The name of Prem-Sakhi Shree Premanand Swami is taken with pride as great poet in the tradition of Bhakti-poems of India. There are so many myths as regards the birth of this saint, who has acclaimed the name of ‘Gopi’ in Shree Swaminarayan Sampradaya.
As per the popular story, he was born in Gandharv caste in Ghera village of Bharuch district between Samvat 1835 to 1840. In his childhood, he was known as Hathiram. At the tender age of just 5-five years, he became a wretched orphan. He went with the saints and sanyasis roaming in groups in search of the Almighty God. But later on he took the shelter under Shree Hari and became a saints just like a rivulet merging with a great river. He started creating the poems in the worship of Shree Hari but Shree Hari found some faults in rhythm and tuning of the words and therefore he was named as ‘Premanand Swami’. Later on when Shree Hari found in his poems an ardent love of a Sakha (companion), he was also named by Shree Hari as ‘Prem-Sakhi’.
After giving him Diksha, Shree Hari sent him to Buranpur to take specialized training of music. This training made him an expert of Ragas, Yuti, Matra, Sur and Laya- his knowledge of the art of music became the science of music. His garabis are so profound in effect that, even Shree Hari stands up in the midst of Sabha to bow down to the ardent love expressed in his garabis. His padas of love and beauty describing the miracles of the Lord are rare and defy any comparison with any such poetic creation by anyone else. In each and every temple of Shree Hari, one can listen even today these poems being sung.
Among huge literature created by Premanand Swami, today only four thousand creations are available which are collected and published in the volume entitled ‘Premanand Kavya’. Premanand Swami has created the highest number of love-lorn poems in Gujarati literature because he had spent 15 years in the company of Shree Hari and had spent 25 years without Him. As per the note of the poet Dalpatram, Shree Premanand Swami passed away to the Divine Abode at the age of 71 years in Gadhpur on Kartik Vad 15, Samvat 1911.