Article

Vallabha

Shandip Saha

in Hinduism

ISBN: 9780195399318
Published online November 2015 | | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195399318-0160
Vallabha

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Vallabha or Vallabhācārya (b. 1479–d. 1531) was the founder of the theistic school of Vedānta known as Pure Non-Dualism or Śuddhādvaita Vedānta. Vallabha’s philosophy proclaimed Kṛṣṇa as the fullest manifestation of Ultimate Reality (brahman) and became the philosophical basis for a devotional (bhakti) community that enjoined devotees to live a householder life built around a single-minded devotion to Kṛṣṇa and a complete reliance on his grace (puṣṭi). This community founded by Vallabha thus came to be known both as the Vallabha Community (Vallabha Sampradāya) and the Path of Grace (Puṣṭi Mārga). Vallabha’s male descendants, known as mahārājas, were responsible for the growth of the community after Vallabha’s death. During the 16th and 17th centuries, they were responsible for creating the community’s structure of religious authority as well as the development of the temple rituals (sevā) and devotional literature that are still used by devotees in the 21st century. The mahārājas were also responsible in the 18th century for the community’s migration from north India to western India where it flourished under the patronage of Rājpūt noblemen and the mercantile communities of Gujarat. In the 19th century, the lavish lifestyle of the mahārājas would leave the Puṣṭi Mārga vulnerable to the polemics of Hindu reformers who characterized the community’s teachings as endorsing sexual immorality. This distortion of the Sampradāya’s teachings explains why it attracted so little attention in scholarly circles well into the early decades of the 20th century. The last two decades have witnessed a renewed interest in studying the Vallabha Sampradāya, but many texts still remain untranslated, and scholarly studies still seem far and few between. This article is designed to provide a balanced introduction to the literature on the Sampradāya from both academic and sectarian perspectives. The texts in this bibliography consist of primary sources written by Vallabha and his successors, translation of these sources, and various studies of the community written in English and Indian languages. In the case of Indian language sources, care has been taken to ensure that these selections are available through academic lending libraries, online archives, or through online booksellers. It is hoped that this article will help to stimulate future interest in the still-developing field of what will be called “Vallabhite Studies”: the field of scholarship devoted to the study of the philosophy, devotional literature, ritual practices, and institutional history of the Puṣṭi Mārga or Vallabha Sampradāya.

Article.  12735 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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