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Pushti Vaishnav Vartas

Vartas from the Chaurashi Vaishnav ki Varta the 84 exlemporary deciples of


Shri Vallabh and the 252 deciples of Shri Gusaiji
Varta Sahitya (Introduction)
At a time when literacy was very limited, the propagators of thenewly found sect
in Vraj decided to emanate the main principles of Pushti Marg by way of reciting
anecdotal stories from the lives of great devotees.Shri Hariraiji was one of the
greatest of these "story tellers" andalong with other learned members of the
sect, they compiled two setsof stories - one set for the Vaishnavs who were
converted by ShrimadVallabhacharyaji himself and another set for the Vaishnavs
convertedby Shri Vitthalnathji (Gosaiji).The first set comprises of 84 Vaishnavs
and various anecdotal storiesfrom the lives of these great devotees and their
families.The second set has 252 Vaishnavs and their life experiences withinPushti Marg.As these stories reflect on the "best of the best", it follows that
ShriMahaprabhu and Shri Gosaiji had many more devotees than thosementioned
in the Varta Sahitya. By the time the anthology was beingcompiled (about 3rd4th generation from the time of Shri Vallabh),many of the devotees were no
longer alive and so the evidence fromtheir lives is often second-hand at best. The
number of Vaishnavscommented upon in the first anthology reflects this time
differentials.The number of devotees in the second anthology reflects the fact
thatmany of Shri Gosaiji's deciples were still alive or had relatives whocould
recount the spiritual experiences of their family members. Asmany of these
people were geographically closer to Vraj / Gokul,they were able to get a greater
mention than the Vaishnavs who livedfar away.As these stories were compiled
much after the event, a lot of allegories and "meaning" has been added to the
stories to make themas effective a medium for teaching as possible. The number
of stories added to each set was also governed by this desire to have adeeper,
more spiritual meaning to them. Hence, the 84 Vaishnavs of Shri Vallabh
corresponds to the "84 kosh" (kosh is a measure of distance) pilgrims travel
around Vraj.The 252 Vaishnavs of Shri Gosaiji are exactly 3 times as many as
inShri Vallabh's anthology. Where as Shri Vallabh's disciples wereconsidered to be
beyond the three gunas (nature - viz pure,materialistic and bad/ lazy), Shri
Gosaiji's disciples were supposed tocomprise of all three gunas. Hence, 84 vartas
of Shri Gosaiji'sdeciples belong to his "Satvic" students, 84 to "Rajasi" and 84
to"Tamasi" students, making the grand total of 252 vartas.Each Varta and each
Vaishnav is suppose to have a previousincarnation(s) in the "time before
time". This is normally related
along with the reason for their fall from grace (hence birth on thisearth) and
how they regained the divine grace by meeting up withtheir divine mentor. Each
Vaishnav is also considered to be a part of the divine/ spiritual body of Shri
Vallabh, and this is also sometimesrelated as - so and so Vaishnav was the "eye"
of the great Guru etc...All these tools helped to teach / communicate the core
message of thesect.Varta Sahitya was devised as a tool for teaching the lay
devotees andhence it was written in colloquial language of the time Vrajbhasha.As this method of teaching evolved and spread to other parts of
thecountry, the Varta Sahitya was translated in the regional languages of the
devotees being taught.The Varta Sahitya is a great historical document of the life
and timesof Shri Vallabh, Gosaiji and his children. It is also an interestinginsight
into the social fabric of medieval north India. The lives of men and women in
these vartas explore the spiritual, economical andsocial realities of the times. It
is amazing to comapre our lives withour ancestors, 500 years on !!!

84 vaishnavs
KUMBHANDAS
Kumbhandas was one of the original 84 disciples of Shri.
Vallabhacharyaji (also knownas Mahaprabhuji ) in the early 1500.
He lived in a village named Jamunavata located in Vrajbhumi ; with
his family of eight members. Kumbhandas had a very small farmwhich
he cultivated to feed his family. He had few material possesions and
a farmer'slife is always a hard one. Though poor, he maintained
high self-respect and as aVaishnav he would not accept any free
offerings from anyone.When he learned that a great person
- acharya has come to Anyora town; Kumbhandasand his wife went
to Anyora to meet with Shri Vallabhacharyaji.Kumbhandas was
recognized as one of the Ashtasakha in Pushtimarg; which means
thathe was one of the eight close friend of ShriNathji. Ashtasakhas
were great song writersand singers of praises of shri Goverdhannathji.
This highest esteem was achieved byKumbhandas by his absolute
dedication and Love for ShriNathji.Once Raja Mansinh visited
Kumbhandas and offered him essentials items of his dailyneeds such
as a mirror to see his Tilak and household items but he politely
declined andresponded that God creates everything I need in
my small farm and I cannot keep goodthings in my poor house. I
use the corn, wheat, milk and vegetables produced in
my ownfarm.Kumbhandas was mainly involved in serving Shrinathji
and he wrote and sang manyPadas & Kirtans. He was so dedicated
that everyday he would climb up and downGiriraj mountain to pray
and sing kirtans to please Shri Goverdahnnathji. Kumbhandaswas very
fortunate to experience meeting with and talking to shri
Goverdhannathji.They both often played together.BHAV- True devotee
of God dedicates everything to the service of shri
Goverdhannathjiand they gain the benefi t of seeing within
themselves the real happiness being next toGod and his Leela .A
noteworthy story of Raja Mansinh who was returning home after his
victory of manystates. He visited Mathura, Vrindavan, and at last came
to Giririaj mountain to offer hisprayers to shri Goverdhannathji. While
worshipping he experienced soothing effects tohis heart; as he noticed
the grand style offerings of flowers, fragrances, ornaments of pearls,
white cooling costumes on the Lord. He mentioned that the real
experience of darshan of Lord Shri Krshna is right here what he
saw in Shri Goverdhannathji. He felt the pleasure of his life time at
this Darshana while Kumbhandas was singing followingkirtan to the
Lord.
"Roop dekhi naina palak lage nahi,Goverdhandhar ke ang-ang
prati nirkhi naina man rahat nahi.""Kahari kahon kuchh kahat na
aave chitt choryo ve mange dahi Kumbhandas Prabhu miliveki sunder
baat sakhiyan so ju kahi."
Kumbhandas
There are many stories of Kumbhandas- one of the Great 84
Vaishnavas who had metwith Shri Goverdhannathji. Kumbhandas
had seven sons by the grace of shriVallabhacharyji.
RAMDAS

