The central tenant of Pushti Marg is "Grace".
Taking his queue from Brahmans, Upnishads and the Vedas, HH Shri Vallabhacharyaji concluded that Brahman can only be reached by His grace. Even in the Bhagwad Geeta, the Lord says that "the only way to reach Me is by My grace. No amount of learning, penance, or action can merit "seeing" (knowing) the Brahman as Brahman is."
Hence Grace formed a central theme in Pushti Marg. Having established that the entire universe is the Brahman and nothing but the Brahman (central theme of Shudhavaita), Shri MahaPrabhuji stated that to "know" the Brahman, one had to only open himself to the eternal truth and rely on the grace of the infinite to reveal itself.
But, in his opinion, there is nothing to "reveal", as the truth is self evident and as plain as the day ! In our ignorance, we can't believe the simplicity of the "truth" and we look for complicated answers. We are part of Brahman and Brahman is part of us, just as salt is an inescapable part of the ocean and the ocean is an essential component of the salt. Just as Gold and the jewelry made from gold is in essence gold, no matter what shape we give it, Brahman is Brahman ! no matter what name and shape we give it !! Gold fashioned in a circle is a called a "ring", only because we call that shape "ring". Similarly, Brahman, shaped in a particular form is called a "tree" or a "mountain" or a "man", but in essence, it is Brahman.
Though this is easy enough to understand in theory, it is hard to experience, as we have been brought up, since infancy, to recognize things as different from ourselves. Babies see no difference between them and the universe. To them it is a seamless reality. Over the years, we tell them, "No ! This is you and this is mum / dad / brother / toy / house / grass etc. We give them the concept of "me / mine - you / yours". Over the years, we reinforce this in several ways and soon, we begin to see "ourselves" as a separate individual from the universe around us. To return to that infant innocence and rejoice in it requires "grace". We need to return to this state not out of ignorance, but out of active intelligence,
The joys of gopas and gopies of Vrindavan, during the Sarasvat Kalpa, were full of this innocence. The gopas often found out the greatness of their Gopal, but still loved Him as one of them, and never ceased to care for Him as their own. Eg when the Lord defeated so many demons in his infancy and youth, they recognised His uncommon strength and intelligence. When the Indra was defeated during Govardhan lilas, they knew this child was no ordinary gopa. When Nandaraj himself related the things he saw and heard in Vraun loka, they knew there was something very special about their Neel Gopal. Knowing all this, they still cared for Him as if He was their darling child who was the apple of their eyes. It is this, the love that endures, despite knowledge of the person's greatness that made Vrajvasies so special to Krushna. Knowing He can capable of everything, they asked for nothing, and only ever gave LOVE. This is what endeared them to the Lord. This the state we want to reach. This is what Shri MahaPrabhuji wants us to emulate and eventually become, givers of un-selfish love.
This can be achieved only with Divine Grace !
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