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Pushti-marg:Nitya Seva


Seva system in Pushtimarg is not a mere ritual like 'Karmakand' but is the method of love of Vraj Bhaktas. Though this seva system is quite broad in its original form, one should not feel disturbed thinking that a singular person living in a small flat cannot perform this. There is no fixed quantum of materials or strict rituals to be offered in the system of Seva but it is mainly based on pure love towards the sevya swaroop (Yatha dehe tatha deve).
A devotee in his own house can maintain the Seva according to limited time, place and facilities available to him throughout his life without disturbing his Deity, his family and his neighbour.

The information given below is a general information given with the purpose of giving a general idea to an inquisitive person, of the system followed in Pushti Bhakti Marg propagated by Mahaprabhu Shri Vallabhacharyaji.
A practicing person or one willing to practice is required to get this specified by his Guru or a well versed vaishnav.


The characteristic of Krushna worship/Seva (Krushna Seva Swaroop):



The meaning of Bhakti is the unflinching love for the God following the awareness of His greatness. This divine awareness-cum-affection is the true definition of the devotion for God. One can have unflinching love for God only when one is aware of Him as one's own innermost self. The greatness or worthiness can be recognized, if some one is certain that God alone is the creator - sustainer - destroyer of the universe. He alone is the Ultimate reality, the Supreme Lord and Self of this universe. Here awareness does not cause this affection but it only allows us to discover Him within ourselves. Devotion must not be caused by desire for achieving any of the worldly rewards like money, fame, comforts, pleasures, etc. Having such unconditioned love for Him and due to the intensity of such love for Him, which may generate the feeling of identity between lover and beloved, in such apex stage of devotion if awareness of divine greatness is lost, then that too is considered as the most praiseworthy.
it is neither sufficient nor appreciable or adorable to practice 'Bhakti' without 'Seva' or to practice mere ritual or action of seva without love for the Pushta Thakurji.
In 'Siddhaant Muktavali' Shri Acharyaji explains the characteristics of Seva as
"Krushnaseva Sadaa Kaaryaa Maansi saa paraa mataa, Chetastat Pravanam Seva"
It is essential all the time the Pushti Bhakta engages himself in seva. Basically Seva means 'to get mind engrossed in Krushna'. When a mind is totally occupied by Shri Krushna in such a way that even if the rituals of Seva are not carried out physically, it continues to prevail in the mind. This type of intense worship of God in the mind cannot happen with any specific effort, but it happens effortlessly. This is termed as 'Maansi Seva', the prime and final result of Seva.


Who can persue Krushna Seva? :