Ramdas fi nds a 'svarupa' of Lord KrshnaRamdas once in the


company of a wandering devotee went on a pilgrimage to
the GangaSagar where he found amongst the sand, a
'svarupa' of Child Krshna. On showing the'swarupa' to his
companion, his friend exclaimed, 'It is your great fortune to have
foundsuch a deity. Now you should perform his worship.' Ramdas then
mentioned that he didnot have a guru, to which the devotee
replied that he should become the disciple of ShriMahaprabhu,
who had just gone to Jagannath Puri. Hearing that, Ramdas headed
hometo fetch his wife so that they both might receive initiation.Having
just arrived at Jagannath Puri Ramdas happened to stay at
the same gardenwhere Shri Mahaprabhu was. At that moment Shri
Mahaprabhu casually asked him,'Ramdas, how did you fi nd that
'svarupa' of Lord Krshna at the Ganga Sagar? Pleaseshow him to
me.' Surprised, Ramdas thought, 'He must be a great soul. He has
neverseen me, yet he knows of my discovery.' Ramdas bowed
to Shri Mahaprabhu andrequested him to grace his home. The
guru then visited his home in Patna, where heinitiated Ramdas
and his wife, and taught them the ways of devotional service. Fromthat
day, Ramdas performed Krshna's 'seva' strictly and diligently.The Lord
cannot bear his devotee's troubleOnce Ramdas began to run out
money and any he had left he gave to some weavers, who repaid
him with interest. Ramdas expressed the pleasure he experienced on
receiving theinterest on his money to the Lord, the Lord replied
to him 'You have put the interest of those weavers above me
even'. Ramdas then realised that his attraction for money was
ahindrance to his devotional service to the Lord. Thus he
requested to the weavers toreturn the principal saying 'I have
some work with my Lad. I am obliged to do whateverhe says'. The
weaver thinking that he was talking of an ordinary child returned
themoney. When Ramdas had completely exhausted his wealth his
attachment to currencywas finally severed.On another occasion
Ramdas borrowed money from a businessman and when
hedemanded his money back Ramdas borrowed it from another
businessman. Ramdasbecame very distressed when he could
not repay the money and thus returned home.The Lord being
unable to tolerate the trouble of his devotee repaid
the businessmanwith one hundred extra rupees, signed
Ramdas's name and then left. Several days laterRamdas was
walking when the businessman (who Ramdas believed he still owed
moneyto) fell to his feet and said 'You have kept your promise.
You have repaid me with onehundred extra rupees; please take the
additional rupees back.' Ramdas then realisedthat the Lord must
have given him the money and when he went to the shop he
found hissignature that had been signed by the Lord. From this
moment Ramdas saw thedifficulties he was causing to Krshna and thus
from this incident his false pride inperforming Krshna's 'seva' was
removed.Ramdas becomes a policemanRamdas took up employment
as a policeman in Prayaga. On one occasion when he wentto
visit Shri Mahaprabhu, Shri Mahaprabhu said to the people
there 'Ramdas is themost blessed.' The other Vaishnavas unable to
understand this asked 'why is he blessed

since he has left his 'strict seva' to work as a policeman. Shri


Mahaprabu replied 'he isblessed because he is concerned that he may
not cause his Lord any inconveniences. Hisspiritual firmness is
unmatched.'All seva is equalRamdas was never interest ed
in receiving any fame or glory for his 'seva' and he looked upon
all types of service whether grandiose or unobtrusive as
being equal. Once ShriMahaprabhu on his way to the Shri
Yamuna river noticed a ditch in front of his door, Ramdas hearing
this started to fill in the hole immediately. When Shri
Mahaprabhureturned he saw the hole gone and Ramdas's soiled
clothes, he then praised Ramdas fordoing this. Ramdas considered it a
great fortune to have had this chance to serve ShriMahaprabhu.A
desire for a childOnce Ramdas's wife expressed her desire to have
a child. Ramdas enlightened her bysaying 'your desire will be
fulfilled when you serve the Lord with maternal feelings.'Ramdas told
his wife to worship Krshna in order to attain the transcendental
emotionalstate of Krshna's mother, Yashoda. But since Ramdas's wife's
understanding was notsublime, she performed the Lord's 'seva'
with the hope of having a son. Her wish wasgranted and shewas
gave birth to a son.Ramdas never had any material/worldly desires
and thus received his Guru's fullflavour
PadmanabhDasji
Normally, a Varta contains the anecdotes from the life of a single Vaishnav.
Inthis instance, the lives of Padmanabhji, Tulasa, Parvatiji and
RaghuNathdasjihave been grouped together as "one varta" because it
refl ects on the greatdevotion to the Lord from members of the same
family - the family ofShri Padmanabhdasji.
Story No. 1
Padmanabhdasji was a renowned orator of Purans in the medievalcity of
Kanoj. So many people came to hear him at his own home, that he
neverhad to leave his home to earn any money. When Acharya Shri
Mahaprabhujivisited Kanoj, Padmanabhji visited him to pay his respects to him.
Hearing ShriVallabh recite the Bhagvat Puran, he was convinced that Shri
Acharya was theLord incarnate. He requested the Lord to make him his
disciple. Graceful as hewas, Shri Mahaprabhuji accepted him as his disciple and
gave him the sacredbrahmasambandha.Later, during a personal audience with
Shri Mahaprabhuji, Acharya Shri recited ashloka to him, which, in essence
means, "One should not make money by sellingthe Lord's name. Lord's name
should only be taken to gain His love." Reciting Shri Bhagvat Puran to make
money comes in to this category. Being intelligent,Padmanabhdasji realised that
this was Acharyaji's way of pointing out hismistakes and so took a vow never to
recite any Purans to make money ! ShriVallabh was taken aback by the
suddenness of his new disciple's vow."Padmanabh, if you do this, how will
you make any money ? This is yourlivelihood ! True, you should not recite
the Bhagvatam to make money, but youare allowed, by laws of the scriptures, to
make money by reciting Itihaas (ancienthistories) such as MahaBharata." But,
Padmanabhji was unswerving in hisresolve. He decided not to make
any more money by telling kathas. As a householder, he had no choice but to
earn something to feed his family, sohe decided to follow the traditional

