Vallabhacharya (1479–1531 CE), also known as Vallabha, was one of greatest Indian Philosopher born to a telugu couple who were living in Varanasi.
Birth of Vallabacharya: During the birth of Vallabhacharya, most of the northern and central India was in unrest due to Muslim invaders. People had to flee to escape religious persecution and conversion by invaders. On one such occasion, Vallabha’s parents Lakshmana Bhatta and his pregnant wife Illammagaru had to flee Varanasi. Due to the prevailing terror and travel, she gave birth to a child two months in advance. The premature child did not show any sign of life. Totally heartbroken, they both placed the lifeless child under a tree wrapped in a piece of cloth. That night, Lord Krishna appeared in their dream and signified that He himself had taken birth as a child. Shocked and surprised, they both rushed to the spot where they had left the child. They were amazed to find the baby alive and also protected by a circle of divine fire. This divine child was named Vallabha meaning “Dear One” in Sanskrit.
Education: The young Vallabha began his education when he was seven. He mastered the Vedas, the philosophies of Adi Sankaracharya, Madhvacharya, Ramanujacharya, Nimbaraka and also Jain and Buddhist philosophies. By the age of eleven, he had completed his studies and reached Vrindavan. He was well known for his knowledge and was now being applauded by the public as “Bala Saraswathi”.
Victory at Vijayanagara: The vast kingdom of Vijayanagara was ruled by the illustrious king Krishnadevaraya. He had summoned all learned pundits and vidwans to discuss the various aspects of the philosophies enshrined in the Scriptures. There were numerous debates and discussions. Krishnadevaraya who himself was a great scholar found the arguments and the explanations given by the scholars assembled there unsatisfactory.
It is at that time that Vallabha reached Vijayanagara. He was called for the discussions and debates. After seven days of continuous debates, Vallabha won all the arguments and was able to convince the king with his profound and vast knowledge. Krishnadevaraya was so pleased and impressed by the knowledge and clarity of thought of this young vidwan. Vallabha was gifted 7,000 gold coins by Krishnadevaraya. Vallabha politely declined to accept them and requested the king to distributed them among the poor brahmanas and the learned. After a lot of loving insistence Vallabha accepted seven gold coins which he said would be used for making ornaments for Sri Vittalanatha in Pandharpur. The king and all the assembled pundits unanimously gave Vallabha the title: “Acharya.” From then onwards Vallabha came to be known as Vallabhacharya.
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