Bhakti Saint Vallabhacharya (1479-1531):
Vallabhacharya was the most distinguished preacher of the Krishna cult of Vaishnavism. He belonged to a Telugu Brahmin family and was born in 1479 in the holy city of Varanasi also known as Banaras when the family was on a pilgrimage to the place. From his early boyhood, he showed signs of intellect and distinguished himself as a great scholar. After finishing his education he went on his travels. At the court of Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagar, he scored a triumph over the Saivas in public debate. After visiting Mathura, Brindavan and other places he finally settled in Banaras. He worshipped Lord Krishna under the title of Srinathji. Like Kabir and Nanak, he did not consider married life a hindrance to spiritual progress. He composed many works including Bhagvata Tika, Subodhami. He wrote a commentary on the Brahmasutras and the Bhagavad Gita and his philosophy are called Suddhavvatia or pure non-duality or pure monism i.e. his philosophy centres around the conception of one personal and loving God. He believed in the marga (path) of pushti (grace) and bhakti (devotion). He looked upon Sri Krishna as the highest Brahma, Purushottam and Parmanand (the highest bliss). According to Vallabhacharya, God can be realised only by one. He chooses and for this choice, one has to practise bhakti. In the expression of pushtimarga, the word marga means path or way and the word pushti means the grace of God. Mukti or salvation can be attained by it and in no other way. Devotion or bhakti must be without any object in view and without any desire of fruit. It should be accompanied by love and service. In one of his verses he says, “The home, the centre of all worldly desires, should be renounced in every way. If it be impracticable one should dedicate it to the service of God, for it is he who alone can emancipate man from evil”. Due to his efforts, Krishna Bhakti and Raslila became popular.