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v t e

Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
(1479–1531 CE), also known as Vallabha, was a devotional philosopher, who founded the Krishna-centered Pushti sect of Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism
in the Braj
Braj
region of India,[1] and the philosophy of Shuddha advaita
Shuddha advaita
(Pure Nondualism).[2][3] Vallabha
Vallabha
was born in a Telugu Brahmin family that had been living in Varanasi, who escaped to the Champaran of Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh
state while expecting Vallabha, during the turbulent times of Hindu-Muslim conflicts in the late 15th century.[4] Vallabha
Vallabha
studied the Vedas
Vedas
and the Upanishads
Upanishads
as a child, then travelled throughout the Indian subcontinent over 20 years.[4] He became one of the important leaders of the devotional Bhakti movement. The hagiographies written by his followers, just like those for other Bhakti leaders, claim that he won many philosophical debates against the followers of Ramanuja, Madhvacharya
Madhvacharya
and others, had visions and miracles.[4] He is the Acharya
Acharya
and Guru
Guru
within the Pushti sub-tradition, which he founded after his own interpretation of the Vedanta
Vedanta
philosophy. Vallabha
Vallabha
rejected asceticism and monastic life, suggested that through loving devotion to God Krishna, any householder could achieve salvation – an idea that became influential in western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.[5] He is associated with Vishnuswami,[6] and is the prominent Acharya
Acharya
of Rudra Sampradaya out of the four Vaishnava Sampradayas.[7] He authored many texts including the Anubhashya (a commentary on Brahm Sutra), Shodash Granth or sixteen 'stotras' (tracts) and several commentaries on the Bhagavata
Bhagavata
Purana. Vallabha's writings and kirtan compositions focus on baby Krishna
Krishna
and his childhood pranks with Yashoda (unconditional motherly love), as well as a youthful Krishna in relationship (erotic mysticism) with cowherding women as the many lilas (pastimes) of Krishna, Krishna's protection of the good (divine grace) and his victory over demons and evils, all with allegory and symbolism.[5] His legacy is best preserved in the Braj
Braj
region, and particularly at Nathdwara
Nathdwara
in Mewar region of India
India
– an important Krishna
Krishna
pilgrimage center.[5]

Contents

1 Life

1.1 Childhood 1.2 Education 1.3 Victory at Vijayanagara 1.4 Pilgrimage of India 1.5 Establishment of Pushtimarg 1.6 Personal life 1.7 Death

2 Pushtimarg 3 Works

3.1 Commentaries and Verses (c. 1479-1531) 3.2 Shodash Granthas

4 See also 5 References 6 Bibliography 7 External links

Life[edit] Childhood[edit]

