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14.11.20

Vallabhachariya

Born into a Telugu Brahmin family in Champaranya in what is now Chhattisgarh state in central India, Vallabha (1478-1530) was a spiritual teacher and philosopher famous for his teachings on bhakti as a vehicle for devotion to Krishna. 

His many writings were in Sanskrit and included commentaries on earlier treatises. Few have been translated into English. The Shodash Granthas are a collection of 16 texts of guidance for devotees in the Pustimarga tradition.

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi has described Vallabhachariya as a great realised soul (1982-1126; 1985-0602) who talked about Kundalini (1990-1205) and was a partial incarnation of Shri Krishna. (1983-0329).

He founded the Vallabha Sampradaya, also known as the Pustimarga (Path of Grace),  to continue his teachings and practices. Unlike other Hindu sects where transmission is from guru to disciple, succession in the Sampradaya is through biological descent from father to son. Vallabha’s younger son Vitthalanatha (1516-1586) established eight gaddis (thrones), one for each of his sons, and this succession has been handed down through the centuries.

 

Bibliography

Richard Barz, ‘Vallabha Sampradaya’ in Brill’s encyclopedia of Hinduism. Vol.III , edited by Knut A.Jacobsen (Leiden: Brill, 2011):606-616

R.K.Narain, The philosophy of the Vallabha School of Vedanta (Varanasi: Indological Research Centre, 2004)

James D.Redington, Vallabhacarya on the Love Games of Krishna (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1983)

Shandip Saha, ‘The movement of Bhakti along a North-West axis: Tracing the history of the Puṣṭimārg between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries’ International Journal of Hindu Studies 11(3), 2007:299-318

Jeffrey R. Timm, ‘Prolegomenon to Vallabha's Theology of Revelation’ Philosophy East and West 38(2), 1988:107-126

Jeffrey R. Timm, ‘The celebration of emotion: Vallabha's ontology of affective experience’ Philosophy East and West 41(1), 1991:59-75


[expanded entry from John Noyce, Saints, Sufis and Yogis, 3rd ed., vol.3 (2016)]