:: Bethakji ::

The spiritual form of Baithakjies

Just as Sri mad Bhagvat holds a special place in the system of Bhakti, so also the literature of Vartas of 84 and 252 vaishnavas has a place in Pusti Marg.

The literature of Pusti Marg has two aspects 1. The doctrinal literature which stands as proof. At this stage, in a form of basic doctrine, the divine form of Sri Krishna has been established. 2. It is known as "Prameyatmak literature". "Prameya" means that which can be established by demonstration. It is also known as "Apta-pramana Rupa", i.e., a form established by divine people called "Apta". What does it mean ? It means those people on whom the divine being or Sri Mahaprabhuji have shown special grace and made them experience the spiritual forms and these are expressed by them coming from the depth of their hearts since these are direct realizations their statements are treated as proof. This literature stands as a form of doctrine and reminds us of Sri Krishna.

Of all the proofs considered sabda or words of divine being and statements of Rishies are taken as best proof. Even in the literature of Pusti Marg the "Prameyatmak" statements and statements of Proof (Pramanatmak) are treated as the best.

Again Prameyatmak proof are bifercated into two divisions 1. It is the prameya literature with a background of proof in Pusti Marga - having a bearing with the lilas of divine being. 2. Literature entirely dependent on sentiments - having a bearing with Sri Mahaprabhuji.

In Pusti Marg a Guru is given a greater importance than divine being. Since the Vaishnavas have greater respect to Sri Vallabha than our lord they have begun to treat him as "Sri Mahaprabhuji". The form of latter is interpolated in our literature and enlogated (praised) by every word used.

Our literature projects his form in three-fold aspects : 1. Adhibhautic form :- whom we can see outwardly in the working of his life. 2. Adhyatmic form : His glimpse is conceived from the form of his knowledge on the occausions where people discuss his sastras between themselves. 3. Adhidaivic forms : It is felt in the form of independent devotion having sentimental value, experienced by the disciples, on the occausions of offering seva. Thus one finds the three aspects in the sentimental literature on Sri Mahaprabhuji.

Just as we find many commentries on Srimad Bhagvat, so also we have three chief works to understand the form of Sri Mahaprabhuji 1. Varta Literature - in the form of history. 2. History on Baithakjies - to show others opinions on him. 3. Nijavarta and Gharuvarta - showing the secrets of sentiments.

In this work - Baithak Charitra - it narrates about the happenings in the life of Sri Mahaprabhuji; the occausions when the had entered into discussions on sastras; the incidents where the secrets of sentiments are exposed.

In these works we get an inkling into seven various forms of Sri Mahaprabhuji. 1. One is his chief physical form of a male person. 2. Then we realize his Ananda form, as a divine personage of Sri Krishna. 3. The other is his paramananda form. In this we envisage his secret feminine sentiments expressing the form of Sri Swaminiji. The 4th is known as Vaisvanara form expounding his brilliance. 5. As a Vallabha : it denotes the advent of lilas. 6. Forms of Ashraya - as a saintly person. 7. The form of Vakpati or Master of Speech.

Thus these "Baithak Charitras" have supernatural aspects indicating to the spiritual form of Sri Mahaprabhuji.

The Baithakjies of Sri Mahaprabhuji are 84 in number. His disciples are also 84 in number. The secret of the existance of the number 84 is given at the beginning of the "Baithak Charitra". It is said that Sri Mahaprabhuji has implanted his form in the hearts of the 84 "Nirguna Bhaktas". (A Nirguna Bhakta is a person who is outside the influence of the natural gunas called "Satvic - Rajas and Tamas). Hence each of the hearts of the 84 special vaishnavas is a seat or Baithakjies of Sri Mahaprabhuji. Again we have 84 Baithakjies in this land which are very famous. Thus we understand that all these 84 apperant Baithakjies stand as a living monument of 84 divine disciples.

Devotion has 84 variations. The chief form is "Nirguna Bhakti". As a form of variation to "Nirguna Bhakti" - "Saguna Bhakti" has been brought out. In this we find that "Satvic", Rajas and Tamas Bhakti are envisaged. Counting upon the combinations of "Saguna Bhakti" with differentiation of "Prema" or attachment "asakti" or attraction and "Vyasana" or vice or attachment to the stage of inceparableness, it all amounts to 84 forms of Bhakti.