occupation of his caste and went to his Yajman (his chief host and financial
supporter in the community) for somemoney. His Yajman was very honoured to
receive such a distinguished brahminin his house. With the greatest of respect,
he gave Padmanabhdasji all the wealthhe desired. But, Padmanabhji was
perturbed that he was making money by thevirtue of his caste, and no other
merit of his own. This sort of high class beggingwas far too hurtful for his high
morals.When he decided to give up this sort of living, once again, Shri
Mahaprabhuji,ever concerned about the spiritual and material well being of his
disciples, askedhim, how would he support his family now ? Once again,
thinking of how to carryout his duties as a householder, without
breaking the laws of the scriptures, hedecided to start a business to
support his family. He would sell cowry shells, wood etc to make enough
money to provide the basic needs of the family. Sogreat was his devotion to
the Lord and the scriptures, that he left the life of luxuryand etched out
a meagre living rather than disobey the Lord. Once, he asked Shri
Mahaprabhuji to show him the greatness of the Lord ShriKrshna. Ever
compassionate, Shri Vallabh asked him to visit him in Vraj to
satisfy his ultimate desire. Ever obedient, Padmanabhji visited his Guruji in Vrajto
witness and experience the greatness of the Lord. In Vraj, on the banks
of theriver Yamunaji, there is a small clearing in the forest near
Mahavan, calledRamanrati. It is here that the gopies recited their famous
Gopigeet and played raaswith the Lord. When visiting this area with his Guruji,
Padmanabhji saw a cliff face slide into the river and an enormous form of the
Lord was revealed !! Thisform was as tall as 7 tala trees ! and it encompassed
the entire Vraj and all thefavourite sakhies of the Lord. Seeing the Lord in
all his magnifi cence, Shri Vallabh said, "My Lord, in this age of Kali, this
form of you is too great foranyone to worship ! Please reduce this form to a
size more suitable for seva inthis Yuga." Ever merciful, the Lord
reduced his form to make it easy for Padmanabhji to worship Him. As this
form encompassed the entire Vraj and theLord's beloved companions, Shri
Vallabh called Him "MathuraNathji" and gavePadmanabhji instructions on how to
worship him. Padmanabhji returned to Kanojwith this great image of
the Lord.
Story No.2
At one time, Shri Mahaprabhuji was in Prayag and Shri Gosaiji wasat Adel, a few
miles down the river from him. At night, Shri Mahaprabhujidecided that
he needed to speak to Shri Gosaiji on an urgent matter. He askedPadmanabhji
to go to Adel and return with Shri Gosaiji. Without a singlequestion, he
obeyed this command and came to the river to find a boat to ferryhim across the
river. Despite the fact that it was a dark night and all the boatmenhad gone
home, Padmanabhji found that a young boy was waiting for him at
theghat. He willingly ferried Padmanabhji across the river and even waited for
himwhile he fetched Shri Gosaiji and rowed them back to Prayag. Before
they couldpay him, the young boy and his boat disappeared into the night
mist.When the other devotees heard about the incidence, they remonstrated
thatPadmanabhji had caused the Lord Shri Nathji much trouble by his
behaviour !!By making the Lord thus come and ferry him across the river and
back, he hadmade the Lord work for him !! But, Padmanabhji did not retaliate. He
retained hiscomposure and kept quite on the subject. On hearing that the other
Vaishnavswere taunting Padmanabhji, Shri Mahaprabhuji himself came to his
defence andtold them that Padmanabhji had acted in perfect accordance with
His orders. Hehad carried out his duty to the perfect satisfaction of his
Guruji. The Lord ShriNathji had requested this meeting, and so He

organised the ferrying of ShriGosaiji and his devotee. There was nothing
wrong with what Padmanabhji didand to remonstrate him was unfair and
against the spirit of being an obedient shishya (student/ devotee).
Story No.3
A merchant once joined the group that was travelling with ShriMahaprabhuji
and accompanied him to Kanoj. But, instead of joining himin Kanoj,
he decided to strike a camp outside of the town. However,
that day, atmidday, he ran to Padmanabhdasji's house seeking aid and
assistance in an urgentvoice. Whilst outside of town, some highwaymen
robbed him of all his goods andhe now wanted Shri
AcharyaCharan to help him regain his wealth.Padmanabhdasji had just
cooked the afternoon meal for the Acharyaji and wasconcerned that if the
merchant told his tale to the Acharyaji or made too muchnoise with his whining,
Mahaprabhuji will get upset and not eat his meal.
Taking the man aside, he asked him if he would leave in peace if he got
enoughmoney to compensate him for the goods he lost to the robbers. The man
was amerchant ! He did not care how he got his money, if
Padmanabhdasji was able tohelp him, he would not care to approach Shri
Acharya for help !! Padmanabhdasjitook the man to a moneylender and
compensated him with money for the value of the goods he lost.
Padmanabhdasji asked the moneylender to formalise thearrangement
by writing down the amount of money he had borrowed on behalf of the
merchant and also the details of interest he would have
to pay. Themoneylender was happy to take Padmanabhdasji's word on the
transaction, butPadmanabhdasji insisted on having everything written down
on paper so that itwas all above board and legally confirmed.When Shri
Mahaprabhuji heard of this, he was upset on behalf of Padmanabhdasjiand
asked him why he took on such a large debt for a merchant who was a
totalstranger for them all. " Padmanabhdas, had you taken out an insurance
against theloss of this merchant's goods ? Why have you taken on this
debt when you haveno real means of paying off this
debt ?"Padmanabhdasji, with due humility replied, "My Lord, if that man had
disturbedyour lunch, I would not have forgiven myself. Even if I have to
sell myself toserve you, I would do so gladly, again and again ! This merchant,
is a traveller.He goes around the country, trading from one town
to another. If he spreads a talethat he was robbed whilst travelling with you,
this would do you greatinjustice,but would damage your good name nonethe-less. Now, having regained hiswealth with relative ease, he will happily
tell all and sundry about the great goodfortune he had of travelling with you, and
how, having lost all his wealth, heregained it by the virtue of having had
you as his travel companion. This sort of publicity of your good name
can not be bought for love or money ! I have donethis to preserve the
good of my Guru, and it is as should be, for I am your most dutiful
servant. Money is easy to earn and easy to loose. My Guruji's honour isabove all
the wealth of this world."Impressed by this answer, Shri Vallabh still pressed
him for more clarification. "Padmanabhdas, how can you take on a debt on
your head when there is noguarantee of living long enough to pay it off !
How do you intend to achieveliberation with a debt on your
head ?"Padmanabhdasji bowed low and said, "The Lord is sure to fi nd a
way to do allthat is necessary for me to merge with him. What is
impossible for the Lord ?This debt is but a minor detail in the big plan
of things. Please do not worry about these minor money matters. Your peace
and happiness are far more precious tome than anything else in this world."After
Shri Vallabh had resumed his journey, Padmanabhji went to a king

