Shri Vallabhacharya was not only a Saint but a great philosopher and he was the founder of Pushti Marg. Both philosophy and religion are the steps to Reality i.e. God.
Shri Vallabhacharya’s parents were Brahmin, natives of the Andhra, region of Southern India.
Siri Vallabhacharya’s father was Lakshman Bhat and Illamarguru was his mother. Lakshman Bhat had two children namely Ramkrishna and Keshav. Lakshman’s parents had performed ninetyfive “Yagnas” and it was informed to him by his “Guru” that after having completed hundred Yag-na’sthe birth of an “ AVTAR “ would take place in his family. With a view to visit the sacred places fof North India, Lakshman Bhatt started from his village with his family members to reach Varanasi. He found the place peaceful and during his stay in Varanasi, he performed all five Somayagnas. Here he lived for some time but later, fearing disturbance and violence owing to Muslim ruler called Bahulul Lodhi, he fled with his family by a certain route which took him back to the native place. On his way to the South, he halted at Champaranya, a forest area in Raipur District in Madhya Pradesh. The terror and physical strain suffered by his wife resulted in the birth of the child at Champaranya, two months premature. Taking the chid 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 retreated to the village for rest. At night they had a dream in which God himself appeared and informed that he is born as the child which they thought as dead. 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 and received the divine baby from the fire. The child was named Vallabh. Later he was known as Vallabhacharya.
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 once more prevailed.
The face of the image of Shrinathji, whose upraised hand had appeared few days back, came to light on Mount Govardhan on the very day when Vallabhacharya was born, and later Shrinathji inspired Vallabhacharya to introduce Seva into Pushti Marg. Thus the birth of Shri Vallabhacharya coincided with the manifestation of the Mukharavind 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.
Shri Vallabhacharya used to meditate and talk to his followers in a peacefull surrounding. There are total eighty four ‘ Baithaks” all over India and they are still regarded with great reverance amongst Vaishnavs.
Shri Vallabhacharya undertook various pilgrimage tours to various places and expounding 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 Vijayanagar and was received with warm welcome. Here he started to introduce his views on Vedas, Gita, the Brahmin Sutras and the Bhagwat.
The king requested him to setlle down there but he wished them and proceeded giving them the following message :-
“You should be all 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. Realise that service to men and animals is service to God “.
When he was in Pandharpur . Shri Vithoba told him to adopt Grihastha Dharma i.e. to get married so that the Pushti Marg could be propagated for generation after generation. After consulting his mother in S.Y 1560, Shri Vallabhacharya setteld down in Varanasi and accepted Mahalakshmi the daugher of a Brahmin called Madhu Mangalam , in marriage. He had two sons . The elder was named Shri Gopinathji born in S.Y 1568 . The second son was born in the S.Y 1572 . He was named Shri Vithalnathji in reverance Shri Vithoba 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. One week prior to his departure from his 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 foresee 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 persuits. But if you follow my advice, God will not forget you. You should believe that Krishna is our God . 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 Gopi’s. 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 wordly matters . Be devoted to me and render service to “Me” by all the Means you have at your disposal”.
Soon after this Shri 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 . A brilliant flame in the form of God arose from the water and whisked him away in the sights of thousands of men , women and children who had congregrated there to have his last Darshan. This event took place in S.Y 1587.
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 . and thus Vaishnav’s consider Shri Krishna , Shree Yamunaji and Shri Vallabhacharya on inherently capable of emancipating the souls from the bondage of life and death.
Shri Vallabhacharya propounded a new Bhakti Marg which he named as Pushti Marg or Anugraha Marg. Anugraha or Grace of Lord Krishna is called Pushti. This removes all obstructions and obstacles from the path of attaining or realising the Lord and becomes the sadhana or means of achieving His Lotus Feet.
One should strive for achieving Pushti Marg. Try to acquire that knowledge which is helpful in advancing Bhagvat Bhakti and turn the mind to a dedicated service of Lord Krishna . By the Grace of the Lord all the fulfilments available in the world would be achieved.
A Pushti Bhakta never craves for any material benefits nor does he long for celestial gains . He does not even care for the fruits of his actions. All he cherishes is that Blissful state of his beloved Lord. That day a Pushti devotee rises above all material passions and frees himself from “I”ness and “mine”ness and accepts the life as a mode of living , essential in helping him in the service of Lord Krishna . It is said that it is then , that he has achieved the impossible.
The true claiment of Pushti Bhakti is the one whom the Lord showers His Grace. The grace of the Lord is not visible. Its presence can be guessed on the basis of the actions of a Jiva. The very interest shown towards the objects related to HIM denote, the Grace of Lord. For without that very Grace a Jiva will never turn his mind towards the Lord.
Brahma Sambandh is a Mantra where a devotee takes a vow to dedicate himself and all his belongings to God. He accepts God as his master and considers him his family, his wealth as God’s and uses them in His service. This is an oath of consecration as a purifying process by which the soul is to be freed from all kinds of sins. With this purification , the Pushti soul is deemed fit for the Seva of God.
Vallabhacharya ends his work with the following remarks :