This is one of the most important festivals in the Pushti calendar. Today, just over 500 years ago, Shri Vallabhacharyaji was initiated into the sect by Lord Shri Krushna Himself, and he in turn initiated his first vaishnavs on the same day.
In the memory of that amazing day, pavitra are offered to the Lord by all the vaishnavs. Ordinary vaishnavs can also offer pavitra to the nidhi svaroops, a rare occasion when items offered by vaishnavs reach the Lord without any modification. All pavitras are offered at the most auspicious time of the day. Year on year, this will be different and will depend on the astral arrangement of planets, determining the exact time when Ekadashi begins and ends. In 2005, the pavitra were offered in the utthapan darshan.
16th Aug 2005 -
Shri Nathji woke up really early to cope with the rush of vaishnavs that were to visit Him today. Lord's wonderful dark reddish brown svaroop is draped in pure white, and He was wearing the brick red coloured turban from yesterday.
Today's shringar consists of a pure white pichod, rows of colourful jewels just beyond his knees and a white turban crowned with five peacock feathers. The pichoi is also white, with vertical stripes of silver ribbons to set the stage for a festive day. The stele is covered in brick red cloth to set off the the white clothes of the Lord against the white pichoi.
The pavitra were offered in the afternoon's utthapan darshan in 2005. Three giant pavitras were offered from the temple. This year, one was made of huge silken balls, strung together on silver threads. One was of saffron dyed cotton threads, to remind us of the one offered by Shri Mahaprabhuji. These mega pavitras were offered in such a way as to adorn the entire icon of the Lord, covering the entire stele.
Huge silver salvers, piled high with pavitras offered by vaishnavs, were brought into the nij mandir by the mukhiyajis. They placed the pavitra in huge mounds around the Lord, covering Him on all sides with pavitra of all colours and hues, shapes and sizes. One thing to watch out, if you are offering pavitras, make sure they are long and large. Smaller ones get lost in the mass of others, while the larger ones can be best used to decorate the gadiji, hindola etc.
As these were offered so close to the time for the hindola darshan, there was no real time to properly decorate the hindola with them, or create a pichoi with them on that day. We were assured this would be done the next day. Colourful pavitras were hung on silver hindola, wonderfully embossed with bands of silver flowers. Shri Madan Mohanji was swinging amidst his court of temple servants, carrying various fly whisks, fans, morchals etc. Kirtans are sung as vaishnavs file past in droves. During such a busy day, the hindola darshan can last for over two and a half hours to accommodate all the pilgrims.
VitthalNathji's shringar :-
There was a black pichoi with golden painting of Dana lila. Golden gopies, under golden boughs of golden trees, were being looted by a golden Lord, being showered with golden flowers, from golden chariots of golden Gods. It was a magnificent pichoi !! The regal Lords were dressed in all their finery and in the evening, they swung in a silver hindola, decorated with pavitras.
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