andoffered to recite Mahabharta to him and his court. So excellent was the
recitation,and so graphic was his portrayal of the great battle, that all the
participants in thekatha had to leave their weapons outside katha pavilion, just in
case they startedto kill each other in the heat of things ! Indeed, the king and his
court were soroused by the rendition about the battle that many started to fight
with their barehands ! The king was highly impressed by the oratory and
skill of Padmanabhdasji. He off ered him a huge amount of money as a
donation forhaving recited the Mahabharata so wonderfully to him and
his court. But,Padmanabhdasji refused to take the money personally. He
showed the king thecontract letter from the moneylender and asked him
to pay off the debt, with
interest as stated in the original contract. The king was more than happy to
payoff the debt and pay much more on top, but, Padmanabhdasji refused to take
anyextra money. He was satisfied enough to have his debt paid off, extra money
wasof no interest to him. He believed 100% in the Lord's ability to look after
hisdevotees. What need had he to store wealth, when his Lord was the Lord of
allthe wealth in the universe !!!!! So strong was his belief in the words of the
Lord,as stated in the works of Shri Mahaprabhuji (VivekDhairyAshraya,
SiddhantRashasya etc), Vedas, Purans and the Upnishadas (Shrimad
BhagvadGeeta etc),that he was willing to live by them rather than just preach
them to the world atlarge.
Story No.4
Padmanabhji had two daughters and a son. His eldest daughter,Tulasa,
was widowed at a very young age. Padmanabhji decided to marry
hissecond daughter to a devotee
of the Lord Vallabh. Some vaishnavasrecommended a young brahmin from
the Sanadhya community. Hearing that hewas a Vaishnav, Padmanabhji decided
to marry his daughter to him, despite thefact that his caste members may
not approve of him marrying outside theircommunity. Everyone in the family,
including his elder daughter, voiced theirconcern about this out of community
marriage, but, Padmanabhji was steadfast inhis resolve.When Tulsa pressed the
point a bit too far, Padmanabhji asked her to first cut off his thumb and than
announce the breakage of the engagement ! Seeing theastonishment on
Tulsa's face, he said "It is with his thumb that I have applied theauspicious
vermilion mark on the boy's forehead, and thus formally agreed on
thisengagement. If you cut off this relationship, you might as well cut off the
thumbthat sealed the agreement ! Shri Mahaprabhuji has taught us to be one i.e., beVaishnavs. These divisions of caste and community are alien to
the creedof Pushti. I will wed my daughter to a Vaishnav of good
conduct, because, he is of the Pushti Marg community. That to me is more
important than any other worldlycaste or community." So staunch a
Vaishnav was he that he braved the disapproval of his community in order to
live by the teachings of the Acharyaji.
Story No.5
A lady from the warrior caste started to visit their home on a regularbasis for the
darshan of the Lord. However, Tulasa felt that the lady was notcoming to
the darshan for darshan sake only. So, one day, she inquired as to
whythe lady was coming so regularly to their house. Honest enough,
the lady said,"Shri Padmanabhji is a great man. Being a truly
compassionate Vaishnav, I amsure he will bless me with a child. Please
ask him to plead on my behalf and I amsure the Lord will than grant me
a child."Tulsa felt sorry for the lady. She was in the presence of the

UniversalLord(MathuraNathji) and all she could ask for was a child ! A child that
would tie herever more to this world of maya and emotional
entanglements. Being a trueVaishnav, she could see, and indeed feel, the
social and emotional pain of theskhatriya woman. In those days, a childless
woman was shunned in thecommunity. At a time when the women from
such high castes lived inveryclosed communities, living a life that did
not conform to the social norm was veryhard and cruel. Having a (male)
child was essential at a time when there was noother way to ensure support and
protection in old age. This was particularly true

Padmanabhdashttp://pushti-marg.net/padmanabhdas.htm[9/9/2010 7:13:47 AM]


for women at that time. Tulasa, being a child widow, knew all this too
well.One day, she informed her father of the lady's desire to be blessed with a
child.Padmanabhdasji, being the servant of Shri Vallabh that he was, thought
itimpertinent to disturb his God or Guruji with such minor requests. Instead,
hegave Tulasa some water with which he had washed his feet and
instructed her totell the lady to drink it. "Tell the lady to name her son
Mathuradas, for he is aboon of the Lord." Sure enough, in due course, the lady
delivered a health youngson, who was named Mathuradas to honour the
Lord of Padmanabhji.At no point in this incidence did Padmanabhji think that
he was granting the sonby the virtue of his blessing. He was convinced that the
Lord was the doer andmover of the universe and that he (Padmanabhji)
was but a member of the Lord'slila (divine play). He gave water from
his feet rather than the Lord's as he thoughta boon for a child was too
material for him to approach the Lord with. Had thelady asked for bhakti,
or even mukti, he would have invariably asked the Lord orShri Vallabh
to bless the woman. But a child ! That was too "samsaric" a desireto
ask the Lord to give His blessing ! As in the earlier incidence with
themerchant, Padmanabhji thought that disturbing his Guruji, or indeed God,
forsomething as non-spiritual as progeny was unnecessary.
Story No.6
Ramdasji, eldest son of Padmanabhji, decided to leave his seva
(Lord)with his father and left for a pilgrimage to the Vraj. At Shri
Acharyaji's behest, hestayed on as the Lord's "bhitaria" - a class of
temple priests / servants who work in the inner most sanctum of the
haveli. During this time, the Mughal armiesattacked Kanoj and looted
much of the town. In the loot, the chief general decidedto take the Lord
Ramdasji used to worship. As Padmanabhji was now in direct charge of
this seva, he followed his Lord in captivity and pleaded the
Mughalgeneral to release the Lord. When the general refused, he went
on a hunger strikeand refused to eat or drink anything until the Lord was
released back into hiskeeping. After seven days, the wife of the Mughal general
intercepted on behalf of Padmanabhji and asked her husband to do the
right thing and give the Lordback. Being a Muslim, he had no real
desire to worship the Lord and if this brahmin died at their door, they would
incur great sin. Emperor Amber was anenlightened ruler who had great
respect for Shri Vallabh and if this servant of hisdied at their door, the
Emperor would not be very forgiving to the general. So,considering all
these points, she helped release Ramdas's Lord back to Padmanabhji.Just
as a merchant celebrates the regaining of lost treasure, Padmanabhji rejoicedthe
fact his Lord was now back with him. He bathed him in Panchamrit (fivetypes of
libations considered to be pure and pre-requisite for all ritual baths) andoffered

