The Swarup of ShreeNathji as He Appeared at Govardhan,and now Living at Nathdwara, is in the Form of a reddish black stone Murti, about four feet in height. His left hand is raised, just as He had appeared at Govardhan. His right hand rests on the waist with His palm formed in a fist.
ShreeNathji Himself Lives here in His Haveli Mandir; so is worshipped in a very live manner. It is assumed that He is Present at all times in His Bal Swarup; Over Shreeji’s Nij Mandir there is a roof top with the Dhajaji flying, and His Sudarshan Chakra.
Shreeji has many times told me jokingly, “Dekho main kitna gareeb hun, mere paas toh sirf ek jhopdi hai, baaki sab yeh log le jaate hain” (Look, I am so poor; I have just a hut to live in, rest all is taken away by them).
Similar to how we would look after a young child, His Sewa is done with the most pure of bhao and best of samagri.
According to Shrimad Bahgvat, Shri Vallabhacharya had started the Ashtyaam sewa with the bhao of Nandalaya. Later his second son Shri Gusainji Vitthalnathji established the elaborate sewa of Bhog and Shringar which is followed till today, similar to nearly 500 years ago. The festivals and their way of celebrations is also not changed; the various type of clothes and ornaments that Shreeji wears are the same as started several 100 years ago by Shri Gusainji.
All of ShreeNathji Bhog is prepared according to the various seasons and days. Every type of food is prepared for Shreeji and offered in His Nij Mandir. All the traditional foods; with every dry fruit, many very expensive herbs are also used depending on the seasons. Only black pepper and rock salt is used in the preparation of His food, as being a young child would not enjoy chilies. A lot of sugar is added in His sweet preparations.
Like He mentions sometimes in fun, “Main toh bahut meetha khata hun, phirbhi mujhe diabetes nahi hota, ha, ha, ha”. (I eat a lot of sweets, yet I do not have diabetes, ha, ha, ha”).
During the hot summer months He is offered water with chandan and rose; while in the winterskesar is added to His water.
The way of cooking food for Shreeji follows the traditional manner. Bhog is the most elaborate and perfect with the most pure ingredients being used. No one is allowed to watch Shreeji when He takes His meals.
“Main toh sirf soonghta hun, kabhi, kabhi laddoo aur beeda khol deta hun. Chappan bhog toh yeh log apne khane ke liye banate hain, ha ha ha. Jhariji mein se Jal kabhi pee leta hun.” (I only inhale the offerings, at times I break open the Laddoo and Betel offerings. The ChappanBhog offering is for them to eat only, ha, ha, ha. I do drink some water from my Jhariji, at times).
Shreeji’s Shringar is the most artistic, and beautiful. It is alokik. All type of ornaments are there for Him; used according to the type of Shringar done on that particular day. The flowers are freshly grown, and bought every morning from various gardens, grown especially for His Sewa. There is a room for preparing Shreeji’s various Malas; where different fragrant flowers are used. Shringar can be done only by the Tilkayatji or the Mukhiyaji who has been appointed by them. None is allowed to watch Shreeji when He gets ready. “Kabhi, Kabhi jab tayaar karte hain aur main dhyan nahin rakhta toh thodasa hil jata hun, vastra, abhushan girjaate hain. Kitne der khadarahun? Baar, baar tayaar karte hain, bolte hain attention mein khade raho Shreeji, bhakt log aaye hain. Main thak jata hun, main kiya karoo?” (Sometimes, when they are getting me ready, and I don’t concentrate, I shake a bit, then the clothes or jewellery fall off. How long can I stand? Over and over they want me to stand still when they make me ready for darshans, telling me to stand in attention as bhakts have come for darshans. I get tired, what to do)
Shreeji is Natkhat, so, though having stopped direct interactions; yet plays sometimes in His Mandir. There have been times when He refuses to accept certain ornaments or vastra. If He has pushed them away three times, it is assumed that Shreeji does not want this. A new pair of the same is always kept ready, which is then used for Shreeji. New Vastra are used daily for Shreeji. No clothes are repeated. There is a team of tailors who continuously stitch Shreeji’s clothes in the Darji Khaana.
Unlike all other Hindu mandirs, Shreeji’s Darshans are not open continuously for the day. As Shreeji Lives here in the ‘Live Form’ of a small child, all His Darshans are regulated accordingly. From morning, when He is woken, right through till the time of going to bed, there are eight Jhankis (Darshahs) which are open to bhakts. They are called-Mangala; Shringar; Guwal; Rajbhog; Utthapan; Bhog; Aarti; Shyan.