Shri Acharyaji states in 'Pushti-Pravah-Maryada' as "Bhaktimargasya Kathanat Pushtirastiiti Nischaya"
meaning: From the scriptural teaching of the path of devotion, it is not caused by desire for achieving any of the worldly rewards like money, fame, comforts or other-worldly rewards like heavenly pleasure but it is an unconditional love for God, then it is certain that there is grace. Thus it gets established that Pushti Sect is different from other divine sects. Therefore we can say that anybody can be admitted into Pushti Sect but not everybody is.
Shri Acharyaji clarifies this aspect in 'Sarvaniryana Nibhanadh' as "Param atra na sarvesham Phalmukhadhikar, Kintu yeshu Bhagawat kripa, Kripa Parigyaanam cha margruchya Nishchiyate"
meaning: Why everybody is not following Pushti Bhakti Marg? Because those who are graced by God, only they can perform Lord's Bhakti/devotion. And the interest/liking in Pushti Bhakti marg in any soul is the parameter to identify the grace showered on that soul by Lord. So without God's grace, interest cannot be developed in Pushti Bhakti Marg. In this path a person's liking and his loyalty is judged by his outside appearance like dresses, language, behavior etc. That means, anybody who is always found sporting Tilak, Tulsi mala and wearing dress of Pushtibhakta, speaking only absolute refuge in Shri Krushna with total love and affection, singing the divine songs in private and in a company, having liking for Seva in privacy and behaves according to doctrines of Pushti Bhakti Marg, can be safely accepted as a person with liking in Pushti Bhakti path.
So only that who has liking for Pushti Bhakti and wishes to serve Shri Krushna, should approach the right teacher of the sect and get himself initiated in the sect after taking two Dikshas (Nam and Nivedan) i.e. one to get admission (to surrender oneself to God) and second (to dedicate fully to God) to perform Krushna Seva. Thus after initiation one has to follow rules and regulations otherwise he is stripped off from the benefits/eligibility derived from these dikhshas. Thus according to the tenets of Shri Vallabhacharyaji, if Guru gives these two dikshas to a person without checking his liking and preparedness, in terms of accepting Shri Krusnha as his refuge and willingness to serve God as Shri Krushna in his own house with total dedication, then such an act destroys Guru himself as per a commentary of Shri Purushottamji on 'Jalabhed' Granth of Shri Acharyaji.In the same way, if a person takes these dikshas without faith in it in terms of taking refuge of Lord Krshna alone and serve God in his house, he is stripped off from all the benefits/eligibility derived from these dikhshas.
These dikshas are to be taken from the person who is a direct descendant of Shri Vallabhacharya's family as per the general practice of the sect. Shri Acharyaji also specifies the qualities of such Guru in 'Sarvaniryan Nibandh' as "Krshnaseva param vikshya dambhadi rahitam naram Shri Bhagawat tatvagyam bhajet jigyasuradarat" means that a Guru who believes himself in divines of Lord's devotional practice(Bhagawat Seva) and follows Krshna Seva in his own dwelling place, with his own wealth, body, mind and family members without any objectives like desires, greed, honor etc. and possesses the knowledge of the theme of Shri Bhagawat as explained by Sri Acharyaji in his own granthas 'Nibandh' and 'Subodhini' or preaches & follows the principle & practice of Sri Krshna Worship according to sayings of Sri Acharyaji, is the right person/Guru to be followed respectfully by the devotee. Furthermore, Shri Aharyaji advises as "Tad-abhave swayam waapi moortim kritwaa hareh kwachit, paricharyam sadaa kuryate tatroopam tatra cha sthitam" means if a Guru with above mentioned characteristics is not available then in today's time, a devotee should establish 'Gurudom"(Gurutava) in Shri Vallabhacharyaji himself and venture for Shri Krshna worship. In such a circumstance one should not insist to take diksha from Shri Vallabh clan only who does not possess the above virtues.
A devotee with a desire to serve Shri Krshna, should first take diksha called 'Nam Diksha' which is also known as dikasha of Shri Krshna refuge(Shranagati). By this diksha a devotee is taking a refuge with Shri Krshna only. Lord Krshna in Gita explains the same thing as follows;
"Sarva dharman parityajya mamekam shranam vraj, aham twaam sarvpapebhyo mokshayishyami ma shuchah"
and
" Devi esha gunamayee mama maayaam durtyayaa, maamev ye prapdyante maayaametaam taranti te"
means For this wonderful illusion of Mine (Shri Krshna's) consisting of the three Gunas (modes of nature) is extremely difficult to get overcome; those however who take refuge in Me alone (who take an absolute refuge in Shri Krshna alone) cross it". And "Surrendering all duties to Me(Shri Krshna), seek refuge in Me(Shri Krshna) alone. I (Shri Krshna) shall absolve you of all sins, grieve not". In other words the soul can attain liberation from this illusion , only by leaving the commitment (faith) in all means, and taking Shri Krshna's refuge only. A true devotee of Shri Krshna should disassociate himself from other incarnations or means/acts. Shri Bhagawat also quotes " Yathaa hi skandhshaakhaanaam tarormulaavasechanam evamaaraadhanam Vishnoho sarveshaamaatmanacha hi" means by watering roots, the branches & leaves also get nourishment, similarly by offering worship to Lord Vishnu, it is nothing but worshiping all souls including self. In Gita also Lord Krshna says " Yepya nyadevta bhkta yajante sradhhyaanvita tepi maamev kontey yajanti avidhi purvakam" means even those devotees who endowed with faith, worship other Gods, they too worship me (Shri Krshna) alone, though not in accordance with rules (without proper knowledge).
Subsequently or along with Sharandiksha as per circumstances, one has to take Aatamnivedan (Dedicational) Diksha. Sarvasamparan i.e. total dedication of one's ownself along with all the belongings. This is neither an act of renunciation nor a tendency ` of possessing what belongs to us for our own sake. 'Dedication' means possessing whatever that belongs to us for the sake of worship of God. One cannot dedicate things to the Lord, which do not belong to him. This is taken as Vow at the time of initiation called "Brahmasabandha'. Theoretically it was the initiation for worshiping Shri Krshna, but now a days this initiation is given for admitting the person in to the cult.
Shri Bhagwat says "Kridaarthmaatmana idam trijagat kritam te swaamyam tu tatra kudhiyopara eesha kuryuhu, kartuhu prabhho tava kimasyat aavahanti, tyaktahriyasvatvadavaropita kartuvaadaaha: means the God has created this entire world for his divine sports. Those with satanic attitude only consider themselves as the master of this world. When God himself is creator, mentor and destroyer of this world, then, illusion by His divine power, these fellows assuming the false creator-ship of this world cannot assume a true Devotion of God. This type of wrong conception to be removed and keeping the belief that all these are His only and for Him only. With such frame of mind, body-wife-son-house etc to be offered to god for his pleasure. To express this to God is termed as 'Atamnivedan'. After this 'Atamnivedan' Diksha no fault/sin of the person can come in the way of Krshna Seva . The same thing is told to Shri Acharya by God himself in Sindhaantrahasya as " Brahmasambandh karanaat sarveshaam deha jeevayoho, sarvdoshnivritihi doshaha panchvidhaaha smritaahaa" By accepting "Brhmasambandh' diksha all faults of a person gets absolved. The opposite understanding of a person disqualifies him from Shri Krshna Seva.
Now what to do after taking this Samarpan/Brahmsambhandh diksha? Shri Acharyaji clarifies this doubt in "Sidhantrahasya' as Nivedibhih samarpaiva sarvam kuryaditi sthitih, na matam devadevasya samibhuktasamrpanam. Tasmadadau sarvakarye sarvavastusamarpanam " means "The firm rule is that those who are dedicating themselves (to Lord) should first offer every thing (to Lord), and then act. It is simply unacceptable to offer something half-eaten to the God of gods. Therefore at the very beginning of every undertaking the devotee should offer (to Lord) everything (he will use)" Thus subsequent to 'Aatmanivedan diksha' one must serve God in his own house (Tanu-Vittaja Seva as explained later) by offering everything related to Self and his belongings and only thereafter everything is to be used for himself. Direct use of anything without offering to God is prohibited. It is to be borne in mind that the worldly ownership of the devotees' wealth remains with him but the divine ownership of wealth remains with God. That is why Shri Acharyaji states in 'Sidhaantrahasya' that "dattapaharavachanam tatha cha sakalam hareh, na grahyamiti vakyam hi bhinnamarga param matam" means For the traditional sayings to the effect that one may not take back what has given, and that nothing which belongs to Hari may be taken (for one's own use), are applicable to other paths (not to this one). But if a person relinquishes his worldly ownership also in favour of God then it is not recognized as a devotional offer (Samarpan) but it is called as a Gift (Daan) to God, and if he uses this Gift for his own personal use then he is guilty of using God's wealth (Devdravya).