The number of 84 Baithakjies are conceived to show the different kinds of devotion. In order that the devotees be taken into the fold called "Sarana", Sri Mahaprabhuji has come into this world. In this way we have seen two reasons why 84 Baithak exists.

One more i.e., 3rd reason is considered here. The number 8 has a shape of a spade in Gujarati Language. Where as the number 4 looks like a corn wrapped in a handkerchief symbolically it suggests : the Baithaks are indicative of Sri Mahaprabhuji's divine character. It is collected in the hearts of the devotees with a spade that represents devotion. Then it seems it is concealed in a kerchief as if this divine wealth would be snatched away. Thus we observe that these three kinds indicate to the spiritual aspect of the figure 84.

Let us now try to understand the transcendental character of Baithakjies. Upanishads have described "Prithvi" (Mother Earth) as having a divine form. The divinity is achieved by the contact of the feet of Sri Mahaprabhuji.

The imprints of his lotus like feet on cloth are kept with devoted Vaishnavas. These are considered by the devotees as his very form, and on receiving his command keep them at home to offer seva. Even his sandals are received by them to be kept and worshipped in home. It is believed that wherever he had pious by constant touch, that place had achieved a divine form.

Hence Baithakjies are not mere monds of clay or a mere platform of stone or marble. They represent his very divine form. With this pious sentiments we visit a Baithakji, have a glimpse of it and offer seva.

Baithakjies also have three forms 12. Adhidaivic form. 2. Adhyatmic form and 3. Adhibhautic form. It is believed that the presence of Sri Mahaprabhuji can be felt in all these Baithakjies at all times. Hence it is said that it has "Supernatural form". the Adhyatmic form is envisaged because : Sri Mahaprabhuji has established his special divine character for all times in these places. The reason for this belief is Pusti Marg accepts the doctrine of divine lilas. For this reason the special form of character remain there for all time. The Adhibhautik form is thus explained : We have a particular place, or building or constructions or yard representing his physical presence. We can see them with our human eyes.

But if you receive the grace of Sri Mahaprabhuji it is likely that you can have a glimpse of his spiritual and trancendental form. We have proof of experiencing the three forms by godly devotees in these Baithakjies.

Just as we have a glimpse of the three kinds of forms of Baithakjies, so also one can experience three kinds of atmosphere in them. One is Adhidaivic atmosphere, Adhibhautik atmosphere and Adhyatmic atmosphere.

The services rendered to Sri Mahaprabhuji are of Adhidaivic nature. Mind and indriyas (senses) are involved in it. When the mind is counted down in him the service will assume a supernatural atmosphere.

In the recent time, known as Anosar, thinking about Sri Mahaprabhuji, recitation of Sri Sarvottam and others, and japa and patha (Japa means turning the beads, mentally repeating the mantra; patha is recitation of Bhagvat, Shodash granthas etc.), Singing the songs composed by Asha Chapa (group of eight numbered poets - composers of the period of Sri Mahaprabhuji and Sri Gosainji) consitiute adhyatmic atmosphere.

Here Vaishnavas forget their materialistic avocations. For a period they will forget all attractions of the world. In this sense each vaishnava should stop in these places and proper accomodation should be management of these places to provide these amenities to them. This attending to outward needs of devotees can be called Adhibhautic atmosphere.

Now a days we all create our own amenities. If some of these conveniencies cab be arranged like proper accomodation. Sound ford etc. for the visitors then naturally more people would like to visit Baithakjies.

Many people live under great mental stress. We do not find the right kind of atmosphere where we can sit patiently either to offer service or recite any "Patha". For this reason some vaishnavas desire to take some time off their avocations and go and stay in far of Baithakjies in solitude. The peaceful atmosphere of these seduled places may generate the inclination to do seva and think of Sri Thakurji.

In these circumstances if some considerate organization provides the bare necessities like a good accomodation where a vaishnava can stay without hinderance, some facility to receive healthy food, etc., then there is every possibility for the vaishnavas to go and stay in these places and offer seva and also meditate.

This is the Adhibhautik atmosphere we are talking about. All the three kinds of atmospheres can be realized in all Baithakjies. In this manner we have attempted to understand the supernatural form of Baithakjies.