NATHDWARA Nathdwara stands for Nath & Dwar which means the doors to Lord. Nathdwara is a place where resides the Lord Shrinathji. Nathdwara is situated on the right bank of the Banas River near Udaipur in Rajasthan. Lord Shrinathji is the great sanctity for the Vaishnavas of Pushtimargi or Vallabha sect which is devoted to Krishna as a child Nathdwara is known for its Pichhwais (large painting on cloth depicting legends from the life of Lord Krishna) and Haveli music (devotional music, akin to Dhrupad - singing, with compositions meant for various seasons, festivals and sections of the day).
SHRINATHJI, YAMUNAJI & MAHAPRABHUJI Mara Ghat ma virajta Shrinathji, Yamunaji, Shri Mahaprabhuji. Shrinathji – is the Lord Krishna Yamunaji – is the daughter of Divine Sun and queen of Lord Krishna & flows in form of divine river Yamuna. Mahaprabhuji – is another name of Shri Vallabhacharyaji who was not only a Saint, but also a great Philosopher and founder of Pusthi Marg.
Shri Yamunaji Shri Yamuna is the fourth element of Shrinathji. Shri Yamuna is the daughter of Surya (Sun) and sister of Yam. She is symbol of Mukti from the evils of Yam and light. Yamunaji is the ISHT DEVI of Pushtimarg. Yamunas another name(form) is Kalindi who is also the daughter of Surya. Kalindi is the fourth patrani of Krishna. Yamunaji however is not the wedded wife of krishna, but is beloved of Shri Krishna. Radha is the First beloved of Shri Krishna (Radha is the reverse of Dhara). Dhara takes away the being from Lord Shiva due to its TRIGUNATMA character. On the contrary Radha with the strength of Bhakti and Samarpan makes atma meet parmatma. Gopanga is also sacred beloved of Krishna. Third beloved of Krishna is Ananya Purva a daughter of Rishi who did Katyani Vrat. Yamunaji had emerged from the heart of Surya Narayan and landed at Mount Kalindi. She had flown on the earth for the benefit of its disciples to have Bhakti Bhav.
Shri Yamunaji Yamunaji is the melted form of Bhakti Rass liquified image. She has three images Adhi-Bhautik: The river that flows in Mathura,Vrindavan,Gokul, etc. Adhyatmik: The one that gives boon & washes away the sins of the vaishnavas. Adhi-Daivik: The real swaroop of Shri Yamunaji (One of the main queens of Shri Thakorji) Mythologically she carries garland of lotus in her hands for Lord Krishna. Where there is Krishna there is Yamunaji. She is like Krishna. Krishna is black as is Yamunaji. Krishna is king of kings. So Yamunaji is Queen of Queens (Patrani). This is the belief of Pushti marg. Yamuna is sister of Niyamak (Yam) who keeps account of human beings good and bad deeds. He who takes water of Yamuna becomes the son of Yamuna. How can the mother torture his child and hence he who takes bath in Yamuna should not be afraid of Yam. Yamuna is the giver of Ashta Siddhi.
SHREE YAMUNASHTAKAM (Following are a few lines from Yamunasthakam) Namami Yamuna Maham, Sakal Siddhi Hetum Muda, Murari Padpankaj Sfuradamand, Renootkatam, Tatastha Nav Kanana, Prakat Mod Pushpambunaa, Suraa Sursu Poojitaha, Smara Pituh Shri yambibhrateem Bhuvam Bhuvana Pawaneem, Adhigatamane Kashwanaihi, Priyabhiriva Sevateam, Shuka Mayur Hansadibhihi, Tarang Bhuj Kankana, Prakat muktikavaluka, Nitambtat Sundareem, Namat Krushna Turya Priyam.
Shri Mahaprabhuji Shri Vallabhacharyas father was Lakshman Bhatt and Illamargaru was the mother. Lakshmans parents had performed ninty-five Yagnas and it was informed to him by his Guru that the birth of an Avtar would take place in his family after having completed hundred Yagnas. With a view to visit the sacred places of North India, Lakshman Bhatt had started from his village with his family members to reach Varansi. He found the place with peace and during his stay in Varanasi, he had performed all five Somayagnas. Here he lived for some time but later, fearing disturbance and violence owing to Muslim ruler called Bahulul Lodi he fled with his family by a certain route which took him back to his native place. On his way to the South, he halted at Champaranya, a forest area in Raipur District i.e. in Madhya Pradesh. The terror and physical strain suffered by her resulted in the birth of the child at Champaranya, two months prematurely. Taking the child to be still-born for it showed no signs of life at first, the parents sadly placed it under a tree wrapped in a piece of cloth and proceeded to the village for rest. At night they had a dream in which God himself appeared and informed that he had been born as their child which they had thought as dead. Hence they went to the spot and to their surprise they found the divine baby enveloped by fire as its protecting spirit.The blessed mother extended her arms into the fire and recieved the divine baby from the fire. The child was named Vallabh. Later he was known as Vallabhacharya.
