The Shuddha-Advaita Philosophy of Mahaprabhu Shree Vallabhacharya
Jagadguru Shri Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharyaji had churned the works of Vedas, Brahma Sutras, Gita and Shreemad Bhagavat Mahapuran and had established a very authentic system known as 'Sudha-Advaita Brahmavada", as an essence of these shastras.
In his system he had made it clear that Parabrahma, Paramatma Purna Purushottam has materialised into a solid form which stands for the form of "Ananda Rasa" (Ananada is Blisss, Rasa : a sentiment of love). And this form is well known in the world under the name of " Krishna". Even vedas call this form as ' Krishna". Ananda is the result of Prema or love. Hence Bhagavan Krishna is also known as embodiment of love.
For HIS own sport (Lila or Krida), out of HIS own SELF, has created multifurious world which is known with multiple names and innumcrable forms. Jagat or this Universe is HIS real and true materialistic form known as "AdhiBhautic Swarupa". All the jivas are HIS parts. HE is known as "Anshi of Jivas". Since a jiva is an "Amsa" he (jiva) is called "dasa" or servant. Since HE is "Amsi", HE is Master of Jiva.
Paramatma is also known as "Sachidananda". As a jiva emerged from HIM and separated the first thing he lost was "Ananda Amsa". He then remained on "Sachchid amsa". When the sparks are separated from the ball of fire they just remained part of the coal. It has lost the entity of fire. The same thing happened with a jiva.
The spark turned coal particles can come to life when they once again get into contact with fire. They will again sparkle with fire. In a similar way when a jiva reaches Paramatma he will turn into "Sachchidanandamsa" from a mere "Sachchidamsa".
But it is not easy to achieve. It is a very hard process. The main reason for it is : When the "Anandamsa" has remained dormant, "Avidya" entered the jiva immediately. A jiva on account of "Avidya" forgets the presence of Paramatma in him. He has lost cognizance of his chief form. He then gradually loses track of his relationship with Paramatma. He no longer is aware of his duty and loses his aim in life. He now gets entangled in the dual emotion known as "Ahamta” (I ness) and "Mamata" (Mine ness). He drowns himself in bodily pleasures. He then goes ahead and begins to believe that "Visayananda" (Sensual pleasures) stands for "Paramananda" i.e., the supreme Bliss.
Shri Mahaprabhuji has stated that those jivas are of three kinds: "Asuri" means - A person who runs after sensual pleasures called "Visayananda". He believes these bodily pleasures are the supreme Bliss. As a result he is carried in a stream of births and deaths. He is called "Asuri - Pravahi Jiva".
Veda Shastra tell us that a person who acts according to the trends of Vedas, acquires knowledge of Brahman and or practices paths like yoga, is one who respects the order of Maryada. The third kind of jiva, who has been manifested from Paramatma from HIMSELF, for HIS own seva is called Pushti Jiva . The last one receives special compassion from Paramatma. He is one who has chosen "Prema Bhakti". He will be always anxious to realise his Prabhu, through the means of Prema Lakshana Bhakti with love. As said before this particular system of devotion is presented to us by Shri Mahaprabhuji. "A Pushti Jiva is supposed to offer love to Shri Krishna. When love is directed towards divine being it is known as Bhakti. A Pushti Jiva can reach Shri Krishna through the system of Prema Bhakti". With the kind of devotion with love towards HIM by HIS Pushti jivas and in return HE shows ordinary compassion. In order to meet HIS Premi Pushti Jivas HE moves forward in the path of compassion. It is also known as "Krupa Marg". Both Bhakti Marg and Krupa Marg meet at certain point, that where a Bhakta meets the divine being. This in turn is knpwn as Pushti Marga.
That is why Shri Mahaprabhuji has stated "In the means adopted under the systems of Karma, Gyana or yoga Prema does not form an important part". Following certain order is important there. Whereas, in the means known as Sadhana and practice of worship called as aradhana the aspect of love is important. Niyamas or orderly procedure is secondary. When you express your love for divine being it is called Bhakti. In this Bhakti love for God is all important, and even orderly procedures are secondary. That from bhakthi in which one is only engrossed in serving God, devoid of any kind of selfish demands is called Prema Lakshana Bhakti .
He further explains this as "Even though Prema is a subject matter of mind, it should find an expression in speech and physical behaviour. Then only it can be called true love".
The Veda-shastras proclaim of nine methods of expressing Bhakti in speech and behaviour. They are….