him Mahaprasaad. In Vraj, Ramdasji also heard about the sacking of Kanoj and
capture of his Lord. Like his father, he too went on a hunger strike. But
he never wavered or slacked off in his duties for Shri Nathji. When the Lordwas
released, he too, like his father, resumed taking food and water.When
Padmanabhji heard of this, he decided to visit Vraj and comfort his sonand assure
him that his (Ramdas's Lord) was being properly taken care of. Thefather and son
met at mount Govardhan and Padmanabhji asked his son, "Whenthe Lord was
taken by the general, I fasted because I failed in taking care of him.It
was my responsibility to have Him released, no matter what. But, son,
why did
you fast for seven days ?" Ramdasji replied, "Father, I too worshipped that Lord.I
therefore share in his joys and woes. In relationships between two
humans,weshare our joys and sorrows openly and freely. If that is true in
themundanerelationship between humans, how much greater should it be in
the spiritualrelationship between the Lord and me ! As our relationship
goes backmanyyears, if the Lord is upset, I too get upset." It is this attachment
to the Lord thateventually wins us His grace (Pushti).
Story No.7
At one time, Padmanabhdasji decided to move from Kanoj and livenear his
beloved Guruji at Adel. It would offer him and his family an excellentopportunity
to hear the precious sermons of Shri Vallabh and indeed, gethisguidance
on spiritual matters. However, having given up his normal
livelihood,Padmanabhji had fallen on bad times. The times when he lived the life
of luxuryand leisure were long gone. There was considerable shortage of
funds and often,he had to make do without some of the basic necessities.
Consequently, he andhis family lead a simple life, living in a small hut on
the sacred banks of the holyGanges. Due to shortage of money, he
sometimes had no food other than somechickpeas to offer the Lord and indeed,
to eat himself. But, in our Pushti Marg,the bhava (feeling/ emotion), is greater
than the material item, and so, he wouldoff er the Lord the chick peas and
imagine that he was off ering the Lord a sumptuous feast in form of the chick
peas !! The Lord is hungry for our love,material matters little to the
Lord of the Universe. What does he care if you off erhim a huge
banquet, if there is no love in the off ering ! The Lord does not feed
onthe mortal food, but rather the immortal bhava that is off ered with
the food !!Unfortunately, some of his fellow Vaishnavs did not appreciate this
part of theAcharya's teachings. Rather than understand and appreciate
this, they went to badmouth the great devotee and informed the great
Acharya that Padmanabhji wasoffering the Lord only chick peas in place of rich
foods !! Shri Mahaprabhuji isan ocean of understanding and compassion.
He immediately understood thedilemma faced by his devotee, and
so decided to pay him a visit to see if his mindwas still set fi rm on his
path to gaining the Lord's grace - Pushti.During his visit, Shri Vallabh asked
Padmanabhji, "Please explain why you havemade so many small piles of chick
peas in the plate before the Lord." With duehumbleness, Padmanabhji explained
that this was his way of serving the Lord allthat he desired, whilst living within
his own financial limitations. "My Lord, thisone pile represents sweets,
this one represents khir, this one is for rice, this one isvegetables, and
this one for the Lord's beloved butter-milk." Satisfied with hisanswer and more
to the point, his bhava, Shri Mahaprabhuji left him with ablessing
from the bottom of his heart.However, on hearing about this incidence, Shri
Gosaiji decided to assist thebeleaguered devotee by sending him some
groceries, so that he could make thebhog (food) appropriate for Shri
MathuraNathji. Padmanabhji was a littleperturbed on receiving the food items

sent to him from the personal stores of hisGuruji. He asked his daughter to
keep the food aside and not to use it in the preparation for any food in the
house. Shri Gosaiji sent another package of foodthe next evening as well.
Contemplating on this matter, Padmanabhji decided thatit was time he moved
on. He could not accept the food sent from his Guruji'spersonal stores, and at the
same time, he could not ask him to stop sending thefood, as that would
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the good of Shri MathuraNathji, he consulted the Lord by asking Him if
hewanted this food, or was he happy to eat the chick peas he had to
off er ? "MyLord, I have only these chick peas to offer you. They are all I have. If
you desirefi ne foods, I will leave you in the care of Shri Vallabh." The
Lord,evercompassionate, replied that "I would rather stay with you and eat
what ever youoff er me, than leave you. I do not desire a feast made of
perishable food, I wouldrather feast on your non-perishable bhava. All I want
is your love and devotion.All else is secondary."Hearing this, he decided to
return to Kanoj that very night. Gathering up his family and what little
possessions they had, he asked took them to the docksideon the river
asked them to wait on a boat with their Lord MathuraNathji. Early inthe
morning, he went to say his good bye to Shri Mahaprabhuji. He
also returnedall the groceries that had been sent to him by Shri Gosaiji. When
Shri Gosaijiheard that Padmanabhji had left Adel, he was very surprised
indeed, but ShriMahaprabhuji explained that by sending him food, Gosaiji had
embarrassed himand interfered with is seva. What the Lord wants from his
devotee is not moneyand material goods, but love and devotion. Also, a devotee
can't take money ormaterial from his Guruji's house without hindering his
spiritual progress.Padmanabhji was well aware of this and he would rather suffer
separation fromhis beloved Guruji rather than break his vows and duties
as a Vaishnav.
Having thus read the great devotion of these Vaishnavs, let us too
pray for theLord's grace, so that we may be inspired by their stories
and we too may getcloser to God. Bhagwat Shah
Return to the Index
Stories of Tulasa

