Mangalacharana (The Stanza of Benediction) Namo bhagavate tasmai, Krishnayadbhuta-karmane Rupa-nama-vibhedena, Jagatkridati yo yatah. Bow to Bhagavan Shri Krishna, The doer of wondrous acts; Who is cosmos, in varied forms, names; Who sports, Whence is cosmos sprung. Meaning: Prostrations to Bhagavan Shri Krishna, who is the performer of wonderful deeds, who is the very manifestation of the universe, who plays His sports in different forms and names, and from whom the whole universe has sprung up. Jayati Shri Vallabharyo, Jayati ca Vitthaleshvaraprabhushriman, Purushottams-ca taishca, nirdishta pusti-paddhatir jayati. Hail to revered Shri Vallabhacharya! Hail to honorable Lord Shri Vitthala! Hail to learned Shri Purushottamaji! Hail to the path of Pushti manifested by them! Meaning: Victory to revered Mahaprabhu Shri Vallabhacharya! Victory to honorable lord Shri Vitthalesha Prabhucharana! Victory to learned 1Shri Purushottamaji! And Victory to the devotional path of Pushti manifested by these great Acharyas! 1. An eminent scholar Acharya who wrote commentaries on almost all the works of Shri Vallabhacharya, and composed many independent works of his own. .
Dharma (Means to attain overall upliftment) Physical and mental well-being of the human being depend upon food and learning. Only those people who have got the sound body and the sound mind can make progress in their life. But how does the Jivatma' (individual-soul) that enables us to speak, walk and think, makes development? The human soul is made sublime by practicing Dharma. Hence, the means of sublimating the soul is called "Dharma'. Who made this Dharma? In reply to this question it is stated in Bhagavat-Mahapurana: Dharmam tu saksad bhagavatpranitam. Meaning: Bhagavan Himself has constituted Dharma-Niyama (dos and don'ts for mankind). Dharma is a godly constitution for the betterment of the mankind. This constitution is carefully preserved by primitive sages in the holy scriptures like Veda, Sutra, Smrti, Purana etc. These scriptures are known as Shastra. Shastra means: The sacred writings which regulate, guide or rule human conducts. If one follows Dharma, Bhagavan is certainly pleased with him. That is why one should practice Dharma. Ultimately the real sublimation of the human being lies only in Bhagavan's pleasure. .
Marga-Sampradaya One should seek admission to a good school and study under an efficient teacher in order to obtain learning. Similarly, in order to obtain religious learning or wisdom, one should seek admission to a religious school, known as Marga or Sampradaya. To obtain admission in any Sampradaya one has to match both one's own goal with the goal of the Sampradaya and one's ability and inclination to attain goal the way Sampradaya preaches to attain. A number of Dharma-Margas or Sampradayas are as old as Bharat's culture itself is. Today this false belief is being spread out that our social unity breaks down by different Dharma-Sampradayas. In a way power-loving political leaders spread jealousy, quarrels and disquiet in society by exciting groups of labourers, farmers, employees, students, Adivasis etc. belonging to different languages, provinces, districts and castes. Should we believe, then, that any language or province etc. is an element that disunites all classes and breaks up the social unity! Or if we believe in it, how can we be free from it? In fact, different Sampradayas are the centres to provide training regarding religion. They are such types of schools that enhance moral prosperity of the society together with spiritual promotion. Because of these Sampradayas wise people experience all-pervading necessity and well-being of religion in society and not of disunity and divisibility. In fact all scriptural Sampradayas have come into being for the people of different nature by the command of Bhagavan. All Sampradayas have got different fields of working. Hence, in the ideal form, there should not arise any question of conflict, opposition or rivalry of one Sampradaya with any other Sampradaya. For example, there are innumerable schools, throughout Bharat, that impart learning and training of different subjects to people of different classes and groups. When our social unity and indivisibility is not endangered by these innumerable schools, how can the social unity and indivisibility be harmed by our Schools of Dharma which can be counted on the tips of our fingers? Hence, we should understand that the tradition of Bharat's Dharma-Sampradaya is not the symbol of narrowness or divisibility but it is the symbol of universal and all-pervading necessity. If we can look into the all- pervasiveness contained in this variety, there remains no reason of any fear or doubt. Thus, we have seen the true nature and significance of Dharma-Sampradaya. There are various Sampradayas in Sanatana-Hindu-Dharma. Every Sampradaya consists of its distinct goal, known as Sadhya or Prameya and; means to attain its goal, known as Sadhana. .
