Today is Shri Vallabh Mahotsav. Mahaprabhuji Shri Vallabhacharyaji’s Birthday. Here are some photos I took during seva at home.
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Baithak No. 11.
Sri Trilokbhanji Baithakji
Is situated between the mounts Triveli and Totadi.
On Camping here Sri Vallabh realised that a lot of Mayavaadis were residing here. When the residents came to pay respects to SHri Vallabh, a discussion took place in which all the present Mayavaadi scholars were defeated and they bowed down and accepted Brahamasambandh.
This is a Gupt Baithak.
Baithak No. 12.
Sri Todari Mount Baithakji
Is situated 18 miles away from Teenveli Mountain. Aapshri recided here and asked Krishnadas to find water. Krishnadas went in search of water far and wide but in vain he returned and informed Sri Vallabh that he was unable to get water. But Aapshri guided Krishnadas to a spot where he would definitely find a small reservoir of water. On descovering the same the locals named it as Vallabh Kund.
Aapshri conducted Srimad Bhagwat for 7 days. This is a Gupt Baithak.
Shri Padmanabhji Baithakji
The then Padmanabh district is today’s Trivandrum. In the huge temple comples, one has to have darshan of Lord Padmanabh from three different doors. From one we can have darshans of the Mukharavind (face), from the second we can view the naval and chest (nabhi) and from the third door we can have darshans of Shri Charnaravind (feet) of the Lord. The head of the Royal Family has to perform the seva daily and a penalty is imposed for the day he is unable to do so.
Here Lord Padmanabh used to attend the sermon on Srimad Bhagwat conducted by Sri Vallabh for 7 days.
This is also a Gupt Baithak.
Baithak No. 14.
Sri Janardhan Baithakji
Between Trivandrum and Quilon, situated one mile away from Varkala station is Sri Janardhan district where Lord Janardhanji is the chief diety. A furlong away from here nearby a lake Shri Acharyaji set His camp and after darshans of the Lord started discourse on Srimad Bhagwat for 7 days and proceeded to Malyachal.
Baithak no. 15.
Mount Malyachal Baithakji
Situated on Malyachal Mountain is the beautiful hill station of Ooty. Due to abundant growth of Sandalwood trees teh area has achieved itd name Malyachal.
Shri Vallabh arrived at the ashram of Agatsyamuni who requested Aapsri not to send out the sevaks for any sort of Seva due to presence of a lot of wild animals. But Aapshri”s faith in Sri Hemgopalji (the residing deity)was strong enough to assure Him of His sevak’s safety. Shri Hemgopalji was very happy to have Sri Acharyaji with him as a cool atmosphere prevailed due to Sri Acharyaji’s presence. After oferring coconut and banana saamagri to Lord Hemgopalji, Shri Acharyaji proceeded towards Andra Pradesh.
This is s Gupt Baithak.
Baithak No.1 6.
Sri Krishna River Baithakji.
Enroute to Raipur from Vadi junction there is a village called Krishna where Shri Acharyaji set his camp for Srimad Bhagwat Katha.
A lot of scholars from Sri Ramanuj, Sri Madhav, Sri Nimbak and Sri Vishnuswami sampradaya came forward and were introduced to Pushtimarg by Sri Acharyaji.
This is a Gupt Baithak.
Baithak No. 17.
Sri Panna Narasinji Baithakji
In Andhra Pradesh on Mangalgiri Mountains between Bejwada and Guntur station is the temple of Sri Panna Narsinhji. Krishnadas Meghan prepared a cool sherbet called Panna for Shri Narsinhji. SHri Vallabh explained that during the killing of King Hiranyakashyap, a lot of sweat and perspiration was being emmitted ouit from Lord Narasihji’s body and to cool him, Panna or the cool sherbet is the best saamagri.
Lord Narsinhji used to listen to Srimad Bhagwat daily or 7 days.
This is also a Gupt Baithak.
Baithak no. 18.
Sri Lohgad (Goa) Baithakji
The last of the South India Baithakji, the area is now popularly known as Goa. A quiet and peaceful spot was selected for camping where nearby one could see a large flat stone with elephant legs carved on it. Krishnadas was having problems in finding a natural source for water but Sri Vallabh directed him to a nearby place where he found three Kunds namely the Gandharva kund, Apsara Kund and Devta Kund.
For 7 days Aapshri conducted Srimad Bhagwat seminar and relieved a lot of heavenly souls present there in the form of wild animals and initiated them into pushtimarg.
Baithak No. 19.