Seva with Body & Money (Tanu-Vittaja-Seva):



To make a mind concentrate in Shri Krshna, Shri Acharyaji shows a remedy in 'Sindhaantmuktawali' and 'Bhaktivardhini' as "Chetastatpravanam seva tat sidhhyaiyee tanuvittaja…." Bijdhardhya prakarastu grihesthitwaa swadharmataha. Avyaavrito bhajaet krishanm poojaya shravanadibhihi" means to concentrate on Shri Krshna and to consolidate the seed of devotional sense, Pushti Bhakta should start devotional worship of Shri Krshna in his own house by his own body-wealth -mind with the co-operation of other family members, observing rules of Varnashram dharma as per an individual capacity and also performing nine types of worship prescribed in scriptures of Bhakti. He is required to perform Krshna Seva as a prime concern and thereafter he may get involved in other business. Here an objectionable ego and attitudes of possessiveness can be refined by offering one's own body and one's own money (Tanu-Vittaja seva) respectively for Shri Krshna- worship and it helps in Chitta viniyoga i.e employing mind in the serv ice of Shri Krshna.
Here while defining term 'Tanuvittaja' , Shri Prabhucharan and Shri Purushottamaji, say that offering money to other to perform seva, or to accept money to perform seva, is never considered to be a Pushti seva. Such seva with other's money cannot materialize in to concentration of mind in Shri Krshna as in yajna, the hired purohit is not to get the fruit of the yajna. On the contrary, if such acceptance of wealth from others, taken for his own Lord Krshna, to whom a person is serving him in his own house, is used for his own livelihood/fame, then this person is to be treated as 'devlak' i.e. the lowest category of soul with a great offence. Shri Gusainji, the second son of Shri Acharyaji in his short treatise named 'The swan of devotion' clearly says that any devotional practice done due to motive of earning livelihood or fame etc. is merely worldly profession like farming. Moreover it is sinful, also like using holy water of Ganges in toilet, for defecation. Similarly by offering money to other for performing seva is also fruitless as it generates pride, which is hurdle in getting concentration of mind in Shri Krshna. In vedic yajna, the donor is benefited but in Pushti-bhakti-marg such a style of worship is not prescribed any where. Thus devotion/seva as prescribed by our Acharyas with body-wealth is not possible anywhere except our own house. This is explained by the son of Shri Vallabh, Shri BalKrshnanji while commenting on the above verse of 'Bhaktivardhini' according to him this verse indicates the nature of place of worship which is a devotee's own residence. If leaving the God at the house and rush to offer worship somewhere else (so called Pushti Marg Public temples) is never termed as pushti devotion. In pushti sect, one and the most important aspect of worship is to employ one's own body and own money in service of Shri Krshna with total dedication. This aspect of total dedication cannot be fulfilled when there is a bifurcation of body and money to be used for worship and this practice is totally prohibited. At present 99.9% of the temples of this sect do receive money from public. And public, at large, also think that monitory contribution for worship in the temples is the most pious religious duty in Pushtimarg founded by Mahaprabhu even though theoretically there was strict prohibition for the bifurcation of body and money to be used for worship!


Abhista Sukhada Laukika Raga Bhoga Sringara Viniyoga in Krushna Seva:



What are these things, which can be used/offered for the sake of Shri Krshna? Shri Acharyaji explains in 'Sarvnirnay nibandh' as
"Yadyadishttamam loke yachchatipriyamaatmanah, Yensyaannivrittishchitte tat krishne saadhayed dhruvam"
Whatever is the most desirous, dearest and considered the best in this world and in our ancient scriptures (Shaastraas), And particularly what delights our heart, Acquired by a descent lawful means, an ownership of which not shared by anybody else and which pleases the our mind is the thing, should be offered to Shri Krshna in his worship. No troublesome things should be offered in worship to the Lord.
The trouble things can be classified in three possible ways:
That which is considered as troublesome in general public.
That which may cause the trouble to the self and then
That which may cause trouble in our mind.
Therefore only non-troublesome things are to be offered in worship. Things like mangoes or grapes, easily available fruits etc are considered non-troublesome by general public. Sree Krshna in Vraja was very fond of milk ect. Anything that we earn or acquire morally and legally, where none has any claim, and if we have relished the idea to acquire it for long time, it delights our hearts, such things are to be offered in worship and not otherwise.
Thus if the food, ornaments, decoration and music are available without any tension, pain or discomfort then only these can be used for the sake of Krshna-worship not otherwise. When these food(Bhog)/music(Raag)/ornaments(Sringar) are coming as an hurdle in the way of Krshna-worship with total dedication as explained earlier (in a para of Tanu-Vittaja Seva) then such things are to be given up. That is why Lord says in Gita that "Patram, pushpam, phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayachhati,tadaham bhaktyuphritamshnami prayataatmanah" means Whosoever offered to me with love, a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or even water, I appear in person before that devotee who has dedicated to me fully, and delightfully partake of that article offered by him with love". Thus Shri Krshna needs (Devotees') our love not material things. These materials things are a mere outside representatives of our love towards him (Lord).


Eligibilty of Krushna Seva Paricharak (Servants):



If all family members are not interested in Krshna Seva, then what to do? Shall we force them to co-operate? Shri Acharayaji clarifies this doubt in 'Sarvaniryan Nibandh' as follows;
"Bhaaryaadiranukulschet kaaryate bhagawatkriyaam, udaasine swayam kooryaate pratikule griham tyajete"
means " If wife and other family-members alike are interested, then their co-operation in worship can be taken. In case of their being indifferent in worship one should worship alone. If they interfere in our worship then they should be forsaken. No fault occurs in renouncement of the relatives who oppose Vishnu."