Story No.1 & 2


Tulasa was very diligent in her seva of the Lord. Once a Vaishnav (brahminby
cast) from the Gaud country (modern Orrisa) came to do the darshans
at her house. Tulasaoff ered him some rice as prasaad from the food
she had off ered at Rajbhog. Unfortunately, theyoung man declined to
take the pradsaad and pleaded the excuse that he had to go home
andhave a bath before his meal. The rules of caste restrictions were
still very strong in his mindand he could not bring himself to eat rice
cooked by members of another community.Upset, Tulasa
also went without eating her Mahaprasaad as well. The Lord came to
her in herdream and instructed her to cook prasaad for the Vaishnav for the
next day, for the Lord saidhe will eat the prasaad the next day. Knowing full well

the reason for his refusal, Tulasadecided to cook prasaad (sweets) that the young
man could eat without breaking his casterules. The next day, the Vaishnav
came early to have a darshan of the Lord and willingly sat down to take
the Mahaprasaad. When Tulasa offered the sweets, the brahmin asked her togive
him some rice ! Surprised, Tulasa said that this was not possible and the sweets
that shewas offering would be perfectly OK for him to eat without breaking any
caste rules. But theyoung man insisted on eating rice.He explained that
yesterday night, the Lord came to him in his dream and ordered him to eatrice
and daal from this Mahaprasaad. "Vaishnavs must not discriminate amongst
each other.This goes against the principles and indeed, the very spirit, of
Pushti Marg. As devotees of theLord and Shri Vallabh, they are to
function as one community. How can you do thisif youhold on to your
petty caste rules and refuse to even eat at other's houses ? More over,
the foodoff ered to the Lord belongs to Him and therefore, it is above
and beyond any caste or creed.No Vaishnav should refuse to eat prasaad of
the Lord, for it is the most tangible item of Lord's grace - food from His
plate !"
Story No.3
Once, Shri Gosaiji visited Kanoj. Tulasa served the son of Shri Vallabh
with greatlove and care. She would converse on religious matter with Shri
Gosaiji and he was veryimpressed by her indeed. He remarked that progeny of
such a learned and true Vaishnav isexactly as it should be ! He asked her if
the Lord was conversing with her. Tulasa, humble asshe was, replied, "We
eat till our stomachs are full and sleep peacefully. The only good thingwas, we
read the works of Shri Vallabh." Shri Gosaiji was very impressed by
thisanswerindeed.Tulasa's answer can be read in three ways. Indeed, as a
humble servant, she is saying thatbeing an ignorant soul, like all creatures of this
universe, she too sought only the basic needsof life - eat, drink and be merry !
The only spiritual thing she did in her life was to read andmeditate on the good
works of Shri Vallabh.On a diff erent level, she meant, Having separated
from the Lord, I have taken birth in many different species. In all those lives,
I did so much to fill this stomach ! I toiled and evensinned to fi ll this eternally
empty hole called "stomach" ! But, I was never satisfi ed. Thanks tothe
Lord and Shri Vallabh, I am now satisfied and no longerwish to maintain this body
justfor the sake of material enjoyment. I now maintain this body (and feed the
stomach) so I cando seva !! In all my lives, I have never had peaceful
sleep. Forever worried about how to liveon, I have not really "slept" till
this life. Through the Lord's grace, I now realise that he is thetrue Lord
and master of my life. I now sleep peacefully because I know my Lord is
taking
care of me - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ! Through the grace of Shri
Vallabh, I have nowrealised that these two truths and so in this life,
I am very happy and truly satisfi ed.On the third level, more spiritual
level, she meant to say, The Lord grants us as much "rasa" (enjoyment of
the Lord's lila) as we are able to stomach - hence I have a full stomach. Beingan
intimate servant of the Lord, I am at peace with my self and hence am
able to sleeppeacefully. And all this is through the grace of the Lord
Shri Vallabh ! Having thus read the great devotion of these Vaishnavs,
let us too pray for the Lord's grace, sothat we may be inspired by their
stories and we too may get closer to God
Story of Parvatiji
Parvatiji was the daughter-in-law of Padmanabhji. Once, she noticed some
whitespots on her hands and feet. Fearing that this skin disorder may stop her

fromserving the Lord, she wrote a letter to Shri Gosaiji and requested him to
guide herin this matter. Shri Gosaiji read the letter and was very moved
to hear thatParvatiji was unable to do her seva as freely as she might have
wished.Seva should always be done with one's mind unfettered by worldly
worries. If youare still thinking about other things whilst doing the seva, how can
youconcentrate on Shri Thakorji ? Due to her illness, Parvatiji was
feelinguncomfortable doing shringar and indeed, cooking food for the Lord with
herhands, hands that she felt were somehow unworthy of touching the Lord.
Gosaijicould understand that this was a major hindrance in her seva.Having
given it sufficient thought, Shri Gosaiji wrote to her, "Carry on withtheseva as
normal. Do not worry, the Lord will take care of everything and soonenough,
you will be as well as ever." Her faith in Guru and God weresoimmense,
that sure enough, within a few months, her skin disorder disappearedand she
was well again. Indeed, faith can move mountains !Suffering in this life is the end
result of our own bad karmas (actions). Thesekarmas may have originated in this
or previous lives. We must all suffer theconsequences of our actions. The best
way to do this is to take everything in ourstride and accept the situation the Lord
has ordained for us. Like thegreatVaishnavs of old, we must have firm faith that
the Lord will take care of everything. Having thus read the great devotion of these
Vaishnavs, let us too pray for theLord's grace, so that we may be inspired by
their stories and we too may getcloser to God.
Son of Ramdasji and Parvatiji - RaghuNathdasji
Story No.1
RaghuNathdasji was a very intelligent young man. After havingfinished his
studies at Varanasi (also known as Banaras / Kashi), he came toGokul to pay his
respects to Shri Gosaiji and have darshan of the Lord. Knowinghis potential as a
great devotee, Shri Gosaiji used to request him to sit in the frontrow when he
recited Shri Subodhiniji - Acharya Shri's own commentariesonShrimad
Bhagvatam.One day, another devotee, Paramanda Soni requested RaghuNathdasji
to helpexplain the sermon of Shri Gosaiji. RaghuNathdasji was honest enough to say,"To tell
you the truth, though I am "learned", I don't understand anything of whatShri
Acharyaji has written. I am sorry, but I am not sufficiently aware of hisprinciples
to be able to comment on his views, works or commentaries."Understanding is
not something that can be achieved by reading alone. To truly"understand"
someone's views or principles, one must first think / meditate onthose principles.
Having done this, one must truly live by them, than only can wehope to truly
"understand" those principles. RaghuNathdasji was honest enoughto admit that
he had not done this yet. But, he was willing to learn.At Parmanaddas Soni's
behest, Shri Gosaiji decided to teach the principlesof Pushti Marg to
RaghuNathdas. He explained the four main works of Shri Vallabh,namely,
Siddhant Rahasya, KrshnaShraya, NavaRatnam, and Sevafal. Havinglearned and
"understood" these, RaghuNathdasji became a pundit in the truestsense of the
word.
Story No.2
After sometime, he took leave of Shri Gosaiji and moved to Kanoj tolive with his
mother. He started to worship the family deity - MathuraNathji alongwith his
mother. However, after a while, he wanted to worship the Lord in hisown way and
did not appreciate having to "share" the seva with hismother.Perhaps, his ego
as a "great pundit, graduate from Kashi, personal disciple of ShriVallabh and Shri
Gosaiji," came in his way of sharing the worship of the Lordwith anyone.
However, love can not be apportioned as inheritance. It cannot betaken for
granted and cannot be passed on like a family heirloom. Love for theLord is even
more precious, it is something that springs from the hidden depths of one's

