In Pushti Marg, ShriNathji's seva is conducted with bal-bhav (paternal), das-bhav (servitude) or Sakhi-bhav (beloved).
Seva for Bal-bhav and Das-bhav is usually envisioned in Nandalay - mansion of Nanda.
Seva for Sakhi-bhav is often envisioned in a lush grove, where Thakorji is surrounded by gopies & sakhis (female friends).
There is a lot of latent love and feeling of sweetness in Nikunj seva. Here Thakorji is a mature youth and lives like a king in a harem. Eight principle gopies - collectively called Swaminis - are in charge of the seva in the Nikunj. Each Swamini has an infinite number of gopies to assist her in performing her services to please Thakorji. Each Swamini is assigned 40 days of seva through the year. They cook, clean, play music, dance, sing and play infinate variety of games with Thakorji in the nikunj.
Painting of Nikunj seva in the mid morning :-
Shri Nathji and Swaminiji are strolling amidst verdant rolling hills and a gopi is entreating them come and have something to eat.
Shri Nathji's seva is being shown in a Nikunj and the haveli in this wonderful painting from the late 20th Century. Nikunj (grove)is shown by trees and plantain growing behind Shri Nathji.
Only gopies are present in the nikunj while 'bhog' is laid out on a table in front of Shri Nathji. Having finished eating, Thakorji is reaching out to hug a gopi with his left arm.
Temple servant blows a conch to suggest Thakorji has finished eating and darshan will open soon. Men and women wait outside the shrine during this period of inner seva annosar. Even priests (in saffron), await outside as only gopies are allowed inside the nikunj.
Women are selling fruits and vegetables outside the temple in front of mount Govardhan - alluding to Govardhan Chok in the Haveli. As the fruit sellers only stay till mid morning, this could very well be a painting of Gwal darshan.
© Bhagwat Shah
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