Today is Varuthini Ekadashi. The day when one of the greatest Acharya’s of his times, Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharyaji was born.
Proponent of the Shuddhadvaita (Pure Nondualism).
Founder of the Pushtimarg.
One of the five main acharyas in India, the other being Aadi Shankaracharya, Madhvacharya, Nimbakacharya and Ramanujacharya.
Vallabha means “dear one“.
Born today, that is the 11th day of the dark half of lunar month of Chaitra at Champaranya.
Son of Illamma and Lakshman Bhatta.
People say that His was a still birth so his parents left Him under a tree wrapped in white clothes. Later Shree Krishna appeared in their dreams to tell them that it is He who has arrived in this form and is well alive. The bewildered parents rushed back to the place to find the kid alive.
Studied Vedas at a very young age and earned the title of “Baal Saraswati“. Participated in many debates and earned the titles of “Acharya” and “Jagadguru” at the age of 12.
Later travelled throughout India, not once, not twice but thrice to explain Krishna bhakti and spread Vaishnavism.
He gave discourses on Bhagwat at 84 different places known as “Baithakji” (seats of learning) today. These “Baithakji’s” still have a relevance for all the practising Vaishnavas even today and a visit to any Baithakji is a divine experience. Every Vaishnava wishes to visit all the 84 places once in his life time.
Later, in Gokul he initiated his first disciple and laid the foundations of what we know today as Pushtimarg (Path of Grace). He made the first Vaishnava by giving / teaching him the important “Brahma Sambandh” (Realisation of a person’s relation with the Almighty).
While travelling through India, His deity guru Vitthalnath of Pandharpur commanded Him to marry and He married to Mahalaxmi with whom he had two sons ‘Gopinathji‘ and ‘Vithalnathji’ (fondly known as Gusainji).
He took Samaadhi at a very young age of 52 into the waters of the Ganges at Kashi.
His work “Madhurashtakam” is a lucid yet romantic version for Shrinathji, the deity at Nathdwara. In it, He glorifies Shrinathji and all His activities, ending every verse with the line “Madhuradhipate Akhilam Madhuram” (every act of the Lord is madhur). Madhur as a noun means sweet, tender, full; as an adjective means melodious, beautiful, sweet.
Many of His works are still being read and His followers are still trying to understand what the Acharya has written.
His lineage too continues through the children of Gopinathji and Vithalnathji and is popularly known as “Vallabha Kula“. The Vallabh Kula kids do go around India meeting the Vaishnavas and bestowing upon them the “Brahma Sambandh”
His philosophy of Shuddhadvaita is unique. He propounds that if everything has come from the Brahman (quoting Brihadarnyak Upanishad) then there is no different form then Brahman Himself. Maya according to Him is Ishvara himself. He also says that He (God) is known when He (God) manifests Himself through the world.
He talks about God being in the form of a child. He has hence asked Vaishnavas to worship the “Baal Krishna” (Krishna in child form). And treat the Lord as a child. As we fulfill all the wishes of the children, we should fulfill all the wishes of the Lord. The devotees express their love for the Lord by acts of giving Him a bath and feeding Him and making Him sleep. The tradition of 8 Darshans, from Mangala (Rising) to Shayan (Sleeping) are started by Vallabhacharyaji. The significance of these 8 darshans is that the Lord is just like us. He is no different and so we need not be afraid of Him, rather as He is a child, shower Him with all the love we can.
Such a personality is called the Mahaprabhu. Our seer’s called him so meaning He is the greatest amongst the Gods. Revered Pandurang Shastriji Athavale explains it in his own simple way that “Jo Bhagwaan ko milne bulaaye aur Bhagwaan ko aana pade, aise jo log hain unhe Mahaprabhu kehte hain”, (the lord upon being called, is compelled to come to meet, such is a Mahaprabhu)
On His Birthday, just bow down to Him and ask for His blessings to move a step further to understand God, His design and to do His work!
।। Shree Krishnarpanamastu।।