Birthplace of Vallabhacharya, Prakatya Baithak, Champaran

The ancestors of Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
hailed from the Andhra region and belonged to a long line of Telugu Vaidiki Brahmins known as Velanadu or Vellanatiya following the Vishnu
Vishnu
Swami school of thought. According to devotional accounts, Krishna
Krishna
commanded his ancestor Yagnanarayana Bhatta that He would take birth in their family after completion of 100 Somayagnas (fire sacrifices). By the time of Yagnanarayana's descendant Lakshmana Bhatta who migrated to the holy town of Varanasi, the family had completed 100 Somayagnas. Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
was born to Lakshmana Bhatta in 1479 A.D. (V.S. 1535) on the 11th day of the dark half of lunar month of chaitra at Champaranya. The name of his mother was Illamma.[1][8] The period surrounding Vallabhacharya's birth was a tumultuous one and most of northern and central India
India
was being influenced by Muslim invaders. It was common for populations to migrate in order to flee from religious persecution and conversion. On one such occasion, Lakshmana Bhatta had to urgently move out of Varanasi
Varanasi
with his pregnant wife. Due to terror and physical strain of the flight suffered by the mother, there was a premature birth of the child, two months in advance. As the child did not show signs of life, the parents placed it under a tree wrapped in a piece of cloth. It is believed that Krishna
Krishna
appeared in a dream before the parents of Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
and signified that He Himself had taken birth as the child. According to popular accounts, the parents rushed to the spot and were amazed to find their baby alive and protected by a circle of divine fire. The blessed mother extended her arms into the fire unscathed; she received from the fire the divine baby, gleefully to her bosom. The child was named Vallabha
Vallabha
(meaning "dear one" in Sanskrit).[1] Education[edit] His education commenced at the age of seven with the study of four Vedas. He acquired mastery over the books expounding the six systems of Indian philosophy. He also learnt philosophical systems of Adi Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka
Nimbarka
along with the Buddhist
Buddhist
and Jain schools. He was able to recite a hundred mantras, not only from beginning to end but also in reverse order. At Vyankateshwar and Lakshmana Balaji, he made a strong impression on the public as an embodiment of knowledge. He was now applauded as Bala Saraswati.[1] After studying till age of 11, he went to Vrindavan.[8] Victory at Vijayanagara[edit] In the court Tuluva
Tuluva
king Krishnadevaraya, a debate was conducted at Vijayanagara
Vijayanagara
between the Vaishnavaites of Madhva and Shankarites over the philosophical question whether God is Dualistic or non-dualistic. Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
participated in the discussion. At the age of 11, Vallabhacharya, who had earned an epithet of Bala Saraswati was given the opportunity to discuss the question.[9] The discussion continued for 27 days in the conference hall. He was honoured with the kanakabhishekam ceremony by Krishnadevaraya
Krishnadevaraya
on victory. The titles of ‘Acharya’ and 'Jagadguru' (world preceptor) were conferred on him. He was given vessels of gold weighing a hundred maunds. Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
politely declined to accept them and distributed them among the poor brahmins and the learned after keeping only seven gold mohurs. They were used for preparing the ornaments of Govardhananatha.[8] Pilgrimage of India[edit] Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
performed three pilgrimages of India, barefoot. He wore a simple white dhoti and a white cloth to cover the upper part of his body (known as ‘Upavarna’, literally "upper cloth" in Sanskrit). He gave discourses on Bhagavata
Bhagavata
at 84 places and explained the meanings of the Puranic text. This 84 places are known as Chaurāsi Baithak
Baithak
(चौरासी बैठक) and now they are places of pilgrimage. He stayed in Vraja for four months in each year.[1][8] Establishment of Pushtimarg[edit]

Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
discovers Shrinathji, at Mount Govardhan.

It is believed that when Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
entered Gokul, he thought about the important question of restoring people to the right path of devotion. He meditated on Krishna
Krishna
who appeared to him in a vision in the form of Shrinathji,[10] a deity discovered by Madhavendra Puri
Madhavendra Puri
and disclosed the 'Brahma Sambandha' ( Sanskrit
Sanskrit
for "relation with Brahman, the supreme Godhead"), a mantra of self dedication or consecration of self to Krishna. During that time Damodardasa, his worthiest and most beloved disciple, was sleeping next to him.[11] In the early morning, Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
related this experience to Damodardasa and asked him — “Damala, did you hear any voice last night”? Damodaradasa replied that "I heard something but was not able to understand the meaning of it." Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
then explained the meaning of the mantra and at that time he became the first Vaishnava initiated by Vallabhacharya. Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
wanted to preach his message of devotion to God and God’s grace called Pushtimarg (path of grace). He undertook three pilgrimages of India. He performed the initiation ceremony of religious rite by conferring on them the ‘Nama Nivedana’ mantra or the ‘Brahma Sambandha’ mantra. Thousands became his disciples, but 84 devoted servants are most famous and their life has been documented in Pushtimarg literature as the ‘Story of 84 Vaishnavas’.[1] He also met Vyas
Vyas
in his Himalayan cave and discussed Krishna
Krishna
and his flute.[citation needed] Personal life[edit]

