SHREE VALLABH !
History of Shree Mahaprabhuji
History Of Shree Vallabhcharyaji
SHREE VALLABHACHARYA: (A. D. 1479 – 1531)
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.
Shri Vallabh was born in a south Indian brahmin family.He left his home and went for his first Prithvi parikrama at a tender age of only 13 years.He lived for 52 years but completed many tasks which were not possible by mere mortals.You can know about the various periods of the life of Shri Vallabh by clicking on any of the topics given below :
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.
In the Year in which Shri Vallabh was born there was a rumour that there was going to be an invasion in the city of Benaras(Varanasi).So shri Laxman Bhattji left Benaras with his wife, who was pregnant, and started from their house at Hanuman Ghat in Benaras to go to his native village in Andhra Pradesh (South India).
On the way when they came to the little forest of Champaranya Shri Illamaji had severe labour pain and gave birth to Shri Vallabh.This was only the seventh month of the pregnency period so all were not sure whether the child would survive.At first Shri Vallabh did not cry or make any sort of movement that a new born baby makes.Even when Shri Laxman Bhattji tried a few things he did not respond.So all of them thought that the child was born dead and so they continued with their journey leaving Shri Vallabh behind in the forest.
At night the Lord himself came to Shri Laxman Bhattji and told him to go back and pick up the child who was the incarnation of the Lord himself.Shri Laxman Bhattji sat up from his sleep and decided to go back to the spot where he had left Shri Vallabh,though he thought that the child might have perished alone in that forest.On returning to that place all of them saw that Shri Vallabh was playing and had the thumb of his leg in his mouth and a ring of fire was lit up around him to protect him.All those present, along with Shri Laxman Bhattji himself, were astonished on seeing this scene.After a while all of them regained their senses and Shri Illamaji picked Shri Vallabh in her hands as the ring of fire disappeared.
They took Shri Vallabh back to Varanasi instead of going to their native place.On their way they stayed in Chauda Nagar for performing some of the initial sanskaras such as the namkaran (naming of a child).After a few days they returned to varanasi.
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.
When Shri Vallabh went to visit his uncle in Vidyanagar a Shastrarth (discussion) was going on between the Vaishnavas and the Mayavadins.Shri Vallabh came to know from the locals that the Mayavadins were going to win in a day or two.On hearing this Shri Vallabh himself decided to the palace of Maharaja Krishnadev Rai where the discussion was taking place.
When Shri Vallabh entered the palace the courtieres present and those who were discussing were so astonished to see divine beauty of Shri Vallabh that they were left speechless.They were equally amazed to know that a child of such a small age was ready to enter into a discussion with such learned men.Shri Vallabh then started asking questions to the Mayavadins, who till then were on the verge of winning the discussion.The Mayavadins had no answer to the questions asked by Shri Vallabh and they finally accepted defeat after - days.On this day Shri Vallabh established a new school of thought known as the Shhudhadvaita.
Krishnadev Rai then decided to perform a Kanakabhishek (a bath in water of pure gold) of Shri Vallabh.He not only weighed Shri Vallabh with gold but also gave him vast wealth.But Shri Vallabh took only 7 gold coins because he wanted to construct a temple of Shrinathji and gave the remaining wealth to the poor.
3 Prithvi Parikramas during his life :
Shri Vallabh completed 3 Prithvi Parikramas during his life (A parikrama means to circum-navigate an area which is considered pious.The word Prithvi though refers to the world as a whole but here it is meant to include only India).Shri Vallabh's aim of undertaking these parikramas was to meet as many people as possible and teach them his philosophy.Shri Vallabh wanted to reach all the Daivi Jeevas who were there on this earth and take them back to God by giving them the Brahmasambandh Diksha.He met those Daivi Jeevas duing the three Parikramas and gave them Brahmasambandh whereby they were accepted by Lord Krishna.
There is a tale regarding the parikramas.When Shri Vallabh decided to start his first Parikrama he was only 13 years old.In India there is a tradition to take leave of one's parents before going out so Shri Vallabh approached his widowed mother and told her that he wanted to go on a parikrama.On hearing this Shri Illamaji (Shri Vallabh's mother) was shocked and refused to give him the permission to do so.But it was necessary for Shri Vallabh to go to Vraj where Lord Shrinathji was waiting for him so Shri Vallabh thought a way out.Shri Vallabh was the incarnation of Agni (Fire) and so on his wish his own house caught fire.Shri Illamaji quickly ran out of the house but Shri Vallabh stayed inside.On seeing his son not coming out Shri Illamaji started screaming "Get out!Get out of the house!!".Shri Vallabh took his mother's sentence (Get out of the house) as her permission to go on a parikrama.This is all Shri Vallabh wanted to hear and he set out for Vraj.Before setting out Shri Vallabh promised Shri Illamaji that he would be by her bedside when she would pass away(He did keep this promise too!).
Shri Vallabh completed the three parikramas and settled in Adel near Allahabad.
During all the three parikramas Shri Valabh imposed three ardous rules on himself.They were :
1. Do the parikrama barefooted.(He walked 12000 kms. barefooted in his life)
2. Never enter a village or city but always stay on it's outskirts.
3. Never wear stitched clothes.(He wore only a dhoti and a small piece of cloth known as a Uparana throughout his life)
• 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.
Shri Vallabh's philosophy is based on the teachings of the Upanishads.Shri Vallabh considers only four scriptures as pramans (proofs) for supporting his philosophy,they are:
1. The Vedas.
2. Shrimad Bhagwad Gita.
3. Vyas Sutras.
4. Shrimad Bhagwatji.
Based on these four pramans Shri Vallabh propogated a new system of philosophy known as the Shhudhadvaita.For the re-unision of the vaishnavas with Lord Shrinathji he started the sewa pranali of Lord Shrinathji on the order of the Lord himself.