Pushtimarg

Pushti marg[1] ("the Path of Grace") is a Vaishnav sect of the Hinduism, founded by shree Vallabhacharya (also known as Mahaprabhuji) around 1500 AD.[2]

Philosophy

  • It is based on the Vedant philosophy of "Ekmevadwitiyam Brahm" (the ultimate truth is one & only one Brahm) and "Sarvam Khalu Idam Brahm" (whatever is there, is Brahm).
  • Ved, Brahma-sutras, Bhagwad Geeta and Shrimad Bhagawat are the four fundamental scriptures.
  • The ultimate reality to which Ved & Brahmsutras refer as Brahm, Geeta refers as Parmatma and Shrimad Bhagawat refers as Bhagawan are all essentially one.
  • This philosophy is called as "Sakar Brahmvad" or "Shuddhadwait Brahmvad", which is the fundamental doctrine of Mahaprabhu Shri Vallabhacharya.
  • The path to be followed to attain the ultimate blissfulness based on this principle is called as Pushtimarg.
  • The same Bhagawan is to be lovingly serviced in the form of Deity as Shri Krishna who is "Sachchidanand Purushottam Parambrahm".
  • It (Pushtimarg) is spontaneous, selfless and motiveless love for Shri Krishna.
  • It is based on pure love for Shri Krishna.
  • It is expressed only through selfless service of Shri Krishna - "Seva".
  • It is love after realising Shri Krishna's true nature.
  • The knowledge gained is not a means of liberation.
  • Liberation is considered secondary to the enjoyment of Shri Krishna's bliss.
  • Its aim is Shri Krishna's happiness.
  • No caste, creed, color, sex or age prevents one from attaining Shri Krishna's Grace.
  • It does not know any boundaries, be it time, place, or anything else.
  • It does not require a devotee to give up a householder's life. In fact, one can serve Him better by being a householder. This is different from other philosophies that require a life of contemplation as a monk.
  • All worldly desires are diverted towards Shri Krishna; they are then not required to be suppressed.
  • The world is not looked down upon but is treated as Shri Krishna's creation, and thus as real as Shri Krishna himself.
  • Shri Krishna is the Supreme Deity; all the other deities reside in his form. Therefore, total faith is placed in Shri Krishna alone.
  • In the state of liberation, the entity of the devotee merges into *Shri Krishna's blissful form. However, in Bhakti (especially Pushti bhakti), the devotee does not seek liberation: he enjoys Shri Krishna's bliss by participating in it as a separate divine entity.

Foundation

Vallabhacharya is one of the six main Acharyas of the Bhakti tradition of Hinduism. (The other five being Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madhavacharya, Shri Nimbarkacharya and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.) He propagated the philosophy of Shuddhadvaita[3] which forms the basis of Pushtimarg devotional practice. These acharyas have made significant contribution to the bhakti movement and led to the medieval rise in popularity of the Hindu Religion. The devotional movement is based on the idea that love of God should be seen as an end in itself, not as a means to something else.

Legend

Vallabhacharya was born into a Telugu Brahmin family in South India, now in Andhra Pradesh. His ancestors had a religious background and includes scholars like Yagnanarayan Bhatt and Ganapati Bhatt. They wrote several books on religion and devotion. Vallabhacharya was the second son of Lakshman Bhatt and Yallammagaru. Their ancestors had performed several Soma-yagnas and Shri Lakshman Bhatt completed 100 Somyagnas. Yagnanarayan was blessed by Lord Vishnu, that on completion of 100 Soma-yagnas, God himself would incarnate in his family.

Thus when 100 Soma-yagnas were complete, Lakshman Bhatt went to Kashi to accomplish his vow of feeding 125,000 Brahmins. He could not complete this task as there were political disturbances in Kashi. He took his pregnant wife Yallammagaru and on his way southwards he halted at a place called Champaranya. There, his wife gave birth to a still baby which they kept under a tree and proceeded ahead. On the same night Lakshman Bhatt heard a celestial voice ordering him to go back to the baby and pick it up as it was misunderstood to be a still born. On reaching the spot where they had kept the baby, they found the baby encircled by a divine fire as a protecting spirit.

