.