Sri Pandharpur Baithakji
On the banks of River Chandrabhaga in Maharashtra, is the vaishnavdham of Pandharpur. Lord Sri Vithalnath along with his personal sevak Pundalik, came forward to greet Sri Vallabh and asked Sri Acharyaji to grant Vrajleela Darshans to Pundalik.
Next day after performing Seva and Sringaar of Sri Vitahlnathji, Sri Acjaryaji along with Pundalik and a few others proceeded to the forest where Divya eyesight was granted to Pundalik for Vrajleela darshans.
For 7 days Lord Vitahlnathji heard Srimad Bhagwat and on the last day ordered Sri Mahaprabhuji to get married expressing His desire to take birth as Sri Vallabh’s son.
Baithak No. 20.
Sri Nasik Baithakji
From Pandharpur Sri Vallabh proceeded to Nasik and resided for 7 days on the banks of River Godavari in Panchvati, where Lord Ram along with His consort Seetaji and Brother Laxmanji had spent 12 years in exile.
There were a lot of Mayawaad scholars in this place and four of the highest scholars entered into a debate with Sri Vallabh but within a short span of time, accepeted defeat and requested Sri Vallabh to take them under his fold. Aapshri instructed them to first remove the Rudraksh chain from their necks and then have a bath in the Godavari after which He gave them Tulsi Kanthi and then Ashtakshar Mantra Diksha, thus making them His sevaks. Seeing this many others also followed suit.
Baithak No. 1.
Shri Champaran Baithak
Located in Raipur District in Madhya Pradesh, and easily accessible by Rail via Raipur, it is about 45 mins from Raipur by car via Rajeem.
The birthdate of Shri Mahaprabhuji Shri Vallabhacharyaji falls on the 11th day of the dark half of the month of Vaishakha in the samvat year 1535 corresponding to A.D. 1479. Before the advent of Sri Vallabha on the horizon, this sacred land was under the yoke of Muslim Invaders and the country was under a cloud of confusion and tremendous stress and strain.
Laxman Bhattji, father of Sri Vallabh was a very learned, pious and a religious minded person hailing from Vellanaidu Sect of South Indian Brahmins. With a view to visit the sacred places of North India, Laxman Bhattji had started from his village with his relatives on a pilgrimage which ultimately brought them to Varanasi, a place which brought a lot of peace to Bhattji’s mind.
As things would have it, slowly there were rumuor’s creeping in that Varanasi would be soon invaded and taken over by a Muslim ruler.This made many people residents leave the city and Laxman Bhattji also joined in the exodus to return back to their birth place.At this time Sri Ellammagaru was going through her seventh month pregnancy. The long and tedious journey was full of hazards and very slow and back breaking considering the distance.
One night they were passing through “Champaranya “, a dense forest area in Raipur district in Madhya Pradesh. As legend goes, if any pregnant woman passes through this forest during dark hours, she would surely have a miscarriage. What ever it may be, when Laxman Bhattji and Sri Ellamagaruji with the family were passing through the forest, Sri Ellamagaru suddenly complained of pains. The relatives proceeded ahead while both Laxman Bhattji and Ellamagaru stayed behind to rest.
Soon after, Sri Ellamagaru gave birth to a male premature child. The whole area was covered in dark, the strain of the journey, tiredness and uncertainty of the circumstances made everyone dejected. In this anxiety they felt that the newly born was lifeless and still. So believing this they wrapped the child with dry leaves and placed it in a hollow of a tall tree (which turned out to be a Shammi tree), and with sad and burdened hearts they proceeded to join other members at Choda City.
That night in seclusion of their rooms while resting, The Lord himself appeared in their dreams and commanded them to go back saying, ”don’t leave me and go”.They returned back to the forest to claim their child just to find that there at the very place under the shammi tree the child was surrounded by a fire ring radiating with divine glory and clad in dhoti and uparna. As Sri Ellamagaru stepped forward, the fire subsided giving full access to the child thus proving that the child was theirs.
Far far away, on the mount of Sri Govardhan, a strange phenomenon occurred on the same day. A Shepard boy had witnessed the emergence of a black face of a Swarupa of Sri Govardhannathji. Thus the birth of Sri Vallabha coincided with the manifestation of the Mukharavinda (lotus like face) of Sri Govardhandharan.
Connecting the two incidents, birth of a divine child and the manifestation of the face of Sri Govardhan Nathji, it is said that Sri Vallaba is the manifestation of the face of Sri Krishna. It is to be clearly understood here that the fact that the child was surrounded by Fire ring proves that it is of a trancedental character and not natural one like all of us.
