It would be imperative to give biographical touch in brief of the founder of famous “Anandabawa Seva sanstha” of Jamnagar a very well organized institution in the area of social service and having multiple social activities in Jamnagar district.
The founder saint Anandabawa was born in Vikram Samvat 1729 in a small town Dhoraji situated in Rajkot District in a Shrimali Goldsmith community. His name was Anand. From the very childhood he was bestowed with the virtues of benevolence, noble and saint lover and very compassionate nature. He used to render services to any saint or sage visited his town and used to cater all the requirements from his shop, with a feeling of reverence and free of charge. His parents did not at all like his magnanimity and one day they were very much angry and scolded him, ‘ we have to arrange your Marriage and you are not earning a pie on the contrary you waste money by your act of benevolence, as if you have become an idol of magnanimity. Try to earn something otherwise get out of our house.” He was very much pleased to hear these words. He took these words as his parents` permission to lead a life of devoutness and left the house after bowing down to all family members.
At the age of 12 years he relinquished his family and went to ‘Girnar’ and then to Dwarka. Stayed there in a cottage opposite Shree Siddhanath Shiva temple. Incessant chanting of holy verses and singing devotional songs lead him to purify his soul. During this period he heard a secret voice ordering him to proceed to Jamnagar and to perform service to humanity. He came to Jamnagar.
After coming to Jamnagar he started to earn his livelihood by taking a job of engraving colourful designs on precious metals. Per day he earned 4 koris(currency of Nawanagar state\approximately one quarter of a rupee).He used only half kori for himself and balance three and a half in purchasing jaggery and roasted gram to be distributed to the hungry, poor and needy people. Thus he started charity of food to the needy baggers and hungry at the place which is known up to this day as ‘Anandabawa`s Chakla”. He continued this activity continuously for 35 years. The flow of saint, sadhus and beggars started increasing. One day after finishing charity work he sat for worship. At that time an Udasin cults saint came and asked something to eat as he was hungry. Anand told him, “Everything is finished ,nothing to offer you, please come tomorrow.” The saint asked him, “why are you refusing inspite of the baskets are full?” Anand went into the room and surprised to see that two baskets were full of roasted grams. He bowed down to the saint and offered him the food. In guise of saint God himself was sighted and told him,” now on-wards stop distributing jaggery and gram instead start giving cooked food. From this day you will be known as “ANANDABAWA.” Saying this God baptized him and explained the glory of chanting name of God Ram accorded him new name “Anandabawa”.
There was another divine experience in Anandabawa`s life. Since from his arrival in Jamnagar he used to visit Siddhanath Mahadev temple near the bank of Nagmati river daily. One day the river was flooded. On the shore of the river he saw a sadhu, shivering in bitter cold. On seeing him the sadhu asked something to eat as he was very hungry. Anandabawa offered him milk and Jalebi (sweet).Then sadhu demanded something warm to cover his body. He immediately offered his own blanket to the sadhu. The sadhu retorted that “This blanket will not be useful to you again as I am suffering from leprosy.” Anandabawa told, “I do not want any thing if you get relief and warmth.” Anandabawa covered that sadhu with his blanket. Then lord Mahadev, in the guise of sadhu, appeared and took out one woolen thread from that blanket, gave him along with one broom of peacocks` feather and said, “after reciting your name, light a Diya from ghee, light an incense stick thrice, who would tied this thread on right wrist or would wear it around neck, his all pains and suffering will be vanished.” Thus blessed by the God, Anandabawa started to serve diseased people. These two things are still here.People use this with faith and get relief.
Now to serve the poor and needy people, Anandabawa gave up his job of engraving. He started to move in surrounding villages near Jamnagar, singing devotional songs and offering religious discourses. Whatever food grains he received from the people as a reward, he used to cater requirement of poor and needy. This activity increased day by day to the extent that merchants, business community and farmer extended their help. Arrangements also made to continue the flow of donation regularly .This flow is incessantly continuous from the donors of our country and abroad. Today this institution has become like a spread out banyan tree. All credit of this progress goes to the donors and volunteers.