Philosophy of Rudra Sampradaya: One of the 4 authentic sampradaya.

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. Though suddhaadvaita theology is known and preached by Vallabhacharya not much is known about Vishnu Swami as the information have lost. Vallabhacharya said that he is connected to Rudra Sampradaya of VishnuSwami as Vallabha was a disciple of Mahayogi Bilvamangal who is the disciple of VishnuSwami as found in Sandilya Samhita(as per followers) . Unfortunately the literary works  of Vishnuswami is also lost in time so what remains of Rudra Sampradaya is now known as Vallabha sampradaya.


What is the relation between Shuddha-adhvaita Brahmvaad and Pushtimarg?

Shuddha-advaita Brahmvaad is the theory about swaroop of Brahm propounded first by Vishnuswami wherein it is believed that the Universe that have appeared before and infinite period is constituted by Brahm itself. The cause and the effect (result) i.e. Jagat, Jiva and Jad is also Brahm itself. This theory was again proved and made strong and propounded by Shree vallabhacharyaji. While Pushtimarg is the independent thinking of shree Vallabhacharyaji which is the devotional path of grace to attain Shree Krishna in the simplest way. Shree Vallabhacharyaji from Shreemad Bhagwat Mahapuran establishes the pushtimarg. The influence of Sri Krishna Chaitanya mahaprabhu in his life cannot be neglected either.

The philosophy of the sampradaya is Shuddhadvaita, or pure monism.

Shuddadvaita (Sanskrit: suddhadvaita “pure non-dualism”) is the “purely non-dual” philosophy propounded by Vallabhacharya (1479-1531 CE), the founding philosopher and guru of the Vallabha sampradaya (“tradition of Vallabh”) or Pustimarg (“The path of grace”), a Hindu Vaishnava tradition focused on the worship of Krishna. Vallabhacharya’s pure form (nondualist) philosophy is different from Advaita. The Shrinathji temple at Nathdwara, and compositions of eight poets, including famous Surdas, are central to the worship by the followers of the sect.

The school of in-essence monism or purified non-dualism of Vallabha sees equality in “essence” of the individual self with God. There is no real difference between the two (like the analogy of sparks to fire). However, unlike Shankara’s Advaita, Vallabha does not deny God as the whole and the individual as the part. The individual soul is not the Supreme (Satcitananda) clouded by the force of avidya, but is itself Brahman, with one attribute (ananda) rendered imperceptible. The soul is both a doer and enjoyer. It is atomic in size, but pervades the whole body through its essence of intelligence (like sandalwood makes its presence felt through its scent even if sandalwood can’t be seen).

Unlike Advaita, the world of Maya is not regarded as unreal, since Maya is nothing else than a power of Ishvara. He is not only the creator of the universe but is the universe itself. Vallabha cites the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad account, that Brahman desired to become many, and he became the multitude of individual souls and the world. Although Brahman is not known, He is known when He manifests Himself through the world.

Bhakti is the means of salvation, though Jnana is also useful. Karmas precede knowledge of the Supreme, and are present even when this knowledge is gained. The liberated perform all karmas. The highest goal is not Mukti or liberation, but rather eternal service of Krishna and participation along with His activities in His Divine abode of Vrindavana. Vallabha distinguishes the transcendent consciousness of Brahman as Purushottama. Vallabha lays a great stress on a life of unqualified love and devotion towards God.

In all the philosophical traditions, it is common practice to describe how the Supreme Entity Brahman is related to us and our surroundings. In the system of Suddhadwait Vedanta, otherwise known as Brahmvaada, the One, secondless Ultimate Reality is the only category. Every other thing has proceeded from it at the time of creation, is non-different from it during creation and merges into it at the time of dissolution.

The two other well known categories namely the animate souls and the inanimate objects are respectively its parts and modifications. The animate souls are its parts because they retain to some extent the essential qualities thereof namely consciousness and joy. The inanimate objects are its modification because the above said qualities are absent therein.