Baithak No. 2.
The Chhathi Baithak in Champaranya
This is where the sixth day ceremonies after the birth of Sri Vallabh took place. Also it was here that Madhvanand Brahamachari and Mukund Sanyasi, with the kripa of Sri Vallabh’s krupa received heavenly eyesight and had alaukik darshans of Vraj-Leela.
Baithak No. 3.
Shri Vidyanagar Baithakji.
Shri Vallabh had resided here for sometime and conducted Srimad Bhagvat sermon for seven days. Aapshri’s uncle who was an important Raj Darbar officer invited Aapshri to the darbar where a religious conflict was going on. Shri Krishnadevraya, the ruler of Vidyanagar requested Shri Vallabh to participate and bring some solution to this religious debate. Shri Vallabh debated for twenty seven days and presented such convincing arguments and theories to sort out all the controversies, that one and all had to concede to his theories and accept defeat. Thus Aapshri established his doctrine called “Brahamavada” before the stalwarts of all other religions and the debate came to an end in his favour with the hall reverberating with the thunderous Jaighosh meeted out to Shri Vallabh spontaneously by one and all and a title of ” AKHAND BHUMANDALACHARYA JAGADGURU SHRI MAHAPRABHU SHRIMADACHARY” was confronted on Him with a gift of seven thousand Gold coins, out of which Aapshri accepted only Seven Gold coins which were converted to make Anklets for Lord Shri Vithalnathji.
Baithak No. 4.
Shri Pampa Sarovar Baithak.
Approximately 5 kms. away from Vidyanagar is Pampa Sarovar where Shri Vallabh set his camp beneath an oak tree. Shri Vallabh asked Krishnadas Meghan to arrange for some dry leaves (namely Khakhra leaves used in seva purpose). Krishnadas went quite far while searching and came across a hideous vulture who pleaded with Krishnadas to release him from his worldly sufferings. On his return, Krishnadas narrated the incident to Shri Vallabh and with His permission carried some Charnodak (the holy water obtained after washing Aapshri’s lotus feet), and sprinkled the same on the vulture thus relieving him from all his sins and sufferings. Later the devotees learnt that the vulture was a passive witness to the battle between jatayu and Ravana and did not bother to help Jatayu. Hence the situation.
This Baithakji is Gupta and not in existence any more.
Baithak no. 5.
Shri Laxman Balaji Baithak.
In Andhra Pradesh in Renugunta district, situated above the seven holy hills depicting Sheshnaag, is the holy town of Tirumallai where resides Lord Laxman Balaji. Residing on the banks of Pushkar Kund Aapshri proceeded to the temple to have darshan of Lord Shri Balaji who was very pleased to see Shri vallabh and asked for Manohar Laddoos as Bhog Saamagri. Shri Mahaprabhuji instructed the then Mukhiaji to do the needful and Aapshri on the wishes of Shri balaji had prasaad with the Lord himself.
For seven days Shri Vallabh resided and conducted sermon at Pushkar kund – Tirumallai .
Baithak No. 6.
Shri Vishnukanchi Baithakji.
Situated in Kanchipuram, 2 1/2 miles away from Madras, it is a quiet and a serene baithakji. Shri Vallabh on arrival, proceeded for Shri Varahswamy’s Darshan but when He saw the famous Geet Govind inscribed on the steps Aapshri stopped there and then as he found it improper to enter the temple by stepping on The Lord’s name. At night, Shri Varahswamy appeared in His dream and told Aapshri that the Geet Govind had been erased from the steps and He is now free to enter the temple. Next day Shri Acharyaji proceeded to the temple, performed the Seva Shringaar and gave seven gold coins to Mukhiaji for preparation of Shri Varahaswamy’s favourite Saamagris. Incidentally later because of Shri Vallabh-krupa the mukhiaji was able to have Vraj-leela darshans too.
For seven days Aapshri conducted sermon on Shrimad Bhagvat, conducting discussions with Nirsinhacharya and Neelkanthacharya scholars.
Baithak No. 7.
Shree Rangjee Baithak.
From Vishnukanchi via Chidambaram, Shri Vallabh proceeded to Sree Ranga or South Dwarika. On the banks of River Kaveri while Aapshri was resting, Shri Rangjee appeared and requested Shri Vallabh to visit Him the next day and perform Seva and Shringaar which Aapshri happily performed.
This Baithakji has been rediscovered recently.
Baithak no. 8.