Shri MahaPrabhujis Childhood & Education Lakshman Bhatt himself was a learned man and so he took keen interest in his childs education. He engaged the best tutors who were well versed in their subjects. In his childhood Shri Vallabh didn't play with toys like the ordinary children but liked to play with idols of Shri Krishna or his father's books. He completed the study of all the four vedas,the upanishads and the six darshans(philosophies) at a tender of only five years. He completed his education at Banaras.He defeated many learned men at a very small age of only thirteen years.He decided to start a parikrama of India when he was only eleven years old. He completed three such parikramas during his lifetime.He used to wear only a dhoti and a uparana and he always remained barefoot during his life. Shree Vallabhacharya used to meditate and talk to his followers in a peacefull surrounding area. There are total eighty four Baithaks all over India and they are still regarded with great reverence by the Vaishnavs.
Constrution of the temple at Jatipura and starting of Sewa Pranalika by Shri Mahaprabhuji Shri Vallabh came to the Giriraj parvat at Jatipura during his parikrama. Here Shri Govardhannathji (Krishna) ordered Shri Vallabh to build a temple for him.Shriji had also given a dream to a vaishnav (Shri Puranmal Kshatri)in Punjab to come to Jatipura. He came to Jatipura and he became a sevak (devotee) of Shri Vallabh who later ordered him to construct a temple for Shriji at Govardhan parvat. In this temple Shri Vallabh started the sewa pranalika which to this day is carried on by the vaishnavas of Pushtimarg.And thus the beautiful Pushtimarg was born.
Shri Mahaprabhujis Family When he was in Pandharpur, Shri Vitobha told Vallabhacharya to adopt (Gruhastha Dharma) i.e. to get married so that the Pushti Marg could be propagated for generation after generation. Shree Vallabhacharya settled down in Varanasi and accepted Mahalakshmi the daughter of a Brahmin called Madhu Mangalam, in marriage after consulting his mother in S.Y.1560. He had two sons. The elder was named Shri Gopinathji born in the S.Y.1568 and the second son born in the S.Y.1572 whose name was Shri Vithalnathji in reverence to Shri Vitobha of Pandharpur, whose incarnation he was believed to be. Shri Vallabhacharya being a great scholar had written innumerable books and his commentaries on Srimad Bhagvata Purana are considered the best.
Some interesting Varta prasangs (incidents) about Mahaprabhuji Once when Shri Vallabh went to Ujjain he stayed at the Ashram of sage Sandipani.The ashram was situated at a very barren area,there was not a single tree nearby.When Shri Vallabh was doing Sandhya- vandan a leaf from a peepal tree fell infront of him. Shri Vallabh inserted into the soil and poured some water and a miracle happened,instantly a large green peepal tree sprung from the ground! Shri Vallabh completed his Bhagvat parayan beneath this tree. Once when Shri Vallabh went to Bahulavan the local Vrajwasis complained to him that the Muslim commander did now let them worship the idol of the cow Bahula arguing that he would allow them to worship it only if the stone idol ate grass. Shri Vallabh called the Muslim commander and infornt of him kept a small bunch of grass near the tail of the idol Bahula.To the astonishment of the commander the idol turned it's neck and ate the bunch!!On seeing this the commander apologised to Shri Vallabh and lifted the ban on the worship of the idol.
Shri Mahaprabhujis last preachings When Shri Vallabh was 52 years old, Lord Shriji ordered him to leave this world and come to Him.Before this Shriji had come twice infront of Shri Vallabh with this demand but had returned as Shri Vallabh insisted that some important work was still to be done. The time Shri Vallabh gave respect to Shriji's wish and decided to do the Asur Vyamoha Leela (leave this world). He went to the Hanuman ghat in Varanasi and took a maun vrat for 17 days.At the completion of this period he called both his sons and wrote a stotra of 31/2 shlokas known as the Shiksha Shloki as the final message to them. H e wrote a few words on sand; which were as follows:- Listen to my last words. I forsee a time when you will forget God and become engrossed in worldly matters. It is likely that you will become slaves of your passions which will turn you away from the path of Devotion. Instead of rendering service to God which is your primary duty, you will fritter away your time and energy in idle pursuits. But if you follow my advice, God will not forget you. You should believe that Krishna is our God and never slacken your faith in him and then he will surely protect you. You should regard him as the be-all and end-all of your life. Your ultimate good lies in serving him, which should be done with all your heart, mind and soul. Trust in his protection. Remember him always in all thoughts, words and deeds.
