Mahaprabhu Shri Vallabhacharyaji

Date of Birth:
Eleventh day of the dark half of Chaitra month of V.S. 1535

Place of Birth:
in the forest named Champaranya in India.

Left the World:
At the age of 52 on the day of Rathayatra in V.S. 1587 he entered into the river Ganga and one bright bundle of light merged into the Sun and disappeared from the world.

His father’s name was Lakshman Bhatta and mother’s name was Sri Illammagaru. Born in Vellanateeya community of Brahmana which is regarded as yet a pious and well educated community of India, his gotra was Bharadvaja and Sutra Apastamba. His ancestors were in study of the Taittireeya Shakha of the Krshna Yajurved. He had two sons. The elder one named Shri Gopinathji and the younger named Shri Vitthalnathji (popularly known as Shri Gusaiji).

Different aspects of personalities:

As a father:
He trained his two sons Shri Gopinathji and Shri Vitthalnathji so as to become able Acharya of Pushti Bhakti Sampradaya in all aspects. He established his own mahatmya (greatness) in all respects in his two sons.

As a son:
He learnt from his father. He showed his extraordinary genius by completing study of all religious scriptures like Veda, Purana, Smriti, Tantra etc. at the age of only 11 years. In his childhood itself he used to participate in so many debates and defeat all opponents. He maintained that scholarly approach making his parents feel always proud of him.

As an ideal Guru:
An expert jeweler buys a jewel by putting it to a touchstone. Similarly, a Guru does not make anybody his disciple, without taking test. Bhagwan had ordained Shri Vallabhacharya to reveal the path of Pushti-Bhakti for the upliftment of only Pushti-Beings. Hence, the devotional path of Pushti is meant only for the Pushti-Beings, it is not the religion for the people of the whole universe. Shri Vallabhacharya would grant initiation only after taking test of the candidate so that a non-Pushti being may not enter into this Path. After granting initiation Shri Vallabhacharya did not leave any of his disciples on his fortune. He would stay at his home and teach him everything until he has proper knowledge of the doctrines and the course of path of Pushti-devotion. If any person came to his place for receiving initiation he would welcome him at his place and teach him everything about the doctrines and method of worship etc.

Some disciples stayed with Sri Vallabhacharya for lifetime. He would keep a watch on them so that they might not blaspheme others or might not enter into discussion unrelated to Bhagwan. For that purpose he would go to see his disciples regularly twice or thrice at night. His character lets us know that a Guru should be as cautious for his disciples as parents are worried every moment for the well-being of their little innocent children.

Balya Avastha:
The birth and death of ordinary human beings take place to avail the fruits of sinful and virtuous actions committed in their earlier births. But the birth and death of great men do not occur because of such ordinary reasons. Just as a king may go out from his royal palace on some special purpose and comes to his palace by his own will. Similarly, the birth and death of great persons take place by their own will on special commandment of Bhagwan. They incarnate on the earth to perform some special deeds and when their work is over they go back to their own abode.

Manifestation at the behest of Bhagwan:

In the age of Kali, all the scriptural paths of self-upliftment had been corrupted because of hypocritical beliefs. Divine Pushti beings were experiencing affliction and agitation as they did not know any path to be closer to the Supreme Being Shri Krshna. Bhagwan Shri Krshna discerned this and so He ordained Shri Vallabhacharya to incarnate on the earth for uplifting divine beings. Bhagwan entrusted three works to Shri Vallabhacharya:

  1. To uplift the divine Pushti beings by propounding the devotional path of Pushti,
  2. To explain the meaning of Shri Bhagwat which is the base of the devotional path of Pushti, (Shri Vallabhacharya himself has mentioned the very purpose of his incarnation in the introductory verse-5 of his ‘Subodhiniji’ commentary on Bhagwat Purana) and
  3. To proclaim the true purport of the scriptural paths of Action and Knowledge that lead to liberation.

On receiving Bhagwan’s commandment Shri Vallabhacharya incarnated.

Shri Vallabhacharya was born in the forest named: ‘Champaranya’ in India on the eleventh day of the dark half of Chaitra month of V.S. 1535 (A.D. 1478) during the travel of his parents from Kashi to their native place Kankarvar in Andhra state of modern India. His father’s name was Lakshman Bhatta and mother’s name was Shrimati Illammagaru. Born in Vellanateeya community of Brahmana which is regarded as yet a pious and well-educated community of India, his Gotra was Bharadvaja and Sutra Apastamba. His ancestors were in study of the Taittireeya Shakha of the Krshna Yajurved

His father Shri Lakshman Bhattji sent him to learned Pundits for education. Besides his father he learnt from the scholars like Shri Vishnuchit, Gurunarayana Dikshit, Shri Madhavendra Yati etc. He showed his extraordinary genius by completing study of all religious scriptures like Veda, Purana, Smrti, Tantra etc. and various philosophies like Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Mimamsa, Jaina, Bauddha etc. at the age of only 11 years!!

At the age of 11-12, when he went for the Darshan of Sri Jagannatharaiji, he was informed about the prevailing debate on philosophical scriptures in the court of the king. He also came to know that the opponents have dominated the Vaishnava scholars. He immediately rushed to the court, took the charge of the debate, and defeated all the opponents.

In this very assembly the king placed four questions to be answered by the Pundits and Acharyas. The questions were:

  • Which Scripture is the best of all scriptures
  • Which deity is the best of all deities?
  • Which Mantra is the best of all Mantras?
  • Which duty is the best of all duties?

Many learned Pundits and Acharyas gave different answers to these four questions but the assembly could not reach on any common conclusion. At last, at the hint of Shri Vallabhacharya, all four questions were unanimously placed before Lord Shri Jagannatha (Sri Krshna). Along with this, a blank paper, an inkpot and a pen were placed in front of Lord Jagannatha. The doors of the temple were closed. When the doors were opened, the piece of paper with a verse answering all the four questions written on it was found. The verse was:

“Ekam shashtram devaki putra gitam
Eko devo devakiputra eva;
Mantropyekas tasya namani yani,
Karmopyekam tasya devasy seva.”


Gita sung by Shri Krshna, son of Devaki, is the best scripture.
Shri Krshna, son of Devaki, is the best deity.
Names of Sri Krshna are the best Mantra.
Service of Sri Krshna is the best duty.

Sri Gopinathaji, elder son of Sri Vallabhacharya has described this incidence in an authorizing letter dated 30 of Vaishakha month of V.S.1595 in Sanskrit to his Tirtha Purohit (An authorized Brahmin that performs ritual at sacred places of pilgrimages on arrival of concerned pilgrims) of Shri Jagannathpuri.

Formula of initiation:
It was the night of the bright half of the sacred month of Shravana and Shri Vallabhacharya was lying restless on the bank of the River Jamuna worrying for and pitying the lot of men and women in this Kali age. The sacred scriptures had prescribed a number of paths leading to Spiritual Bliss. But, at present, practically all of them were blocked. He worried and worried, but found no way out. It was mid-night.

Suddenly there appeared in person the Lord, the Almighty. He said to Shri Vallabhacharya: “Please don’t worry. Let such persons approach Me after your initiation with this mantra which I will give in an humble spirit and dedicate everything including their very selves to me. As for the rest, they need not worry. I myself will personally mind it”. With this assurance Lord Shri Krshna granted sacred formula of initiation which is well known by the names as ‘Brahmasambandha-Mantra’, ‘Gadya-Mantra’, ‘Samarpana-Gadya’, ‘Atmanivedana-Mantra’ etc.

The meaning of the Mantra is as follows:
”For thousands of years have I been separated from my beloved Lord Krshna and that has robbed me not only of the pangs of separation, which a healthy soul, as a rule, ought to feel but also of the infinite joy that I had in his company. Here I lay down at his Lotus-Feet my body, sense organs, vital breath and my mind, together with their various functions. I also lay down my beloved, my house my progeny, my relatives and my wealth, together with my worldly as well as other-worldly belongings-not only these but even my very self. Henceforth, Oh Lord Krshna! I, your humble servant, am absolutely Yours”.

On the one hand, there was the sweetest form of the Lord and on the other there were the sweetest words on His lips. The joy of Shri Vallabhacharya knew no bounds. He placed the sacred garland round the Lord’s neck and offered Him sugar-candy. And then followed forth from Shri Vallabhacharya’s lips the sweetest Lyric ‘Madhurashtakam’, which has the narrates “Of the Lord of all sweetness everything is sweet”.

The above account is based primarily on the autobiographical reference by Shri Vallabhacharya himself in one of his works called ‘Siddhanta-Rahasyam’. The reference concerned is:

“Shravanasyamale pakshe ekadashyam mahanishi
Sakshad bhagavata proktam tadaksharasha ucchyate”
(Siddhantarasyam-1 by Shri Vallabhacharya)

Meaning: ”I reproduce here verbatim which the Lord Himself told me at midnight of the eleventh day of the bright half of the month of Shravana”.

This personal visit of the Lord and His message form the very basis of Pushti-Bhakti-Marga. And even today the initiation ceremony is, more or less, the repetition of the above dedication formula. At present the Lord is represented by the properly installed Idol; a novice is made to recite the very words, in Sanskrit of course, with which Shri Vallabhacharya dedicated himself, but instead of garlanding and offering sugar-candy, Tulasi-leaves are placed at the feet of the Idol. The dedication of Shri Vallabhacharya was direct, whereas at present it is through the intercession of a Guru who is invariably a direct descendant of Shri Vallabhacharya.

After marriage Shri Vallabhacharyaji settled down in Adel where people used to come for debate on Shastras and disturbed Him in His seva. He then composed Patravalamban Granth and pasted on the wall of Kashi Vishweshwar with a view that the pundits should first read this and if they have to discuss anything further then only they should come to Adel.

Post Balya Avastha:

Bharat wise tour:
In the assembly-hall of king, Bhagwan Himself supported the doctrines propounded by Shri Vallabhacharya by the abovementioned verse. Considering it as the ordainment of Bhagwan, Shri Vallabhacharya went on Bharat wise tour to publicize those doctrines. Three times barefooted Shri Vallabhacharya went on tour throughout Bharat. During it he had debated with the great learned Pundits and Acharyas on the true meaning of scriptures and competently established the theory of Shuddhadvaita- Brahmavada and the devotional path of Pushti. He led towards Sanatana-Hindu-Dharma the people who were flung far from it and got converted by the terrorism of cruel converter Mogul intruders from the north-west of Bharat.

The Renouncement:
In old time kings took it as their fortune in doing honor to the learned. Hence, they arranged for scriptural-debate inviting the learned to solve difficult problems. The learned man who was able to prove the worth of his doctrine was honored with ceremonies like Kanakabhisheka, Rajatabhisheka etc. Sri Vallabhacharya, too, would participate in such scriptural-debates and establish his doctrine. As a result of this, kings would honor him with Kanakabhisheka, Rajatabhisheka etc. and dedicate to him with gold-coins, elephants, horses, gold and silver utensils etc. as gifts. But accumulation of money spoils the mind and one is not able to apply it into Bhagwan. Again, it is said in the scriptures that the wealth received from a king is somewhat more harmful. With this thought in mind, Shri Vallabhacharya would give away all such wealth in donation to Brahmans!! For this reason he has been praised in Sarvottama-Stotra as “Mahodara-charitravan”. This means: One having extremely generous character.

The life of Sri Vallabhacharya was extremely simple even though many of his disciples were kings and prosperous persons. He used to wear only ‘Dhoti’ and ‘Uparana’, travel on foot and prepare offerings by himself. During tour he would stay in a lonely place at the outskirts of a village. He would give instruction to his disciples not to let anybody in the village know about his arrival as he had firm faith that those who were divine beings would come to him on their own accord.

Attracted by his spiritual power and great knowledge many faithful people would come to him and bring for him valuable presents and gifts. But he would accept presents and gifts from none but his own disciples.

Love for Solitude:
According to the devotional course of Pushti-Bhakti-Sect the worship of Bhagwan must be performed in solitude at one’s own home. Hence, after the tours were over, he constructed a small hut and settled down in a small village of Adel near Prayag permanently along with the members of his family and some people of his caste. He lived his life with whatever he received, without asking, from his disciples.

Last Message of Shri Vallabhacharya:
When he was on the point of leaving this world, he gave a message to his sons and followers, which should be written in letters of Gold.

“My dear followers, you should always serve the Lord to the best of your ability. You should not look upon Lord Krshna as an ordinary worldly master. Once you become his, he will take care of you. But if somehow or other, you forget the Lord and think of worldly matters, you will fall. So, you must not turn away from the Lord in any circumstances and try to be free from all evil influences. You should devote yourselves and make a complete surrender to him, because the Lord never accepts the service of a person who has not completely surrendered himself and is devoted to him”.

Back to Abode:
One of purposes of Shri Vallabhacharya’s incarnation was to enlighten the true meaning of Shri Bhagwat-Purana. However, to write a commentary on Shri Bhagwat, extended into 18000 verses, and that too during constant travel was a very difficult task. Hence, the work of writing commentary was going on in a slow process. During this period Shri Vallabhacharya received ordainment from Bhagwan to return to his abode. Even though the mission was not fully accomplished Shri Vallabhacharya left the work of writing commentary on Shri Bhagwat thinking that whatever work has been done was enough for the beings of the age of Kali. He renounced the life of a householder and accepted the stage of Sannyasa. He dwelt on the bank of the Ganga in Kashi without taking water and food. At the age of 52 on the day of Rathayatra in V.S. 1587 he entered in to the river Ganga and disappeared from this world.

After marriage Shri Vallabhacharyaji settled down in Adel where people used to come for debate on Shastras and disturbed Him in His seva. He then composed Patravalamban Granth and pasted on the wall of Kashi Vishweshwar with a view that the pundits should first read this and if they have to discuss anything further then only they should come to Adel.

Bhagwan incarnated on the earth and uplifted the divine beings and after that Shri Vedavyas (incarnation of the knowledge of Bhagwan) composed Shri Bhagwat so that the divine beings might be uplifted when the Bhagwan’s incarnation is not present on earth. Similarly, Shri Vallabhacharya composed various works so as to show Pushti-Beings the path of devotion and to enable them to follow the devotional path of Pushti without any difficulty in his absence. The chief works of Shri Vallabhacharya are:

  • Anubhashya on 6 Brhamasutra (Incomplete) It is available only up to III 2-33, the remaining portion was completed by his second son, Sri Vitthalanathaji)
  • Bhashya on 7 Mimamsa Sutra (Incomplete) It is a commentary on the Jaimini-Sutras. The only available part of the commentary is on I Adhyaya 4th Pada 1-13 Sutra and II Adhyaya I Pada.
  • Purvamimamsa-Bhashya-Karika (incomplete) Forty-two verses, which summarizes the discussion of the Bhashya on the first sutra.
  • Bhashya on Gayatri. Shri Vallabhacharya has extensively described the Mantra of Gayatri in the Subodhiniji commentary on the very first stanza of Bhagwat Puran.
  • ‘Subodhiniji’ a commentary on Bhagwat Purana (Incomplete)It is the commentary on Bhagwat. This is a masterly work. Unfortunately this commentary is not fully available. It is available on the first three Skandhas (books), a part of the fourth Skandha (Viz. Six chapters and a portion-13 verses only of the seventh chapter), the tenth Skandha, and a part of the eleventh Skandha (first four chapters and only one verse of the fifth chapter). It is worthy to be noted that Shri Vallabhacharya has described the meaning of Bhagwat Purana from seven different angles. These seven angles are:
  • Shastra (Scripture Viz. Bhagwat as a whole)
  • Skandha
  • Prakarana
  • Adhyaya
  • Vakya
  • Padas and
  • Aksharas.

It may be noted that the meaning of the first four parts is given in the Bhagavatartha, third chapter of the Tatvartha-Dipa-Nibandha, while that of the last three parts is given in ‘Subodhiniji’ commentary.

  • Sukhsmatika, A short commentary on Bhagwat Purana (Incomplete)
  • Bhagwat Dashamaskandha Anukramanika This treatise is an index of the character of Shri Krshna described in the 10th (Skandha) chapter of Bhagwat Puran.
  • Patravalambanam Shri Vallabhacharya has established the principle of Brahmavad in this work and discarded the view that the meaning of the first part of Veda (Karma Kand or Purva Mimamsa) and the second part of Veda (Vedanta, Upanishad or Uttar Mimamsa) is different.
  • Tatvartha-dipa-nibandha It contains three chapters.
  • Shastrartha-prakaranam
  • Sarvanirnaya-prakaranam
  • Bhagavatartha-prakaranam.

The first chapter is called ‘Shastrartha’ which is an essay on the Gita. Its a fine exposition of Bhagavad-Gita. The second chapter is called ‘Sarva-nirnaya’. It contains the opinions of the Shri Vallabhacharya on all the principal schools of philosophy and religion. This chapter forms a most admirable treatise on comparative philosophy and religion. The third is named ‘Bhagavatartha’. It lucidly explains the scope and meaning of Bhagwat Purana. For further elucidation the Acharya himself wrote a commentary ‘Prakasha’ on this book. The Prakasha is complete so far as the first two parts are concerned; but of the third part it is available only up to the thirty-third verse of the fourth section. Shri Vitthalanathaji tried to fill up the gap by supplying the gloss on the sections following, but unfortunately even his commentary is available only up to the 135th verse of the fifth section.


  1. Shri Yamunashtakam
  2. Balabodha
  3. Siddhantamuktavali
  4. Pushti-pravah-maryada-bheda (Incomplete)
  5. Siddhanta-rahasya
  6. Navaratnam
  7. Antahkarana-prabodha
  8. Viveka-dhairy-ashraya
  9. Krshnashraya
  10. Chatuhshloki
  11. Bhaktivardhini
  12. Jalabheda
  13. Panchapadyani
  14. Sannyasa-nirnaya
  15. Nirodhalakshanam
  16. Sevaphalam