I am pleased to offer the devotional community this third and final volume of 252 Vaishnavas. These life stories of the disciples of Shri Vitthalnathji (Shri Gusainji) were written in the 17th century by his son, Shri Gokulnathji and then commented upon by Shri Harirayaji, Shri Gusainji's great grandson. Sri Harirayaji's illuminating commentary is found throughout this text in italic print. The 252 Vaishnavas vartas, or life accounts, describe how these blessed souls met their guru, Shri Gusainji, and the divine effects of those meetings.
In these accounts we find details from each of the Vaishnavas three lives: their worldly life before meeting Shri Gusainji, their devotional life after initiation into the path of Grace, and their existence and form in the eternal Lila. They received all kinds of amazing grace, which granted them the vision and experience of their eternal Beloved, Shri Krishna. These vartas takes us from the mundane creation to the eternal Lila play of Shri Krishna, and then back again, to a sacred world that is full of refined, devotional cognitions.
The 252 Vaishnavas stories are often surreal, but they also include refined Vedantic teachings. They contain the essence of Shri Vallabhacharya's Path of Grace, the pushti Marg, distinguished by the purely non-dual philosophy that everything is Brahman (God) and nothing but Brahman. The Vaishnavas accounts are filled with priceless and practical example of how we too can discover the enlightened devotional lifestyle within our own individual worlds. In their bhakti-filled stories, we can discover our own special relationship with the Beloved, wherein the hidden essences of grace flourish. As my guru, His Holiness Goswami Prathameshji, once told me.
"The life stories of the bhaktas are very hidden, as is always the case with things of a higher standard. And so, it takes many readings to understand the inner teachings of the devotee's lifestyles. Total comprehension could take years. In the accounts of the 84 and 252 Vaishnavas, for example, each bhakta's life story is filled with many meanings, and the life sketch opens slowly, by itself. True understanding of the Path of Grace arrives when one's spiritual nature blossoms. That is the most desirable spiritual position."
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