Swaroop-Leela-Bhava-Bhavana in Krushna Seva:



In four verses (Chatursholaki) Shri Mahaprabhuji explains…"Sarvada sarvabhaven Bhajniyo Vrajadhip, svasyaayameva dharmo hi naanyah kvaapi kadaachana" means " The devotee should worship the Lord of Vraja at all times, with total love (and/or: with all/every sentiment). For this alone is his rule of life. Never and in no circumstances is there any other."
We must consider that Shri Thakorji whom we worship in our house, is nobody else but ultimate divine authority, Shri Krshna Himself (Who became the Lord of Vraja). He is everything for us and with this thing in our mind we have to worship Him.
Shri Acharyaji in "Sarva Nirnaya" elaborates the same aspect
"Tadbhave savyamvapi murtim krutvaa hareh kavchit
Paricharya sada kuryat tadroopam tatra cha sithtam".
One should perform seva of desired idol, by staying at a place where suitable environment for our devotional worship exists. We have to consider the idol as our Master and we are his Devotees and perform devotee duties towards our Master. God is everywhere (Omnipresence), so he is in an idol also. But, an idol is different from any other thing in that respect that here God himself makes up his mind to save/ liberate true earnest devotees like he could appear in a pillar for a devotee Prahlladji as Narsimha-avatar etc. Similarly to liberate/save true earnest devotees, he exists as the idol of Shri Thakorji in devotee's own house. Beautifying the idol is same as beautifying Shri Krshna, because the God, as a Supreme Being, has characteristics of Omnificient-Omniform-Omnipresent-Omnicient & Omnipotent power.
Shri Mahaprabhuji advocates that we should worship our Thakorji as an Emperor of Vraja. Thus an emulation sentiment of Vraja-devotees is an internal and unobservable personal factor. For the accomplishment of this purpose, the poems narrating these sentiments are to be sung. So while worshiping we have to treat Shri Thakorji as divine characters of Shri Krshna as infant, child, boy, etc. A true controller of entire universe the Ultimate Reality, when assumed the ownership of Vraj and brought up in the lap of Shri Yashodaji, then only residents of Vraj, who were not knowing any means of Self-liberation, were liberated. That is why Shri Mahaprabhuji states in 'Shri Subhodhiniji'"
"Nisadhan falaatmaayam pradurbhutosati gokule
Tataevasati neinaschitayamehike parloukike".
When Shri Krisna was born in Gokul, the Vrajbhakta who do not know and cannot follow the rituals to get elevated/ liberated, got the ultimate goal. With this fact, now such simple people can also become carefree from these worldly matters and other worldly matters and with their ill effects. That is why one should understand Shri Krshna as an Ultimate reality as his greatness and then one should emulate sentiments of Vraja-devotees in all activities of Krshna-worship in one's house. Visualize the various spots\places in Vraj where Shri Krshna played, in our house. Various sentiments of Vraj-devotees may not be developed in our mind, but then those incidences and responses could be brooded by singing Kirtans which can facilitate the process.
This principle is also established by Shri Acharyaji in "Sanyas Nirnay" as
"Kondinyo gopikaha prokta guruvaha sadhanam cha
tadbhavo bhavanaya siddhaha sadhanam nanydhrishyate"
means "Kaundinya and the Gopikas have been proclaimed the gurus of such renunciation. And the means of attaining it is theirs; love is brought to perfection by meditative imagining, no other means is needed."
Shri Acharyaji has explained in Shri Subhodniji the meaning of Satanic acts, which tried to disrupt/put obstacles in the play/relations between devotee & God in Vraj act (Vrajleela). Putana was considered as an ignorance of Vrajbhakta. Trinavat was their impulsive attitude (Rajasbhav). This way many satanic senses like pride/ego, identifying self with motor organs (Indriyadhayas), material attraction (Vishyasakti) etc, are narrated in 'Subodhini'. These Satanic senses can be identified with persons who oppose/interfere in our worship which is performed as per principle of Shri Acharyaji. The way, in which Shri Krshna destroyed the Satan in Vraj act (Leela), we can safely get assured that the Thakorji in our house will also destroy all obstacles in our Seva provided we perform Krshna-worship in the way described by our Shri Acharyaji (Seva Krutirguroraagya).
This way one who can maintain Seva and Katha both, should think of Vraj act of Shri Krisna during Seva and in other time, in absence of Seva, should think of Shri Krisna in Vrindavan by remembering, listening and singing such Kirtans. The one who cannot maintain Seva, should feel the separation as the Vrajbhakta felt, when Shri Krshna went to Mathura and feel the excitement of Vrajbhakata when they listen to stories of Shri Krshna by Uddhavji. Such Vaishnav should associate himself in Katha listening with the above mentioned response. These two types of responses are narrated by Shri Acharyaji in 'Nirodh Lakshan'. The character of these feeling can be known from the Kirtans, by the true devotees.


Puranokta Navadha Bhakti in Krushna Seva:



Shri Acharyaji showed the inclusion of Navadha Bhakti in Tanu-Vittaja Seva in his 'Bhaktivardhini' verse treatise. Here this Navadha Bhakti is not considered independent ritual worship but is accepted as the supporting part of devotional worship. The meaning of Bhakti is, All exceeding unflinching love for the God following the awareness of His greatness. This divine awareness-cum-affection or devotional rituals with love and affection, is the true definition of the devotion for God. We can also describe this devotion in the language of 'Ras-shastra' as Shri Vrajadhip (Shri Krshna), in our house in the form of an idol is to be treated as 'Aalamban Vibhav' around which all other sentiments (Bhav) rotates. Affection in the heart drives other acts of mind-body-speech for devotional worship. This outside devotional behavior in the form of mind-speech-body is called 'Anubhav'. Decoration of our Lord with ornaments & dresses, singing Kirtans describing Vraj act (Vraj Leela) etc are called 'Uddipanbhav' It facilitates our Lord in the form of an idol to become our 'Alamban'. In other words, our love affection or sentiments resided in our heart towards our Lord are manifested outside in the form of an idol (Alamban-vibhav). To emulate a sentiment of Vraj devotee like a parental affection (Vatslya bhav), Srngar bhav, Sakhya bhav ( a freindship), etc. in our Krshna-worship, is called 'Sanchari-bhav' (a temporary sentiment). 'Sthayi-bhav (a permanent sentiment) is derived from all these above sentiments putting together i.e Vi-bhav(Aalamban-vibhav & Uddipan-vibhav), anu-bhav and sanchari-bhav. Sthayi-bhav (a permanent sentiment) is a love affection towards our Lord due to relationship of Soul & Super-soul (Aatmaa & Paramatmaa) between a devotee and a Bhagavan.
In order to enable a devotee to experience all these above sentiments, a devotional scriptures show a way of performing nine fold devotional rites (a Navadha Bhakti). Thus with the help of this nine fold devotional rites, an individual soul of a devotee is getting associated with divine company (Bhagawatsang) along with his body-mind-speech and ultimately units with Supreme power (A Bhagawan). This nine fold devotional rites is quoted in Shri Bhagavatam as follows:
"Shravanam Kirtnanam Vishnoh Smaranam Padsavanam Archanam Vandanam Dasyam Sakhyam Aatmanivedanam" Shri Acharayaji also explains it in 'Nibandh' as "Vishishta roopam vedaarthah phalam prem cha saadhanam tatsadhanam navadha bhaktihi" and "Bahyaabhyantarbheden roope bhed dyam matam naamnichaikam tatastredha bhaktimargo nirupitaha"
The manifestation of God is an ultimate goal. The tool for his appearance is love/affection andagain tool for developing love is a nine devotional rites. Broadly speaking there are threefold exercises connected with speech, mind and body of devotee. Sravana = listening, Kirtan = recitation, Smarana = recollection ---- are the threefold exercise respectively connected with body speech and mind of beginner of devotion. Padasevan = Service, Archana = offerings flowers, tulsi leaf, ornaments, cloths, perfumes, foods etc. Vandana = showing reverence ____ are the three devotional rites respectively connected with body speech and mind of little advanced stage. Daasya = humbleness, Sakhya = friendship and lastly Aatmanivedan = self dedication, which is already mentioned before as initiation but here as daily reviving of that sentiment, are the three rites respectively connected with body speech and mind of more advanced devotee. Shri Acharyaji states in 'Nibandh' "Roop Naam Vibheden Jagat Kri dati Yo Yatah" " He (God) who sports in the world as form and name ". Thus as a part of 'Namrati' of God, Sravan-Kirtan-Smaran of divine sports are practiced, and as part of 'Rooprati' of God Padsevan-Archana-Vandan as an outer limbs activities and Dasya-Sakhya-Aatmanivedan as an inner mental activities are performed, within the divine act of Krshna-worship. This way Shri Acharyaji has segregated Nine fold devotional rites in to three sections as; in 'Bhagavat-deity, an outer and inner, two sections and in 'Bhagavat-naam one section. Thus this daily repetition of nine fold devotional practice has its theoretical importance in service of Shri Krshna.
A Description of performing this nine fold devotional rites in Krshna-worship is explained in the book called 'Sevakaumudi' written by Shri BalKrshna Bhatt, a renowned scholar of Pushti Sampradaya. A short explanation of it runs as follows:

1. Sravan (Listening):
To listen divine acts and names of a Lord Shri Krshna from Shri Bhagawat, Shri Subodhinis etc. while not engaged in Krishan-worship (Seva).
2. Kirtan (Recitation):
To sing poems sung and created by a true devotees of Shri Acharchayaji & Shri Prabhucharan, to chant verses related to Seva during a period of Krshna-worship and to read/recite Shri Bhagawat & other related verses praising God and its sport while not engaged in Krshna-worship.
3. Smaran (Recollection):
To hymn Saran-mantra, Samarpan-mantra and other names of Lord Shri Krshna repeatedly.
4. Padsevana ( Service):
To clean the place of Krshna-worship, wash His dresses, utensils, paintings, making His ornaments, preparing flower necklace, food etc. likewise all acts, right from 'Mangala' to 'Shayan' .
5. Archana (Offerings):
Offering 'Panchamrita-snaanam' on birth ceremony of Lord, 'Adhivasan', 'Sankalp', 'Dhoopdeep', 'Devothhapan', Aarti, Sankhodak etc are falling under a category of Archana bhakti. All these are performed as a part of a devotional worship and not independently.
6. Vandan ( Showing reverence):
Offering respect to Lord with humbleness, dandavat, pranam.
7. Dasya ( Humbleness):
Devotional mood of a devotee is expressed by taking only the offered food/cloth etc. putting 'Tilak' & 'Mudra' etc. on the head & body keeping an ultimate faith in Lord Shri Krshna.
8. Sakhya ( Friendliness):
To offer various best available things in favour of Krshna-worship without any outside compulsion (from outside world or Divine Scriptures). To offer dresses, ornaments, music, eatables etc. according to six seasons of a year and also to offer the material which is described the best in an outside world, divine scriptures, and also a very much attractive to oneself.
9. Aatmanivedan ( Self-dedication): The entire universe is created by an Ultimate power, Lord Shri Krshna for his divine play. But, because of an ignorance which is a also a power of God, a person tries to establish his fake ego in various acts and also his ownership on worldly matters. Aatmanivedan means to set aside this reverse attitude, to make it clear in the mind that this worldly matters are of God, are played by God, and are played for God, and to dedicate all these in His service by intimating Him accordingly. This is the declaration which is done in front of our Lord Shri Krshna at the time of an initiation 'Brahmsabandhdiksha'. Accordingly when a person is actually offering everything to Lord in his house during a devotional worship, then it is called 'Samarpan'. One should always revive this sentiment of Self dedication by offering Tulsi leaf symbolically in Lord's feet daily. Normally this is done after Sringar darshan but before 'Rajbhog' (an offering of food).
A Pushti-devotee is required to maintain his entire life style by taking/using only those items which are offered to Lord (Samarpit). That is why Shri Acharyaji states in his 'Sidhaantrahasya' that "Nivedibhih samarpaiva sarvam kuryaditi sthitih, na matam devadevasya samibhuktasamrpanam. Tasmadadau sarvakarye sarvavastusamarpanam " means " ( The meaning is given earlier). Lord Shri Krshna also guided us in Gita " Yatkaroshi Yatashnashi Yajjuhoshi dadasi yat, yattapsyasi Kointeya tatkurushva madarpanam" means "Arjuna, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as oblation to sacred fire, whatever you bestow as a gift; whatever you do by way of penance, offer it all to Me(Lord Shri Krshna).'' Shri Bhagawat also narrates the same thing as " Kayen Vacha mansaa Indriyai vaa, budhyaatmanaa vaa anusrut svabhaawat, karoti yattatsakalam parasmai, Narayaneti samarpayet". As per our natural sentiment whatever is done by body like eating sleeping etc. and also as per the religious need whatever is done by body like Sandhyavandan etc., all to be performed for the pleasure of Lord Shri Narayan. In other words, all acts governed by one's attitude and as per religion requirement are to be performed for Lord Shri Krshna only and not for one's greed. From the end of night to the bedtime of next night, purpose of all deeds should be such that they are to be utilised for Krshna-worship only and not for worldly pleasures. Thus one should always keep in one's mind that every thing to be done, should be related either directly or indirectly with Krshna-worship, else one should give up that which is not any way related with Krshna-worship. This aspect is clearly explained by Shri Acharayaji in 'Nirodhlakshan' as "Samsaravesadustanamindriyanam hitaya vai, krsnasya sarvavastuni bhumna isasya yojayet" means " For the benefit of the sense-faculties, which have become jaded by their involvement in Samsara, the devotee should offer to and therefore connect with Krshna, the All-pervading and the Controller, all his possessions".
" Harimurthi sada dhyeya sankalpadapi tatra hi, darshanam sparsanam spastam tatha krigati sada, sravanam kirtanam spatstam putre krsnapriye ratih, payormalamsatyagena sesbhavam tanau nayet, yasya va bhagavatkaryam yada spastam na drsyate, tada vinigrahastasya kartavaya iti nischaya."
Meaning: The devotee should mediate constantly on his image of Hari, for because of his mental conviction that this image is non-different from the Lord, he sees Hari clearly, touches him really, and likewise, the actions of his hands and movements of his feet are constantly for Hari. The devotee hears of him clearly, sings purely of him, and uses his sexual power to give birth to a son dear to Krshna. By the anus' discharging of his waste, and so forth, let him make his body an instrument of service. If it is perceived that any of the sense-faculties is not clearly subordinated to the service of the Blessed Lord, it is certain that we must bring that faculty firmly under control. When a devotee performs all acts worldly or religious with an attitude that all these may reach to my Lord Shri Krshna for his pleasure only, then these acts will be transformed as Bhgawat-dharma and not as any ordinary worldly or religious deed. This is also well explained by Shri Acharyaji in 'Nirodhlakshan' as
"natah parataro mantro natah paratarah stavah,
natah paratara vidya tirtham natah parataram".
There is no sacred utterance greater than this, no hymn that is greater , no knowledge is higher, no holy place more sacred than this perfect constraint in Krshna".
This devotional sentiment with total dedication will make a perfect constraint in Shri Krshna. But this will be possible only when a pushti-devotee offers worship to his Lord Shri Krshna in his own house with his body, own money and devoted family members. This is never possible in so called Public Pushti Temple at any cost. But due to pressure of modern busy life, and the institutional mode of devotion has become so much fashionable that in the public temples of this sect, a majority of the devotees never bother for listening what is being sung as part of worship. The salaried singers on the job of singing devotional poems do not adhere to practice any other eight rites except reciting those poems. The public, who comes to have 'darshan' i.e. glimpse of the Deity being worshipped, is not even allowed to touch the feet of that deity. So question of making any follower or even a regular visitor, eligible for 'Padasevana' is never anticipated! And the salaried staff, many a time not even believing in this particular tradition of devotion, is kept simply to look after the service of Deity. That staff being not interested in any kind of devotional/spiritual development, goes for strike and lockout for increment in salary. The modern labour law covers the temples under the Industrial Act and allow the employees to form a union of temple servants. Apparently practitioners of nine fold devotional rites are, if not extinct species in pushtimarg day by day they are becoming rare species indeed!.


Smriti-Sutrokta Varnasramadharma Sauchachara in Krushna-worship:



Is it compulsory to observe rule of Sauchachar (Apras) while doing Krshna-worship? If one can not follow rules of it, then whether is he allowed to perform Krshna-seva? etc. These are questions normally aroused in the minds of people. Due to lack of proper explanations, many people deprive of Krshna-seva and they think that if they can not perform this Sauchachar properly then they are not allowed to do Krshna-seva in their house.
Shri Acharayaji clarifies all these doubts in his granthas as follows:
" The obligatory duties prescribed, in Smritis and Sutras, for the respective Varnas and Asramas should be observed as far as possible. These duties should not be ignored if one is capable to perform them. Even scriptural injunction make this duty obligatory, only if, one is capable to observe them. So far as one has strong convictions of what Varna or Asrama one's body belongs to, one must not be negligent of the obligation pertaining to that particular varna and Asram. But if such conviction is shaken and this soul becomes aware of its own nature, that it neither belongs to any Varna nor to any Asram, with such awareness only devotional service of God becomes paramount duty of that particular soul."
Thus basically there are two types of duties. One is related to one's body and another one pertains to one's soul. Duty relating to varna and asramas, sauchachara etc. pertain to body while Krshna-worship is a duty related to one's soul. Here Shri Acharyaji himself has clarified all the confusion about the priority between the physical duty pertaining to Varnaasram and the spiritual duty of the devotional service to the Lord, when he speaks of how the ageold crumbling system of Varnaasram has become an utter flop in present age. Therefore devotion of God is only our recourse left. In spite of this confession, Shri Acharyaji advises his followers not to make any hypocrisy in this matter of either blindly observing or blindly breaking all the rules of Varnaasram. This is very delicate situation where no collective decision can ever be taken. Each individual has to introspect his own capacity and circumstances for deciding as to what is practically possible for him to observe and what guide line of Varnaasram duty is not possible for him to observe.


