Pushti Marg is a devotional tradition in Hinduism that emphasizes the worship of Lord Krishna and places a strong emphasis on seva or selfless service to the deity. The Pushti Marg tradition has been led by many prominent Acharyas over the centuries.
One of the earliest and most influential Acharyas of the Pushti Marg was Shree Vallabhacharya, who founded the tradition in the 16th century. He was followed by several other important Acharyas, including Shree Vitthalnathji, Shree Gusaiji, Shree Girdharji, and Shree Govindaji.
In the modern era, the Pushti Marg has been guided by several distinguished Acharyas, including Shree Gopinathji Dixitji, Shree Raghunathji, Shree Gopinathji (V.S.1831), Shree Vrajbhushanji (V.S.1838), Shree Vrajraiji (V.S.1887), Shree Madhusudanlalji (V.S.1926), Shree Ranchhodlalji (V.S.1993)
These Acharyas have played an instrumental role in preserving and propagating the Pushti Marg tradition. They have written numerous texts, composed hymns and songs, established temples and institutions, and undertaken various seva activities to promote the worship of Lord Krishna. Their contributions have helped to ensure that the Pushti Marg tradition remains vibrant and relevant to the present day.
Importance of Guru in Sanatan Dharma and Pushtimarg
We in sanatan dharma have a significant role of our guru in our lives. Guru enlightens the darkness of life with knowledge and divinity of experiences.
One has to approch towards the litral and real meaning of achrya first. Who is achrya? The answer is आचिनोति हि शास्रार्थं सम्यगाचरते स्वयम् । आचरयति तान् लोके आचार्यं तं विदुर्बुधा ॥॥
One who studies and interprets the shastra setting the essential principles and follows himself also the same; Also who makes the people follow it - he is known to be an achrya.
The principle setter from all pramaan (proofs) of Ved, Upanishad ,Geeta and Bhagvat is our Achrya. Then another quality is that he follows the same. Vallabhachrya gives prescription of qualities of guru as “कृष्ण सेवा परं वीक्ष्य दंभादि रहितं नरम्। श्रीभागवतत्वज्ञं भजेज्जिज्ञासुरादरात्॥” guru should me involved supremly to serving ShriKrishna himself , He mustn’t have ego and must be the man knowing the tatva(elements) of bhagvat shastra. So guru should be following Bhagvat dharma with pridelessness.
Such a guru should me treated as god almighty himself is our principle derived from shastras. Bhagvat (6/9/29) says that “आचैर्यो ब्रह्मणो मूर्तिः” Achrya is almighty god himself.
“इह आचार्यवान् पुरुषो वेद तस्य तावदेषं चिरं यावन्न विमोक्ष्येऽथ सम्पत्स्य इति॥” chhandogyopanishad (6-14-2) says that In this loka(world) the one who have Achrya he only knows the supreme almighty; he only waits till the body exists - that is he surely gets Attached to supreme almighty.
“आचार्यादेव विद्या विदिता साधिष्ठं प्राप्तीति” chhandogya upanishad says (4-9-3) the knowledge seeked from achrya only gives the final civilised sucess. Shri Krishna says to Uddhava “आचार्यं मां विजानीयात् नावमन्येत कर्हिचित्। न मर्त्य बुद्ध्याऽसूयेत सर्व देवमयो गुरुः॥” - know your achrya myself, dont insult him , dont see him as common man, He is filled with all the divine devas.
Shwetashwatar Upanishad says that “यस्य देवे परा भक्तिर्यथा देवे तथा गुरौ। तस्यौते कथिता ह्यर्था प्रकाशन्ते महात्मनः॥॥” one who have the bhakti for god and same for Guru also, that great personality’s heart will be enlighten with knowledge of these upanishads.
Thus we should processfully take diksha of Sharan and samarpan from our guru. This the supreme principle rather than independently setting our own principles for dharma, shastra and spiritulism.
Shree Mahaprabhuji is considered an incarnation of “AgniMukha” -a revered Acharya and spiritual leader from the 15th century, who embodied joy and supreme bliss as Shri Vallabh. As the son of Shri Lakshman Bhatt, he illuminated the path of devotion, guiding divine souls toward the grace of Shri Krishna. His teachings formed the foundation of Pushtimarg, a devotional sect focused on selfless service and humility. Established “Shudhhadvaita” and “Nirgun Bhakti marg” in Vishnuswami Sampradaya founded by ShriRudra.