1. Katha Sravana,
8. Sakhya and
One can show our affection for the divine being in these nine modes of Bhakti. However, there is yet another ofrm of Bhakthi which we come across, that expressed by the Gopikas of Gokul, Vraj. This from of Bhakthi is so devine, so selfless and in its supreme expression of Love to the God, that in fact it even supercedes the Nine forms of Bhakthis mentioned in the Vedas. This is Prema Lakshana Bhakti. Shree Mahaprabhuji, adopted and preached this very form of Bhakhi to his disciples and this very bhakthi is practiced in Pushtimarga, most popularly know as "Seva". Even though Shri Mahaprabhuji has conceived this word from the sources of shastras it bears a quite distinguished and basic form. We do not find an expression of Prema Lakshana Bhakti in seva followed by other traditions. All other systems follow puja and upasana. We find seva only in Pushti Marga .
In this most unique form of worship presented by Shri Mahaprabhuji, the supreme Guru are the Gopis themselves. The seva procedure is the one similar to that followed by the Gopis. This also is a distinguished factor of Seva Marg. Hence Seva Forms an important aspect in Pushti Marg. All the rest come in as complementaries to seva.
Bhagwad seva through Brahma Sambandha :
In order to provide upliftment of Pushti Jivas, the divine being HIMSELF appeared before Shri Mahaprabhuji and gave him the Brahmasambandha diksha, and further promised him to accept all those beings/jeevs as his very own, (overlooking their doshas) to whom Shree MAhaprabhuji gave the Brahma Sambandha diksha. Brahma Sambandha means " Establishment of the broken down relationship that remained so for thousands of years, between Jivatma and Paramatma through the means of Samarpana i.e., surrender. In other words to accept HIM once again as your Master. To declare your servitude (dasatva) to HIM.
There is a provision of bringing an alliance through marriage to bring out the concept of Samarpana with love. In this alliance a women accepts the state of servitude to a man and makes him her master. For the comfort of her master (husband) a women (wife) surrenders her self through her mind body and money and offers seva and she believes that the comfort of her husband are the primary considerations in life for her and with that notion in mind she dedicates herself in his seva.
The same concept can be seen in Brahma Sambandha in a transcendental form Jivatma consides himself as the servant of Paramatma. He accepts HIM as his Master. In marriage ceremoney three aspects are important viz., a Brahman to perform the rites, fire to stand as witness, and saptapadi - i.e., seven steps to conjugal union.
In Brahma Sambandha the part of a Purohit is played by "Tulsi" - Basil leaves. I performs the "Hasta Melaps" - holding the hand for life - between the Bhakta and devine being. Here Shri Mahaprabhuji stands for the form of fire (Agni) to act as a witness. In his presence a jiva utters the Mantra of Brahma Sambandha which stands for "Sapta padi" process. Through this mantra he promises that he surrender his complete body, mind , all members of the family, all his wealth, this life, all the lives to come in future, all kinds of activities along with his atma to Shri Krishna. He recites the "Panchakshara Mantra" three times and accepts a complete and unconditional "Saranagati" of Shri Krishna with his speech, conduct and thoughts.
Shri Mahaprabhuji has envisaged six aspects in "Saranagati" : 1. I will do whatever is to the liking of my master. 2. I will no do anything that is not to the liking of divine being. 3. I accept "Prabhu" as my Master for all times. 4. I will keep a firm faith in my heart about the fact that my Master will take care of me in all respects. 5. I will be always humble and serve HIM with an attitude of dasa (servant). 6. I will surrender all that I possess to HIM. This last is called "Atma Nivedana".
We take this promise of "Saranagati" and "Samarpana" before Shri Thakurji through our speech. In other words it is "Brahma Sambandha" through words.
In Worldly affairs, a maiden will go and live with her husband to serve him and be dedicated. So we have to maintain the promise we have given under Brahma Sambandha through words by putting it into practive. For this purpose Shri Thakurji has HIMSELF shown the path of "Seva and Samarpana to Shri Mahaprabhuji" A Brahma Sambandha jiva should not utilize any object which is not offered to Shri Thakuqji. In other words you will not touch any "Asamarpita Vastu" (not offered). When we utilize objects offered to divine being then only the promoise made at the time of Brahma Sambandha can be fulfilled otherwise there is no way you can keep the promise valid.
Tyaga or relinquishing the non-offered and accepting that which is offered becomes a part of "Seva Marg". Hence Shri Mahaprabhuji and Shri Gusaiji have stated clearly that for every person who receives Brahma Sambandha there is only one duty at all places and at all times. i.e., to offer seva to Shri Krishna who is the lord of Vraj. This is the "Atma Dharma" (Dharma is a religion fate, Atma is for self). That is the only duty. There is no other dharma for him at any time or at any place. That is the reason why so much regard is given to seva under "Pushti Marg".