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v t e

He intended to remain a lifelong celibate but the deity-guru Vitthalanatha of Pandharpur
Pandharpur
commanded him to marry and live the life of a householder. Obeying his guru, he married Mahalaxmi and had two sons, Gopinath and Vitthalnath (also known as Gusainji).[12][13] Death[edit] At the age of 52, he took samadhi (died) in the Ganga river in hanuman ghat of kashi Based on Pushti Marg literature, in about 1530 A.D., Shrinathji commanded Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
to leave the worldly life and to come near Him. It is said that Shrinathji
Shrinathji
had previously expressed His wish on two different occasions. The third command was accepted by Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
as the last verdict. He reached Kasi and according to Vedic traditions, formally renounced the world by taking Sanyasa
Sanyasa
and a vow of silence. He lived in a hut made of leaves on the Hanuman
Hanuman
ghat for about a week. He spent his last days in contemplation of Krishna and suffered agonies of separation from Him. The members of his family assembled near him for his last darshan. When asked about his advice, Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
scribbled three and a half Sanskrit
Sanskrit
verses in the sand by way of counsel. To complete this message, it is believed that Krishna
Krishna
Himself manifested visually on the spot and wrote in the form of a verse and a half. This collection of verses is known as ‘ShikshaSloki’ in Pushti Marg literature. He entered into the waters of the Ganges
Ganges
on the day of Rath Yatra
Rath Yatra
(a festival that is celebrated on the second or third day of the bright side of the lunar month of Ashadha). People witnessed a brilliant flame as it arose from the water and ascended to heaven and was lost in the firmament. This episode is known as AsurVyamohLila.[1] Pushtimarg[edit] Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
represented the culmination of philosophical thought during the Bhakti Movement
Bhakti Movement
in the Middle Ages. The sect established by him is unique in its facets of devotion to Krishna, especially his child manifestation, and is enriched with the use of traditions, music and festivals. Today, though most of his followers reside in North and West India, his temples all over the world and he has many devout followers.[citation needed] Works[edit] Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
composed many philosophical and devotional books during his lifetime such as:

Anubhashya or Brahmsutranubhashya - 4 cantos of commentaries on the Brahm Sutra
Sutra
of Ved Vyas Tattvaarth Dip Nibandh - Essays on the fundamental principles of spirituality (3 chapters)

Chapter 1: Shaastrarth Prakaran Chapter 2: Bhagavatarth Prakaran Chapter 3: Sarvanirnay Prakaran

Subodhini - Commentary on Shrimad Bhagavat Mahapuran (only cantos 1, 2, 3 and 10 are available) Shodash Granth - Sixteen short verse-type compositions to teach his followers about devotional life

Other than the above main literature, he also composed additional works such as Patravalamban, Madhurashtakam, Gayatribhashya, Purushottam Sahastranaam, Girirajdharyashtakam, Nandkumarashtakam Sudarshan Kavach etc. Commentaries and Verses (c. 1479-1531)[edit] He wrote elaborate commentaries on Sanskrit
Sanskrit
scriptures, the Brahma-Sutras (Anubhasya[14]), and Shreemad Bhagwatam (Shree Subodhini ji, Tattvarth Dip Nibandh). Shodash Granthas[edit] Also, in order to help devotees on this path of devotion, he wrote 16 pieces in verse which we know as the Shodasha Granthas. These came about as answers to devotees. The verses define the practical theology of Pushtimarga. The Shodash Granthas (doctrines) serve as a lighthouse for devotees. They speak about increasing love for Shri Krishna
Krishna
through Seva (service) and Smarana (remembering). These doctrines are Mahaprabhu’s way of encouraging and inspiring devotees on this path of grace. The central message of the Shodasha Granthas is total surrender to the Lord. A Goswami can initiate an eager soul to this path of Shri Krishna’s loving devotion and service. The verses explain the types of devotees, the way to surrender and the reward for Seva, as well as other practical instructions. The devotee is nurtured by the Lord’s grace.

