Born: 1479 AD - 1531 AD
BySri Swami Sivananda
Vallabhacharya, the founder of the Vaishnavite cult of Rajasthan and Gujarat, was born of Lakshmana Bhatta and Illamma in 1479 A.D. at Champaranya, Raipur, in Madhya Pradesh. He was a Telugu Brahmin and a contemporary of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He is regarded as an Avatara of Agni.
Vallabha lost his father when he was eleven years of age. He completed, in his twelfth year, his study of the Vedas, the six Darshanas and the eighteen Puranas at Varanasi. From Varanasi he went to Brindavan. Then he visited all the sacred places in India.
Vallabha attended the court of Raja Krishna Deva at Vijayanagar and defeated all the famous Pundits of the court. The Raja was very much pleased with Vallabha for his genius and learning, showered on him gifts of gold and other wealth, and invested him with the title of ‘Vaishnavacharya’. Vallabha’s fame and influence quickly increased. From Vijayanagar Vallabha went to Ujjain and other places.
Vallabha was married at Varanasi and his wife’s name was Mahalakshmi. He had two sons.
The important works of Vallabha are Vyasa Sutra Bhashya, Jaimini Sutra Bhasya, Bhagavata Tika Subodhini, Pushti Pravala Maryada and Siddhanta Rahasya. All these books are in Sanskrit. Vallabha has written many books in Brij Bhasha also.
Vallabha’s followers have built a temple on the spot of his birth at Champaranya. This temple is very popular and is much visited by them as a place of pilgrimage.
Vallabha spent his last days at Varanasi. He thought that his life’s mission had been accomplished. He went one day to bathe in the Ganges at Hanuman Ghat. There the people saw a brilliant light ascending the sky from the earth. In the presence of a host of spectators he ascended the sky and disappeared. This took place in 1531 A.D. in Vallabha’s fifty-second year.
Vallabhacharya was the exponent of pure Monism or the Shuddhadvaita school of philosophy. Sri Krishna is the highest Brahman. His body consists of Satchidananda. He is called Purushottama. Vallabha’s followers worship Bala Krishna (Vatsalya Bhava). Vallabha laid great stress on Pushti (grace) and Bhakti (devotion). Maha Pushti is the highest grace or Anugraha which helps the aspirant to attain Godhead. Things come out of the Akshara (Satchidananda) like sparks from fire. These are his salient teachings.
Source : http://www.dlshq.org/saints/vallabha.htm
Shri Vallabhacharya was not only a Saint but a great philosopher. Both philosophy and religion are the steps to Reality i.e. God. Actually he was the founder of Pushti Marg. Shri Vallabhacharya’s parents were Brahmin, natives of the Andhra, Region of Southern India.
Shri Vallabhacharya’s father was Lakshman Bhatt and Illamargaru was the mother. Lakshman’s parents had performed ninty-five “Yagnas” and it was informed to him by his “Guru” that the birth of an “Avtar” would take place in his family after having completed hundred Yagnas. With a view to visit the sacred places of North India, Lakshman Bhatt had started from his village with his family members to reach Varansi. He found the place with peace and during his stay in Varanasi, he had performed all five Somayagnas. Here he lived for some time but later, fearing disturbance and violence owing to Muslim ruler called Bahulul Lodi he fled with his family by a certain route which took him back to his native place. On his way to the South, he halted at Champaranya, a forest area in Raipur District i.e. in Madhya Pradesh. The terror and physical strain suffered by her resulted in the birth of the child at Champaranya, two months prematurely. Taking the child to be still-born for it showed no signs of life at first, the parents sadly placed it under a tree wrapped in a piece of cloth and proceeded to the village for rest, and at night they had a dream in which God himself appeared and informed that he had been born as their child which they had thought as dead. Hence they went to the spot and to their surprise they found the divine baby enveloped by fire as its protecting spirit.The blessed mother extended her arms into the fire and recieved the divine baby from the fire. The child was named Vallabh. Later he was known as Vallabhacharya.