Style of Krushna Worship (Nitya Seva Vidhi):



In Pushti-Bhakti sect, only love/affection is the guiding force, not rituals in Krshna-Seva. The devotee should perform all rituals with love, but it is difficult to have love at the preliminary stage. A pushti devotee is also required to follow worship that pleases Lord Shri Krshna, but he is not able to identify that which style of worship will please Lord Krshna in his preliminary stage of worship. In order to solve this problem, God himself appears here in the form of Shri Acharya to liberate the people (as explained in Shri Bhagawat "Acharya yaitya vapusha swagatim vyanakti").
Lord Shri Krshna himself incarnated as the initiator of Pushti sect (an Original Priest) i.e. Shri Acharayaji and has developed a specific style of worship which is respected in Society and religion and also can please Lord. This style of worship is indicated and explained in sixteen treatise i.e Sodash Granth, Nibhandh etc which are already described in above paras at length. Thus it is the best to worship our Lord with this preached style because even if a person does not have love towards Lord Krshna and he does not know the way of worship to please Lord, but if he follows this preached path, he will be liberated.
This aspect is also well explained in Shri Bhagawat as follows:
"Swayam Samuteerya sudustaram dyuman,
bhavarnavam bhimmadabhrasauhridaha
bhavatpadambhoruhnaavmatra te
nidhaay yataaha sadanugrahobhavan"
Meaning: "This world ocean is so dangerous that it can not be crossed with all sufferings also. But these gentlemen i.e Acharyas are full of pity. They themselves achieve the divine goal and help others also to attain the same by creating the suitable path. They have left here the boat in the form of the path to cross this difficult ocean. Now lots of people are able to cross the sea with the help of this boat".
Here in this verse 'Sadnugrahobhavan' means God is favouring people who accompany these gentlemen (Acharyas) by following the path indicated by these Acharyas and gives them desired fruits even if these people do not know how to cross this difficult ocean.
Here rituals of Krshna-worship to be performed daily, is given as a general guidelines for a devotee who wish to worship Lord in his own house. These rituals should not be viewed with rigidity because these rituals are also varying among the main seven houses in Pushti Sect in some of aspects. The main reason behind it is that each leader of the house had individual sentiments with their Lord and the Lord also responded them accordingly. Thus every leader has transformed their sentiments in the form of rituals of Krshna-seva.
Nitya krama Sevavidhi:
1. Nitya Karma:
One should get up early in the morning about one and half hours before sun rise. While opening the eyes, look at the palm and chant the verse and observe both the hands. Before leaving bed and keeping feet on the floor ask for pardon of Mother Earth. Have a look at the Tulsi necklace of your neck. Wash legs, hands, and mouth and do gargling. Then facing North side, offer respect to Shri Acharyacharan, Lord Shri Krshna by naming them and stretching the body on the floor. Then offer respects to parents, elders and others according to status. Then finish toilet, teeth brushing, bathing etc.
Keeping in the mind that a soul is the devotee of Lord Shri Krshna, paint twelve Tilaks, six impressions relating to our Lord and take Charanamrit. If one has sacred thread then one should perform the morning Sandhya rituals.
2. Mangla:
After obtaining the permission of Shri Yamunaji, Shri Acharyacharan, Shri Prabhucharan and recollect their grace by which one has got a chance to serve Lord in one's own house, the door of our Lord's temple to be opened with chanting of Shri Vallabhastak. One should treat the temple as 'Akshar-Brahm', (the place for Lord Shri Krshna to reside), where our Thakorji also lives. Enter the temple and offer the respect by stretching the body on the ground. Thinking of ringing noise from the small necklace around the neck of cows of Vraja, one should ring the bells thrice and blow the Sankh. Then taking away Jhari, Banta outside, clean them and put them to their respective places. This time recite 'Sevaphalam'. Perform brooming and mopping of the temple and also clean and keep ready Sinhasan, Gaadi, Takiya (Cushioned seat) etc where our Lord resides in the temple. Recite 'Antahkaranprabodh' and 'Sidhaantrahasya' this time. Keep ready dresses of our Lord as per season and calendar. Hymn poem s (kirtans) one-one for Shri Acharyaji, Shri Gusainji, Shri Yamunaji, Shri Ganges and two kirtans of prevailing season's schedule to be sung for waking Him up. Clean the hands/feet properly and request Shri Thakorji to wake up. Apply 'Uparana' to Shri Thokorji. But during cold season, keep double thick sweater (Duhara angarakha) on the cushioned seat before waking Him up. Shri Thakorji is to be protected from cold by wrapping him in thick dress and put a small fire stove between the period from Prabodhini and Dolotsav. Palms to be warmed up before touching Lord in a winter season. Handkerchief, Flute are to be arranged on the chair of the Lord, offer morning breakfast (Mangal Bhog) as per one's own capacity. Milk-curd-butter-sugar candy are to be offered, keeping in mind that Lord Shri Krshna must have relished such breakfast in Vraj when he was there in person (Vraj-leela). Then cover the mouth of Jhariji with red wet cloth, but during winter season from Prabodhini to Dolotsav, that cloth should be dry one. Pour fresh drinking water in Jhariji and offer it to our Lord and recite 'Yamunastak' and/or 'Navratna'. Hymn kirtans of breakfast. The time duration for Morning breakfast is twelve minutes. During this time prepare bed of Lord nicely. When the time is up for Mangal bhog, speak loudly as to take a permission before entering a temple. Then enter the temple, clean lips/hands of Shri Thakorji with 'Mukhvastra', offer two betel as mouthwash. Warm water is to be used in winter season to clean hands of Shri Thakorji.
Have a look at Mangala mood of Shri Thakorji and offer 'Aarti' with respective Kirtan.
3. Sringar/Gwal:
Arrange 'Sringar chair and a big dish for Lord's bath. Sringar food is to be offered by keeping it in front of Lord. Offer dresses/ornaments befitting prevailing season and/or festival. Always keep warm water for bath through out the year except in a winter season where it should be comfortably hot. Sing kirtans relating to Sringar. After finishing dressing and decoration with ornaments to Lord, offer flower necklace (Malaji), flute (Venuji) and show mirror image. Then fill up Jhariji. Take the bathed water (Charanamrit) after touching His Feet (Charansparsh). Offer Gopivallabh bhog of twenty four minutes. When time is over , remove take away bhog, offer Aachaman, Mukhvastra, betel. Announce 'Gwaal' and offer cream of milk and milk to Lord as a Goudohan in Vraj-leela. After that have glimpse of ''Gwaal''mood. Then revive the sentiment of self dedication (Brahmsabandh) and utter Samarpam gadya mantra, panchaakshar mantra by keeping Tulsi leaf in the palm. Thereafter offer the same lea f to Shri Thakorji's feet.
4. Rajbhog:
Offer 'Dhoopdeep' and then full lunch (Rajbhog) to Lord. Put one-one Tulsi leaf in each item. While speaking 'Panchaksharmantra', sprinkle water from Sankh in Rajbhog. Make a request to Lord (on behalf of Shri Acharyaji, Shri Gusainji) to relish Rajbhog and offer dandvat to Him and come out of the temple. Allow to lapse 48 minutes and offer 4 kirtans as per regular prevailing season. During the waiting period follow the Sravan-Kirtna-Smaran etc. After offering rajbhog, sing chak ke pad in hot season and bhojan bulayave ke pad in cold season. At the end of the period take permission of Lord for entering by speaking loudly before taking out rajbhog. Thereafter offer Aachman-Mukhvastra-Bida. Keep a Banta with 2 bida on royal chair (sihasan). Fill up Jariji by humming Shri 'Yamnunashtaka' and keep it there. Then take away all bhog items. Arrange one khandpat near sihasan and decorate it with toys. Put ball-bat/stick. Put 2 cushions (gaadi) on a small table (paat) and keep a game of chess or Chopad in the middle.
Show mirror to Shri Thakorji after arranging Maala-Venuvetra on him. Sing kirtans narrating Rajbhog glimpses. Offer rajbhog aarti, again show mirror, take out flute-stick and maalaji. Read out 'Shri Krshnashraya stotram' in front of Shri Thakorji. Arrange jariji and banta for retirement near bed.
Put a carpet, linking paat and bed. Then after offering Dandvat lock the temple door.
5. Seva Anavsar:
There after in absence of physical seva of Shri Thakorji in person, keep some of Mahaprasad separately for A Cow as 'Gua Grass' and take Mahaprasrad for self after offering it to other devotees. Go through Bhagwat, Subodhniji and other books of Pushti margiya sect, study them. Alternatively go out for some earning, but keep your mind in Lord Shri Krshna.
6. Uthapan and Bhogarti:
Follow othapan procedure in the evening at 4 pm. After entering house temple, offer respect bodily. Take out jariji-banta and clean/wash them. Have glimpses of othapan. Put and filled up jairji.
Offer fruit etc in othapan bhog. Sandhya bhog can be offered simultaneously. Keep it for 15 minutes. Sing bhog aaye ke kirtan. When the time is up, take away bhog. Offer Aaachman-Mukhvastra and Bida. Take away Khandpaat of rajbhog. Put flower necklace,flute,stick. Sing pad of bhogaarti and perform Sandhyaaarti.
7. Shayanbhog arti:
First shift flute/stick. Make Shri Thakorji sit on a seat (paat par padhrana) and slowly/softly remove the shringar. Offer milk bowl. Fill up jhariji. Take away Milk bhog and wipe off lips, offer Aachman and bida. Start preparing and arranging a dinner 'Shayanbhog' as per one's own capacity. Then, Offer Dhupdeep. Sing kirtans pad indicating the readiness of Shayanbhog (Shayanbhog aaye ke pad) Allow 24 minutes time before removing Shayanbhog. Thereafter, offer Aachman-Mukhvastra and bida. Decorate him with flower necklace and flute. Have glimpses of this mood and sing befitting kirtans. Offer Shayanaarti and Dandvat-pranam. Remove Maala and Venuji. Make Shri Thakurji sleep in the bed. Sing pad of sleeping softly. Keep jhariji, banta of bida, banta of bhog, Aachmani trishti,maalaji etc everything near the bed.(Shaiyyaji) keep a small/soft lamp on. Offer Sashtang dandvat pranam and come out of temple.
8. Seva Anavsar:
Take mahaprasad (Dinner). Read/Listen stories of Lord-His divine qualities(Guna),His divine play (leela) in association with other true devotees(Satsang). Sing pad/poems narrating surrender/refuge sentiments (Dinta/aashray). Then go to sleep brooding God in mind .
Giving indication of time duration for entire Seva, Shri AcharyaCharan says in Nibandh
"Ek kaalam dvikaalam va trikaalam vapi pujyet".
One time, two times or morning-afternoon-evening three times a day, one can perform seva. Those who are required to go out for earning, may follow rituals from Mangla to Rajbhog and then make Shri Thakurji retire to bed (Shayan). Like this one time (ek-kaal)/(tri-kaal) three times a day , one can engage himself in seva as per convenience as approved by Shri Mahaprabhuji. The utmost necessary factor in Krshna-Seva is to offer own body, money, family in our own house to our Lord with a sentiment of love and affection (total refuge and dedication in Lord Shri Krshna).
How to fix Seva Schedule in Pushtibhakta's life style, is very effectively and conveniently given in a pad by one Bhagwadeeya
Rag- Bihag
Prabhu seva mein kharach na lage.
Apno janam sufal kar murakh kyou darpe jo abhage.
Odar bharan ko karo rasoi, sooyi bhog dhare.
Mahaprasad hoy taso apno odar bhare.
Mitho jal pivan ko laye tame jhari bhare
Ang dhakan ko chahiye kapda tame saaj kare.
Jo ho kachhu sampati prabhu vaibhav kachhu badhavo
Nahi to more chandrika gunja yehi shringar dharavo
Attar phool phal jo kachhu uttam prabhu pehle hi dharavo
Jo man uttam ve prabhu ko dhar sab khavo.
Kar sambhandh swami-sevak ko yah maarag ki chale vastu reeti
Puran prabhu bhav ke bhukhe hove antar ki priti.
Yaame kaha ghat jaay tiharo ghar ko ghar main rahi hain
Vallabhdas hoy gati apni bhalo bhalo jag kahi hai.
All Pusthi souls should repeat this pad in mind and treat it as guide for Devotional worship.(Seva)