Vallabh was a brilliant child. He finished studying Vedas and prominent scriptures at a very early age. At the age of 11 he started his all India pilgrimage. During this tour he came to Vijaynagar where he came to know about a sensational debate that was being conducted in the court of King Krishnadevraya. The debate was between the different Acharyas over the question whether the relationship between the world and God is dualistic or non-dualistic. Vallabh entered the court and with his unopposed arguments proved that God is pure and non-dualistic i.e. Shuddhadwait. His philosophy thenceforth came to be known as Shuddhadwait Brahmvaad. These philosophy is later incorporated in "Vallabh Digvijay"

During the second pilgrimage, Lord Krishna appeared in the form of Lord Shrinathji in front of him and ordered him to reestablish Pushti Marg and propagate the pushti kind of devotion among the chosen ones and bring them back to their original state in God's own domain. i.e. Vaikuntha or Golok-dham . But the question in Shri Vallabh's mind was that the divine souls in this world too are highly influenced by the materialistic world and their souls and body have lost the kind of purity that is needed for their reunion with the Supreme entity i.e. Lord Krishna.

Lord Shrinathji assured him that with "brahamasambandha", (relationship with God) whichever soul is admitted into the Pushti marg, all its impurities will refrain from obstructing the soul's relation with Himself and the soul will be eligible to pursue His bhakti. That was the night of Pavitra Ekadashi (Four days before the new moon day) of the auspicious month of Shravana. Lord Shrinathji taught him the Brahamasambandha mantra and asked him to bring back the divine souls back to him.

On the following day Vallabhacharya initiated his first disciple Damodardas Harsani with this mantra along with the principles of Pushtimarga. This was how Pushtimarga was established.[2]

Brahmsambandha

The formal initiation into Pushtimarg is called Brahmasambandha. The absolute and exclusive rights to grant "Brahmsambandh" in the path of grace, in order to transform an Ordinary jiva (soul) into a Pushti "Jeev" lie only with the descendants of Vallabhacharya, known as Goswami Balaks - Vallabhkul (The word "Goswami" literally means - the one who has control over all the senses), who Vallabh Vaishnavas respectfully and lovingly refer to as: "Goswami","Bawa" or "Jai Jai". They are the actual and direct descendants of Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhu. Goswamis are responsible for the "pushti"(literally means spiritual nourishment) of all the disciples initiated by them.

Brahmsabandha is a process, where after fasting for one full day(consuming fruits and milk only) one is given the Krishna "Gadhya Mantra" in front of a Deity "Swaroop" by a Vallabhkul Goswami after which tulsi leaves (Indian Basil) are offered to the lotus feet of the Lord. The Adhikaar(right) to perform daily "seva" comes only after one is initiated into Pushtimarg by means of formally granting Brahmsambandh by a Goswami Balak. Without brahmsambandh one does not hold the right to perform seva of a Pusht Swaroop (Deity) (the swaroop which showers grace just like it did on the gopis).[2]

Basic concepts and terminology

  • 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 !
  • Rudra Sampradaya Because Shri Vallabha's father was initiated in that Sampradaya as the knowledge in this line was first given to Rudra i.e. Lord Shiva.
  • Shuddha-Advaita Pure Monism wherein entire universe is the manifestation of Brahman. This philosophy depends only on "Brahman" for explaining creation of the universe and it is not dependent upon concept of "Maya". Hence, it is "Shuddha". Brahman is true, the universe (being Brahman's own creation) is also true, soul (Jeev) is a part (Ansh) of the Brahman. Hence, it is "Adwait".
  • Brahmavada Brahman is the source and cause of all that is in 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 spirit of the Lord and as the Lord is eternally perfect, everything is perfect !

Practices

Icon worship

Krishna is the chief deity of the sect. Shri Yamunaji is worshiped as his fourth consort(chaturth Patrani) and is the goddess who ordered Shri Vallabhacharya to recite Shrimad Bhagwat (Shrimad Bhagwat Parayan) near her banks. It is for Shri Yamunaji, Shri Vallabhacharyaji composed Shri Yamunashtakam.

Several forms/icons of Shri Krishna are worshiped in the sect. Here are the main forms, their description and where they currently reside.