Everything is Krishna’s Leela

According to the version of Vaishnava Theology Vallabhacharya espoused; the glorious Krishna in His “Satcitananda” form is the Absolute, Svayam Bhagavan. He is permanently playing out His sport (leela) from His seat in the Goloka which is even beyond the divine Vaikuntha, the abode of Vishnu and Satya-loka, the abode of Brahma the Creator, and Kailas, the abode of Shiva. Creation is His sport.

Path to bliss in the Kali Yuga :

Followers of Vallabhacharya maintain that if one wants to obtain moksha and the bliss given by Krishna, the only path to do so is bhakti. In the Kali Yuga, it is believed that the forms of bhakti mentioned in the scriptures are nearly impossible to practice, so the followers of Vallabhacharya recommend pushti bhakti – which is the end itself and not means to an end, giving moksha, joy and oneness with Shree Krishna. It illustrates relationship with Shree Krishna can be achieved merely by having true belief and love for Shree Krsna and recitation of the Brahmasambandha mantra.

Atma-nivedana :

It is that bhakti which gives itself up body, heart and soul to the cause of God. It is considered to be the fullest expression of what is known as Atma-nivedana (giving-up of oneself) among the nine forms of bhakti (Navadha Bhakti). It is the bhakti of the devotee who worships God not for any reward or presents but for His own sake. Such a devotee goes to Goloka after leaving this body and lives in eternal bliss enjoying the sports of the Lord. The classical example of this complete self-effacement is that of the cow-herdesses towards Krishna. They spoke no word except prayer and they moved no step except towards Krishna. Their supreme-most meditation was on the lotus-feet of Krishna.Thus it is by God’s grace alone that one can obtain release from bondage and attain Krishna’s heaven, Goloka.

Ashta-chaap :

Eight disciples of Vallabhacharya are called the ashta-chaap (eight reprints). Foremost among them was Surdas, the blind poet of Agra.

These are Surdas, Krushnadas, Paramanand, Kumbhandas, Chaturbhuj, Nanddas, Chhitswami, Govinddas.

Meeting of Vallabhaacharya with Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Advaita Acharya

Vallabha Acharya probably came to Puri the first time in 1489 as a young boy, but returned in 1519 for his preaching. He was proud to be a great scholar and started a Bhakti Marga center in Varanasi. He contacted Lord Chaitanya in Prayaga (Allahabad) and was sent to debate with Advaita Acharya.

So he started to criticize the Sankirtana (congregational chanting of the Lord’s holy names) movement by objecting that, if the devotees were worshiping Lord Krishna in the madhurya rasa (mood of loving exchanges) they should not chant His name, as a faithful wife is not supposed to call her husband confidentially by his name, but always address him with a respectful title.

Advaita Acharya quickly silenced him by saying “on His order, we are doing”. The point is that if the husband specifically requests the wife to call him intimately by his name, a faithful and loving wife should do so happily to please her husband. Similarly, Lord Krishna has ordered all of us to chant His name intimately, so as faithful wives and servants of the Lord, we should do so.

Another day, in the presence of Lord Chaitanya, Vallabha Bhatta boasted that his own commentaries were different from those of Sridhara Svami. Sri Chaitanya quickly rebuked him. It is said that in the end Vallabha Bhatta was convinced of the superiority of the teachings of Lord Chaitanya and from the  worship of Bala Gopala  was initiated into  madhurya rasa by Gadadhara Pandita. He was blessed by Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to continue his own sampradaya as an extension to Rudra sampradaya.

The rasas included in Vallabha sampradaya
The son of Vallabha Bhatta, Vittala, adopted Gita Govinda as his text for teaching Sanskrit in his school.The preaching of Vallabha Bhatta made the worship of Bala Gopala popular in all Hindu homes. His philosophy distinguished the two different roads in Vishnu worship as Maryada bhakti (or devotion in respect), where God is worshiped as the Supreme Brahman and Pusthi bhakti (or devotion in intimacy).