Great persons are believed to have been born under extraordinary circumstances and so was the birth of Shri Vallabhacharya. The parents stayed at Champaranya for some days before they returned to Varanasi, when normal condition had once more prevailed.The face of the image of Shrinathji, whose upraised hand had appeared years back, came to light on Mount Goverdhan on the very day when Vallabhacharya was born, and later Shrinathji inspired Vallabhacharya to introduce Seva into Pushti Marg. Thus the birth of Shri Vallabacharya coincided with the Manifestation of the Mukharvind of Shrinathji. Lakshman Bhatt and his family had returned to Varanasi.Lakshman Bhatt himself was a learned man and so he took keen interest in his child’s education. He engaged the best tutors who were well versed in their subjects. His education commenced at the age of six with the study of vedas. Soon at the age of eleven he had surpassed his teachers with his intensive thinking and sharp reasoning.Shree Vallabhacharya used to meditate and talk to his followers in a peacefull surrounding area. There are total eighty four “Baithaks” all over India and they are still regarded with great reverence by the Vaishnavs.
He undertook various pilgrimage tours to various places expanding his teachings and perfecting his doctrines. Unfortunately, his father passed away before long, leaving him, at the age of eleven to the care of his mother. He spent more than fifteen years of his life in pilgrimages. During his trip to Gokarna he was invited by the king of Vijaynagar and he was recieved with warm welcome. Here he started to introduce his views on Vedas, Gita, the Brahma-Sutras and the Bhagvat. The King requested him to settle down but he wished them and proceeded giving them the following message:-“You should all be good and religious person – Not a God fearing man but a God loving man. Speak the truth. Be just and honest to all. Treat all persons equally. Have faith in Lord Krishna and surrender yourself to him. Be charitable and never harm the hungry and the weak. Realize that service to men and animals is service to God”.When he was in Pandharpur, Shri Vitobha told him to adopt (Gruhastha Dharma) i.e. to get married so that the Pushti Marg could be propagated for generation after generation.Shree Vallabhacharya settled down in Varanasi and accepted Mahalakshmi the daughter of a Brahmin called Madhu Mangalam, in marriage after consulting his mother in S.Y.1560.He had two sons. The elder was named Shri Gopinathji born in the S.Y.1568 and the second son born in the S.Y.1572 whose name was Shri Vithalnathji in reverence to Shri Vitobha of Pandharpur, whose incarnation he was believed to be. Shri Vallabhacharya being a great scholar had written innumerable books and his commentaries on Srimad Bhagvata Purana are considered the best.At the age of fifty two he detached himself from the world and started meditating and singing the songs of praise of Shri Krishna. On week prior to his departure from this material world, he took a vow of silence on the Hanuman Ghat in Varanasi at the bank of river Ganges. His two sons requested him to guide them and give his last message. As he had taken a vow of silence, he wrote a few words on sand; which were as follows:- “Listen to my last words. I forsee a time when you will forget God and become engrossed in worldly matters. It is likely that you will become slaves of your passions which will turn you away from the path of Devotion. Instead of rendering service to God which is your primary duty, you will fritter away your time and energy in idle pursuits. But if you follow my advice, God will not forget you. You should believe that Krishna is our God and never slacken your faith in him and then he will surely protect you. You should regard him as the be-all and end-all of your life. Your ultimate good lies in serving him, which should be done with all your heart, mind and soul. Trust in his protection. Remember him always in all thoughts, words and deeds”.
As soon as he ended, Lord Krishna manifested himself visually on the spot and wrote in the form of a verse completing Shri Vallabhacharya’s message and counsel thus:-“If you have faith in me, you will be under my care and protection and will not suffer failure of any sort. Be free from sorrows and anxieties concerning your future, for you are safe in my hands. Only you should love me with the love of Gopis. If you do so then you will surely secure liberation. That is the only mean of union with Me, by which you will regain your original divine nature. Do not give your thoughts to worldly matters. Be devoted to me and render service to “ME” by all the Means at your disposal”.Soon after this Shree Vallabhacharya rose from his seat and entered into the waters of the Ganges singing to himself the song of the Gopis and the Yugala Gita from the Bhagvata, Concentrating his mind on God’s form. And to a brilliant flame in the form of God arose from the water and whisked him away in the sight of thousands of men, women and children who had congregated there to have his last Darshan. This aspect gives him transcendental character to prove that he was not “Prakrutic” (natural) person like us but divine. We also call him as Mahaprabhuji. Hence Vaishnav’s consider Shri Krishna, Shree Yamunaji and Shree Vallabhacharya on equal footings, for this simple reason that all the three are inherently capable of emancipating the souls from the bondage of life and death.
Source : http://www.shrinathji.com/vallabhacharyaji.htm