  • Shri Nathji :- Govardhan nath (seven-year-old Shri Krishna), who is waiting for his beloved swamini at the door of his Nikunj - personal abode. (Nathadwara - Rajasthan)
  • Navnit Priyaji :- Baby Krishna, with a butter ball(in semi-liquid form...not a full ball) in his right hand and a small loti a spherical vessel in his left hand which touches the ground. This swaroops Mukharvind (face) is Dark hued Megha-shyam while body is gaur Fair in color. (Nathadwara - Rajasthan)
  • Mathura-Dheeshji :-Lord of Mathura - four armed image of the Lord...This swaroop has a round Pithika Stele. (Kota - Rajasthan)
  • Vitthalnathji :- Lord, waiting with His hands on hips, for His beloved wife Rukmini. (Nathadwara - Rajasthan)
  • Dwarika-Dheeshji :- Lord of Dwarika - four armed image of the Lord. This swaroop has a square Pithika Stele.(Kakaroli - Rajasthan)
  • Gokul Nathji :- Lord of Gokul - four armed image of the Lord, lifting the mountain and playing his flute. He is accompanied by 2 Swaminis. (Gokul - UP)
  • Gokul Chandramaji :- The "moon" of Gokul - dark wooden image of the Lord playing a flute. He has a Tribhangi posture i.e. bent from three sides - the neck, waist and legs. This swaroop is of the Maha-raas utsav during Sharadpurnima. (Kamvan - RJ)
  • Madan Mohanji :- This swaroop is accompanied by Swamini. (Kamvan - RJ)
  • Bal-Krishnaji :- Baby Krishna, with a butter ball in his right hand. (Surat - Gujarat)
  • Natavarlalji -dancing krishna (Ahemadabad -Gujarat) *Kalyanraiji -Krishna with 4 arms and having triangle pitika stele. (Vadodra-Gujarat) *Mukundraiji- baby krishna crawling with butter.(Varanasi-UP)
  • There are many other sashthapeeths and gruh-nidhis in Pushtimarg.

Pushtimarg Seva Prakar (devotional worship in Pushtimarg)

Seva is a key element of worship in Pushti Marg. All followers are expected to do seva to their personal icon of Krishna. In Pushti Marg, where the descendants of shrimad Vallabhcharyaji reside and perform Seva of their own idol of Shri krishna is called a "haveli" - literally a "mansion". Here the seva of thakurji(Shri Krishna) is performed with the bhaav of the Nandalaya. There is a daily routine of allowing the laity to have "darshan" (adore) the divine icon 8 times a day. The Vallabhkul adorn the icon in keeping with Pushti traditions and follow a colourful calendar of festivals.

Some of the important aspects of Pushtimarg Seva are:

  1. Raag (playing and hearing traditional Haveli music)
  2. Bhog (offering pure vegetarian saatvik food that does not contain any meat or such vegetables as onion, garlic, cabbage, carrots, and a few others)
  3. Vastra and Shringar (decorating the deity with beautiful clothes and adorning the deity with jewellery)

All of the above three are included in the daily seva (devotional service) which all followers of Pushtimarg offer to their Thakurji (personal Krishna deity), and all of them have been traditionally prescribed by Goswami Shri Vitthalnathji almost five hundred years ago. Shri Vitthalnathji is also called Gusainji (Vallabhacharya's second son). The raag, bhog, and vastra and shringar offerings vary daily according to the season, the date, and time of day, and this is the main reason why this path is so colourful and alive.

Seva is the most important way to attain Pushti in Pushtimarg and has been prescribed by Vallabhacharya as the fundamental tenet. All principles and tenets of Shuddhadvaita Vaishnavism stem out from here.

Pilgrimage

Baithak or Bethak, literally "seat", is the site considered sacred by the followers of the Pushtimarg for performing devotional rituals. These sites are spread across India and are chiefly concentrated in Braj region in Uttar Pradesh and in western state of Gujarat. Total 142 Baithaks are considered sacred; 84 of Vallabhacharya, 28 of his son Viththalanath Gusainji and 30 of his seven grandsons.

Festivals

Pushti Marg is famous for its innumerable colourful festivals. Icons (mentioned above) are wonderfully dressed and bejeweled to suite the season and the mood of the festival. All festivals are accompanied by a wonderful vegetarian feast which is offered to the deity and later distributed to the laity. Most festivals mark

  • an important event in the life of Shri Krishna
  • celebrate the birth of one of Vishnu's main avatars (Ram Navami, Nrushi Jayanti, Janmashtami (Krishna), Vaman Dwadashi)
  • festivals marking the change of seasons
  • auspicious occasion of installing an icon at a haveli (past or present)
  • birthdays of sect's leaders and their descendants

Seva

Seva is performed to treat the lord as your own child. One who performs seva must have a Brahma Sabandh and wear a Tulsi Kanthi. To perform complete sea, one must wake up prior to sunrise and bathe. After bathing, men must wear a dhoti bandi and women must wear a sari. A tilak or chandlo should be applied to the appropriate spaces. All preparations for Mangla Darshan and Mangal Bhog should be made before waking the Deity. Thakorji should be woken gently with claps or with the use of Shankhnath. Bhog is then offered and aarti is performed. Mangla kieran should be sung while Bhog is offered.