Only Shrinathji is the sole sharan : “SHRI KRISHNAH SHARANAM MAMA” is the mantra. “My only and whole and sole target of surrender and my ONLY shelter is Shri Krishna ”

However, Vallabhacharya’s son (one of the Gosains) promoted Madhurya Ras more than before, when Vatsalya was predominant and prevails till date. Krishna as Shri Nathji is everyone’s BABY in Pushtikul households.

Sri Radha is SwaminiJi, and in a sense there are 4 most important Swaminijis , one important one is Yamuna MaharaniJi (the Deity of River Yamuna who is the Lord’s 4th consort). Chandravali is also one of the swaminiJis and is focused upon during some particular part of the jhulan season.

Advanced Pushti devotees like the pujaris in the Havelis (main temples are built as Havelis, palaces, not as temples) – also get into the mood of the sakhis of  particular Swamini (Yamunaji and Chandravali is prominent , Radharani is also worshiped by many followers) .

Though Srimati Radharani is respected as the chief consort of Sri Krishna still she is not worshiped separately  as vatsalya bhava is prominent in the teachings of the sampradaya.

Establishment of Pushtimarg

It is believed that when Vallabhacharya entered Gokul, he thought about the important question of restoring people to the right path of devotion. He meditated on Krishna who appeared to him in a vision in the form of Shrinathji, deity discovered by Madhavendra Puri[param gurudev of sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu] and disclosed the ‘Brahma Sambandha’ (Sanskrit for “relation with Brahman, the supreme Godhead”), a mantra of self dedication or consecration of self to Krishna. During that time Damodardasa, his worthiest and most beloved disciple, was sleeping next to him. In the early morning, Vallabhacharya related this experience to Damodardasa and asked him — “Damala, did you hear any voice last night” ? Damodaradasa replied that “I heard something but was not able to understand the meaning of it.” Vallabhacharya then explained the meaning of the mantra and at that time he became the first Vaishnava initiated by Vallabhacharya. He wanted to preach his message of devotion to God and God’s grace called Pushtimarg(path of grace). He undertook three pilgrimages of India. He performed the initiation ceremony of religious rite by conferring on them ‘Nama Nivedana’ mantra or ‘Brahma Sambandha’ mantra.

Pusti marg

What is Pushti and what is meant by Pushtimarg?  In Bhagvata Sri Sukhadevji comments –”Poshanam Tadanugraha”- Based on this scriptural statement Sri Vallabhachaacharay assert that the Bhagavata dharma in the form of anugraha or Grace of the lord Sri Krishna is called pushti.

This Pushti is capable of fulfilling the four purushradhas in life.  By uttering the name of the Lord, by meeting upon hi and by dedicated seva not only Devotees but even mortals could transcend the limits of Kala, Karma and swabhava.  The examples given herein above relate to the simple Grace of the Lord.  There is a special kind of Anugraha which enables the mortals to achieve Bhagvad—swarupa.  Therefore the Bhakti that is result of this is the result of this Special Anugraha is known as Pushti Bhakti.

In Sidhantamktavali – a treatise on his sidhanta by Shri Vallabhacharya, he states that his that in Pushti Marg Anugraha is the controlling factor.  Here Pushti Marg include Pushti Bhakti Marg.  Sri Vithalnathji, in his monumental work “Bhaktihetu Nirnaya” had reverently stated that he would salute those Anuanya Bhaktas who had received that Grace of the Lord.

Even as the Ganga breaks through the ranges of Himalayas and ultimately merges with Ocean, so also the action of mortals should get the limits and obstacles of their lives and progress towards the ultimate Reality. And this attempt is known as Bhakti yoga.

This Bhakti Yoga is of two kinds.  Maryada Bhakti and Pushti Bhakti.  Pushti Bhakti is the result of the special Grace received from the Lord.   This is recognized by the single factor that the devotee does not desire for any other phyla or effect other than attaining the Bhagavad swarupa.