Marga: Sect, tradition, cult, system or school of thought. Despite of having subtle difference Marga and Sampradaya are used interchangeably. To understand the difference it can be said metaphorically that the Marga (Karma-Jnana and Bhakti) is like a highway whereas the Sampradaya is like a lane. There are various Sampradayas in these three Margas. For example, in Bhakti-Marga Shri Vallabhacharya, Shri Ramanujacharya, Shri Madhvacharya, Shri Nimbarkacharya etc. have established Sampradayas on the ground of the scriptures. .
Guru (The Preceptor) He who initiates the inquisitive disciple and imparts the knowledge of the doctrines of the Sampradaya is called the Guru. Without the Guru it is not possible either to have entrance into any Dharma-Sampradaya or to acquire the true knowledge of Dharma-Sampradaya. Hence, the Guru has got a very important place in Sampradaya. Says Shri Gusainji: Ajnana-timirandhasya, jnananjanashalakaya; Cakshurunmilitam yena, tasmai shrigurave namah. One who by using collyrium-stick of knowledge In the eyes blinded by darkness of ignorance; Opens and enlightens our eyes To that revered Guru we bow down. Meaning: We prostrate respectfully before the Guru who, by using the stick of collyrium of knowledge, opens and enlightens our eyes that have become blind by the darkness of ignorance. .
Mahaprabhu Shri Vallabhacharya Incarnation: Shri Vallabhacharya is the proclaimer of the Pushti-Bhakti-Marga. So he is the Guru of all the followers including his lineage. Innumerable divine individual-souls, so dear to Bhagavan, were extremely miserable as they could not find any simple, straightforward way to reach nearer to Bhagavan. To relieve these souls from their sorrows, Bhagavan sent Shri Vallabhacharya on the earth and ordained to uplift divine souls by showing them the way of His devotion. In response to the commandment of Bhagavan, ShriVallabhacharya descended upon the earth and discovered the path of Pushti-Bhakti for the upliftment of the divine souls. That is why in Sarvottama-stotra Shri Vallabhacharya is complimented by the name of ‘Daivoddhara-prayatnatma’. It means: One who is actively devoted to the upliftment of the divine souls that are dear to Bhagavan. Path-Settler: Together with the Pusti-Bhakti-Marga Shri Vallabhacharya also propounded the Sarana-Marga i.e. the path of resort/surrender, in the interest of those divine souls who are not qualified to follow the path of Pushti-Bhakti. The path of surrender is not only conducive to the path of devotion but also a distinctively independent way to reach nearer to Bhagavan. Theory propounder: As the greatest God, Bhagavan Shri Krishna is beyond all gods and goddesses. This world is nothing but a modified manifestation of Shri Krishna Himself. Therefore, He indwells in every sentient and insentient object and yet he is also distinct from all of them. Thus, in spite of becoming world Shri Krishna does not lose His identity. For establishing such an extraordinary theory Shri Vallabhacharya is praised as: ‘Sakara-brahmavadaika-sthapakah’. It means: An establisher of the great doctrine of the Embodied Brahman who himself is the material and efficient cause of living and non-living entities of the universe. The Divine Fire Incarnation of the Divine Fire, in the form of the mouth of Bhagavan Shri Krishna, Shri Vallabhacharya is glorified as ‘Vaisvanarah’. It means: The divine fire. Dearest Guru: As dear to all divine souls, he is known as ‘Vallabhakhyah’. It means: One having the beloved name: Vallabha. The knowledge of the wondrous beauty of Bhagavan .
Shri Krishna, such as Shri Mahaprabhu imparted, has never been done by anybody else before. Hence, he is praised as: “Shri Krishnajnanado guruh”. It means: The Guru who bestowed the knowledge of Shri Krishna as the Supreme Brahman. The Father: He got married at the behest of Bhagavan so that the preaching and the propagation of Pusti-Bhakti-Marga may go on incessantly in future. He was blessed with two sons: Shri Gopinathaji and Shri Vitthalanathaji. So he is praised as: Bhuvi-bhakti-pracharaika-krte-svanvayakrt pita. Meaning: The father who procreated the offspring like his own self for the promotion of devotion on the earth. Proclaimer: As against the speculative philosophers and theologians, Acharyas who have accepted the scriptures as the supreme authority have never propagated themselves as the inventor of a new philosophy or theology. Very politely they considered themselves as the proclaimer of the scriptural truths, which were forgotten in the course of time. .