For Shringar Darshan, Thakorji is bathed and dressed in elegant clothing. Kirtan is sang through the duration of this Darshan.

During Gwal, toys should be offered to Thakorji, and the Sevak should play with the lord.

Preparations for Rajbhog should be made after Gwal Darshan closes. A lunch feast is prepared and offered. Kirtan is sang during Bhog. Thaal Aarti is performed.

Uthapan is after Thakorji's nap, so it is a simple Darshan where Surdas's Kirtan should be sang.

Bhog is a Darshan consisting of just a small meal for Thakorji.

Aarti is a Darshan where a maha aarti is performed for the lords well being.

The final Darshan of the day is preparation for Thakorji to sleep. In Shayan, steady kirtans are played to lower the mood in the mandir.

Haveli Sangeet(Kirtan)

Kirtans are devotional hymns written by the asht sakhas for and about Shrinathji. The instruments played during Kirtan include zanz, manjira, dholak, pakhavaj/mrudang, daff, tampura, veena, harmonium, tabla, etc.

Doctrine

Major doctrine consist of works of Vallabhacharya.

Commentaries and verses (c. 1479–1531)

He wrote elaborate commentaries on Sanskrit scriptures, the Brahma-Sutras (Anubhasya[4]), and Shreemad Bhagwatam (Shree Subodhini ji, Tattvarth Dip Nibandh).

Shodash Granthas

Also, in order to help devotees on this path of devotion, he wrote 16 pieces in verse which we know as the Shodasha Granthas. These came about as answers to devotees. The verses define the practical theology of Pushtimarga.

The Shodash Granthas(doctrines) serve as a lighthouse for devotees. They speak about increasing love for Shri Krishna through Seva (service) and Smarana (remembering). These doctrines are Mahaprabhu’s way of encouraging and inspiring devotees on this path of grace. The central message of the Shodasha Granthas is, total surrender to the Lord. A Goswami can initiate an eager soul to this path of Shri Krishna’s loving devotion and service. The verses explain the types of devotees, the way to surrender and the reward for Seva, as well as other practical instructions. The devotee is nurtured by the Lord’s grace.

  1. Shree Yamunastakam: An ode to Shree Yamuna Maharani
  2. Baala Bodhah: A guide for beginners on the path of devotion
  3. Siddhant-Muktavali: A string of pearls consisting of the principles/fundamentals of Pushtimarg
  4. Pusti-Pravaha-Maryadabhedah: The different characteristics of the different types of souls (Receptivity of the Lord’s grace)
  5. Siddhant-Rahasya: The Secret behind the Principles
  6. Navratna : Nine jewels of instructions (Priceless instructions for a devotee)
  7. Antah-Karan-Prabodhah: Consoling one's Heart (Request to one’s own heart)
  8. Vivek-Dhairy-Aashray: Of discretion, patience and surrender
  9. Shree Krushna Aashray: Taking Shree Krushna’s shelter
  10. Chatuhshloki: A Four Verses (Verser) illustrating the four principles of life; Dharma, Arth, Kaam, Moksh
  11. Bhakti-Vardhini: Increase of devotion
  12. Jal-Bhed: 21 types of Orators (Vakta).
  13. Pancha-Padyaani: 3 types of Listeners (Shrota)
  14. Sannyasa-Nirnayah: Decision on taking Renunciation
  15. Nirodh-Lakshanam: Identifying characteristics of detachment
  16. Seva-Phalam: The reward of performing seva (worship) of the Lord

Apart from Shodash Granths Shri Vallabhacharya wrote following Granths " Books :