Shri Rameshwaram Baithakji.
One of the four South Pilgrimage centres, Rameshwaram is the main one. Shri Vallabh explained to His sevaks that Lord Ramchandraji, while building the stone bridge to Lanka, had evoked Lord Shiva and a Shree Rameshwar Lingam appeared and blessed this herculean task.
For seven days Aapshri conducted Shrimad Bhagwat sermon here.
This Baithak is Gupt and not in existence.
Baithak No. 9.
Sri Darbrai (Darvsen Baithak) Baithakji.
Enroute to Tiruchirapalli from Rameshwar, there is a station called Ramnaad, from where 5½ miles is Aadisetu where Shri Darbhashyanji resides. In this dense forest, Shri Acharyaji selected a peaceful and serene spot and camped. Shri Darbhshayanji appeared before him and asked him to salvage many jeevas in the forest who are waiting since many years to be relieved .
This is Gupta Baithakji and not in existence.
Baithak No. 10.
Sri Tamrapani River Baithakji
Between Tiruchirapalli and Madurai is Tiriveli Village on the banks of River Tamrapani where Shri Acharyaji camped. As the story goes, the king of the nearby city was a sick man and after much medicines it was suggested by the local scholars and pundits that he make a life size statue of himself out of gold and and give it to a Brahmin. The only catch being that the Brahmin who accepts it would eventually die and hence no one was willing to accept the deal because of the association of a Demon with this statue. This Demon would eat who ever even came close to the statue. Upon having Shri Acharyaji’s Darshan, the king requested Aapshri to solve this problem. The next day Shri Vallabh arrived at the palace and when Aapshri was about to accept the gold statue, the demon appeared and raised one finger (as if to ask if Aapshri was doing Sandhya once a day) to which Shri Acharyaji raised three fingers ( to reply that he was praying thrice a day ) and seeing this the demon vanished . Shri Acharyaji then had the statue broken into small pieces and distributed to all the Brahmins and priest’s present there thus reducing the bad omen on the statue and the king.
For three days Shri Acharyaji resided here and conducted Gayatri Mantra Chanting and later Shrimad Bhagwat discourse.
This is a Gupta Baithak and not in existence.
A month of Year Round Utsavs ( festivals ) – Aadhik Maas. . . . .
During every month of the Indian calendar, due to some nakshatra or calculations, a date or a Tithi is either missed out or two dates come on one day which is called Kshay Tithi. These missed out Tithis and days get accumulated and every third year or approximately after every thirty months the total comes to 30 days thus forming one extra month which is called Aadhik Maas. Since Surya does not enter Sanskriti in this month, no auspicious occasion’s take place in this month. Therefore it is also called Malmaas.
As the tale goes, Malmaas approached Lord Vishnu and complained that all the other days and months have been accepted by all other gods and goddesses but for me there is no one and no occasion’s are celebrated in my month. Lord Vishnu took him to Golokdhaam and placed his request at the Shri Charan of Shri Thakorjee. Shri Thakorjee, The Purna Purshottam on hearing Malmaas’s pleas accepted Malmaas as his own and gave this month His own name thus this month is also called Purushottam Maas.
According to a Vaishnav Pranalika these various utsavs and festivals are celebrated as the days and months go by in a year. The Purushottam Maas comes between the Indian months of Chaitra and Ashwin only. In this one month,all the year round festivals are celebrated daily with full enthusiasm, giving the vaishnavs a chance to perform Aadhik seva for the comforts and happiness of the Lord. At the same time this month is also auspicious for a lot of charity / daan which one should perform as per one’s desire.
Shri Mahaprabhuji established Pushtimargiya Seva parampara or the Seva Pranalika for the benefit of Pushti Jeevas or in simple words, for Vaishnavas to perform Seva in ones own home. The essence of which is expressing and performing Seva through Premlakshana Bhakti.
Pushtibhakti is nothing but Premlakshana bhakti and “Seva Preet Vrajjanki, Janhit Jag Pragtayee” – teaches us to perform Seva through a Pranalika as a Vrajjan. The Pranalika is a year long guide for Vaishnavas.
Shri Gusaiji further elaborated the pranalika by seggregating and updating the Seva according to Seasons, Shringaars, Clothing and Apras keeping in mind the comforts of Shri Thakorje. Kirtans were added to keep Shriji entertained and a variety of Saamagris (recipes) were introduced enabling one to prepare the saamagri with his/her own hands and feed Shri Thakorjee. Bearing in mind that most of the Leelas were performed by Shri Thakorjeee in his Childhood, all the Baal leelas and all of the above were consolidated in a one year guide known as a Pranalika.
