Pushti marg “the Path of Grace” is a Vaishnav sect of the Hinduism, founded by Shri Vallabhacharya also known as Mahaprabhu around 1500 AD. The word “Pushtimarg” is made up of two small words “Pushti” and “Marg”.The wordPushti has two meanings,it means divine grace,it is also a synonym for love and Marg means path.
Shri Vallabhacharyaji -one of the five main Acharyas of the Bhakti tradition of Hinduism, propagated the philosophy of Shuddhadvaita which forms the basis of Pushtimarg devotional practice.Shri Vallabhacharyaji performed three pilgrimages of India. He gave discourses on “shrimad Bhagavat” at 84 places and explained the meanings. These 84 places are known as Chaurasi Bethakji and now they are places of pilgrimage.
During the second pilgrimage, Lord Krishna appeared in the form of Lord Shrinathji in front of him and ordered him to reestablish Pushti Marg and propagate the pushti kind of devotion among the chosen ones and bring them back to their original state in God’s own domain. i.e. Vaikuntha or Golok-dham . But the question in Shri Vallabh’s mind was that the divine souls in this world too are highly influenced by the materialistic world and their souls and body have lost the kind of purity that is needed for their reunion with the Supreme entity i.e. Lord Krishna.
Lord Shrinathji assured him that with “brahamasambandha”, (relationship with God) whichever soul is admitted into the Pushti marg, all its impurities will refrain from obstructing the soul’s relation with Himself and the soul will be eligible to pursue His bhakti. That was the night of Pavitra Ekadashi (Four days before the new moon day) of the auspicious month of Shravana. Lord Shrinathji taught him the Brahamasambandha mantra and asked him to bring back the divine souls back to him.
On the following day Vallabhacharya initiated his first disciple Damodardas Harsani with this mantra along with the principles of Pushtimarga. This was how Pushtimarga was established.
The formal initiation into Pushtimarg is called Brahmasambandha. The absolute and exclusive rights to grant “Brahmsambandh” in the path of grace, in order to transform an ordinary jiva (soul) into a Pushti “Jeev” lie only with the descendants of Shri Vallabhacharyaji, known as Goswami Balaks – Vallabhkul. They are the actual and direct descendants of Shri Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhuji. Brahmsabandha is a process, where after fasting for one full day(consuming fruits and milk only) one is given the Krishna “Gadhya Mantra” in front of a Deity “Swaroop” by a Shri Vallabhkul Goswami ji after which tulsi leaves (Indian Basil) are offered to the lotus feet of the Lord.
Seva is a key element of worship in Pushti Marg. Some of the important aspects of Pushtimarg Seva are: 1) Raag (playing and hearing traditional Haveli music), 2)Bhog (offering pure vegetarian saatvik food that does not contain any meat or such vegetables as onion, garlic, cabbage, carrots, and a few others), 3)Vastra and Shringar (decorating the deity with beautiful clothes and adorning the deity with jewellery)
All of the above three are included in the daily seva (devotional service) which all followers of Pushtimarg offer to their Thakurji (personal Krishna deity), and all of them have been traditionally prescribed by Goswami Shri Vitthalnathji almost five hundred years ago. Shri Vitthalnathji is also called Shri Gusainji (Shri Vallabhacharyaji’s second son). The raag, bhog, and vastra and shringar offerings vary daily according to the season, the date, and time of day, and this is the main reason why this path is so colorful and alive.The sewa pranalika (system ofsewa) of Pushtimarg is in such a way that we feel as if we are living with Shri Krishna in Gokul and doing his sewa as theGopikas had done thousands of years ago.
Seva is the most important way to attain Pushti in Pushtimarg and has been prescribed by Shri Vallabhacharyaji as the fundamental tenet