Shri Vallabhacharya

Hindi Text

Vallabhacharya (1479–1531) was a devotional philosopher, who founded the Pushti sect in India, following the philosophy of Shuddha advaita (Pure Non-dualism). Vallabhacharya accepted the 'Acharya' designation of Vishnuswami Sampraday (Rudra Sampraday) upon request of Bilvamangala Acharya, the last Vishnuswami Sampraday acharya before Vallabhacharya. This was after Vallabhacharya won the famous debate of Brahmavad over Shankars. Apart from being the acharya of Vishnuswami Sampradaya, Vallabhacharya also propagated the Pushtimarg upon the god Krishna's order and thus became the acharya of not only Vishnuswami Sampraday but also Pushti Sampraday. He is the Acharya and Guru within the Vaishnava traditions as promulgated and prescribed by the Vedanta philosophy. He is associated with Vishnuswami, a prominent Acharya of Rudra Sampradaya out of the four Vaishnava Sampradayas. Within Indian Philosophy, he is known as the writer of sixteen 'stotras' (tracts) and produced several commentaries on the Bhagavata Purana, which describes the many lilas (pastimes) of the avatar, Krishna. Vallabha Acharya occupies a unique place in Indian culture as a scholar, a philosopher and devotional (bhakti) preacher. He is widely considered as the last of the four great Vaishnava Acharyas who established the various Vaishnava schools of thought based on Vedantic philosophy, the other three (preceding him) being Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya and Nimbarkacharya. He is especially known as a lover and a propagator of Bhagavata Dharma. He was born in Champaranya in India. The ancestors of Vallabha acharya lived in Andhra Pradesh and belonged to a long line of Telugu Vaidiki Brahmins known as Vellanadu or Vellanatiya following the Vishnu Swami school of thought. According to devotional accounts, 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 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. The period surrounding Vallabhacharya's birth was a tumultuous one and most of northern and central 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 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 appeared in a dream before the parents of 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 babe, gleefully to her bosom. The child was named Vallabha (meaning "dear one" in Sanskrit). 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 along with the Buddhist and Jain schools. He was able to recite 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.

Work done:

Shri Vallabh lived on earth for only a small period of 52 years,but during this short span he wrote as many as 84 granthas(works) but all of them are not avaiable as many were lost or taken away during the 500 plus years history of this rich Sampradaya.A list of some of his works is given below : The Anubhashya The Anubhashya (His treatise on Brahmasutra by Shri Vedavyasa).Any person who is interested in Hindu philosophy finds this epic to be the soundest commentary on the Brahmasutras. The Tattvartha-Dip Nibandh His second most valuable grantha (work) is the Tattvartha-Dip-Nibandh which contains three chapters : The Shastrarth Prakaran : It is related to the propogation of the Shhudhadwaita philosophy. The Sarva Nirnaya Prakarana : It deals with all the principle schools of Hindu philosophy. The Bhagwatarth Prakaran : It consists of a lucid explaination of the meaning of Shrimad Bhagwat. Shri Subodhiniji Shri Vallabh had also writen an in depth commentary on Shrimad Bhagwat, the Subodhini.Though Shri Vallabh was not able to write on all the skandhs(cantos),it still stands out as a very masterly and critical work.The meaning which the author of Shrimad Bhagwat wanted to convay to the people have been explained in a very masterly manner in this work. The Shodash Granthas The Shodash Granthas are a collection of sixteen works of Shri Vallabh in which Shri Vallabh has discussed a spectrum of subjects starting from salutation to Shri Yamunaji in Shri Yamunashtakam and ending with the grantha Seva-falam in which Shri Vallabh has discussed about the fruits of performing the seva of Lord Shrinathji.The Shodash granthas are most important for any Vaishnava as they teach him to live life according to Pushtimarg.This is the reason why the Shodash Granthas are also known by the name Vallabh Gita.As in the Bhagwad Gita Lord Krishna taught Arjuna to look at life from a new perspective and to know the truth about life Shri Vallabh has also taught his disciples,the Vaishnavas to live a pious, peaceful life and to achieve the true goal of life which is the attainment of God in these sixteen granthas. The Purshottam Sahstranam Stotra This stotra of Shri Vallabh needs special mention because it has a unique place amogst the vaishnavas of Pushtimarg.A very interesting tale is related to the making of this grantha. Shri Gopinathji had a principle that he would eat only after completing the Bhagwat Parayan (reading the whole Bhagwat once which means reading 567000 letters or 18000 shlokas or 334 chapters).It would take Shri Gopinathji one and a half days to complete this Parayan and so he ate once in one and a half days.Due to this Shri Vallabh became worried as this would have affect on Shri Gopinathji's health.So he decided to create a stotra which would contain the summary of all the Avtars and lilas described in Shrimad Bhagwat.With this in mind he created the Purshottam sahastranam stotra.This stotra of 252 shlokas is equivalent to Shrimad Bhagwat and the vaishnavas of Pushtimarg recite this stotra regularly even today. Some Other Works During his stay in northern India,Shri Vallabhacharyaji came into contact with Keshav Kashmiri,the famous Nimbarka scholar.Keshav Kashmiri presented his pupil Madhav Bhatt Kashmiri to Shri Vallabh as a Dakshina as he had studied/heard Bhagwat from Shri Vallabh.Madhav Bhatt Kashmiri became a devout disciple of Shri Vallabh and acted as his scribe.Madhav Bhatt Kashmiri composed many granthas for Shri Vallabh.During this peroid Shri Vallabh wrote Purvamimansa Bhashya,Brahma Sutra and Sukshma Tika.Only a fragment of Purvamimansa Bhashya is available now while Sukshma Tika is almost lost.


Posted By : Vinod Jindal on Dec 16, 2010


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