Most of the Manoraths are done keeping in mind that He has given maximum pleasures to Vrajjan performing innumerable Leelas which are now consolidated in Manoraths. Thus while organising, care should be taken of Seasons, Climate and the time of the day in which the Manorath is to be organised.The Bal Leela manoraths are only for Shri Thakorjee’s benefit and it is not a show which is to be organised for the benefit of Vaishnavs/sevaks at their convenience. Time must be adhered to unless an Agya is obtained from the residing Goswami Balak who is after all the soul of the Manorath and it is with his permission that the Manoraths are organised.
Some of the important utsavs / manoraths / festivals of Aadhik Maas are as follows :-
Nand Mahotsav (no panchamrat snaan, only paalna and nadutsav) – Rath Yaatra – Thakurani Teej – Cheer Haran Leela / Makhan Chori Leela – Saanji – Vasant Panchmi – Kasumba Chath – Gopashtami / Gocharan Leela – Daan Ekadashi / Aankh Micholi – Sharad Poonam – Caak-no-Manorath – Phool Dol – Bhojan Thali – A variety of Hindolas / Palnaas and Phool Mandlis – Variety of Ghatas – Vraj Kamal – Giri Kandara – Vivahkhel – Hatadi / Deepmalika / Maansiganga and Summer season festivals – Bageecha – Pushpavitaan – Annakoot and many many more………………..
There is no end to the variety and to the elaborateness of a Manorath. The list is endless and so is the seva Bhaavna in the heart of a Vaishnav. It know no limits. After all with Guru’s unlimited Kripa Shri Thakorjee’s kripa also know no limits.
So Celebrate Aadhik Maas with love, sincerity, deenta bhhav and with utmost care and affection and first and foremost with the kind permission of your Guru or the residing Goswami Balak because after all Vallabh sab ek samaan.
The Ashtakshara Mantra or the 8 letter mantra,which is first given to the devotee who comes under Lord Shri Krishna, is no ordinary mantra. It has divine capabalities. The mantra says ” Shri Krishnah Sharnam Mamah:” literally meaning “Shri Krishna is my shelter.”
On superficial view, these words may sound like ordinary ones, but they are definitely not so. They contain the meaning of the Vedas in them.The one who is bestowed with this mantra by the Grace of God and the Guru should be considered extremly fortunate.The vedas are treated as the highest authority among the ancient Indian scriptures.The four vedas along with the Bhagwad-Gita, Bhramasutras, and Shrimad Bhagwatam, collectively indicate that “Shri Krishna alone is the ultimate reality or the innermost soul of the whole universe” , he is “Purna-Purshottam”,”Paramatma”,”Para-Brahma”.
Through this mantra, one comes under the protection of Lord Krishna, the ultimate reality. Once Shri Krishna, accepts one as his dasa, one doesn’t have to fear anything or anybody. Shri “Vitthalnathji”, who is popularly known as “Gosainji” has this to say about the “Ashtakshara mantra”. The one who remembers Shri Krishna is assured a place in “Vaikuntha” (adobe of Shri Krishna). (Vaikhuntam Tasya Mischitam) He further assures that Yama (deity of death) cannot even touch you if you always remember Him. All this because He loves His devotees very much.
This mantra is not a man made mantra, nor is it derived from any of the scriptures. Instead, it is a mantra which was taught to Shrimad Vallabhacharya by Shri “Govardhannathji”. It is taught to those wanting an entry in Pushtimarg, in order to deviate them from worshiping any other deity apart from Shri Krishna , as no other deity has the qualities of Shri Krishna.The name Shri Krishna itself is capable of removing all sorts of worldly miseries.
“Mah”: enables one to enjoy accompaniment of Shri Krishna till eternity and keeps one from undergoing the the circle of life forever.
According to Shri Gosainji, a person who chants this mantra loses his worldly attachments and develops heavenly bonds with Shri Krishna. He gains fortune and salvation. He also experiences eternal bliss. God alone becomes dear to him and he becomes dear to God. He has no fear of any kind of evil. The rough becomes smooth for him and the difficult becomes easy. The enemy becomes friend and no evil eye can affect him. He experiences no kind of pain or misery as in his heart resides Shri Krishna , who is “Eternel Bliss” Himself.
Therfore, one should chant this “Ashtakshara Mantra” with complete Faith and Devotion. God will fulfill wishes of all without fail.