  • Anubhashya on 5 Brhamasutra(Incomplete)
  • Bhashya on 6 Jaimini Sutra (Incomplete)
  • Bhashya on Gayatri
  • Purvamimamsa-Bhashya-Karika
  • 'Subodhini' a commentary on Bhagavat Purana (Incomplete)
  • 'Sukshmatika' a commentary on Bhagavat Purana (Incomplete)
  • Bhagavat Dashama-skandha Anukramanika
  • Patravalambanam
  • Shiksha-shlokah
  • TATVARTHADIPNIBANDHA 1.Shastrartha-prakaranam 2.Sarvanirnaya-prakaranam 3.Bhagavatartha-prakaranam
  • STOTRA: -Madhurashtakam -Parivrdhashtakam, -Shri Krishnashtakam, -SriGirirajadharyashtam, -Premamrtam -Shri Gopijanavallabhashtakam etc. -Shri Purushottama-nama-sahasrm (One thousand names of Shri Krishna from Bhagavat Purana) -Trividhalila-namavali

Further reading

  • E. Allen Richardson. Seeing Krishna in America: The Hindu Bhakti Tradition of Vallabhacharya in India and Its Movement to the West. Jefferson: McFarland, 2014. 240 pp. ISBN 978-0-7864-5973-5.
  • The Path of Grace: Social Organization and Temple Worship in a Vaishnava Sect. By Peter Bennett. Delhi: Hindustan Publishing Corporation, 1993. xi, 230 pp.

Notes

  1. ^ Pushtimarg.net
  2. ^ a b c Jindel, Rajendra (1976). Culture of a Sacred Town: A Sociological Study of Nathdwara. Popular Prakashan. pp. 34, 37. ISBN 9788171540402.
  3. ^ Shuddhadwait
  4. ^ Anubhashya

References

External links

Baithak (disambiguation)

Baithak or Bethak literally means "seat" or "place to seat" in several languages from South Asia.

Baithak or Bethak may refer to:

Pushtimarg Baithak, a sacred sites in Pushtimarg tradition of Vaishnava Hinduism.

Mehmaan khana, the sitting rooms of North India and Pakistan.

Baithak Gana, the Surinamese music

Baithakata, a village in BengalBethak redirects to squat, a type of exercise

Bhimjee Parikh

Bhimji Parikh or Bhimji Parekh (1610-1680) was a Pushtimarg. He was born in 1610 in Surat. He is remembered today primarily for having introduced the first printing press, to Bombay in 1674-75. Bhimji intended to use this printing press for "the common good" of printing "ancient manuscripts" that would be "useful or at least grateful to posterity".

Brahma Sampradaya

The Brahma Sampradaya (Brahma-sampradāya) refers to the disciplic succession (sampradaya) of gurus starting with Brahma. The term is most often used to refer to the beliefs and teachings of Madhvacharya and his Dvaita philosophy.

The term Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya is used to refer to the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his Gaudiya theology.

Champaran, Chhattisgarh

Champaran, formerly known as Champajhar is a village in the Raipur District in the state of Chhattisgarh, India, which lies about 60 km from the state capital of Raipur via Arang and 30 Km from Mahasamund Via Bamhani, Tila.The village is identified with Champaranya and therefore has religious significance as the birthplace of the Saint Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya, the reformer and founder of the Vallabh sect also known as Pushtimarg. A temple has been constructed in his honour. Near this is a temple of Champakeshwara Mahadeva. There are two Baithaks of Vallabhacharya's Chaurasi Bethak here.

Dayaram

Dayaram (Gujarati:દયારામ) (1777–1853) was a Gujarati poet of medieval Gujarati literature and was the last poet of the old Gujarati school. He is known in Gujarati literature for his literary form called Garbi, a lyric songs. He was a follower of Pushtimarg of Hindu Vaishnavism. Dayaram, along with Narsinh Mehta and Meera, is considered a major contributor during the Bhakti movement in Gujarati literature.

Devarshi Ramanath Shastri

Pundit Devarshi Ramanath Shastri (1878 – 1943) was a Sanskrit poet, scholar and commentator on Pushtimarg (the path of Krishna’s grace) and Shuddhadvaita Vedanta, the philosophical school of pure non-dualism propounded by Shri Vallabhacharya (1479-1531). He was born in 1878 (corresponding to Shravana Shukla Panchami of Vikram Samvat 1936 of the Indian calendar) in Jaipur, Rajasthan in a renowned Vellanadu Brahmin family of Sanskrit scholars belonging to the Taittariya branch of Krishna Yajurveda, who migrated from Andhra Pradesh to North India in the 15th century AD and to Jaipur in the 18th century with his famous ancestor Kavikalanidhi Devarshi Shrikrishna Bhatt having been invited by Sawai Jai Singh II. His father’s name was Shri Dwarakanath Bhatt and mother’s name was Shrimati Janaki Devi. His only son was Devarshi Brajnath Shastri (1901-1954), who was also a scholar of Shuddhadvaita. He was the elder brother of epoch-making Sanskrit poet and scholar Bhatt Mathuranath Shastri. He wrote extensively in Hindi, Sanskrit and Brajbhasha languages.

