During every darshan, there is the goonj of Jai jaikar in the hall:
“GovardhanNath 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
Mor Mukut Bansi Wale ki Jai
Vallabhadhesh ki Jai
Giriraj Dharan ki Jai
Bol Shree Radhe
Radha Rani ki Jai
Barsane Wali ki Jai
Aaj Ke Anand ki Jai
Jai Ho Jai Ho Jai Ho…”
The details and bhao behind the darshans.
The Swarup of ShreeNathji as He Appeared at Giriraj Govardhan, and now Living at Nathdwara, is in the Form of a reddish black stone Vigrah, about four feet in height. His left hand is raised, just as He had appeared at Shri 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 Alive manner. It is assumed that He is Present at all times in His Bal Swarup.
Over Shreeji’s Nij Mandir there is a Khaprel, (roof top) with the Dhajaji flying, and His Sudarshan Chakra.
Shreeji has many times told me jokingly,
"Look, I am so poor; I have just a hut to live in, rest all is taken away by the Tilkayats and others".
"देखो मैं कितना गरीब हूँ, मेरे पास तो सिर्फ एक झोपडी है,बाकि सब तिलकायत और भक्त लोग ले जाते हैं".
Similar to how we would look after a young child, His Seva is done with the most pure of bhao and best of samagri.
ShreeNathji’s seva is done very carefully so as to not cause any disturbance to the highly pure energies who stay here.
ShreeNathji ‘seva’ is performed, it is never called ‘puja’, as Thakurjee is ‘Alive’ and ‘Present’ at all times like a Thakurjee, at His Haveli.
Shri Vallabh Acharya had started the aath sama seva, with the bhao of Nandalaya, when He took avatar as Shree Krishn in the earlier yug.
His second son Shri Gusainji Vitthalnathji established the elaborate seva 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, herbs are also used depending on the seasons. Only black pepper and rock salt is used in the preparation of His food. A lot of sugar is added in His sweet preparations.
Like He mentions sometimes in fun,
"I eat a lot of sweets, yet I do not have diabetes, ha, ha, ha”.
"मैं तो बहुत मीठा खाता हूँ, फिर भी मुझे डीएबीटीस नहीं होता है; हा हा हा".
During the hot summer months He is offered water with chandan and rose; while in the winter kesar is added to His water.
Shreeji when He watches us having tea, sometimes jokes,
"You'll have tea which is black, I only drink Milk with Kesar. In My water also Kesar and Chandan is added".
"तुम लोग तो काली चाय पीते हो, मैं तो सिर्फ केसर वाला दूध पीटा हूँ. मेरे जल में भी केसर और चन्दन मिला कर देते हैं”.
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.
"I only inhale the offerings, at times I break open the Laddoo and Betel offerings. The Chappan Bhog offering is for them to eat only, ha, ha, ha. I do drink some water from my Jhariji, at times".
"मैं तो सिर्फ सूंघता हूँ, कभी कभी लड्डू और बीड़ा खोल देता हूँ. छप्पन भोग तो यह लोग अपने लिए बनाते हैं, हा हा हा. झारीजी में से जल कभी पी लेता हूँ".
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 Seva.
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.
Shreeji complains to me,
"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".
"कभी, कभी जब तैयार करते हैं और मैं ध्यान नहीं रखता तो थोड़ा सा हिल जाता हूँ, वस्त्र आभूषण गिर जाते हैं. कितनी देर खड़ा रहूँ?
बार बार तैयार करते हैं, बोलते हैं अटेंशन में खड़े रहो श्रीजी, भक्त लोग आये हैं. मैं थक जाता हूँ, मैं क्या करूँ?"
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 vastr.
If He has pushed His shringar or vastr 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 Vastr 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 other 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 behind the seva 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 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 blackboard 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 various bhao.
These are sung in accordance with season, time of the day and bhav. Ashtachap kavi’s have written about nearly all the possible leela and play of Takurjee. They have described the various swarup lilas at various times of the day, night, seasons and festivals.
They are used till today in Nathdwara with each Darshan, according to the particular Darshan, festival and time of the day.
Description of the eight darshans
Mangala– First Darshan of the day
Seva is performed with the bhao of Shree Navneet Priyaji. His Sthan is above the Surbhi Kund, below Shyam Tamal, at Giriraj Govardhan. It is thought that in Nandalaya (at Mathura), all His sakha and gopijan will come for the Darshans of Bal Krishn.
Shri Parmanand das is the Kavi whose rachanas (poems) are sung in this darshan.
Shreeji tells me,"You all listen to music that is recorded in a player, I have My Live musicians who play for me always".
