What is Pushtimarg

  • 01. Pushtimarg
    Pushtimarg is a rainbow - it is filled with colours and is a spectacle for those who are lucky enough to witness it! Pushtimarg cannot be completely explained or put up in a few pages because it covers a span of 500 beautiful and magnificent years in history. It was started in A.D.1492 by Shri Vallabhacharyaji -Shri Mahaprabhuji, expanded by Shri Gusainji and his seven sons -the saat baalaks and today it's traditions and beliefs are carried forward by around 250Vallabhkul acharyas. This

    Pushtimargiya kalpavruksh has grown on to become one of the most respected and followed vaishnav sampradayas, today unofficially there are as many as 5 crore vaishnavas throughout the world who are guided by the acharyas of Vallabhkul.

    Here we try to understand some of the issues related to Pushtimarg as also clear many confusions that have sprung up amongst the vaishnavas.
  • 02. Traditions of Pushtimarg
    Pushtimarg is 500 years old. Any marg which dates back this long must be bound by some tradations or else it couldn't have survived for so long. Here we look at some of the traditions that have been instrumental in keeping Pushtimarg alive and bringing it to us through the generations

    • Brahmasambandh
    • Jhari-Charansparsh
    • Tilak-Kanthi
    • Manorath
    • Mala-paheramni
    • Girirajji Parikrama
    • Yamunaji Poojan
    • Vallabhkul Padhramni
  • 03. Brahmsambandh
    A person becomes a 'Pushtimargiya vaishnav' only after being initiated into Pushtimarg by the 'Brahmasambandh diksha' and not by simply being born in a vaishnav family as is a mis-conception. Brahmasambandh is the entry of a jiva into Pushtimarg. It is a diksha which can be given by any of the existing Vallabhkul acharyas ONLY, not by any other person on this earth. The first brahmasambandh was given by Shri Vallabhacaryaji to Shri Damodardasji Harsani more than 500 years ago.

    The word 'Brahmasambandh' is made up of two words 'brahma' meaning prabhu and 'sambandh' meaning relation/attachment. Simply put by taking brahmasambandh a jiva (person) becomes attached to prabhu.
  • 04. The Brahmasambandh Mantra
    The Brahmasambandh mantra is a sanskrit mantra containing 84 letters. This mantra is not man-made, it was first given to Shri Vallabh by Shri Thakurji Himself (in the form of Shri Gokulchandramaji) at Thakurani Ghat in Gokul on Shraavan Sud 11 in the year 1492 AD. Shri Thakurji had promised to Shri Vallabh - "To whoever you or your descendants give this diksha, I'll consider him/her as my own and so will not look at the faults of that jiva".

    This mantra is an oath taken by the jiva wherein he/she does samarpan of all his worldly wealth and relations MENTALLY to Shri Thakurji. After taking brahmasambandh the jiva believes that all worldly attachments (like wealth, family, etc.)are given by prabhu with His kripa, the jiva does the effort like business but it is prabhu who gives fruit in the form of wealth. This mantra is secret and pure, it cannot be read, written or recited in public. We cannot publish this mantra on the website
  • 05. The Brahmasambandh Mantra - The Procedure
    There is a set procedure for taking brahmasambandh which has been followed strictly since centuries. Here we give the details on what should be the ideal procedure (may vary slightly depending on the agya of Vallabhkul Acharya) that has to be followed by anyone willing to take the diksha. (Example : Supposing a person wants to take Brahmasambandh on 15th August). Here are the steps he/she should follow :

    • Take permission from a Vallabhkul Baalak a few days before the diksha.
    • Do complusory Upvas - taking only fluids and fruits/dry fruits - a day before the diksha is to be taken (here 14th Aug)
    • Go to the haveli/place where the diksha is to be given the the fixed date (here 15th Aug)
    • Gents should take a new (kori) dhoti(complusory) and bandi/uparna(optional) and ladies should take new (kori) saree or chaniya/choli to the place of diksha. (Tip : Also take new towel to dry the body alongwith the clothes mentioned above)
    • One should take bath in one's house and shampoo the hair. Remove ring (angoothi), nail polish, mehendi or any kalai dora at one's house. Go to the place of diksha wearing normal clothes.
    • On reaching the place of diksha, take bath a second time in apras and wear the dhoti/saree and sit in a pure place. Keep reciting the Ashtakshar mantra (Shri Krishna Sharanam Mama) till you are not called to take the diksha.
    • Once you have taken diksha from Vallabhkul balak change into normal clothes after taking permission.
    • Do bhet & charansparsh of Diksha guru and leave for your home. Remember to ask for a photo of your guru before departing and always keep the photo at a safe place where darshan can be done.
  • 06. The Brahmasambandh Mantra - Points to Remember/follow After the Diksha
    After taking the diksha we are not free. We must realise that from the day of Brahmasambandh we have just entered the sampradaya and so must take care of some basic things