Shri Krishnas Message As soon as he ended, Lord Krishna manifested himself visually on the spot and wrote in the form of a verse completing Shri Vallabhacharyas message and counsel thus:- If you have faith in me, you will be under my care and protection and will not suffer failure of any sort. Be free from sorrows and anxieties concerning your future, for you are safe in my hands. Only you should love me with the love of Gopis. If you do so then you will surely secure liberation. That is the only mean of union with Me, by which you will regain your original divine nature. Do not give your thoughts to worldly matters. Be devoted to me and render service to ME by all the Means at your disposal. Soon after this Shree Vallabhacharya rose from his seat and entered into the waters of the Ganges singing to himself the song of the Gopis and the Yugala Gita from the Bhagvata, Concentrating his mind on Gods form. And to a brilliant flame in the form of God arose from the water and whisked him away in the sight of thousands of men, women and children who had congregated there to have his last Darshan. This aspect gives him transcendental character to prove that he was not Prakrutic (natural) person like us but divine. We also call him as Mahaprabhuji. Hence Vaishnavs consider Shri Krishna, Shree Yamunaji and Shree Vallabhacharya on equal footings, for this simple reason that all the three are inherently capable of emancipating the souls from the bondage of life and death.
PUSTI MARG SECT The sect flourished under Mahaprabhujis second son Shri Vitthalnathji (popularly called Shri Gosaiji), and soon adopted the graceful lifestyle of the 16 th Century royal courts of North India. The temple servants still serve the beloved prince of Vraj with all the respect and deference due to a reigning monarch. The 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 the alive the spirit of the sect around India. The current Tilakayat (the goswami in charge of looking after ShriNathji at Nathadwara) is in direct line from Shri Gosaiji and along with about 150 other Goswamis, they look after the welfare of the sect. The main form of the Lord worshipped in Pushti Marg is that of Shri Govardhan Dharan, the Lord lifting the Mount Govardhan to protect the denizens of Vraj. More popularly, this form of the Lord is lovingly called "Shri Nathji" by the followers of Shri Vallabhacharyaji. Shri Gosaiji established seven separate Havelies for his seven sons in Gokul. The form of baby Krshna (Navanit priyaji), whom he inherited from his father, was permanently housed with Shri Nathji at mount Govardhan. Navanit Priyaji officiates for Shri Nathji when ever the Lord is required to perform any rituals outside the inner sanctum. All in all, Shri Gosaiji 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 - these Lords are indeed the oceans of great honours and wealth for those who have the great responsibility to look after them.
Basic Concept & some terms of Pushti Marg According to the Shudhadvait philosophy of Maha-Prabhu Shri Vallabhacharyaji, the entire universe is part and parcel of the Sachidanand - the eternally omnipresent and blissful Lord. By this definition, the Lord and His creation are one and the same. Hence, the "joy" and bliss associated with the Lord are ever present in His creation. The only reason why we do not all "feel" or experience this joy, bliss and completeness, is because we have forgotten our true nature - that of being one with the universal Lord. As a result, we do not appreciate that we too are a part of the eternal Venu-geeta of the Lord and we too are part of the "Rakhilam Madhuram" that Shri Vallabhacharya sings about in the Madhurastakam. Rudra Marg Because Shri Vallabh cried when he realized the pain and pleasure of his separation from his beloved Lord Shri Krshna. Pushti Marg Because the Lord is accessible only through His own grace. The Lord cannot be attained by a given formula - He is attainable only if He wants to be attained ! Shuddha-Advaita Pure Monism where there is no difference between the creator and the created. Bhrahmavada Brahman, the source and cause of all that is in the Universe, is the universe. Purest form of monism anywhere, in any religion. Uniquely, this is the only philosophy that states, categorically, that everything, absolutely everything, is perfect just the way it is. Everything is imbibed with the sprite of the Lord and as the Lord is eternally perfect, everything is perfect !