All His Darshans are open only for a short while, the bhao being that He is a child, so will get tired of standing and may experience shram; so frequent Darshans are there for short durations. The bhao is of a young child who is woken up, offered snacks; bathed and dressed; ready for His play; offered an elaborate lunch; He must be tired so given rest in the afternoon; woken up for His afternoon snack; Aarti done; offered dinner; changed and asked to sleep.
Each Darshan has a special bhao and meaning. (Have elaborated them later). Though each Darshan is important in Itself; ideal is to at least do all eight Darshans when in Nathdwara, for the maximum benefit of experiencing any closeness with Shreeji.
The timings of each darshan are more or less fixed, they may vary at times by some 20-30 minutes, according to the seasons. The daily timings are declared outside the gate on a black board and also on an electronic board. At times two Darshans are combined. This happens when the crowd is extreme, on some important festivals. Darshans have to be kept open for a longer period so that all the innumerable bhakts get a glimpse of Thakurjee.
Govardhan Parvat, Shreejis original Pragatya Sthal, has eight doors. Each door is the place of one Asht Sakha of Shreeji. The Asht Sakha were the eight poet friends, who wrote and sang various bhajans in classical bhao. All these rachanas are in praise of Shreeji and express different bhaos. They are used till today in Nathdwara with each Darshan, according to the particular Darshan, festival and time of the day.
During every darshan, there is the goonj of Jai jai kar in the hall:
“Govardhan Nath ki Jai Krishn Kanhaiya Lal ki jai Banke Bihari ki Jai Sanvariya Seth ki Jai Dwarkadhesh ki Jai ShreeNathji Baba ki Jai Shyam Sunder Yamune Maharani ki Jai MorMukutBansi Wale ki Jai Vallabhadheshki Jai GirirajDharanki Jai Bol Shree Radhe Radha Rani ki Jai BarsaneWaliki Jai AajKeAnandki Jai Jai Ho Jai Ho Jai Ho…”
MANGALA – First Darshan of the day
Sewa is performed with the bhao of NavneetPriyaji. His Sthan is above the SurbhiKund, below ShyamTamal, at Govardhan. It is thought that in Nandalaya (at Mathura), all His sakha and gopijan will come for the Darshans of BalKrishn.
Shri Parmanand das is the Kavi whose rachanas (poems) are sung in this darshan.
Shreeji is woken with the sound of Shankhnaad.
It is the time when Shreeji just wakes up and there are no elaborate ornaments on Him.
This is the only darshan when the Pithikaji is visible, also one can have the darshan of Shreeji’s right hand. In fact this darshan is the only one, where Shreeji is visible totally.
This darshan time depends on the season. And stays open for nearly 45 minutes. Aarti is done in this darshan. Aarti is done with saat vat batti (seven standing wicks) with seven full rounds and seven half rounds.
Bhakts enjoy this darshan a lot, and the hall echoes with their jai jaikar:
This darshan time depends on the season. During summer darshans open late. The bhao is that during summer Shreeji plays longer and so will sleep later; hence has to be woken up later; the shringar is also lighter. He is clad in a simple adbandha. His flute is not given; if Shreeji begins to play early all would be enchanted and none would be able to work.
In winter He sleeps early, so will be awake earlier for the Mangaladarshans. He is covered totally in a rajai (blanket) so that only the Mukharvind is visible. There is a sigri (coal fire) lit before Him to create the warmth.
Milk and Mishri, butter, milk, thordseera are offered as bhog; according to the season. The ‘Seera’ is one of Shreeji’s most favorite dish – the Mangalbhog 'Seera'. He loves it. - He told me once in Nathdwara when we were taking the Mangalbhog Prasad.
SHRINGAR– Second Darshan
Sewa is performed with the bhao of Shree GokulChandramaji. His Sthan is above Mansi Ganga, below the Peepal tree at Govardhan.
Kirtans and bhajans of the poet kavi Shri Nand Das is sung now.
Around an hour after Mangala, is the ShringarDarshan. Shreeji is dressed according to different seasons and festivals. His entire wardrobe of 365 days has been decided by Shri Gusainji nearly 500 years back and is followed till today. The clothes He adorns once are never worn again.
Shreeji is offered a garland of fragrant flowers. His Bansuri is offered now with the two Chadis. The pink Kamal or any other seasonal flower are also are decorated on His waist. After His Shringar is complete, the Mukhiyaji shows Shreeji a gold ayaina (mirror) so that Shreeji can be satisfied He is well dressed. His Venu is also offered now to Him. The moment when Shreeji looks at Himself in the mirror is not to be missed, as it is 100% guaranteed that He is Present there. It is incredible.