heart. No amount of money or "intelligence" can awaken that love. Thislove can
only come with the grace (Pushti) of God.Parvatiji was an understanding mother. She
let RaghuNathdasji take her Lord'sseva away from her. Like a true mother, though her
son was being selfish, shedecided to help him out by doing other tasks to aid in his seva.
She would fetchwater, clean the kitchen utensil etc. for the seva of the Lord.
However, as she wasno longer able to do the seva herself, she abandoned all the worldly
pleasures inher life. She did not give them up as we give up food on ekadashi,
rather, she didnot even think of those "pleasures" as pleasures without her Lord.
Just as weabandon a warm coat after having entered a (warmer) house almostabsentmindedly, she gave up eating good food etc almost without
thinking about it.Without her seva, why would she cook the Mahaprasaad ? And if
did not cook choice foods for the Lord, she had no desire to cook them for herself, so, she

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would come home from helping RaghuNathdasji in his seva and than
cookasimple bread of wheat and chick peas (called liti). Pinning for her Lord,
ShriMathuraNathji, she lived on this simple diet of bread and water for a few
days.The Lord is a boundless ocean of mercy and love. He cannot see the
suffering of his devotees without being moved by it. One day, He came to
Parvatiji in herdream and said, "Parvati, please do me a favour and cook some daal (lentil
soup)tomorrow. Eating this dry liti for the past few days has chaffed my throat."
Howcould Parvati refuse ? But she was surprised and asked, "My Lord,
butRaghuNathdasji is feeding you all sorts of gourmet food, how comes you
areeating my dry liti ?" The Lord smiled and said, "Though I have to eat all
thosethings at RaghuNathdasji's house at the behest of Shri Gosaiji, I prefer to
eat thefood cooked by your hands." Parvatiji was overcome with emotion. Next
day, shecooked proper food, least her Lord should chaff his delicate throat.A few
days later, inspired by Shri Gosaiji, RaghuNathdasji realised that byforcing his
mother to hand over the entire seva to him, RaghuNathdas had made agreat
error. Seva is not a selfish affair. It is a joyous celebration of the unionbetween
God and His intimate Soul. By refusing to let his mother help,RaghuNathdasji had
offended the Lord and in Pushti Marg, one is not suppose tooffend the tiniest
creature, let alone a fellow Vaishnav ! RaghuNathdasji is greatin that he realised his mistake
and immediately took measures to rectify it. Heapologised to his mother and requested
her to guide him in how to do the seva, astaught to her by Shri Vallabh. Parvatiji
was pleased to have her seva back. Sheknew RaghuNathdasji uncanny ability to do
shringar was far better than hers, soshe opted to look after the kitchen duties for the
Lord, whilst he was do theshringar. Together, they continued their progress on
this Path of Divine Grace, aspointed out by Acharya Shri MahaPrabhuji. Having
thus read the great devotion of these Vaishnavs, let us too pray for theLord's
grace, so that we may be inspired by their stories and we too may getcloser to
God.
Story of Jagganath Joshi's mother

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faithfully,emotionally his. So there remains no difference between the offeringand


God. Deenta is the secret of this marg. When Jaggannathji became Deen ,Shree Thakorji
told him his mistake.
PRASANG 2:
Jagganath Joshi used to offer hot rice pudding (Kheer) to Shree Thakorji. ShreeThakorji used
to eat as such. Many days later Shree Mahaprabhuji arrived toKheradu and
stayed at Jaggannathji's house. Shree Mahaprabhuji went to seeShree Thakorji
and saw that Shree Thakorji had burnt tongue and lips. He askedshree Thakorji
the reason for this. Shree Thakorji explained that theRajbhogwhich Jaggannathji
offers is hot and I eat it that hot. Then, Shree Mahaprabhujiasked Jaggannathji
why he offers hot Kheer for Rajbhog. Jaggannathji respondedthat he didn't know
the how to offer Kheer and since all things are good when hotthat kheer, too,
would be good offered hot. Shree Mahaprabhuji explained toJaggannathji's that
kheer is best when it is offered cold. From then on Jaggannathjioffered cold Kheer
to Shree Thakorji.
PRASANG 3:
Once Jagganath Joshi was on his way to Adel, to visit (to do Darsan)
shreeMahaprabhuji and "Ankut day" came. So he instructed one of his sevak who
waswith him to go to the nearest village to get dal, rice and whatever else he
gets. Butthe sevak came back and said we won't get anything but 'jar' (jowar). So he
saido.k. to get that. So the sevak got that and cleaned it by removing
thebhusi.Jagganath Joshi made 'Thomar' from that. The sevak said, make
'Dhokla' of thebhusi and put it on top of the baking 'thomar', for it to get ready
be'coz of thevapour. He did that and when the thomar was boiling the Dhokla fell inside
andgot mixed. When he saw this thinking that it was thakorji's wish, he offered thissamagri
to HIM. He also took the Prasad and at night Shree Thakorji told him thathe has
pain in his stomach. So he offered (gave) "satwo suth and ajmo" to shreeThakorji
and felt bad for what happened. Later on Shree Thakorji said that hisstomach
was ok.
Lesson:
Shree Thakorji used to have so much krupa on him that he told him his
feelingsimmediately. He accepted the Ankut day manorath on the road!! Do seva
of ShreeThakorji carefully.
PRASANG 4:
Once Jagganath Joshi was offering his 'Uthapan' prayers and doing Morchhal
tohis sevya Shree Thakorji. Other vaishnav's were doing Darshan. Athat time
oneRajput Garasiya non vaishnav came and stood in between vaishnavs. At that timeone
old lady came with a garland and threw it on Shree Thakorji from a distance.But
because of GOD'S wish the garland fell on to one vaishnav's neck and theRajput
Garasi thought that Jagganath Joshi did it on purpose and has insultedme.(Becoz
he was a Rajput) He decided to revenge by hitting him badly. So hestarted looking for the
opportunity to do so, but never got a chance to do so. Oneday Jagganath Joshi was
coming from outside and the Rajput attempted to hitwith a sword (talwar) from
behind. But Shree Thakorji came and stopped theRajput with HIS hands and said
'don't hit'. Jagganath Joshi turned around and saw

