Central theme in Pushti Marg is seva. The central theme of seva is the Svarup. What is this "Svarup" the forms such a core of our philosophy ?
Sva = One's self, or ones own
Rup = form
One sees the Lord in ones own image. This is the image one would like to project in to the divinity. Hence some see the universal spirit as the divine Father, Mother, lover, king, warrior etc. Our own hopes and fears come before us and the universal spirit reflects them in a mirror like fashion. Hence we war about the exact nature of God when what we really should be doing is trying to understand the diversity of human nature.
Usually, in most of the literature and discourses, we are given the various forms of the Lord to meditate upon as THE Svarups. In Pushti Marg, the form of the Lord Krshna during his childhood years is considered the most auspicious and most benevolent. We are extremely fortunate in that in Pushti Marg, we are given nine different svarups of the Lord to choose from. This allows us to worship the svarup that most accurately matches and reflects our bhav.
Nidhi means cornucopia - source of unlimited wealth, prestige, fame and status.
All svarups of the Lord are Nidhi-svarups in their own right.
Svarups worshiped by Shri Vallabh and Gausaiji's family are known as their nidhis. Of the numerous svarups they gave and received in their life time, those svaups that were passed on to the seven sons of Gausaiji, are popularly called the Nav-Nidhis.
Svarups given to vaishnavs by their Guru for seva are said to be the Nidhi svaups of that particular Guru. We should worship our sevya-svaroop as our most beloved Nidhi-svarup.
Bhav-Bhavna behind the Nav-Nidhis
The form of the Lord as Govardhan-Dharan is considered the most central to our philosophy. The Lord is holding aloft almost insurmountable problems, worries, inadequacies etc of ours. For those who seek his assistance, the Lord takes on their problems and releases them from the burden of the soul. Freeing up the soul to go on to truly explore and expand.
The form of the Lord as a baby, crawling on the floor with a ball of butter in his right hand and a child like smile on his innocent face is also at the core of the Pushti philosophy. Shri Navnit-Priyaji and Bal-Krishna-lalji are of this form. To conceive the all powerful universal spirit as an adoring baby is a refreshing new way to look at the divine spirit. One cannot but help love a baby. There can be no expectations from a baby so young, no demands. Only love.
The Lord is great and grand. Yet, He is magnanimous enough to play with us like a parent plays with a child. The amazing thing is, the parent here behaves as the child and the child is encouraged to act like the parent !
The Lord playing his flute to attract the enlightened souls of the world is a popular image of Lord Krishna. Shri Vallabh adopted this image variously and later, two images of this form became "Nidhies". They are currently in Kama-van (Vraj) and are better known as Madan Mohanji and Gokul Chandramaji. The Lord plays the flute during his Gopa and Rasa lila to attract the souls that are ripe for liberation. Liberation from all desires, even the desire for liberation !!!! Using Svara (musical notes) as the vehicle for His ethereal messages, the Lord awakens the souls that are ready to for the final stage of awakening and self-realisation.
Shri Vitthal-Nathji is a form of the Lord that first became popular in Maharashtra. The Lord is awaiting for his beloved / adoring his beloved while standing with his hands on his waist. The Lord has awaited countless lives of ours for us to realise that we are a part of Him. Since the time when we forgot our association with the Lord, we have wandered around in countless bodies, forever seeking the bliss we once had. The Lord waits patiently for us to return to Him, as He knows one day we will.
The form of the Lord as Mathuradhishji and Dwarikadhishji is very akin to the ancient forms of Lord Vishnu. Various philosophical ideas have been added to adopt this classical image of the Lord to Pushti Marg's way of thinking. The Lord is our beloved in these forms. He plays hide and seek with us in the kunjs of Vraj. For centuries we have played hide and seek through several life times. Isn't it time we caught up and started the game anew ?
Form of the Lord playing the flute and carrying the mount Govardhan is known as Gokul-Nathji. The Lord's lila is infinite. This form of the Lord combines the Govardhan-Dharan and Madan-Mohanji aspect of the Lord. Some feel the Lord is holding aloft balls of butter and not the mount Govardhan in this form. This takes into account the Lord's bala-bhav - His child like nature !
The beauty of the Lord in this and various other forms (Natvarlalji, Mukundraiji, Kalyanraiji etc) helps us realise the beauty of His creation.
Over the years, these svarups have travelled across North India and are now widely dispursed between Gujarat, Rajasthan and UttarPradesh.
The lila of the Lord is forever reflected
through his various svarups.
Let us enjoy the rasa of this in its infinite beauty. (Please visit the galleries of the Lord)
Read Kaminiben's articles on the Nidhi Svaroop and their Bhav Bhavna in Gujarati
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