All I can do is look at this divya (divine) happening and feel lucky to have been given this opportunity to be present here. I get the bhao of Shreeji standing with both His hands on His waist, looking at me standing tall and erect as if saying, “Main acchadikhtahunna? Merinayivah-vahpahanihai, ab main khelnejatahun.” (Do I not look fine, I am the best dressed. I have worn my new “vah-vah” (clothes) and shall now go out to play).
I just want to go hug Him and hold Him in my arms; tell Him – "Shreeji You are the best, I love You".
Bhog is offered of dry fruits and sweets.
GWAL – Third Darshan
Sewa is performed with the bhao of Shree DwarkaNathji. His sthan is in The KadambKhedi, above the ErapatKund at Govardhan.
Kirtans and bhajans of poet kavi Shri Govind Swami is sung now.
This Darshan is the time when Shreeji takes His Gaumata for grazing.. The Gaushalamukhiya comes to inform Shreeji that all His cows are doing well. In thisJhanki, Beedaji (triangle betel leaves) and Jhariji are also offered. Tulsi Dal is offered at His Feet. DhoopDhunni is done for Shreeji so that no evil nazar harms Him. After this Aarti with douvaatbatti (two standing wicks) is performed now.
Bhog is offered of rabdi, kheer, milk etc.
This Darshan normally does not open during festivals and is done inside.
RAJBHOG – Fourth Darshan
This is the fourth Darshan of the day. Sewa is performed with the bhao of ShreeNathji Himself. His Sthan is at Anyor below the neem tree of SadduPande, at Govardhan.
Kirtans and bhajans of the kavi singer Shri KumbhanDasji are sung.
This is the most bhavyadarshan. Before this Darshans open, one hears the call of the sewak to fetch Shreeji’s Mala quickly. It is with the bhao of when Shreeji stayed in Govardhan; the pujari had to call out loudly for His Mala; as Shreeji’s garden was at a little distance. As a routine it is followed as a signal for the Darshans to open. This Darshan is open for a longer time than all the other Darshans.
After the call for Shreeji’s Mala; Shivji is called for taking ShreeNathji’sDarshans. When ShreeNathji shifted to Nathdwara, Shivji also was pratishted in a mandir near the Banas River. At this RajbhogDarshan, it is believed that sakshatShivji is seated on the round semicircle before Shreeji, in the Dolti Bari doing ShreeNathji’sDarshans. That is why no one should step on this circle during these Darshans.
In this Jhanki, Shreeji stands with His Kamal and two new Malas (garland).
Two Beedaji (triangle betel leaves), Shreeji’sLadoo Banta (Gold box containing sweet ladoos), Jhariji are also offered along with His Venu (flute), two Chadis and Kamal(flowers on His waist).
Once Shreeji is ready, He is shown an Aaina (mirror).
A Morchadi (Stick of peacock feathers) is swayed from one side. Aarti is performed in this Darshan. To protect Shreeji from evil nazar(evil eye), two coins are given away to sewaks.
Once the Aarti is done, the curtain is drawn for a few seconds, when one Malaji is taken away.
This darshan is open for a long period after this.
After this Darshan, Shreeji’s Haveli is shut for the afternoon as it is His time for vishram (rest).
Most sewaks also retire and rest, as they have been awake very early. Nearly three hours later the Shankhnaad (conch) is heard again.
Bhog is offered of all types of food equivalent of an elaborate lunch. Shreeji’s food is always made extra sweet and no chillies used in the preparation. His jal (water) is always mixed with either rose, Chandan or some Kesar. He does not like plain water.
Shreeji, when in the right mood at times talks to me about His food habits. About how He likes milk with kesar; this happens many times when we are having tea at Gurushree’s office mandir. Suddenly I hear Shreeji’s tiny sweet voice, “Tum log yeh kiya peete ho? I reply - Shreeji, yeh chai hotihai “Chai hai? Main chai nahi peeta Main to kesar wala dudh peeta hun,? Main jal bhi kesarwala he peeta hun”.
(What are you’ll drinking? I reply -Shreeji, this is called tea.
“This is tea? I don’t drink tea. I drink only milk with kesar, I drink water also with kesar).
UTTHAPAN – Fifth Darshan
Sewa is performed in the bhao of Shree Mathureshji. His Sthan is at SaghanKandaraParasoli above Chandra Sarovar at Girirajji.
Kirtans and bhajans of Shri Surdas are now sung.
Nearly three hours later the Shankhnaad (conch) is heard again.
This is the first of the four afternoon Darshans.
Like Mangala, bhakts gather outside the gate, waiting for the door to open.
Shreeji is woken with the sound of the Vina. It is often around between 3.30-4.15 pm. This Darshan is open for a short time. At times Shreeji looks sleepy in this Darshan. The entire Haveli seems very peaceful and calm at this time.