"तुम लोग तो पुराना संगीत सुनते हो, जो प्लेयर मैं बजता है, मेरे तो लाइव कीर्तनकार हैं, जो मेरे लिए ताज़ा संगीत बजाते हैं हर बार".
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 Peethikaji 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 vaat 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; as it may become a distractor for the sevaks if Shreeji decides to play His bansuri.
In winter He sleeps early, so will be awake earlier for the Mangala darshans. 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, thord seera are offered as bhog; according to the season.
"सुबह मंगल भोग वाला सीरा, मुझे बहुत पसंद है".
The ‘Seera’ is one of Shreeji’s most favorite dish; the Mangal bhog 'Seera'. He loves it. He told me once in Nathdwara when we were taking the Mangal bhog Prasad.
Jai Shree RadhaKrishn.
Jai Shreeji, Jai MahaGurushree!
SHRINGAR – Second Darshan of the day
Seva is performed with the bhao of Shree GokulChandramaji. His Sthan is above Mansi Ganga, below the Peepal tree at Giriraj Govardhan.
Kirtans and bhajans of the poet kavi Shri Nand Das is sung now.
Around an hour after Mangala, is the Shringar Darshan. Shreeji is dressed according to different seasons and festivals. Shri Gusainji nearly 500 years back had decided all the type of clothes that Shreeji should wear according to the day, climate, season, festival; 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.
Bhog is offered of dry fruits and sweets.
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.
Shreeji shows off to me like a little child,
"I have a gold mirror also, which Mukhiya shows me after I am dressed".
"मेरा सोने का आइना भी है, जो मुझे मुखिया दिखता है, तैयार होने के बाद".
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,
"Do I not look fine, I am the best dressed. I have worn my new clothes and shall now go out to play".
"I have gold socks too, at times I wear those too".
"मैं अच्छा दिखता हूँ ना? मैंने नयी वाह-वाह पहनी है.अब मैं खेलने जाता हूँ".
"मेरे सोने के फूमते भी हैं, मैं कभी वोह भी पहनता हूँ".
I just want to go hug Him and hold Him in my arms; tell Him, "Shreeji You are the best, I love You".
My MahaGurushree, ShreeNathji Ki Jai Ho!
Gwal– Third Darshan of the day
Seva is performed with the bhao of Shree DwarkaNathji. His sthan is at Kadamb Khedi, above the Eravat Kund at Shri Govardhan.
Kirtans and bhajans of kavi Shri Govind Swami is sung now.
This Darshan is the time when Shreeji takes His Gaumata for grazing. The Gaushala mukhiya comes to inform Shreeji that all His cows are doing well. In this Jhanki, Beedaji (triangle betel leaves) and Jhariji are also offered.
Tulsi Dal is offered at His Feet.
Dhoop Dhunni is done for Shreeji so that no evil nazar harms Him.
Aarti with dou vaat batti (two standing wicks) is performed now.
Bhog is offered of rabdi, kheer, milk etc.
This Darshan normally does not open during festivals and is completed inside (Bhitar darshan).
RAJBHOG – Fourth Darshan
This is the fourth Darshan of the day. Seva is performed with the bhao of ShreeNathji Himself. His Sthan is at Anyor below the neem tree of Saddu Pande, at Giriraj Govardhan.
Kirtans and bhajans of the kavi singer Shri Kumbhan Dasji are sung.
This is the most bhavya darshan.
Before this Darshans open, one can hear the sevai's call to fetch Shreeji’s Mala quickly. It is with the bhao of when Shreeji stayed in Shri 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; Bhagwan Shivji is called for taking ShreeNathji’s Darshans. When ShreeNathji shifted to Nathdwara, partishta of Bhagwan Shivji was also done in a mandir near the Banaas River on the Girirajji at Nathdwara.
At this Rajbhog Darshan, it is believed that sakshat Shivji is seated on the round semicircle before Shreeji, in the Dolti Bari doing ShreeNathji’s Darshans. 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’s Ladoo 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 sevaks.
Once Aarti is complete, the curtain is drawn for a few seconds, when one Malaji is taken away.
This darshan is open for a long period after this. It is made sure that all vaishnavs in the parivar are able to receive darshans.
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,
"What are you’ll drinking?
I reply, "Shreeji, this is called tea".
Shreeji, “This is tea? I don’t drink tea. I drink only milk with kesar, I drink water also with kesar.
"तुम लोग यह क्या पीते हो"?
मैंने जवाब दिया, "श्रीजी इसे चाय कहते हैं".
श्रीजी,"अच्छा, ये चाय होती है? मैं चाय नहीं पीता हूँ. मैं सिर्फ केसर वाला दूध पीता हूँ. मैं जल भी केसर वाला पीता हूँ".
My MahaGurushree, ShreeNathji Ki Jai Ho!