Shree Yamunastakam: An ode to Shree Yamuna Maharani Baala Bodhah: A guide for beginners on the path of devotion Siddhant-Muktavali: A string of pearls consisting of the principles/fundamentals of Pushtimarg Pusti-Pravaha-Maryadabhedah: The different characteristics of the different types of souls (Receptivity of the Lord’s grace) Siddhant-Rahasya: The Secret behind the Principles Navratna : Nine jewels of instructions (Priceless instructions for a devotee) Antah-Karan-Prabodhah: Consoling one's Heart (Request to one’s own heart) Vivek-Dhairy-Aashray: Of discretion, patience and surrender Shree Krushna Aashray: Taking Shree Krushna’s shelter Chatuhshloki: A Four Verses (Verser) illustrating the four principles of life; Dharma, Arth, Kaam, Moksh Bhakti-Vardhini: Increase of devotion Jal-Bhed: Difference in Waters. Pancha-Padyaani: Five instructive verses Sannyasa-Nirnayah: Decision on taking Renunciation Nirodh-Lakshanam: Identifying characteristics of detachment Seva-Phalam: The reward of performing seva (worship) of the Lord

See also[edit]

Bhagavata Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Champaran (Chhattisgarh) Krishna Madhavendra Puri Madhvacharya Nimbarka Para Brahman Pushtimarg Ramanuja Shuddhadvaita

References[edit]

^ a b c d e f g Shah, J.G. (1969). Shri Vallabhacharya: His Philosophy and Religion. Pushtimargiya Pustakalaya.  ^ "Shuddha-advaita Brahmvaad - Philosophy of Shree Vallabhacharyaji". Kankroli based Shri Vakpati Foundation. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-06-06.  External link in publisher= (help) ^ Sharma, Govardhana; Parikha, Pravinacandra Cimanalala (January 1993). Vedanta
Vedanta
Cintamanih of Bharatamartanda Pandita. Param Publications. ISBN 81-86045-00-7.  ^ a b c Constance Jones; James D. Ryan (2006). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Infobase. pp. 475–476. ISBN 978-0-8160-7564-5.  ^ a b c Catherine B. Asher; Cynthia Talbot (2006). India
India
Before Europe. Cambridge University Press. pp. 111–112. ISBN 978-0-521-80904-7.  ^ Beck, Guy L (2005). " Krishna
Krishna
as Loving Husband of God". Alternative Krishnas: Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-6415-1. Retrieved 2008-04-12.  ^ Sharma, V.P. (1998). The Sadhus and Indian Civilisation. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD.  ^ a b c d Prasoon, Shrikant (2009). Indian Saints & Sages. Pustak Mahal. ISBN 9788122310627.  ^ Jones, Constance (2007). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. New York: Infobase Publishing. p. 475. ISBN 0-8160-5458-4.  ^ Ojha, P.N. (1978). Aspects of Medieval Indian Society and Culture. BR Pub. Corp.; New Delhi: DK Publishers' Distributors.  ^ http://www.nathdwara.in ^ Edwin Francis Bryant (2007). Krishna: A Sourcebook. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 482. ISBN 978-0-19-803400-1.  ^ Kincaid, C. (January 1933). "Review: Imperial Farmans by K. M. Jhaveri". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland: 131–132. JSTOR 25194699. (subscription required) ^ Anubhashya

Bibliography[edit]

Sri Subodhini, first time English Translation, 25 Vols./ Delhi Babb, Lawrence A. The Bhakti Sect of Vallabhacarya. Delhi: Thomson Press. 1976

External links[edit]

The Philosophy of Vallabha, Surendranath Dasgupta, 1940 Pustimarg Sahitya by Mota Mandir Mumbai Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya Shri Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
and His Life Vaishnav Parivar: A informative portal about Pushtimarg, Vaishnavism Jeevan Charitra Of Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya
in the form of a patrika Vallabha
Vallabha
Acharya Brief sketch of Vallabhacharya The life of Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhuji Shri Vallabhacharya

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 59882534 LCCN: n80059233 ISNI: 0000 0000 8386 7873 SUDOC: 066877253 BNF: cb1374

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