Shri Gopinathaji In the following verse Shri Purushottamaji delineates the character of Shri Gopinathaji, the elder son of Shri Vallabhacharya: Shri Vallabha-pratinidhim, tejorashim dayarnavam; Gunatitam gunanidhim; Shrigopinatham-ashraye. The Representative of Shri Vallabha, The storehouse of effulgence, The ocean of compassion, Who is beyond worldly attributes, The treasure of transcendental attributes, I take refuge in Shri Gopinathaji. Meaning: I take refuge in Shri Gopinathaji, who is the representative of Mahaprabhu Shri Vallabhacharya, who is the storehouse of effulgence, the ocean of compassion, who is beyond all earthly attributes and who is the very treasure of divine attributes. Similarly, Shri Vitthalanathaji pays his obeisance to his elder brother Shri Gopinathaji and extols him in the following verse: Yadanugrahato jantuh, sarva-duhkha-tigo bhavet; Tamaham sarvada vande; Shrimad Vallabha-nandanam. A being, by whose grace, does go beyond all the miseries of the world, To him, always my obeisance be, the son of Mahaprabhu Shri Vallabha. Meaning: I always prostrate to Shri Vallabhacharya's illustrious son Shri Gopinathaji, by whose divine grace, the beings go beyond all the worldly sufferings. From his early childhood Shri Gopinathaji was keenly devoted to the divine worship and remembrance of Bhagvan. He used to take his daily Prasada (left over of the divine food offered to Bhagavan) only after reciting the entire Bhagavat-Purana with all its eighteen thousand verses. For this reason, very often he could take his Prasada at the interval of about two days. This was very sad-sorrowful for his mother. Shri Vallabhacharya took a note of this. So, for Shri Gopinathaji he composed Shri Purushottama-Sahasranama-Stotra i.e. hymn of one thousand names of Shri Krishna, as the essence of the whole of Shrimad Bhagavat-Purana. When Shri Vallabhacharya went to the abode of the eternal Lila, Shri Gopinathaji was entrusted with the title of the Acharya of the Sampradaya. He composed a fine work named: Sadhanadipika. In this work he has explained the doctrines of Pusti-.
Shri Vitthalanathaji Like his elder brother, Shri Vitthalanathaji, the second son of Shri Vallabhacharya, was deeply attached to the divine worship of Bhagavan. Though he was originally named as Shri Vitthalanathaji, he is well-known in the sect by the names of Shri Gusainji and Shri Prabhucharana. When Shri Vitthalanathaji was quite young, Shri Vallabhacharya bestowed upon him a beautiful Svarupa (idol) of Shri Bala-krishna for worship. He also set him up with a piece of Thor (sweets) to be offered daily to 1Shri Thakurji in Mangala-Bhoga (morning breakfast). One day Shri Vitthalanathaji offered Thor to Shri Thakurji. Shri Thakurji began to eat Thor with love and delight. Seeing this Shri Vitthalanathaji thought that if Shri Thakurji ate away the whole piece of Thor, not a bit would remain there for him. So he leapt forward and began to pull at the Thor forcefully from Shri Thakurji's hand. Shri Vallabhacharya was very much pleased to see this tug-of-war between the two. Then he sent for another piece of Thor and gave it to Shri Vitthalanathaji. When this child of such extraordinary qualities grew up, he adorned the title of Acharya of Shri Vallabha-Sampradaya as an illustrious personality of power and glory. When Shri Gopinathaji left this world, Shri Vitthalanathaji took over the charge of the Acharya of Pushti-Marga. He always kept himself actively devoted to the preaching and promotion of the sect. That is why in Namaratnakhya-stotra he is designated as: Pitr-pravartita-patha-pracara-suvicarakah. Meaning: One who is given to pious thought of spreading the path propounded by his father. And: Gobrahmana-prana-raksa-parah satya-parayanah. Meaning: The Caretaker and protector of Cows and Brahmanas and the treader on the path of truth. He wrote a number of hymns, Granthas (treatises) and commentaries on the works of Shri Vallabhacharya to impart the knowledge of the Pushti-Marga. .