The Deity- Lord Shrinathji Shri Nathji, literally the "Husband of the Goddess of Wealth", has a magnificent mansion in the Rajasthani town of Nathadwara, India. Shri Nathji is the form of Lord Krishna when he lifted the Govardhana Hill. He is shown with his left hand raised and the right hand closed in a fist and resting on his hip. His followers worship him both as Shri Radhanath or the Lord of Radha and as the mischievous child god Krishna. The idol of Shri Nathji is made from a large black stone and has several animals engraved on it – two cows, a snake, a lion, two peacocks, a parrot by the gods head, three seated sages, one on the Lords left and the other two on his right and another snake below the sages. They are evidently inhabitants of Mount Goverdhan watching Shrinathji reverently. A flower garland made of stone around the deitys neck resembles a black snake. The god wears a large diamond beneath his lips, a gift from the Mughal emperor Akbar. The lord here is given much respect: his clothes and jewellery are changed six times a day between the prayer services.
MYHOLOGY Vajranabha, the great grandson of Lord Krishna, first installed Shri Nathji as a deity over 5,000 years ago. The deity was then found by Madhavendra Puri around 500 years ago, lying neglected in some bushes next to the Govardhana Hill in Vrindavan. Krishna had appeared to him in a dream and asked him to install the deity of Shrinathji who had been originally installed by Vajranabha. Puri then established the idol in a temple on the same hill in 1519 AD. Later Madhavendra handed over the service of the deity to Vitthalanathji, the son of Vallabhacharya (b. 1479). Vitthalanathji took up the worship of the deity and since then it has been carried forward by the followers of Vallabhacharya, the Vaishnava spiritual guru. Vallabhacharya (Mahaprahbhuji) once defeated a large group of learned men at Vidyanagar and was amply rewarded with gold coins by King Krishnadeva Raya. The scholar gave away most of those coins and kept only seven. Those seven coins were then made into an ornament for Shri Nathjis statue which is still around his neck.
HISTORY OF SHRINATHJI Shri Nathjis idol was brought to Rajasthan from Govardhana near Vrindavan to protect it from the hands of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who in 1665 was bent upon vandalizing the area of Vrindavan by widespread destruction of Hindu temples. When the Mughal army came to Govardhana, the devotees of the Lord showed them the titles and gifts given to the temple by the previous Mughal rulers. The army commander then ordered the deity to be taken away from Govardhana. For almost six months the statue stayed in Agra after which the custodians of the idol of Shrinathji left that place with the idol in search of a new heaven. While several other princes were diffident, it was Maharana Rajsingh of Mewar who dared to provide refuge. The idol went on a journey to Mewar which took 32 months to complete. The decision to settle the Lord here at Nathdwara involves an interesting story. When the wheel of the chariot carrying the Lord got stuck in the mud at a place called Sihar, the Rana saw it as a divine sign that Lord Krishna wished to settle here. and thus a temple was built at this spot and the holy township of Nathdwara grew around the temple. In 1672 Shrinathji was installed in a new temple built in village Sihad, now called Nathdwara, on the banks of the Banas.
SHRINATHJI TEMPLE The temple of Shri Nathji dating from 12th century BC is a simple structure and is built like a house, but simultaneously has grace, design and harmony. It has been designed in the lines of the house of Krishnas father, Nanda Maharaj, in Vrindavan. The temple is thus also known as Nanda Bhavan or Nandalaya (the house of Nanda Maharaj). A kalasha (spire) tops it on which are seven flags alongwith the weapon of Lord Vishnu, the sudarshan chakra (discus). There is an interesting story regarding the deity of Shri Nathji that forms the basis of a temple ritual. It is said that once the Lord had torn his clothes while rushing back to the temple to be on time for prayers. Since that day it has become a custom to first blow the conch and then wait for a few minutes before opening the altar doors so that the Lord can return from his frolicking without any hurry and thus save himself from the embarrassment that he had already faced once. The management of the temple is under the main acharya or the spiritual leader of the Vallabh Sampradaya, known as the Tilakayata. The acharya is also known as Gosain Maharaj.
SHRINATHJIs JHANKIS (DARSHANS) Shrinathji during summer sleeps late at night and so rises late in the morning similary in winter Shrinathji retires early at night and so awakens early in the morning. In winter a Saghdi with Coal is lit and placed near him in order to produce heat for the divine child. Early in the morning the VINA is played to awaken Shrinathji and classical songs and music is sung during other Jhankis. Shrinathji is royally dressed and fed the purest and richest of foods. Even the water he drinks comes from the sacred river Yamuna. Shrinathji wears the best of the Dresses/Jewellery which is very rarely repeated. Normally there are eight Jhankis are eight Jhankis every day. These eight Jhankis are for a short while because shrinathji being a young child can be a Victim of evil eye (Nazar) and moreover each Jhanki has a particular meaning and purpose. The 8 Darshans or glimpses of Srinathji known as Ashtaya, are Mangala, Shrungar, Gwal, Rajbhog, Uthhapan, Bhog, Sandhaya Aarti and Shayan. In each of them the leelas (divine manifestations) of the Lord are described and harmonized with His daily routine.
