Vallabhacharya Jayanti is an important festival celebrated amongst the Pushti sect of people and the Krishna devotees.
The devotees celebrate Vallabhacharya’s birth anniversary on the 11th day of the waxing phase of the moon in the month of Chaitra, according to traditional Hindu calendar, and April according to the Gregorian calendar.
He worshipped Lord Krishna in the beautiful form of Shrinath JI and that the great Lord Krishna was seen by Vallabhacharya. The day he was born was also Varuthini Ekadashi.
- Who was Vallabhacharya?
Vallabhacharya founded the Pushti sect in India and can be considered as one of the leading religious philosophers of India. He followed the basic principle of Adwaita or non –dualism. He was born in the family of Telegu Vaidiki Brahmins, who were known as Vellanadu or Vellanatiya after the famous Vishnu Swami School of Thoughts. According to legends, Lord Krishna himself informed Vallabhacharya’s ancestor Yagnanarayana Bhatta that if they can complete 100 sacrificial fires, or Somayagnas; he will take birth in their family. When his inheritor Lakshmana Bhatta had migrated to Varanasi, they had already completed the 100 sacrificial fires. Vallabhacharya was born in that illustrious family in the year 1479 AD to Lakshmana Bhatta and his wife Illamma.
- Early life of Vallabhacharya
Upon being born pre maturely by two months, when he was born, Vallabhacharya showed no sign of life and his parents kept him wrapped up in a piece of cloth and left him under a tree, all the while praying to Lord Krishna for a miracle. They had a dream where Krishna told them that the baby was no one else but him. The parents rushed to the spot and found that the baby was alive and kicking and wonder of wonder; there was a protective ring of fire around the child .The mother put her hand inside the fire unscathed. He was christened Vallabha, which in Sanskrit meant ‘the dear one’.
Vallabhacharya started learning the Vedas when older, and was called Bala Saraswati by people when he became a little older. He continued amazing people with his deep knowledge and understanding of the Hindu scriptures and other religious discourses. He made 3 pilgrimages around India barefoot, and gave lectures on Bhagvad Gita in 84 places. These 84 places are now called the Chaurasi Baithak and are considered to be pilgrimages by the Pushti sect of people.
He had a divine dream and a mantra that he received one night while in Gokul. In the dream Lord Krishna arrived in front of him as Shrinath Ji and disclosed to him the Bramha Sambandha or a mantra of self dedication. In the morning, he initiated Damodardasa to the mantra and thus the first Vaishnava to be initiated into Pushtimarg. Though thousands of people embraced this sect, it is the first 84 who attained immortal glory.
Vallabhacharya married Mahalaxmi and had two sons called Gopinath and Vitthalnath.
- Bhakti Movement and Vallabhacharya
He gave up his physical being to be one with God, as desired by Lord Krishna, at the age of 52. He attained Samadhi or the last post in the Manikarnika Ghat of Varanasi, erstwhile Kashi. He is also revered as Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya.
Vallabhacharya represented the religious reform movements or the Bhakti Movements as they are known in the Middle Ages. He composed numerous religious discourses and has his devotees spread across the Northern and Western parts of India, and temples dedicated to him in various parts.
- How is Vallabhacharya Jayanti celebrated?
Vallabhacharya Jayanti is celebrated with much fervor and devotion by the followers of the Pushti sect and also by the Vaishnavites. All the temples are beautifully decorated with flowers and after a cleansing bath in the early morning; an Abhishekam of Lord Krishna is done. The Abhishekam is followed by an Arati. Bhajans and chants eulogizing Lord Krishna and Vallabhacharya are carried out throughout the day. Special pujas and yajnas are also held throughout the day. After the puja, Lord Krishna’s idol or photograph is taken around to all the devotees’ house to give them a darshan or view. Lastly a mangal aarti is done and Prasad is distributed amidst all the devotees. This sect and this day has no laid down rules for fasting, rituals or other penance. It is a day which should be felt and celebrated with true love and devotion. His speeches and his views are spread and discussed throughout the day.