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 Vallabh was born in the year 1478 A.D.(Vik.Sam.1535) in Champaranya near Raipur in Central India.He was the son Of Shri Laxman Bhatt and Illama garu.Shri Laxman Bhattji was the descandent of Yagnanarayan Bhatt,to whom the Lord had promised on the completion of a 100 Somayagnas that the Lord himself would be born in his family.
Shri Vallabh was interested in studies from his early childhood.When all the other children of his age were busy playing with toys, Shri Vallabh used to play with books.When he was 6 years old Shri Laxman Bhattji engaged good teachers to teach Aksharbhashya to Shri Vallabh.In no time Shri Vallabh had learnt all the things that the teachers could teach at times surpassing his teachers with his sharp reasoning and brilliant thinking powers.
When Shri Vallabh was nine years old Shri Laxman Bhattji performed the Yagyopavit Sanskara (thread ceremony) of his two sons (Shri Vallabh had an elder brother,Shri Ramchandra Bhattji).Soon afterwards the best teachers were employed to teach subjects such as Adhyatma Vidya (education of the Vedas) and Shad Darshan (six systems of Indian Philosophy) to them.Shri Vallabh acquired command on these subjects within only two years of initiationAt the tender age of 11 years Shri Vallabh began discussing the intricacies of the meaning of the various doctrines such as Vishishtadwaita,Kewaladwaita,Dwaita,etc.in a most critical manner.This surprised all those who met him.
From this we can see that Shri Vallabh was a very bright and good student of all the aspects of the Hindu society and achieved their thorough knowledge at a very tender age.
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.
Teachings of Vallabhacharya
He traveled throughout India meeting scholars. He called himself an incarnation of the Lord Agni. He had not acknowledged any human teacher. He says that he had learnt his system direct from Lord Krishna. He preached the worship of Lord Vishnu in the form of Krishna. Philosophically his school is called Shuddhadvaita meaning pure monism. To him Bhakti was not only a means but an end also. A true devotee will live and sport for ever with Lord Krishna. According to him Bhakti is given by God. The released souls rise to Lord Krishna`s heaven or Vyapi-Vaikuntha. In the heaven there is also Vrindavan where Radha, Gopis and Gopas reside. He visited Mathura, Vrindavan and many other sacred places and finally settled at Banaras.
Vallabhacharya taught that there was no distinction between Brahmin and the individual soul and the latter could get rid of bondage by Bhakti. He asked his followers to offer everything in the service of Krishna. According to Vallabha only individuals who have the grace of Krishna can be successful in the path of devotion. He advocated the worship of idols of Krishna. Later the rituals of this sect became very complicated. Many followers of Vallabha composed poems on Krishna in Hindi language and thus contributed greatly to the spread of Krishna cult.
The cult is called, `seva` and also known as Pushtimarga. Pushtimarga, the path of divine grace is based on the “Vishudhadvaita” philosophy, initially shown by Shri Vallabhacharya. Shri Vallabha strongly suggested that Lord Shri Krishna is the ultimate God. Thus, Shri Krishna`s blessings alone and only can free humans from the painful cycle of birth and death. Shri Vallabhacharya wrote many books, but many of them are not available today due to lack of proper perseverance.
Many important books / articles / padas written by Vallabhacharya and the Acharyas of Vallabhkul are still available and famous in Vaishnava society. Yamunashatakam, Navaratnam and many other padas, and Subodhinji book are very important for Vaishnavas to read and understand. This sect is very popular among the rich business class of Western India. He breathed his last in the year 1531.