Through his seminal works like “Tarvartha deep nibandh”, “Brahma Sutra Anu bhashya”, "Shodash Granth” etc Shree Mahaprabhuji established the Pushtimarg tradition and inspired the whole sanathan vaishnavas, including Astsakha group of eight poets who were devoted to Lord Krishna and helped spread the message of devotion. By engaging in seva, or selfless service, devotees could cultivate spiritual growth, emulating the humility and devotion of the Gopis toward Shri Krishna.
Recognizing Shri Vallabh's multi-leveled manifestation, his disciples perceived him as a son, pundit, guru, or even the incarnation of Shri Svamini and Shri Krishna. As the guiding force behind Pushtimarg, Shree Mahaprabhuji encouraged followers to integrate Shri Krishna's seva into their daily lives, transforming their minds and hearts through selfless devotion.
Today, the legacy of Shree Mahaprabhuji and Pushtimarg continues to inspire devotees, illuminating the path of grace and devotion in their spiritual journeys.
Gosaiji Shree Vitthalnathji(V.S.1572)
Shree Vitthalnathji (Shree Gusaiji): A Pillar of Devotion and Leadership in Pushtimarg
Shree Vitthalnathji, also known as Shree Gusaiji, was a prominent acharya and spiritual leader in the Pushtimarg tradition. Born in 1526 AD in the village of Charnat in present-day Uttarpradesh, he was the son of Shree Vallabhacharya, the founder of the Pushtimarg tradition. Carrying on his father's legacy, Shree Gusaiji played a crucial role in propagating Pushtimarg across India.
He authored several texts, including commentaries on Subodhini, "Shodash Granth," and many other texts. He completed Anubhashya (Commentary of ShriVallabhachrya on vyassutra) and did a lot of foundational work in the Pushtimarg tradition. Shree Gusaiji's most significant contribution was the establishment of the "Seva Prakar" system, a set of guidelines for daily devotional practices in Pushtimarg. This system emphasizes the importance of seva, or selfless service, considered essential for spiritual growth in the Pushtimarg tradition.
Shree Gusaiji traveled extensively, spreading the teachings of devotion and grace. His life is celebrated and remembered through various festivals and rituals, including Janmashtami, which his followers observe with great fervor. Shree Vitthalnathji's teachings and writings continue to inspire and guide devotees of the Pushtimarg tradition, ensuring his influence remains strong as devotees embrace the path of selfless service and devotion.
He was respected with “nyayadhish” ornamentation by ruler Akbar and rights ofvusing Rath(chariot), chhatra(umbrella) and nishan(Royal symbols).
Goswami Shree Girdharji (V.S.1579)
Giridharji was a great Acharya in the Vallabh tradition. He was blessed with supernatural knowledge of Shastras and Dharma. Shri Gusaiji completed his Grantha, ‘Vidvanmandan,’ for the Shastrartha community, which is a debate on the philosophy of Vedanta. ‘Purva Paksha,’ whose debate opposition was founded by Shri Giridharji. He was deeply involved in the service (Seva) of Shrinathji and was calm and generous.
He was blessed with the Swaroop of Navneetlalji, Mathuradhish, and Natwarlalji and was appointed as the Tilkayat Acharya by the desire of Shrinathji himself. Jahangir respected him for his knowledge and selflessness in the service of Shriji and other deities.
His elder son, Murlidharji, was appointed to the court of Jahangir but unfortunately died under doubtful circumstances. He also had sons named Anodhraji (who became a Tilkayat and was blessed with the service of Shrinathji and Nowneet Priyaji Shrivats) and Gopinathji Dixit (who was blessed with the shrines of Mathuradish and Natwarlalji) after the demise of Shri Giridharji.
Gopinathji Dixitji was born to Giridharji and was a majestic personality with great knowledge of the Vedas, Shastras, and traditions. He was a performer of daily Vedic Agnihotra and Somyagyas. As such, he was considered a Dixit (one who performs Somyagya).