    • Always wear two Tulsi Kanthis. Never ever part with the kanthi under any circumstances. Alternately, we can also wear a chandi/sona kanthi
    • Do paath like yamunashtakam, navratna, etc. and do a mala of 'Shri Krishna Sharanam mama' mantra daily after taking bath. Make it a habit of giving atleast 5-10 mins. to prabhu-smaran during the whole day
    • Visit gurughar during auspicious days or days which hold importance to you. Make it a point to compulsorily do dandvat to guru on Shraavan Sud 12 (Pavitra Baaras)
  • 07. The Brahmasambandh Mantra - The Necessity to Take the Diksha
    • This diksha is necessary if the vaishnav wants to do Jhari-Charansprash or any other activity like sewa in Pushtimarg
    • There are many who believe that there is no need to take the diksha if one is born in a vaishnav family, this is not true. Each and every jiva has to independently do samarpan to prabhu in the presence of Shri Vallabh and tulsiji
    • Children of a vaishnav family should compulsorily be given the diksha as it can be helpful in case of emergency related to sewa
    • Many vaishnavs believe that Brahmasambandh should be given only to those who are willing to do sewa, this is also not a practical approach as the wish to do sewa may arise at a later part in one's life. If the diksha is not given citing the above reason then the jiva - under no proper guidance - may go away at a young age to another marga whereby being deprived of his/her right of doing Bhagwat-sewa
    • The ideal age of taking the diksha is 7-15 years
  • 08. Things to Carry
    Any vaishnav - WHO HAS TAKEN BRAHMASAMBANDH FROM A VALLABHKUL BALAK - can do Jhari-Charansparsh at the bethakji. For this he/she must carry the following things:

    • New or reshmi dhoti and a bandi or uparna for men. Ladies must have a new or reshmi saree or chaiya-choli.
    • New Dhoti-uparna for offering to bethakji, a gomukhi with jap-mala inside. Also attar and kanthi (These things are optional)
    • Dry fruits or fruits and misri(mid-size sugar pieces).
    • Do not forget to carry bhet to be done to the bethakji
  • 09. Procedure
    The exact procedure to be followed can differ at all bethakjis but a certain procedure is common to all. Here we are giving the general directions to be followed by anyone willing to do Jhari-Charansparsh:

    • First take bath in apras and wear the dhoti-bandi/saree. Dry your hair or tie it properly so that it does not fall on bethakji
    • Be careful not to touch any vaishnav who is not in apras
    • Carry the things to be offered at the bethakji with you in apras (fruits, dhoti-bandi, gomukhi, etc.)
    • Enter the sewa and first do dandvat to the seat (chontraji).
    • Go to an adjoining room or verandah and cut the fruits into pieces (remove the seed from apples, oranges, etc.). Put the fruits and misri in different bowls
    • Go to the mathni-ghar (room or place where the water pithcer for filling jharijis is kept) and wash and refill a jhariji (Note: Most of the bethajis have stock of jharijis, optionally vaishnavas can take new jharijis with them also)
    • Go back in sewa and carefully offer the jhariji and bhog (fruits,etc.) near the chontraji.
    • Also offer the new Dhoti-uparna, gomukhi, attar, etc. to the chontraji.
    • Do charan-sparsh and bhet of the padukaji. If there is enough space do atleast one parikrama of the chontraji.
    • Stand at one corner and do one paath of 'Shri Sarvottam-stotram' infront of the bethakji. If there is not enough space in sewa then sit at some place and recite the stotra. Even if you sit outside, stay in apras till the paath is not completed.
    • Once the paath is finished take the jhariji and bhog as prasadi. Empty the jhariji in the mathni-ghar and take the fruits with you as 'prasad of bethakji', do not forget to take a drop of water from jhariji also.
  • 10. Points to Remember
    There are certain points which should be borne in mind when doing Jhari-Charansparsh. These are not rules but if kept in mind they give pleasure to other vaishanvas and also Shri Vallabh:

    • Please take personal care of all your belongings, never trust any locals
    • If possible read the 'bethak-charitra' (story of the bethak) of the particular one you are visiting
    • In sewa never be in a hurry. If someone is doing Jhari-Charansparsh before you and you want to leave early, let him know in a polite manner
    • Be VERY CAREFUL when you are carrying your bhet-samagri with you near the chontraji. Careless vaishnavas many times spill the things on the chontraji whereby giving shram to Shri Vallabh. Anyone in sewa should complusorily take care of this point
    • When you are in apras and darshan are open, please stand in such a way that you do not obstruct the darshan
    • If you cannot take bath in apras then do darshan of bethakji without fail
    • If you're doing bethakji in a big group, say more than 100, take consent of all present and fill the jhariji and offer dhoti-uparna, etc. collectively (one person offering them and the rest touching his hand to complete the bhavna). If you have got a different set, give it to the mukhiaji or the adhikariji who will use them at a later date. Don't forget to do charan-sparsh and bhet individually. This will give relief to bethakji as many times if everyone tries to do everything it gives shram to Shri Vallabh
    • If there are any sewaks, give them nominal sewaki