Pushtimarg -The Three Pillars of Pushtimarg -
(By Dr.Pravin Bhatia-Purecha) www.bhatiacommunity.org
Pushtimarg (The Path Of Grace) is a sect of the Hindu religion, founded by Shrimad Vallabhacharya (known as Shree Mahaprabhuji.)
Shri Vallabhacharya is one of the five main Acharyas of the Hindu Religion. (The other four being Shankaracharya, Shri Ramanujacharya, Shri Madhavacharya and Shri Nimbarkacharya.)
These acharyas have made significant contribution to the bhakti movement and led to the medieval rise in popularity of the Hindu Religion. The devotional movement is based on the idea that love of God should be seen as an end in itself, not as a means to something else.
Brahmsambandha – The Formal Initiation into The Path Of Grace
The absolute and exclusive rights to grant “Brahmsambandh” in the path of grace, in order to transform an Ordinary jiva (soul) into a Pushti “Jeev” lie only with the descendants of Shri Vallabhacharya, known as Goswami Balaks Vallabhkul(The word “Goswami” literally means – the protector of cows), who Vallabh Vaishnavas respectfully and lovingly refer to as: “Goswami”,”Bawa” or “Jeje”. They are the actual and direct descendants of Shreemad Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhu. Goswamies are responsible for the “pushti”(literally means spiritual nourishment) of all the disciples initiated by them.
Brahmsabandha is a process, where after fasting for one full day(consuming fruits and milk only) one is given the Krishna “Gadhya Mantra” in front of a Deity “Swaroop” by a Vallabhkul Goswami after which tulsi leaves (Indian Basil) are offered to the lotus feet of the Lord. The Adhikaar(right) to perform daily “seva” comes only after one is initiated into Pushtimarg by means of formally granting Brahmsambandh by a Goswami Balak. Without brahmsambandh one does not hold the right to perform seva of a Pusht (alive) Swaroop (Deity.)
The Three Pillars of Pushtimarg
The three pillars of Pushtimarg are:
- Raag (playing and hearing traditional Haveli music)
- Bhog (offering pure vegetarian food that does not contain any meat or such vegetables as onion, garlic, cabbage, carrots, and a few others)
- Vastra & Shringar (decorating the deity with beautiful clothes and adorning the deity with jewellery)
All of the above three are included in the daily seva (devotional service) which all followers of Pushtimarg offer to their Thakurji (personal Krishna deity), and all of them have been traditionally prescribed by Goswami Shri Vitthalnathji almost five hundred years ago. Shri Vitthalnathji is also called Gusainji (Vallabhacharya’s second son). The raag, bhog, and vastra and shringar offerings vary daily according to the season, the date, and time of day, and this is the main reason why this path is so colourful and alive.
Seva is the most important way to attain Pushti in Pushtimarg and has been prescribed by Vallabhacharya as the fundamental tenet. All principles and tenets of Shuddhadvaita Vaishnavism stem out from here.
What is Pushtimarg
- It (Pushtimarg) is spontaneous, selfless & motiveless love for God.
- It is based on pure love for God.
- It is expressed only through service of God – “Seva”.
- It is love after realising God’s true nature.
- The knowledge gained is not a means of liberation.
- Liberation, is considered secondary to the enjoyment of God’s bliss.
- Its aim is God’s happiness.
- No caste, creed, color, sex or age prevents one from attaining God’s Grace.
- It does not know any boundaries, be it time, place or anything else.
- It does not require a devotee to give up a householder’s life. In fact, one can serve Him better, by being a householder. This is different from other philosophies that require a life of contemplation as a monk.
- All the worldly desires are diverted towards God, they are then not required to be suppressed.
- World is not looked down upon but is treated as God’s creation and thus as real as God himself.
- Shri Krishna is the Supreme God, all the other deities reside in his form. Therefore total faith is placed in Shri Krishna alone.
- In the state of liberation the entity of the devotee merges into *God’s blissful form, but in Bhakti (especially Pushti bhakti) the devotee does not seek liberation but he enjoys God’s bliss by participating in it as a separate divine entity.