It is clearly stated in the Bhagavata that a Pushti Bhakta who has dedicated everything to the Lord does not cherish any material gains or even Kaivalya.  The Vraj-Balas are the personification of this Pushti Bhakti.  A graphic description of their unfettered love for Lord Sri Krishna is made in the tenth Scanda of Bhagvata Purana.

This Pushti Bhakti is sub-divided into four divisions viz. (1) Pravaha Pushti Bahkti, (2) Maryada Pushti Bhakti (3) Pushti Pushti Bhakti, (4) Sudha Pushti Bhakti.

Pravaaha Pushti Bhakta =  Dedicated to Karma or action .
Maryaadaa Pushti Bhakta = Like Bhishma etc.
Pushti Pushti Bhakta = Naarad, Prahlaad etc. Being Sarvajna and Bhakta Naaradji also is Pushti Bhakta.
Shuddha Pushti Bhakta = Following the sentiments of Vrajabhaktas .

Pravaha Misra Jeevas are more towards pravriti marg and worship lord Krishna  with material desires and follow the karma Kanda .

Maryadaa pusti Jeeva turn their minds from such actions born out of raga or attraction towards worldly or celestial gains and converge towards nivritti Marga dhramas, such Jeevas instead of being interested in Vishayasakati(material desires) activities, turn their concentration in listening to the legends of the Lord with an exuberance of Sneha or love .

Pushti Pushti Bhakta It is already mentioned that a Sudha Jeeva is always immersed in divine love.  Such Jeevas, who are very rare, devote their time in  services of the Lord with an exuberance of Sneha(love).  They are in the service of Lord Krishna.

The fourth kind of Sudha Bhakti is something very rare and only selected Jeevas receiving the unreprecedented Anugraha  of the Lord hope to attain.  Even the queen consorts of Sri Krishna might not have boasted for  experience of undying love which the Vrajganas had received as a gift from the cowherd Prince of Vraj, at the time of Rasa Lila on the banks of Jamuna and on the outskirts of Kadamba Forests.

That is the Vaillakshana of Sudha Pushti Bhakti and  Vaistaya of the Anugraha.  Therefore it is asserted that Pushti Bhakti is attainable only when there is a special Anugraha.  When the Jeeva attains that highest state of Anugraha it is said that even the Lord becomes subjected to his Bhaktas.  Commented on the Subject Sri Vithalnathji has said that the Lord submits himself to the will of his Bhaktas is evidence from the Damodar Lila when He had allowed himself to be tied by a rope top the Ulukhala (Mortar).

Enlarging upon the theme of Anugraha Sri Vallabhaacharya stated that even when all the sadhanans are lacking the very intensity of the longing of the Sudha pushti Bhaktas (as in the case of the Gopis who began to cry on the disappearance of the Sri Krishna) would ultimately lead them to reach their goal.

In this particular Bhakti Marg all other sadhanas become of secondary importance.  By the Anugraha of the Lord alone all the siddhies (fulfillments) available in the world and mentioned in Vedas would be achieved.  That is how all the Vrajvasies had attained Vaikuntha.  The Lord had treated them as swajanas and led them to Vailkuntha.  In this Bhakti the Lord never considers the qualifications or Yogyatas of his Bhaktas, now does he delay in according them.  That is why Sri Krishna had accepted not only the Gopis but even the cows, birds, deer, etc; which otherwise could never have achieved moksha (liberation).

A Pushti Bhakta never craves for any material benefits nor does he long for celestial gains.  He does not even care for the fruits of his action.  All he cherishes is that Blissful state of his beloved Lord.  That is why Udhava wondered how the Vrajbales could forsake all material desires, give up all Dehadhyasa (awareness of body)and pine for the ultimate Dashing of Sri Krishna.  What ekes a Pushti Bhakti Jeeva could crave for when the Lord Himself extends His Grace.  Blessed are that who are the recipients of such special Anugraha.  Even an Ayogya (meritless) Pulindini, though bereft of all sadhanad sampatties, could still receive His Grace.