After this Darshan, Shreeji’s Haveli is shut for the afternoon as it is His time for vishram.(afternoon nap)
Most sevaks also retire and rest, as they have been awake very early.
Nearly three hours later the Shankhnaad (conch) is heard again. The Haveli does not shut down, though no one is allowed in the premises, as it might disturb Shreeji.
UTTHAPAN – Fifth Darshan
This is the first of the four afternoon Darshans.
Seva is performed in the bhao of Shree Mathureshji. His Sthan is at Saghan Kandara Parasoli above Chandra Sarovar at Girirajji.
Kirtans and bhajans of Shri Surdas are sung.
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’s vastra becomes lighter now. There is no Beedaji, no Chadiji, no Bansuri, no Kamal in this darshan.
Two Jhariji are offered now, with the bhao of Yamune Maharaniji.
No Aarti is done now.
Bhog is offered of Fruits and milk products.
My MahaGurushree, ShreeNathji Ki Jai Ho!
BHOG - Sixth Darshan
Seva is performed in the bhao of Shree Gokulnathji. His Sthan is near Nava Kund, above Rudan Kund, 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 two Beedaji.
Shreeji adorns two fragrant flower Malaji. His Bansuri and Chadiji are offered now.
A ‘Chadi Dar’ is present who is dressed 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’s Vastra 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 with bhao of Shree Vitthalnathji. His Sthan is at Apsara Kund, below Shyam Tamal at Govardhan. Kirtans and bhajans of Shri Chitta Swami are now sung.
This Darshan is immediately after the Bhog Darshan. 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 Beedaji are offered.
Shreeji wears two thick flower Malaji. Bansuri and Chadi are offered now.
A morchadi is waved from one side.
Aarti is performed during this darshan.
It marks the end of the day. One can observe how important it is to wear gold kadas on both hands when doing Shreeji’s Aarti.
Sudarshan Chakra is also offered Bhog. The Dhajaji is wrapped around and given rest for the night.
Jai Shree RadhaKrishn.
Jai Shreeji, Jai MahaGurushree!
SHAYAN – Eight Darshan
This is the eighth and last Darshan of the day. The Darshan bhao are of Shree MadanMohanji. His Sthan is at Shyam Tamal and below the Kadamb tree, above Bilchu Kund at Girirajji.
Kirtans and bhajans of Shri Krishn Das are now sung.
These Darshans are not always held at Nathdwara.
From Dassera to Ram Navami, Shayan darshan is at Nathdwara;
From Ram Navami to Dassera Shayan darshan is at Jatipura, Govardhan, Mathura.
Darshans are opened only after the 'rasoiya boli'; the sevak 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 GovardhanParvat. 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 Bansuri and Kamal (flowers on His waist).
No Chadi is offered now. Paan Beedaji, Jhariji is kept ready. Morchadiji is swayed from one side.
A sevak is positioned just outside Shreeji’s main mandir with a mashal (fire) till the end of the darshans.
Mukhiyaji offers Shreeji paan seven times. We can see one sevak cleaning the floor continuously, in the bhao of Shreeji eating paan.
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 seva the next day.
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 expressing tiredness stands there without fail; completing His Karma of giving Darshans.
Shreeji,"I have a golden bed, but who sleeps there? Entire day they make me stand, but nobody has any bhao any more. Nobody feels that Shreeji should also get a holiday.
All of you go on vacations, I also like to enjoy a holiday”.
हम अनेक जन्म चक्रों की प्रक्रिया से गुजर चुके हैं, परंतु श्रीजी ठाकुरजी बिना कोई शिकायत करे या हमें उनके श्रम का अहसास दिलाए, शांतिपूर्वक दिव्यता के साथ खड़े रहते हैं और दर्शन देने के अपने कर्म को पूर्ण करते हैं।
इसी भाव को लेकर जब हम चर्चा करते हैं, श्रीनाथजी प्रभु का आभास होता है, और उनके शब्द गूँजते हैं,
श्रीजी, ‘‘मेरे पास यहाँ पर सोने का पलंग है, परंतु वहां पर कौन सोता है। हा हा हा। मैं तो यहाँ से भाग जाता हूँ।
पूरे दिन मुझे दर्शन देने के लिए खड़ा रखते हैं, लेकिन किसी में भाव तो है ही नहीं। कोई कभी यह नहीं महसूस करता कि श्रीजी को भी कभी अवकाश उपलब्ध होना चाहिए। तुम सब लोग विश्रामवकाश पर जाते हो, क्या मुझे भी अवकाश का आनंद नहीं मिलना चाहिए?’’
We Love You, Shreeji!
My MahaGurushree, ShreeNathji Ki Jai Ho!