After the demise of his elder brother, his family members, mainly his second son Mathuramallaji, claimed the service of Shrinathji. However, after learning the desire of Shrinathji himself through the convincing words of Shri Gokulnathji (the fourth son of Gusainji), he settled the matter by withdrawing the case on the condition of being blessed by possessing the shrine of Natwarlalji (the Swaroop which was earlier served with Navneetpriyaji). Then Shri Natwarlalji was established with Shri Mathura Radhish Prabhu (Nidhi Swaroop of the first Peeth).
He thus became the first Acharya of the first Peeth. He, along with his four sons, moved the shrines of Mathuradheesh and Natwarlalji from Gokul to Bundi, then Kota, due to dangerous circumstances created by Muslim invasions.
His four sons, Shri Vallalji (Prabhaji), Mathuramallaji, Govindji, and Ramkrishnaji, served the Seva of Mathuradhish and Natwarlalji jointly.
Goswami Shree Purushottamji (V.S.1800).
Born to Mathuramallaji, Purushottamji took on the service of his elder brother following an incident in which he secured the shrines of Mathuradhish and Natwarlalji during the Hindola festival. When a part of the Hindola was damaged, he managed to protect the divine deities from the accident. As a result, he was blessed with the settlement of possessing Natwarlalji.
He took the Swaroop of Natwarlalji from Kota (Pratham Peeth) to Jodhpur. The Vaishnavite ruler of Jodhpur, Marwar, welcomed him with great respect. He served Natwarji in Jodhpur for many years.
After Purushottamji, his son Balkrishnaji, and then his heir Shri Vrajraiji (adopted from Prathampeeth Kota), served Natwar Prabhu in Jodhpur for many years.
Shree Gopinathji Deepakji
ShriGopinathji was born to ShriRaghunathji in Jodpur on AsoVad1 V.Samvat1831.
He was a great seeker and scholar. ShriGopinathji composed significant granthas such as ShriMathuresastakam and ShriNatwarastakam.
With their lord shine of Natwarprabhu and all his family settled down in Ahmedabad in v.S1851 with at Goswami Haveli of Gosaiji Maharaj ni pol situated inside Doshiwada ni pol - Kalupur.
Here shriGopinathji conducted "anusthaan" of "Sanjivani"/"MrutSanjivani" "AmrutSanjivani". “Amrutsanjivani” is the special supernatural divine power which makes a died being alive.This “anusthaan” is followed with presence of holy lamp flame and secret chantings of jap mantra derived from guru. Gopinathji as decendent of ShriGiridharji got this vidya with his blood - dynasty but enhanced it with his own practice and finally rederived. As a result on the day of reapprenece of Sanjivani - the divine flame produced "kumkum" in the place of "kajal". This was suparnatural symbol and signal of enhancement of sanjivani power to ShriGopinathji. From then Goswami Haveli was also known as "ShriGopinathji Jyotish Peeth" since then. This flame of uninterutedly secured since then by him and then by his decendents till now.
ShriGopinathji had demise at early age. It is notable that his younger brother ShriChhotaji Maharaj - alived 7 with his Sanjivani power in 1894. Chhotaji at that event communicated the significane of divine fame of ShriGopinathji flame at Goswami Haveli.
ShriGoswamiHaveli is factual-original "TapoBhoomi" of ShriGopinathji where the holy flame is uninterrupedly glowing today also.
Presently his decendent achrya Goswami ShriRanchhodlalji is residing at Goswami Haveli - Gopinathji Jyotish Peeth and contributes to traditions of pustimarg and sanathan Dharma.
Goswami Shree Vrajbhushanji (V.S1838)
Was born on magshar krishna 12 V.S1838 at jodhpur to Raghunath ji.
He was crowned as acharya of gopinathji jyotish peeth, headed by gopinathji earlier. He was very impressive and inspierer to Vaishnav sect.
When Tilkayat Dauji maharaj celebrated Sapt Swaroop utsav in 1879 he took shree Natwar prabhu with a large fleet.
In 1884 Vaishak Shukla 7 he arranged the first chappan bhog of shri Natwarlalji, where lakhs of Vaishnavs came, to an extend that 7 of them died in a rampade in front of shree prabhu, Chota ji maharaj with the blessings of shri gopinathji blessed all 7 of the vaishnavs a rebirth. This event was a great divine amazement. All present elderly goswami family members questioned his decision of going against the will of shree thakorji, that is when he said that his only intention was to take care of the happiness of thakurji only, he dint intend any social popularity. He also took a wow of not using this Amrit Sanjivani Vidhya ever again,
Chotaji maharaj, blessed and flourished many regions namely kheda, matar, memdavad etc where his bethakji are still existing.