Dwarkadhish Temple

The Dwarkadhish temple, also known as the Jagat Mandir and occasionally spelled Dwarakadheesh, is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Krishna, who is worshiped here by the name Dwarkadhish, or 'King of Dwarka'. The temple is located at Dwarka, Gujarat, India. The main shrine of the five storied building, supported by 72 pillars, is known as Jagat Mandir or Nija Mandir, archaeological findings suggest it to be 2,000 - 2,200 years old. Temple was enlarged in the 15th- 16th century. The Dwarkadhish Temple is a Pushtimarg temple, hence it follows the guidelines and rituals created by Vallabhacharya and Vitheleshnath.According to tradition, the original temple was believed to have been built by Krishna's grandson, Vajranabha, over the hari-griha (Lord Krishna's residential place). The temple became part of the Char Dham pilgrimage considered sacred by Hindus in India, after Adi Shankaracharya, the 8th century Hindu theologian and philosopher, visited the shrine. The other three being comprising Rameswaram, Badrinath and Puri. Even today a memorial within the temple is dedicated to his visit. Dwarakadheesh is the 98th Divya Desam of Vishnu on the subcontinent, glorified in the Divya Prabandha sacred texts.

Karsandas Mulji

Karsandas Mulji (25 July 1832 – 28 August 1875) was an Indian journalist, writer and social reformer from Gujarat. Born to a family belonging to the Bhatias, a trading caste of western India, he was repudiated by his family because of his views on widow remarriage. He became a vernacular schoolmaster and started a weekly paper in Gujarati called Satya Prakash, in which he attacked what he perceived to be the immoralities of the Maharajas or hereditary high priests of the Pushtimarg Vaishnavism, to which the Bhatias belonged. In a libel suit, the Maharaj Libel Case, brought against him in the High Court at Bombay in 1862, he won a victory on the main issue.After a visit to England on business in connection with the cotton trade, which was not successful and brought on him excommunication from his caste, he was appointed in 1874 to administer a native state in Kathiawar during the minority of the chief. He died there on 28 August 1875.Mahipatram Rupram Nilkanth wrote his biography in Gujarati entitled Uttam Kapol Karsandas Mulji Charitra (1877) with an introductory sketch in English. Karsandas Mulji: A Biographical Study (1935) is another critical biography written by B. N. Motiwala.

Madhavendra Puri

Madhavendra Puri (Mādhavendra Purī in IAST) also known as Madhavendra Puri Goswami is a Vaishnava saint who appeared in the 14th century. He was initiated in to Dvaita Vedanta of Madhvacharya of Udupi region of Karnataka, and was highly revered in Vallabhacharya's Pushtimarg and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Gaudiya Vaishnavism, both sects that emanate from the famed Vrindavan region.

Porwad

Porwal (also known as Porvad and Porwal) are mainly Jain or Hindu community that originated in southern Rajasthan, India. Ancient inscriptions written in Sanskrit refer to the community as Pragvata.

They originated from a region east of ancient Shrimal. numerically they rank behind the [ and Shrimal Jains from the same region. However, in antiquity, they appear to have been more numerous and among the wealthiest.Many Jain temples were built by the Porwals, including:

Ranakpur Jain temple of Dharna Shah, completed in 1441 CE

Luna Vasahi (1231 CE) of Vastupal and Tejpal at Mount Abu

The Adinath temple at Shatrunjaya by Javad Shah in 961 AD, which was subsequently renovated several times.The Porwad community became divided into several regional communities including the Sorathia (in Saurashtra), the Kapol, the Jangad Porwad, and the Porwad found in the Nimad region of Madhya Pradesh. Some of the groups became a part of the Oswal or Navnat communities.Both Jain traditions, Svetambara and Digambar, are represented among different sections of the Porwad community. The historian H. L. Jain has suggested that Krisha, the patron of Muni Srichandra, a Digambara monk, belonged to the same Ninanvaya clan as Vimala who built the Vimala Vasahi temple at Abu. Thus the one branch of the family followed Swetamabra tradition, while other followed Digambara tradition. This suggests the harmonious coexistence to the two Jain traditions in that region.

