Theory of Ni-Sadhan


Nisadhanta – its a popular word amongst those who preach we should "return to the basics", but what does that mean ?

One of the biggest hurdle in Pushti Marg is our contorted theorem of “being Nisadhan”.  We have concluded that spiritually, we need to be totally inactive to get divine grace !!  The more spiritually inactive we are, the greater our chances of gaining divine grace !!  Any form of spiritual progress is seen as our mistaken attempt to over-ride God’s will.  Being totally Nisadhan, all we have to do is, get initiated by a descendant of Shri Gusaiji, “pay” regular visits to the Guru and a haveli approved by him and our place in Golokdham is guarantied !

I have no idea when this theorem of utter irresponsibility took root in our marg, but it has had a terribly detrimental effect on the spiritual development of the marg and its vaishnavs. 

Gopies were not nisadhan.  They played an active role in Krushna lila.  They led an active social and spiritual life.  Apart from Vraj bhaktas, other great devotees in Krushna’s times were also socially and spiritually active.  Shri Krushna himself exhorted the Pandavas to be constantly active – performing the Rajasuyagna, learning the art of warfare from Indra and fighting in the great battle of Mahabharat.  If nisadhanta is the only requirement for getting to God, why didn’t he tell Pandavas to abandon all activities and sit in seva ?

God tells Arjun that you can only get to God through “his grace”. 
But why should God grace you ?  What have you done, or are doing to merit that grace ? 
Unless a person is actively doing something that God approves of, why would God shower his grace upon that person ? 

Till now, in the entire history of all the species mentioned in our scriptures – sur, nar, naag, gandharva, sages, humans, animals, danavas, daityas – et all – none has been graced by God unless they have acted in ways to merit grace.  God’s grace is far too precious a gift to be given to all and sundry.  God graces those who are actively seeking spiritual growth.

Shri Vallabh and his sevaks were anything but nisadhan.  Shri Vallabh himself spent the best part of his life walking several times around India, spreading the message of divine grace.  He studied deeply, debated with countless pandits and won them over to his way of thinking, convincing them that the scriptures could and indeed should be interpreted “in Shudhadvaita way”.  All this spiritual activity and knowledge did not come about by being nisadhan.  Shri Vallabh’s sevaks were also active in spreading the message of the sect.  They were also spiritually progressive and understood the value of being active in all spheres of life.  The 84 and 252 Vaishnav’s vartas are in indication of the range and diversity of sevaks the Marg used to attract.     

Shri Gusaiji was active all his life and exhorted his sons to be active in all spheres of life.  Shri Gusaiji was even friendly with the Imperial court at Agra and had several sevaks from the Rajput nobility.  As can be seen from the 252 vaishnavs vartas, Shri Gusaiji exerted himself to the maximum to spread the message of the marg.

While the Vallabhkul and Vaishnavas were active in all spheres of life, the marg extended and spread-out to all corners of India.  Sadly, since it became rather parochial, Pushti has ceased to grace others in the world.  Though vaishnavs are spread across the world, and though balaks now travel around the globe, on the whole, we keep fishing in the same gene pool of those who became Vaishnav over 150 100 years ago. 

One of the main reason for this is our insistence on being nisadhan and doing nothing to progress the spiritual or social aspect of the marg.  Being enamoured with our nisadhanta, on the whole we have done little to foster a strong, cohesive community spirit amongst the vaishnavs.  Not only are we fragmented between the different “guru-ghars” we follow, we are given precious little social or spiritual support be the havelis we visit.  Apart from having a brief jhakhi and doing a bit of seva (in person or by donating money), havelis provide very little cohesion for the vaishnavs.

Other sects, such as the SwamiNarayans and ISKON, have been active on the social and spiritual front and have expanded at an exponential rate, often at the cost of Pushti Marg.  Many younger vaishnavs have converted their allegiances to other vaishnav sects simply because Pushti Marg was unable to provide the social and spiritual impetus they were looking for. 

BAPS and ISKON temples offer multitude of activities for their vaishnavs.  Kids classes, opportunity for social work in the community, classes on religion & philosophy, kirtans, satsangs etc.  Most of their information (scriptural or otherwise) has been translated and modernised for easy of use and understanding by the modern generation.  In comparison, the classes offered in havelis are far too low key.  The language we use is also rather antiquated and not easy to understand for most vaishnavs.  Because they don’t understand the language, everyone presumes “it must be impressive” and repeats if parrot fashion, but it does not improve their understanding of the marg.

Despite having a highly educated, international community of vaishnavs, most of our efforts are still geared towards producing information in Gujarati.  Some younger balaks are now producing information / magazines / web blogs in English, but even there the language is so antiquated, it is sometimes like treading in treacle. 

It is impossible to progress if you are supine.  It is impossible to progress if you are nisadhan.  I have no idea how nisadhanta became a central theme of our marg, but it has to be abandoned if we are to progress – personally and as a community. 


© Bhagwat Shah

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