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the Rajput and his sevya Shree Thakorji who was tired. He shouted at the
Rajputfor committing this sin. The Rajput realized his mistake, bend down to
bow, andrequested to pardon him. Jagganath Joshi felt sorry for the Rajput and so
he liftedhim with his own hands and send him away. After few days, he got his

'naamnivedan' from shree Aacharyaji and the Rajput became a good vaishnav.
This wasthe result of standing between vaishnav's.
Lesson:
Followers of God are so kind!!! He gave the best fruit i.e. "Naam Samarpan"from
Shree Mahaprabhuji, to the person who came to kill him. When God has todo
Krupa on any soul, he does not see his karma. The Rajput got such good fruitfor
standing in with vaishnavs. Hence always have company of vaishnavs.
Story of Jagganath Joshi's elder brother Narhar** Joshi
(**This Narhar Joshi's descendent at present is Girdhar Joshi. He, too, faithfullydoes seva
and lives in Kheradu with Kalidas Joshi in the same house.)Once Narhar Joshi was
going to Shree Purshotam Kshetra to pray ShreeJaggannathraiji. On the way, he took
halt near Patna. After he taking a bath andpreparing food, he offered Bhog to shree
Thakorji. At the same time a 10 year oldboy came down a tree in front him. He
was surprised at how the boy hadcomehere? The boy came and put his
hand in front of Narhar Joshi.NarharJoshi wondered why the boy did this,
what does he want from me? He gave the boy 2rotis with Ghee and with dal on
top.The boy took it and climbed up back on the tree and disappeared. He started
his journey again and on the next day he took a halt at another place. There also,
aftertaking bath when he offered bhog to Shree Thakorji, the same boy came
down theambli tree with silence stretched his hand out. At that time he was puzzled that
if the boy was playing tricks why he should give him food and if the was a form of God how
can I offer him this prasad? With this doubt in mind he didn't give
himanything. Therefore, the boy climbed back on the tree. Shree Thakorji
in Kheraduinformed his younger brother Jagganath Joshi that today when I went
to NarharJoshi asking for food he didn't give it to me.Jagganath Joshi noted the
year to date of this day to ask Narhar Joshi the reasonwhen he comes. When
Narhar Joshi came home, after many days, his mother andyounger brother
greeted him. The next day, when both brothers went for sevaJaggannathji
asked Narharji about the well being of Shree Mahaprabhuji. Then heasked
Narharji of the incident when he halted near Patna. Narharji replied that onthe
first day I gave handsome boy roti and dal, but the next day since I had doubtI
didn't give the boy anything. Jaggannathji then told Narharji that what he didwas
wrong, because the little boy was our Shree Thakorji. When we went to seeShree
Mahaprabhuji, our mother had given us a gift for him. We both kept it withus in
doubt, but Shree Mahaprabhuji asked for it. Therefore, both brothersdecided that
in our marg we are not to doubt Shree Thakorji and ShreeMahaprabhuji.
Prasang 2:

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Once upon a time, Narhar Joshi went to Aleena to Mahidhar Desai and his
sisterFulbai's home. He told them to go to Shree Gusaiji and get Nam Samarpan tobecome
Vaishnavs. They agreed and asked him to bring Shree Gusaiji to theirvillage.
Narhar Joshi did this. When Narhar Joshi brought Shree Gusaiji heinformed
Mahidhar and Fulbai. They were joyful and happy. They thought howcan we invite him to
our home empty handed. Narhar Joshi told them to offer(Nyochhavar) as per their
capabilities. Both brother and sister did exactly thatwhen they invited Shree Gusaiji
to their home. Everyone in the house includingthe kids got Nam Nivedan and treated
him well. Shree Gusaiji left for Dvarikaand Narhar Joshi came to Khreadu. Many days
later, there was a fire in Aleena.Same day, Narharji, after bathing in the lake, and performing
his daily routines,was coming back with tulsi and basket full of flowers in
his hands. At thesametime he got an intuition of the fire there. Thus, he stood

there and sprinkled water(jal) around with the tulsi dal. The fi re at Aleena
was put out withthis,andMahidhar home and mandir were saved.Later, when
he went to Aleena, Fulbai told him of the fire and how their homeand mandir
were saved with the blessings of Shree Gusaiji. Narharji told themGod's blessings
are always good. When he came back to Kheradu, both brotherssat together and Narharji
told Jaggannathji about the fire in Aleena and how heput the fire out.
Jaggannathji told him we should not ask God to take trouble forsuch work, it's not
the way we do things in our marg. Narharji explained it was sothat it would not
raise doubt in the minds of Mahidhar and Fulbai of the margbecause they were new
to the marg and have recently become Vaishnav. Bothbrothers laughed and thought
God is so playful. With his wish whatever happensis for the best. We should not
use him for our selfish purposes. Narharji was sucha blessed and saintly vaishnav
that for humanity he performed for this miracle.He, his mother, and younger
brother were all Shree Mahaprabhuji's sevak.