In the 16th century, Pushti Marga was founded by Vallabha, a Brahmin scholar from Telangana, who proposed that in the modern age, it is too hard to follow the Jnana & Karma Margs. He proposed Pushti Marga (Raag, Bhog and Shringar used in the seva of Shri Krishna) as an alternative. A section of the Porwads has converted to Pushtimarga. Those who have converted to the Pushtimarg are known as Meshri (derived from Maheshwari) or Vania.

Pushtimarg Baithak

Baithak or Bethak, lit. seat, is a site considered sacred by the followers of the Pushtimarg tradition of Vaishnava Hinduism in India for performing devotional rituals. These sites are associated with Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhu, the founder of Pushtimarg and his descendants. These sites are spread across India and are chiefly concentrated in Braj region in Uttar Pradesh and in western state of Gujarat. Total 142 Baithaks are considered sacred; 84 of Vallabhacharya, 28 of his son Viththalanath Gusainji and 30 of his seven grandsons.

Rudra Sampradaya

Also see Brahma Sampradaya

In Hinduism, the Rudra Sampradaya is one of four Vaishnava sampradayas, a tradition of disciplic succession in the religion. Vaishnavism is distinguished from other schools of Hinduism by its primary worship of deities Vishnu and/or Krishna and their Avatars as the Supreme forms of God. The ascetic Vishnuswami formed the Rudra-Sampradaya, though the sampradaya is believed to have traced its origins to the Hindu deity Shiva, also known as Rudra, who passed on the knowledge imparted to him by Vishnu (or Krishna), on mankind. According to Vaishnavism, Shiva, who has the Shaivism school dedicated to his worship as the Supreme God, is the first and foremost Vaishnava, or follower of Vishnu. According to the tradition, Vishnuswami was fifteenth in the line of passing of the knowledge from teacher to student. The date of formation of the sampradaya is disputed. While James Hastings dates Vishnuswami to the early 15th century, and Carl Olson dates him to the 13th century, followers of the sampradaya says that Vishnuswami was born 4500 years earlier.

Not much about the historical Vishnuswami is known and all his works are thought to have been lost in time.

The Sampradaya originated in Sri Kshetra(Odisha) but currently is mainly present in Gujarat/Rajasthan, through the Vallabha sampradaya. The beliefs of the sampradaya was further propagated by Vallabha Acharya (1479–1531).

Rudra sampradaya has two main divisions: Vishnuswamis, that is, followers of Vishnuswami and the Vallabhas or Pushtimarg sect, founded by Vallabha. According to William Deadwyler, the sampradaya has disappeared, except for the Pushtimarg group.The philosophy of the sampradaya is Shuddhadvaita, or pure monism.

Shodash Granth

Shodash Granth (Hindi: षोडश ग्रंथ) (literally sixteen books) is a collection of 16 books (or doctrines) written by Shri Vallabha Acharyaji. They are the main doctrine of Pushtimarg, a Vaishnav sect of Hinduism. The granths serve as a lighthouse for devotees. They speak about increasing love for Shri Krishna through Seva (service) and Smarana (remembering). These doctrines are Shri Mahaprabhuji’s way of encouraging and inspiring devotees on this path of grace. The central message of the Shodasha Granthas is, total surrender to the Lord Shri Krishna. A Goswami can initiate an eager soul to this path of Shri Krishna’s loving devotion and service. The verses explain the types of devotees, the way to surrender and the reward for Seva, as well as other practical instructions. The devotee is nurtured by the Lord’s grace.

Shyam Manohar Goswami

Shyam Manohar Goswami (IAST: Śyāma Manohara Gosvāmī, Hindi: श्याम मनोहर गोस्वामी, Gujarati: શ્યામ મનોહર ગોસ્વામી) also known as Shyamu Bava (IAST: Śyāmu Bāvā, Hindi: शयामू बावा, Gujarati: શ્યામુ બાવા), is the 16th descendent of Shri Vallabha Acharya, sanskritists, philosopher, spiritual leader, active reformer & guru of the Krishna-centered Pushtimarg sect of Vaishnavism.

Svarupa Damodara

Svarupa Damodara, also known as Purushottama Acharya was a Gaudiya Vaishnava saint and close associate of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He lived in Navadvipa. He always stayed with Chaitanya.