The Attraction of Holy Cows The temple has over 500 cows amongst which one is honoured of being Shri Nathjis cow. This cow comes from a lineage that has served the Lord for ages and whose milk is only for the deity to drink. Milk from the other cows is used to make various sweets.
Other Temple Attractions Nathdwara has several other temples dedicated to Madana Mohana and Naveet Priya, all located in the main Shri Nathji temple complex. Madana Mohana deity was gifted to the temple by the wife of Maharana Fateh Singh of Udaipur. Naveet Priya temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, or one who is fond of butter (naveet means butter and priya means lover). The Banamali Temple is also a Krishna Temple and is located to the right of the Shri Nathji Temple The Vitthalnath Temple is right opposite the entrance of the Shri Nathji Temple. The deity of this temple was previously located at Gokula in Brajbhumi or the land of the Braj.
19th century painting shows Shrinathji temple complex
Kettle Drum Gate: Musicians play and sing here to announce that Shri Nathji is prepared to receive visitors to the temple
Govardhan Puja Courtyard: cows are invited for a feast in this courtyard during the festival of Gopashtami
Suraj Pol (Sun Gate): pilgrims and visitors wait here until the doors are opened; they then rush in to view Shri Nathji
Doltibari: the room where viewers stand to see Shri Nathji
Shri Nathji's Shrine: Shri Nathji stands here to greet his visitors
Navanita Priyaji's Shrine: Navanita Priya means "The Little Boy Who Loves Butter." The small gilt image of a child with a ball of butter in his hand has its own separate shrine at the Nathadwara temple
Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace): a priestly family, hereditary caretakers of Shri Nathji and Navanita Priyaji, resides in this palace
Festivals The Festivals of Nathdwara are also quite unique in nature. Annakuta Festival The largest is known as Annakuta, which is simply a continuation of the traditional worship of the Govardhana Hill as performed by the people of Vrindavan. It takes place a day before the Diwali, another Indian festival that is celebrated with much fervour and vigour. A hill is made of 2,500kg of rice and is offered to the deity of Shri Nathji. and then the temple gates are closed which are opened only in the evening during the darshan (public viewing) of the Lord. The looting of the prasada (mainly sweet offerings to a deity) of rice from the annakuta (the rice hill) follows. Every single worshipper of the Lord joins in the looting with much enthusiasm. Rose Festival The month of April hosts the Rose Festival and the end of summer finds itself in the midst of the Rath Yatra. The deity is given a free ride around the town on a silver chariot and an offering of 100,000 mangoes are also made to him. Jhulana Yatra or the swing festival is celebrated here during June/July. Swings made of gold, silver, glass and flowers with the deity in it are put on display. Children specially find it fun to decorate the swing of the Lord. Janmashtami, celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna, is again a major festival and is observed with much fanfare.
Pichhwai Paintings Other than its temples, Nathdwara is also famous for its Pichhwai paintings, which are very similar in theme to the thangka paintings of Ladakh and Tibet. Local Brahmin artists produce fine and intricate paintings on paper and cloth. Literally meaning something at the back, these are large paintings on cloth portraying Shri Nathji in various costumes and moods. The Lord is also shown in the forests surrounded by cows and gopinis (milkmaids). They depict the events and happenings in the gods life and are frequently changed to create different moods depending on the occasion and ritual. Ink blue clouds and dancing peacocks represent Lord Krishna with his blue complexion while the cows symbolize the devotees craving for their Lord. The name pichhwai has been derived from the position of the painting behind the image of the deity in Vaishnava temples of the Pushti Marga sect devoted to the childgod Krishna.
Pichhwai Paintings The purpose of the pichhwai was to narrate the Krishna stories for the uneducated, and the painted pichhwai of Nathdwara has now become the main export of the town. The paintings are devotional in theme and have their own appeal for the Lords worshippers. The Nathdwara artists have triumphed in the art of detailing, creating pichhwais that are almost like a patchwork collection of miniatures. The earlier paintings had used colours taken from crushed vegetables, like indigo and mineral colours such as lapis lazuli. However, commercial colours have now replaced them. Early pichhwais are rarely available as they are much in demand from foreign tourists and are sold at exhorbitant prices. These are miniature paintings and can be used as cards as well. Most of these serve their purpose mainly as low quality cheap, souvenirs.
(GET LOST IN ETERNAL WORLD) PAINTINGS OF SHRINATHJI