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
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.