Purushottama Acharya did not accept the dress of a sannyasi, but only gave up the shikha and sacred thread. His name became Svarupa. After this, taking up the order of his sannyasa-guru, Purushottama Acharya went to Jagannatha Puri. At that time, he again met with Chaitanya.

Vallabha

Vallabhacharya (1479–1531 CE), also known as Vallabha, was an Indian Telugu philosopher who founded the Krishna-centered Pushti sect of Vaishnavism in the Braj region of India, and the philosophy of Shuddha advaita (Pure Nondualism).Vallabha was born in an Indian Telugu family that had been living in Varanasi, who escaped to the Champaran of Chhattisgarh state while expecting Vallabha, during the turbulent times of Hindu-Muslim conflicts in the late 15th century. Vallabha studied the Vedas and the Upanishads as a child, then travelled throughout the Indian subcontinent over 20 years. He became one of the important leaders of the devotional Bhakti movement. The hagiographies written by his followers, just like those for other Bhakti leaders, claim that he won many philosophical debates against the followers of Ramanuja, Madhvacharya and others, had visions and miracles.He is the Acharya and Guru within the Pushti sub-tradition, which he founded after his own interpretation of the Vedanta philosophy. Vallabha rejected asceticism and monastic life, suggested that through loving devotion to God Krishna, any householder could achieve salvation – an idea that became influential in western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with Vishnuswami, and is the prominent Acharya of Rudra Sampradaya out of the four traditional Vaishnava Sampradayas.He authored many texts including the Anubhashya (a commentary on Brahm Sutra), Shodash Granth or sixteen 'stotras' (tracts) and several commentaries on the Bhagavata Purana. Vallabha's writings and kirtan compositions focus on baby Krishna and his childhood pranks with Yashoda (unconditional motherly love), as well as a youthful Krishna in relationship (erotic mysticism) with cowherding women as the many lilas (pastimes) of Krishna, Krishna's protection of the good (divine grace) and his victory over demons and evils, all with allegory and symbolism. His legacy is best preserved in the Braj region, and particularly at Nathdwara in Mewar region of India – an important Krishna pilgrimage center.

Vanza

Vanza also spelt as Wanza sometimes, is one the Hindu artisan community from India. The main occupation of the community is of weaving, dyeing and also tailoring -Darzi works. They are included in other backward class of Gujarat. Outside India, the caste has diaspora and caste associations in nations like, Kenya, Uganda and United Kingdom. They worship Hinglaj as their kuldevi and many are followers of Pushtimarg sect of Hinduism.

Vithoba

Vithoba, also known as Vitthal, Vitthala and Panduranga, is a Hindu deity predominantly worshipped in the Indian state of Maharashtra. He is generally considered a manifestation of the god Vishnu or his avatar, Krishna. Vithoba is often depicted as a dark young boy, standing arms akimbo on a brick, sometimes accompanied by his main consort Rakhumai.

Vithoba is the focus of an essentially monotheistic, non-ritualistic bhakti-driven Varkari faith of Maharashtra and the Haridasa faith.Vitthal Temple, Pandharpur is his main temple. Vithoba legends revolve around his devotee Pundalik, who is credited with bringing the deity to Pandharpur, and around Vithoba's role as a saviour to the poet-saints of the Varkari faith. The Varkari poet-saints are known for their unique genre of devotional lyric, the abhang, dedicated to Vithoba and composed in Marathi. Other devotional literature dedicated to Vithoba includes the hymns of the Haridasa and the Marathi versions of the generic aarti songs associated with rituals of offering light to the deity. The most important festivals of Vithoba are held on Shayani Ekadashi in the month of Ashadha, and Prabodhini Ekadashi in the month of Kartik.

The historiography of Vithoba and his cult is an area of continuing debate, even regarding his name. Various Indologists have proposed a prehistory for Vithoba worship where he was previously: a hero stone, a pastoral deity, a manifestation of Shiva, a Jain saint, or even all of these at various times for various devotees. Though the origins of both his cult and his main temple are likewise debated, there is clear evidence that they already existed by the 13th century.

Vitthalanatha

Vitthala-natha (IAST: Viṭṭhalanātha, c. 1516-1588), popularly known as Gusainji, was an Indian philosopher. He was the younger son of Vallabhacharya, who founded the Pushtimarg religious sect of Hinduism.

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