The Pushti Bhakta is only aware of his or her intense attachment of the Lord.  All other mundane things like fear of criticism from the dear ones or the fear of punishment in the world becomes lost to the Bhakta.  Where the mind is entangled emotionally with the Supreme Being the very relationship that arises is capable of producing effects.  Bhagavata gives many instances where such sudha Pushti Bhakti had direct communication with the Lord.

Whether such Bhakta enjoys the Bliss in Somyoga state (union) or bears pangs from Viyoga, (seperation) they always treat their body as sadhana or means meant for the seva or service of the Lord.  This is evident from the statement of the Gopis who declare that they were sustaining their bodies for His sake with hope they would encounter Him someday.

Such Bhakta, while offering service of the Lord, never even for a moment desire for any prati—phala or benefit in return.  And it is said that he would only enhance the bhagavad Vishayak Bhava in their hearts.  For example when Sri Krishna protested the Vrajvaises from worshipping Indra.  He was only extolling the deep Bhakti for Him alone.

It is believe that in this Bhakti Marg the intensity of the longing to be one with the Supreme Being would be more when the Sudha Jeeva pines for the Lord than the Blissful state he enjoys when he is in personal communion with Him.  In order that the Gopis might experience the pangs of separation, Lord Krishna had gone to Mathura.  Instead of appearing before then he had allowed them to pine for Him so that they could continue in an eternal state of Vikalata of distress.

The Sudha Bhakti Marg is describing as one in which Sadhana and Phala would stand in equal status.  It is the Sneha-bhava or love (it is called Nirupadhdi Snaha-realting to the Supreme Being).  But the same Bhava is said to be the means of gaining Swarupa-ananda.  The Sneha Bhava which is Sradha concerts into phala when ir is realeased.  One obtains this Bhava when He ordains.  Hence He is called Phala-rupa.  And the only means of obtaining the said Brava is the Supreme Being.  Thus the viparitata (contrariness) is obvious.

It is said that in this Bhakti Marg the intensity of the longing to be  with the Supreme Being would be more when the devotee pines for the Lord than when he will remain in constant union with Him, union with the person of the Lord gives rise to pride while separation from Him generates humility.  Humility born out of separation assist in the manifestation of the Lord, hence it is sought by the devotees.
Process of bhakti

of Ashtakshara & (if applicable) Brahmasambanda initiation Mantra Swarupadhyan & Stotra:
of Shri Vallabhacharya like Sarvottama-stotra, Vallabhashtakam etc
of Shri Vitthalanathaji like Namaratnakhyam etc
of Shriyamunaji like Shri Yamunashtakam etc
of Shri Krishna like Madhurashtakam, Shri Purushottama-nama-sahasram, Trividhalila-namavali etc

Doctrinal works of Sampradaya e.g. Shodasha-grantha, Tatvartha-dipa-nibandha, Sadhana-dipika etc
Scriptures like Gita, Bhagavat-puran etc
Works of other Acharya of Shuddhadvaita Pushti Bhakti Sampradaya.

Evening or Night:

Reading & Discussion:
of the meaning of abovementioned works
Vaarta literature e.g. 84 & 252 Vaarta, Gharu Vaarta, Nij Vaarta etc.
Vachanaamrt literature

Chanting & Singing:
Dhun (Excluding initiation Mantra)


What is Pushtimargiya moksh? How are these Muktis different from them?

Alaukikasamarthya = Pushtimargi becomes capable of experiencing Aadhidaivika svarup and Aadhidaivika Lila of Sri Krishna here only and with his present body-senses only. This is equivalent to Jivanmukti.

Sevopayogi-deha = Pushtimargi attains alaukika Deha and becomes capable of doing Seva of Sri Krishna in the abode of Sri Krishna after death.

Sayujya = If Pushtimargi does not get above results then he becomes one with Purishottama Sri Krishna but not with Aksharabrahm.






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