The founder of the Vaishnavite cult in Rajasthan and Gujarat and an exponent of Shuddhadvaita School of philosophy, Vallabhacharya, also known as Mahaprabhuji, was born in 1479 at Champaran near Raipur, Chhattisgarh, to Telugu couples, Lakshmana Bhatta and Illamargaru. He is believed to be the incarnation of Agni (fire). Mahalakshmi was his wife and they had two sons by the names Gopinath and Vitthalnath.

He was brahmin by birth and was a scholar in Vedas and Upanishads. He has penned a number of books, significant being Vyasa Sytra Bhashya, Jaimini Sutra Bhashya, Pushti Pravala Maryada and Siddhanta Rahasya. Most of them were written in Brij Bhasha. Pleased with Vallabha's learning and thoughts, Raja Krishna Deva, who ruled Vijayanagar, conferred him with the title of 'Vaishnavacharya.'

An ardent devotee of Lord Krishna, Vallabha spent his last days in Varanasi. It is believed that one day when he went to bathe in the Ganges at Hanuman Ghat, Lord Krishna in the form of a brilliant flame arose from the water and whisked him away in front of thousands of spectators. He was 52 at that time.

There is a temple dedicated to Vallabha at Champaran. It was built by his disciples, and now it is a popular pilgrim spot.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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