ShreeNathji’s Nij Mandir –
Shreeji’s Haveli mandir has not been constructed in the engraved style or with any of the artistry which is the style of Hindu mandirs normally. His Haveli has the look and feel of a Home where Shreeji lives in a very Live manner. The Haveli is cemented, with a white washed look. Only the roof of Shreeji’s Nij area is in “Khaprel”; a roof top. This is with the bhao that about 5000 years ago when Shreeji lived in Braj, His Baal Leelas were in the house of Yashoda maiya-Nand Baba – His parents. So this entire construction has been done keeping in mind Thakurjee’s stay in Braj in His original incarnation as Shree KrishnRadha. The look of the Mandir has been designed to make Shreeji feel at home imitating Braj; so that He does not miss the surroundings in which He lived in earlier.
As the bhao related with Shreeji in also of a child, His way of living and giving darshans is also in the most simplistic manner. The highest requirement is only of shuddhi in every area. In worship, in preparations, in ingrediants, in music, in vastra, in fragrance, in jewellery, in bhent, offerings, in the sewaks who work for Him; specially the one’s who work in the inner chambers called Bhetariyas. Most important is the shuddhi required in the Bhao with which we go for His darshans or perform His sewa.
Though being the most simple and uncomplicated form of God, the purity levels are the highest. All people close to Him as sewaks can vouch for this sentiment, as they are aware of The Living Presence of Thakurjee. Each one has to be very careful about performing sewa.
There yet continues the sewa of Hand Punkhi (hand fan) for Shreeji.
Shree Sudarshan Chakra and Dhajaji –
This is situated above Shreeji’s Nij Mandir on the roof top. The access to this place is through a narrow stairway from the chowk.
Sudarshan Chakra is the Form of Supreme power. It is supposed to be a protector for all devotees. Seven Dhajaji flows around this; the only Mandir to have the seven Dhajas. Here sewa is done by offering fragrance in the form of Attar (concentrated form of fragrant pure oil). No one is allowed up on the roof top. Darshans are done from down. The fragrance is applied in cotton by the sewak here and after some minutes returned to the devotee as Prasad.
From this height the hills around are visible. It is a serene place where one can sit for hours absorbed in the silence and sacredness of the aura. We normally sit here between Darshans feeling the Presence of Shreeji very strongly around us.
Navneet Priyaji Ka Mandir
Sewa is similar to Shreeji’s mandir. He is the Bal (young) Swarup of ShreeNathji. The early morning Darshans do not open as being very young, He wakes up later. All the other Darshans open 10-15 minutes later than the main Darshan of Shreeji. Once we complete Shreeji’s Darshans we move here for the Darshans of Navneet Priyaji - Lalan. The Swarup here is from when Shreeji was travelling here from Govardhan. Here when ShreeNathji enjoyed an Annakut secretly, Navneet Priyaji also joined Him in travelling in the Annakut Utsav. Since then He has stayed with Shreeji as His child form.
It is the darshans of Bal Krishn crawling with a ball of butter in one hand.
Govardhan Chowk –
One enters this place through the Lal darwaza. On top of the Darwaza is the NagarKhana where the drummer sits to make announcements; as was the practice in the olden days. A line of people selling various samagris for Shreeji’s sewa sit here.
During Diwali and New Year celebrations a small Govardhan Parvat is created here.
Eastern gate; reserved mostly for women and children.
It is brilliant white with paintings of Shreeji in various Darshans. Flower sellers sit here, artists selling paintings and Tulsi kanthis.
It is a large court yard where devotees can sit and wait for the darshans to open. It opens in four gates leading to Anar Chowk, to Ratan Chowk, to Dholi Pattiya, the Northern one to Pritam Pole. In the centre of this court yard is a 24 petal lotus called Ashta Dal Kamal. The 24 petals denote the 24 alphabets of the Gayatri Mantra. In this Kamal pushp there is a thin blue line which devotees believe to be the charan of Shreeji.
This chowk has 18 Aaliyas (small square holes in the walls), which represent the 18 Purans. On the North side of the chowk there is a small window called Dhruv Bari. Here bhakts draw a Swastik and offer coconut mala. On one side is the Samadhan area where sewa or Bhent can be offered.
Flanked by two Elephants, these doors lead to the Ratan Chowk. During very crowded Darshans only men enter through this entrance.
To enter here from Kamal chowk there is a huge gate called Sinh Pole. During Diwali the Hatadi is lit here. On Sharad Purnima Raas leela is enacted here. During Deep Maalika a huge glass mandap is erected in which ShreeNathji sits. Three gates lead to this court yard. Before a Darshan, this gate is reserved for Manorathies.
The centre court from where the public gets Darshans. There are separate sections for men and women, as it could get extremely crowded. To make Darshans easier wooden platforms are erected at different levels. According to various seasons and festivals various Jhankis are made here for ShreeNathji; like Hindolos, Jiyeshth Nauka Vihar, Tij and Dol Utsav.
To reach here one has to come from the west side. All gifts of food offered to Shreeji are accepted here. Receipts are given and accordingly Prasad distributed. All food for the Haveli is brought from here. A little ahead of this is the Kirtan Galli through which one reaches the Shashthi Kotha and Mani Kotha. It links the Kamal Chowk with the Kitchen.
ShreeNathji’s Personal musicians called Kirtaniyas, play here. Before each Darshan music is played according the the particular bhao and Darshan.
Special guests of the Tilkayat are allowed Darshans from here. Beyond this point only the Tilkayat family and the Bhitariyas are allowed, as strict Purity rules have to be followed.
There are times when the crowd is immense, spreading till out side the gate, for Darshans. At such time the Haveli is kept open till all the devotees manage a darshan of Thakurjee.
The Haveli has a staff of nearly 4000 sewaks, all occupied in various sewas and work. Each day is planned only in the ways established years ago by Shri Gusainji. Great care is taken to use only the best of everything in sewa. Water is brought in a special container from Yamunaji. His personal musicians play live music at each Darshan. Shreeji wakes up to the strings of Veena daily. The sangeet is in the classical raags set 100’s of years ago.
All sewa and activities at the Haveli-Mandir are only for Shreeji – for His comfort and pleasure. Total care is taken not to upset Him in any way.
Author : Abha Shahra Shyama