Shreeji’svastra becomes lighter now. There is noBeedaji, no Chadiji, no Bansuri, noKamal in this darshan.
Two Jhariji are offered now, with the bhao of YamuneMaharaniji.
No Aartiis done now.
Bhog is offered of Fruits and milk products.
BHOG– Sixth Darshan
Darshans are of the bhao of Gokulnathji. His Sthan is near Nava Kund, above RudanKund, below the Aavli tree at Govardhan.
Kirtans and bhajans of Shri Chaturbhuj das are sung now.
This Darshan opens around an hour after Utthapan.
During summers small fragrant fountains are started for cooling and in winters a coal sigri is burnt at some distance from Thakurjee for providing heat. There is Flower Shringar or Flower Bangala in this Darshan. Bantaji is placed now, with Jhariji and twoBeedaji.
Shreeji adorns two fragrant flowerMalaji. His Bansuri and Chadijiare offered now.
A ‘Chadi Dar’ is present on the side who dresses in a gherdar, formal attire. He is Shreeji’s guard, who wears gold kadas and carries a gold or silver Chadi. His Paag, Kamarpatta, dupatta matches Shreeji’sVastra for that particular day.
A morchadi is waved around Shreeji.
No Aarti is done in this darshan.
Bhog is of mainly fruits, Thor and some light snacks.
SANDHYA AARTI – Seventh Darshan
Darshans are of the bhao of Shri Vitthalnathji. His Sthan is at ApsaraKund, below ShyamTamal at Govardhan. Kirtans and bhajans of Shri Chitta Swami are now sung.
This Darshan is immediately after the BhogDarshan. Shreeji comes back home from Gocharan and play. Ma Yashoda does Aarti for Her son, is the bhao of this Darshan. The Shringar and Vastra become light, preparing for sleep. Bantaji, Jhariji, five Beedajiare offered.
Shreeji wears two thick flowerMalaji, Bansuri and Chadi are offered now.
A morchadi is waved from one side.
Aarti is performed now
It marks the end of the day. Aarti is performed. One can observe how important it is to wear gold kadas on both hands when doing Shreeji’sAarti.
The Sudarshan Chakra is also offered Bhog. The Dhajaji is wrapped around and given rest for the night.
SHAYAN – Eight Darshan
This is the eighth and last Darshan of the day. The Darshanbhao are of Shree Madanmohanji. His Sthan is at ShyamTamal and below the Kadamb tree, above BilchuKund at Girirajji.
Kirtans and bhajans of Shri Krishna Das are now sung.
These Darshans are not always held at Nathdwara.
From Dassera to Ram Navami, Shayandarshan is at Nathdwara;
From Ram Navami to DasseraShayandarshan is at Jatipura, Govardhan, Mathura.
Darshans are opened only after the 'rasoiyaboli'; the sewak goes on the terrace of the Haveli to call out for Shreeji’s chief cook to come early the next morning, again being in the bhao of Govardhan hill. Drums are sounded for the Darshans to open. A bhajan in the form of a Lullaby is sung. The Vina is played and Shreeji offered His Venu (flute) for the night. His Gold bed is prepared in the right way. It is supposed that Shree Radha will join Him at night, so Her garments and Ornaments are also kept ready.
Shreeji wears two Malaji, made from fragrant flowers. He is offered His Bansuriand Kamal (flowers on His waist). A matching flower is also placed on His raised left hand.
No Chadi is offered now. PaanBeedaji, Jhariji is kept ready. Morchadijiis swayed from one side.
A sewak is positioned just outside Shreeji’s main mandir with a mashal (fire) till the end of the darshans.
Mukhiyaji offers Shreejipaan seven times. We can see one sewak cleaning the floor continuously, in the bhao of Shreeji eating paan. A carpet spread on the ground leads to Shreeji’s Bed Chamber.
Bhog is offered for the night. Jal (water) is filled. Laddoos are kept paan(Betel) leaves, are kept.
It is the last Darshan after which Shreeji is free till the next morning.
The wooden platforms from the 'Dolti Bari' are removed. The doors of the 'Singh Pole' are left open.
It marks the end of that day and all will become still and silent till the next morning, till the Shankhnaad sound; signaling that Shreeji is now awake. It is a very quiet & silent feeling in the entire town once Shreeji retires for the night. All return to their homes to come back for sewa the next day.
This cycle continues every day all through the years.
ShreeNathji has been here giving us His Loving Darshans year after year without any holiday or change in His routine. We may have gone through various birth cycles, but Shreeji-Thakurjee without complaining or feeling tired stands there without fail; completing His Karma of giving Darshans.
For animated ShreeNathji Haveli darshansfrom NathdwaraApplication launched on: