Date of Birth:
On 9th day of the dark half of month Pausha in V.S. 1572 (A.D. 1516).
Place of Birth:
He was born at the village of Charanadri (Charanat / Chunara) near Varanasi
In his time of manifestation of nearly 72 years Shri Vitthalanathaji unceasingly persevered for the all-round promotion of the sect. Knowing that his mission on the earth was over, he entered the cave of mount Giriraja and disappeared in V.S. 1644 / 1642.
Shri Vitthalanathaji was the younger son of Shri Vallabhacharya. His elder brother was Shri Gopinathji. He had seven sons. Shri Padmavatiji was his wife.
Different aspects of personalities:
As a son:
He carried on the efforts put by his father Shri Vallabhacharya for the sect. His father left the world when he was just fifteen years old. He was attracted to Shri Dwarkadhisha as Shri Vallabhacharya used to love Him.
As a Father:
Raghunathji, the fifth son of Shri Vitthalanathaji, in his childhood, used to start his daily routine only after seeing his father’s face. Therefore, he would go to Shri Vitthalnathji’s room with closed eyes. Once, while going towards the room of his father, he was struck badly by a lower rod of the door on his forehead. When Shri Vitthalanathaji noticed injured forehead of his son, he drew a self-portrait, gave it to Shri Raghunathji with the instruction to see that picture first in the morning and stopped him for walking with shut eyes. Unfortunately this self-portrait of Shri Vitthalanathaji was burnt in the fire.
As a Guru:
Apart from writing many doctrinal works, Shri Vitthalnathji went on pilgrimage to show the path of devotion to the Pushti beings, despite the fact that there were no proper means of transport then. During these pilgrimages he took a number of divine beings in his refuge. Among his disciples there were people from different classes and societies. He took in his refuge people like thieves, prostitutes, hunters, fishermen etc. and turned them to the path of Pushti. He took in his refuge and uplifted people born in the casts like Muslim, Pathan etc. He taught his disciples to abandon wealth and if not possible to use it for Bhagwan. By this way he took all his disciples away from the ill effects of having wealth.
When he was only 15 years old Shri Vallabhacharya went to the eternal abode. He had extreme love and respect for his elder brother Shri Gopinathaji and would commence all works after taking permission from Shri Gopinathji.
Shri Vitthalanathaji was fond of arts of music, painting, horse-riding etc. He regularly plays Vina (stringed music instrument) before Shri Thakorji awoke. His fingers had hardened because of friction with strings of Vina. Having seen this, one day his father Shri Vallabhacharya said a word that Shri Thakorji would feel uneasy at the touch of such tough fingers. Everything is insignificant before the happiness of deity. From that day onwards he stopped playing Vina.
Once Shri Vitthalanathaji was offering ornaments to his deity. At that time a disciple brought a big amount of money as a present. When the coins were dropped down, it made a loud sound. On account of this Shri Vitthalnathji’s mind was deviated from his deity for a moment. What would happen by using the wealth if at the mere sound of which ones mind is deviated from Bhagwan! With this thought in his mind, Shri Vitthalanathaji refused to accept all that money.
Compassion for Every Being:
Shri Vitthalnathji’s disciple Shri Narayandas was the minister of the Emperor. Once Shri Narayandas employed a disciple of Pushti-sect named: Shri Vitthaldas. If he got job by showing that he was a disciple of Pushti-sect, it would be the ill-usage of his faith. Thinking so, Shri Vitthaldas never said that he was a disciple of Pushti-sect. Once Shri Vitthaldas made a mistake in the job. Shri Narayandas imprisoned him and passed a sentence of one hundred lashes. Some days after this incident, Shri Vitthalanathaji happened to come to a nearby village. So, both Shri Narayandas and Shri Vitthaldas accidentally gathered before Shri Vitthalanathaji. At the time of meal, Shri Vitthalanathaji saw the signs of lashes on the body of Shri Vitthaldas. When asked, he told Shri Vitthalanathaji everything that had happened. On hearing this, Shri Vitthalanathaji scolded Shri Narayandas: “What if you did not know him a disciple of Pushti-sect; you at least knew that he is a living being. Such cruelty is not good for a Vaishnav. A disciple of the Pushti-sect should be merciful towards every being”.
Post Balya Avastha:
Besides religious community and administrators ruler Akabar himself was enormously impressed by Shri Vitthalanathaji. It is said that Akabar honored Shri Vitthalanathaji by awarding him with the reputation of an adjudicator. He used to invite him in the royal court to settle complicated disputes. As a mark of respect Akabar and the members of the royal family had not only gifted many immovable properties to Shri Vitthalanathaji but also they exempted him from all kinds of taxes. It was the strict order not to kill birds and animals in the jungle of Mahavan and Jatipura. Cows of Shri Vitthalanathaji were free for grazing anywhere in that area. Wearing royal costumes was considered as a great offence for the citizens. However Shri Vitthalanathaji was exempted from that.
Along with the writing of doctrinal and devotional works Shri Vitthalanathaji went to pilgrimage to show the devotional path of Pushti to divine Pushti-beings. No other means of carriages for pilgrimage were available at that time except chariots and carts. Even in such condition he went from Vraj to visit Dwaraka at the farthest end of Gujarat for not less than six times. Shri Dwarakadhisha asked Shri Vallabhacharya to excavate Him from the well in Ladava village near Dwaraka and enshrine in an empty temple of Dwaraka. Bhagwan Shri Dwarakadhisha at present seated in an island: Shankhoddhara (Bet). On account of Shri Vallabhacharya’s love for Shri Dwarakadhisha, Shri Vitthalanathaji also was attracted towards Shri Dwarakadhisha. This was the reason why Shri Vitthalanathaji so frequently visited Dwaraka. During these pilgrimages he took a number of divine beings in his refuge. Among his disciples there were people from different classes and societies. He took in his refuge people like thieves, prostitutes, hunters, fishermen etc. and turned them to the path of Pushti. He took in his refuge and uplifted people born in the casts like Muslim, Pathan etc. The effulgent character of Shri Vitthalanathaji can be seen in detail in book “252 Vaishnava vaarta” and devotional songs of the disciples.
Settled at Gokul:
In those days political condition was very unstable in north India. When cruel Mughal intruders attacked Prayag Shri Vittalanathaji left Adel and settled in Gokul at around V.S. 1623.
Extension of worship for the dedication of everything:
Shri Vallabhacharya says in his work ” Tatvarth-Dipa-Nibandha” :
Dhanam sarvatmana tyajyam, taccet tyaktum na sakyate;
Krsnartham tat niyunjita, Krsno’narthasya varakah.
Wealth, by all means be abandoned;
if its not possible to abandon it,
be it used in the worship of Bhagwan,
Krshna is remover of all evils.
Wealth leads ones mind away from Bhagwan and so, by all means, it should be abandoned. But in case, it is not possible to give up wealth, it should be employed in the worship of Bhagwan. If it is done, Bhagwan Shri Krshna will remove all evils that issue forth from wealth.
Through the initiation of Self-Dedication a disciple dedicates to Shri Krshna everything including his body, members of his family, house, wealth etc., verbally. In order to dedicate, physically, all objects in the worship of Bhagwan as he promised at the time of initiation by holding Tulsi-leaves in his hands, Shri Vallabhacharya showed the way of worshipping Bhagwan in one’s home. But, here one problem arises. Living in house with family requires money and as seen earlier the accumulation of wealth spoils the mind of devotee, what to do then? As a solution of this problem Shri Vitthalanathaji prescribed the kind of worship with all the pomp of rich food, wealth and embellishment in worship so that a devotee can dedicate to Bhagwan everything as promised. If one performs worship of Shri Krshna in his home by dedicating all his belongings then all that is dedicated to Shri Krshna will become divine. Dedicated things lose their harmfulness. Now, a devotee can use those dedicated things as a leftover of Shri Krshna without fear.
Composition of Works:
Shri Vitthalanathaji composed independent works like for the better understanding of the doctrines of the Path of Pushti. As Shri Vallabhacharya’s Commentary on the Brahmasutra was not available completely, Shri Vitthalanathaji wrote the commentary on the remaining Sutras. The style of Shri Vallabhacharya’s writing is compact, it says much more in a few words. For this reason Shri Vitthalanathaji wrote commentaries on various principle works of Shri Vallabhacharya so that nobody can misinterpret the doctrines of Shri Vallabhacharya
Bhashya on Brahma Sutras, which Shri Vallabhacharya could not complete.
‘Tippani’ Commentary on Subodhiniji of Shri Vallabhacharya.
‘Prakasha’ Commentary on Bhagwat-Tatvadipa-nibandha, which Shri Vallabhacharya could not complete.
- Commentary on Gayatri Mantra Bhashya
- Commentary on Yamunashtakam of Shri Vallabhacharya
- Commentary on Siddhantamuktavali of Shri Vallabhacharya
- Commentary on Navaratnam of Shri Vallabhacharya
- Commentary on Premamritam of Shri Vallabhacharya
- Commentary on Nyasadesha
- Commentary on the Bhasya of Gayatri by Shri Vallabhacharya
- Commentary on Madhurashtakam by Shri Vallabhacharya
- Commentary on Vratrasura-chatusshloki
- Commentary on 1st chapter of Gitagovindam
- Letters to his elder brother
- Letters to his sons
- Various ‘Vigyapti’
- 2nd Chaturshloki
- Utsava-nirnaya etc.
- Seva-shlokah Shrngararasamandanam
Pushti Bhakti Prachar:
He did the prachar of the sect in all the possible ways he could. He lead such principles by which the Pushti beings were enlightened to the devotion of Bhagwan. Also that during his pilgrimage, he took a number of divine beings in his refuge. Among his disciples there were people from different classes and societies. He took in his refuge people like thieves, prostitutes, hunters, fishermen etc. and turned them to the path of Pushti. He took in his refuge and uplifted people born in the casts like Muslim, Pathan etc. The effulgent character of Shri Vitthalanathaji can be seen in detail in book “252 Vaishnava vaarta” and devotional songs of the disciples.
- Shri Sarvottamastotram
- Shri Vallabhashtakam
- Shri Sphurat-Krsnapremamrtam / Saptashloki
- 4 Arya
- 2 Paryamka
- Shri Yamunashtapadi
- Shri Radha-prarthana-chatuhshloki
- Shri Gokulashtakam
- Shri Lalitatribhangi-stotram
- Shri Swamini-prarthana
- Shri Balakrshnashtakam
- Shri Swamini-stotram