Mahakavi of those times Dayaram from chanod also became his disiple.
Chhotaji Maharaj also permitted Dayaram to sing his pads in front of Dhree Natwarprabhu in Goswami Haveli, hence many of his literary works reflect description of NatwarPrabhu and Shyamlalji.
Chotaji maharajs son vrajnathiji maharaj passed away at a younger age.
After Shri Chhotaji maharaj, his vahuji (wife) VrajKuvar maa ji maharaj adopted shree vrajutsavji of kakaji vrajramanji of gokul, who was named Vrajraiji on getting adopted to Gopinathji jyotish peeth In sambavt 1905.
Goswami Shree Vrajraiji (Second) (V.S.1887)
Born on fagun vad 13 V.S1887 to vrajramanji kakaji who resided at gokul. Vrajkuvar maaji of GoswamiHaveli -Ahmedabad adopted him. Then he was well educated about all Ved-Vedant and shashtraas with customs of seva pranalika. He became a great scholar as well as was a seasoned management stalword. Under his leadership a lot many articles and ornaments of gold, silver, ivory, sandle wood and other precious items were made and brought to prabhu seva. Asarwa bethak was developed under him too. Staying at asarwa he also created a Sanskrit commentary of vallabakhyan (whis is a gujarati granth composed by Bhagvaditya Gopaldasji at Asarwa) mere out of his divine experiences.His other literery works were sanskrit commentry on “daan leela” and “dhamaar of gagadhardas ji - sundar shyam sajan” .He graced lakhs of vaishnavs around the country. In his times, madam mohanji mandir Gokul, kakaji Niketan gokul, jambusar bethakji and mandir, Mumbai kumbhartukda haveli, Navneet krishnaji mandir kochin were established- developed and renovated. He had a great influence on the pilgrimages around. He celebrated a grand chappanbhog of shri Ranchhodray ji of Dakor and Kotyark.
He gave birth to 3 sons Balkrishnaji, Raghunathji, and pannalalji. Pannalalji passed away at a younger age, after a brief period of time Balkrishnaji and ragunathji also passed away. Later he adopted vrajnathi maharajs son madhusudhanlalji from bade madanmohaji Mathura.
Goswami Shree Madhusudanlalji (V.S1926)
He took birth on madh Shukla 4th of 1924. His paternal family was 6 th son of gusaiji shree yadunathji. Vrajrayji second of GoswamiHaveli adopted him to gopinathji jyotish peeth at Ahmedabad. He was a great scholar, influential and a very approachable personality. In his times many royal families were his disciples of which jam Rawal of Jamnagar, laktar, Morbi, Rajpipla, Kutch maharao, khanderao gaekrao’s mother of Vadodara were his disciple too.
Seeing his extreme popularity grorge 5th invited him to Delhi Darbar as representative of pushtimarg. Observing his impressive personality, George 5th gifted his sword and revolver. Madhusudhanlalji knew ayurveda very well and treated many patients. He was also a great horse examiner, he had at 40 well trained horses in his ashwashala. He has always been busy in prabhu seva and smaran(Jap paath) . He gave birth to 3 sons, Ram chandraji, 1940 , ranchodlalji 1950 and Gopinathji 1973. Of them Ramchandra ji and Gopinathji passed away at early age. His wife Maharani vahuji (tatiji) also adorned shree prabhu with many of her sevas.
After Madhusudanlalji Shree ranchodlalji was crowned as the Acharya of Gopinathji jyotish peeth.
Goswami Shree Ranchhodlalji
Born posh Krishna 11 vS1950 to second vahuji (wife) of madhusudhanlalji. He was trained in all means by his grandfather vrajraiji maharaj.
He attained deep knowledge of pushtimargs bhavbhavna and rares of Sanatan dharma shashtras.
He renovated and redeveloped goswami haveli of Ahmedabad efficiently with blend of traditionality and modernism. He also developed other haveli mandirs.
He took lakhs of vaishnavs as disciple from different regions.
Kind hearted and soft spoken he also kept strong hold on ancient traditions and was quet strict about them too.
In I.S 1947 when Indian Pakistan parted he brought in swaroops from Multan and Madanmohanji of Sindh to Mumbai sacrificing many properties. He also facilitate a lot of Scholars and carried out frequent religious discussions. All day he kept busy in bhagwad seva and bhagvat naam - nights he did bhagwad warta. And as a fruit of these the compilation called ‘ ranchodlalji maharaj vachanamrit’ are still authenticated and popular. His both wifes, kamalpriyaji and vrajpriyaji created many beautiful Guajarati songs and poems to please Shree thakorji.
Ranchodlalji gave birth to 2 sons, chotaji and vrajraiji. Chotaji passed away at a young age and Vrajraiji was crowned as acharya of Gopinathji Jyotishpeeth.
Goswami Shree Vrajraiji (Natwar Gopalji)
Born on Aso vad 10 VS 1987 at asarwa. Multi-diverse and a master scholar he became popular in a very short time. He had strong relations with many other religious leaders. Impressed with his unbound scholarship and knowlwdge all 4 peeth shankracharyas awarded him the title of " shuddhadwait vachaspati", learned scholars of kashi awarded him with ‘shuddwait tilak aayata’ , vidhyambhonidhi’, and ‘Padvakya praman parawar parinaha’, under Ramanajucharya Anangeangacharya he was awarded ‘ krishna dwaipayan Darshan mihir’ and Shiddhadwait Pratham peethadishwar Prathamesh ji awarded him ‘shuddadwait shahastrannshu’. His literary works like Pushti darshan, Pranay, OM, Pravanam and Meri samadhi bhasha, are available in published form.
He took part in ‘SHRINATHJI HUMHARE HAI’ moment to to oppose government in seva and management of shrinathji temple of Nathdwara.
When Govindlalji tilyak celebrated saptswaroop utsav in 1966 Natwargopalji took shree natwar prabhu with all his glory and adorns to Shrinathji. He also arranged and celebrated many manoraths of shree Natwarprabhu.
Vrajnathji maharaj came to the acharya throne after vrajraiji maharaj. Vrajnathji Maharaj also celebrated many manoraths of Shree natwarprabhu. Goswami Ranchhodlalji liable son of ShriVrajrnathji now takes care of achryaship of Goswami Haveli.
Shree Vrajnathji Maharaj
Shree Vrajnathji Maharaj is the son of Shree Vrajraiji Maharaj. He is the head of the Shree Gopinathji Deepak Peeth. He is very simple and perspicacious. A part from deeply involved in seva of Shree Natvar-Shyam prabhu he is also successfully leading the administrative work of temple. He has done a lot of Manoraths. which includes Chappanbhog at Mumbai, Kochin, Talod, Karamsad, Jambusar, Godhara etc., Others manoraths like, Saptam nidhi Shree Madanmohanji with Shree Natvar-Shyam prabhu at Asarva Bethak, Manorath at Goswami Haveli and Kamwan, Manorath with Pancham nidhi Shree Gokuleshchandramaji, 108 Bhagwad Saptah Parayan during Vraj yatra (First time ever), 1008 Bhagwad parayan in Pushtimarg traditionin Gujarat (First time ever) etc. . His both the Son Shree Madhusudanlalji (Shree Tilakbava) and Shree Vrajabharanbava is a very strong helping hand in Shreeji seva as well as Administrative works.
Goswami Shree Ranchhodlalji (Aabharan Bava) is the 16th Acharya in the lineage of Shree Vallabhacharya and the founder of the Pushti marg Sampradaya. He has a rich ancestral heritage in religious practices and art, and his work includes religion, language literature, music, research, preaching, and propagation. He has written and composed over 15,000 Haveli Sangeet Kirtans and published books on various religious topics. He has also discovered four of the lost Sree Vallabhacharya’s Bethaks in South India. Goswami Shree Ranchhodlalji has qualifications in BBA, MPA, and MPhill from Gujarat University and has received titles like "Vidyambhonidhi" and "Brahmarshi" for his contributions. He is dedicated to the propagation of classical-haveli music and promotes the idea of non-commercializing and keeping it for devotional purposes. He is also inclined towards social upliftment works, cow services, and is an Agnichit ShautriyaAgnihotri - the follower of daily Vedik yagna traditions. He shares his knowledge through various lectures, seminars, and webinars and participates in various meetings, discourses, and discussions.