Introduction to Pushti Marg

 

Shri Nathji, literally the "Husband of the Goddess of Wealth", has a magnificent mansion in the Rajasthani town of Nathadwara, India. This sumptuous 17th Century mansion serves as a seat of the Pushti Marg, a Vaishnav sect founded by MahaPrabhu Shri Vallabhacharyaji in the 15th Century. Expounding his philosophy of "Shudhadvaita", the great Acharya set up the Pushti Marg, the Path of Grace, with divine blessing in Gokul. Vallabhacharyaji wrote a number of great Sanskrit works to expound his philosophy, and was honoured as an "Acharya" by the South Indian Emperor Krshnadevrai of Vijaynagar, .

The sect flourished under his son Shri Vitthalnathji (popularly called Shri Gusaiji), and soon adopted the graceful lifestyle of the 16th Century royal courts of North India.  He introduced raag, bhog and shringar to the traditional methods of seva.  Gusaiji ordained a complex set of rituals to be followed throughout the year for the comfort and pleasure of the Lord.  Daily and festive routines were set up by Shri Gusaiji to make sure the haveli functioned efficiently even when he was touring India to spread the message of Pushti Marg.

During Mughal ruler Auranzeb's vicious anti-Hindu policies, the Goswamis of Vraj judged the area to be too dangerous to live and practice their faith.  Apart from GokulNathji and his descendants, other Goswamis emigrated to various parts of Rajputana - the only secure Hindu controlled area in North India at the time. Over the centuries, these Nidhis have come to reside in various parts of India, some even returning to Vraj.

In time, ShriNathji moved away from the original temple at Mount Govardhan and moved to Nathdwara.  Temple servants still serve ShriNathji as the "beloved prince of Vraj" as envisioned by Gusaiji.  They treat the Lord with all the respect and deference due to a reigning monarch. Hoards of devotees who come to the Haveli for a darshan, see the Lord as "Ladelelal", the endearingly mischievous son of Yashoda.

Gosaiji and his decendents have kept alive the spirit of the sect around India.  The current Tilakayat (the goswami in charge of looking after ShriNathji's Haveli at Nathadwara) is a direct descendant of Shri Gusaiji and he is the first amongst his peers.  Along with about 150 other Goswamis of his clan, he is in charge of the spiritual welfare of the sect.

Shri Gusaiji established seven separate Havelies for his seven sons in Gokul.  Two other svaroops he inherited were also given promient place in the sect.  All in all, Shri Gusaiji set up nine main forms of the Lord to be worshipped by his disciples. These are commonly called "Nidhies" of the Lord.  Nidhi means an ocean / limitless / infinate.  The Nidhi svaroops are indeed the oceans grace, offer limiltless honours and infinate wealth for those who have the great responsibility and good fortune to look after them.  Here I have listed the various Nidhis, their principle bhav and where they currently reside in India.

 

Svaroops

Physical Form

Principle Bhava

Current location

Shri Nathji

Dark black stone image, carved in high relief of Shri Govardhan-dharan, ie Shri Krushna who has lifted mount Govardhan for the good of us all

.

Adbhoot, Vatsalya, Madhurya, Sakhya, Dasya bhav.

Saviour of devotees
Beloved of gopijans
Leader of Rasa

Nathadwara - Rajasthan

NavnitPriyaji

Golden image of pancha-dhatu (5 metals) of baby Krshna, crawling on the floor with a butter ball in his right hand.

Vatsalya and dasya bhava.
Darling baby of mother Yashoda

 

Nathadwara - Rajasthan

MathuraDhishji

Dark black stone image, carved in high relief, with a square stele, of Lord Vishnu with four arms carrying conch, mace, discus and a lotus.

 

Adbhoot, Madhurya, Sakhya, Dasya bhav.

Saviour of devotees
Beloved of gopijans

Kota - Rajasthan

VitthalNathji

Lord waiting for his beloved with His hands on hips.  (silver or mix of gold and silver)

Adbhoot, Madhurya, Sakhya, Dasya bhav.
Beloved of gopijans

Nathadwara - Rajasthan

DwarikaDhishji

Dark black stone image, carved in high relief, with an arched stele, of Lord Vishnu with four arms carrying conch, mace, discus and a lotus.

Saviour of devotees
Beloved of gopijans

Kakaroli - Rajasthan

GokulNathji

Golden image of pancha-dhatu (5 metals), with four arms, lifting the mount Govardhan and playing His flute.

Adbhoot, Vatsalya, Madhurya, Sakhya, Dasya bhav.
Saviour of devotees
Beloved of gopijans

Gokul - UP

GokulChandramaji

Free-standing, dark wooden image of the Lord playing his flute.

Madhurya, Sakhya, Dasya bhav.
Beloved of gopijans

Kamvan - UP

MaadanMohanji

Golden image of pancha-dhatu (5 metals), with two companion gopies.  Lord is playing His flute during the maha rasa.

Madhurya, Sakhya, Dasya bhav.

Beloved of gopijans

Kamvan - UP

Bal-Krshnalalji

Dark image of pancha-dhatu (5 metals), of baby Krshna, crawling on the floor with a butter ball in his right hand.

Vatsalya and dasya bhava.
Darling baby of mother Yashoda

 

Surat - Gujarat

Natavarlaji, Mukundraiji and Kalyanraiji, though not set up as Nidhies, these three were also worshipped by Shri Gosaiji and are accepted as semi-nidhis in Pushti Marg..

 

Bhagwat Shah

Jai shri Krushna

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