Shri Nathji is considered to be the main svarupa in Pushti Marga and thousands of pilgrims visit Him every day in His temple in Nathdvara Rajesthan. He not only affords His intimate bhaktas the experience of His inner reality, but is also the liberator of all types of souls. Shri Gusainji explained to his disciple, a renounced Brahmin, His divine nature, “Shri Nathji is the supreme Lord of the lila bower. He stands by the door of a cave on the Govardhan Hill and calls of His lia souls with His raised left hand.
His closed right hand rests on His hip and contains His hidden nectar essence. Shri Nathji’s left hand first manifested on top of the Govardhan Hill in 1410 A.D. In 1479, when Shri Vallabhacharya appeared, Shri Nathji’s face manifested from the Hill .In 1493 A.D. Shri Vallabhacharya was called by Shri Nathji in Jharkhand to come to the sacred hill and establish His seva. When Shri Vallabhacharya and his party reached the Govardhan Hill, Mahaprabhuji climbed the Hill and embraced Shri Nathji. He then established His worship and adorned Shri Nathji with a dhoti garment, gunja bead necklace and peacock plumes. He named Him Gopalji, keeper of the cows. Shri Gusainji’s called Him Shri Govardhan Nathji and his son later called Him, Shri Nathji, a name which continues to be used.
Construction of Shri Nathji’s temple started in 1500 A.D. and twenty years later Shri Nathji’s temple was finally completed. Shri Vallabhacharya returned to the Govardhan Hill to install Shri Nathji in His new temple. While Shri Nathji resided in Braja, He had to be moved three times to protect Him from the Mughal forces. When Akbar became emperor, he stopped all destruction and looting Hindu temples and during his rule, Shri Gusainji found the proper environment to enhance the modes of divine worship that are still emulated and practiced today in Shri Nathdvara and other centers of Pushti worship.
The period of tolerance ended with accession of Aurangzeb to the imperial throne. His armies commenced and orgy of destruction and looting of Hindi temples in Mathura and a decision was taken by Tilkayat Damodarji, then a mere boy, and his uncle Shri Govindji, to move Shri Nathji to safety. On the 18 th of September 1670 A.D. Shri Nathji, concealed in a bullock cart, set forth from Mount Govardhan. Some two years later, when Shri Nathji’s chariot got stuck in the mud in Sinhad, Rajasthan it was understood that it was Shri Nathji’s wish to reside there. A temple was constructed for Shri Nathji and He was installed there on the 10 th February 1672 A.D. The village came to be known as Shri Nathdvara.
The divine reasons for Shri Nathji’s travels to Rajasthan are revealed in the story of Ajaba, one of Shri Gusainji’s 252 blessed bhaktas. In her account it is explained that Shri Gusainji once visited Sinhad, the current day town of Nathdvara and princess Ajaba became his follower. Shri Gokulnathji explains…..
Ajaba then began having Shri Nathji’s darshan. He would talk, laugh and play dice with her. Shri Nathji daily appeared to her, but if for some reason He didn’t, on that day she would not eat or drink anything until He came before her…..
One day, Shri Nathji was detained at some other bhata’s house and He did not make it to Ajab’s. On the following day, He arrived after lunch and Ajaba was totally distraught. Shri Nathji then laughed and played with her. Later that afternoon as He was about to go, Ajaba told Him , I will not let You go.’
“But I must. As long as Shri Gusainji is here, I have to daily return my temple on top of the Govardhan Hill. Don’t worry, I will visit you daily. After Shri Gusainji leaves this world, I will come and stay in your town, in your room for a very long time. I will not go anywhere else. I will become very famous and will give everyone darshan.”
“How I can trust you?”
“My words are true. Don’t worry; I will daily come to you.”
From that day, Shri Nathji visited Ajaba Kunvari every day after His temple on the Govardhan Hill close………
In this way, Shri Nathji Fulfilled His promise and later moved to Nathdvara in Mewar, Rajasthan.
On Shri Nathji’s left are two smaller Svarupas, one of Madan Mohanji, a standing, flute –playing Krishna, as well as tiny Bala Krishnaji, a Svarupa of infant Krishna Crawling on the floor, holding a ball of butter in one hand. This Svarupa was found by Shri Vallabhacharya when he was bathing in the Yamuna River. There is also a shaligrama acquired by Shri Vallabhacharya in south India. It is kept to Shri Nathji’s right as well as Giriraja Shila, a tiny stone from Mount Govardhan, picked up from the mountain when Shri Nathji left Govardhan Hill. There is also single wooden sandal called a paduka, which was worn by Shri Vallabhacharya. All of the main places of worship in the Pushti Marga have other forms of Shri Krishna or items related to Shri Vallabhacharya or Shri Gusainji established in the worship alongside the main Krishna Svarupa.