Śuddhādvaita of Vallabha

Category: 

Śuddhādvaita of Vallabha

Religion:
Rudra Sampradāya
Darśana:
Vedānta
School:
Śuddhādvaita
Pure Non-Dualism
Soul & God is One Essence
Teaching:
Puṣṭi Mārga
(path of grace),
Pure Monism
World is Real and
non-different from Brahman
Founder:
Vallabha Āchārya
Times:
1479–1531
Works:
Commentaries on Brahma Sūtras, Bhāgavata Purāṇa, etc.
Theology:
spontaneous, selfless and motiveless love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa

Śuddhādvaita of Vallabha

Life and Work.—

Vallabha (A.D. 1473-1531), the advocate of the Śuddhādvaita (pure Non-dualism) system of Vedanta, was born of a learned brāhmin family living in a village called Kankaravad, about fifty miles to the north-west of Madras in South India.

The parents of Vallabha left their home for Banaras, and Vallabha’s birth took place in a place called Campāraṇya near Raipur in the Central Provinces.

The family belonged to the Taittirīya School of the Kṛṣṇa-Yajur-Veda, claimed Bharadvāja as its gotra and scrupulously followed the karma-kāṇda by performing many soma sacrifices, with the result that it came to enjoy the title of Dīkita.

It also followed a form of Vaiṣṇavism and worshipped the image of Gopāla.

Starting with this spiritual legacy Vallabha received his education in Banaras, travelled thrice throughout the whole country, won honours at the court of Vijayanagar, attracted a large following by his sermons, spent his life in Adel (a village about two miles from Allahabad), and breathed his last in Banaras, leaving two sons behind him.

He has written several works in Sanskrit some of which are not available in a complete form. His principal works include the commentaries on the Brahma-sūtra, the Jaimini-sūtra and the Bhāgavata, Tattvārtha-dīpa-nibandha and sixteen treatises.

His mission was carried on by his descendants and the line of his family continues even today; and there are at present about eighty male members in the family.

The followers of Vallabha are generally found in the United Provinces, Rajputana, Saurāṣṭra, Gujarat and Bombay, and belong to all the strata of society, from the order of princes to the most backward class.

Sources of Authoritative Knowledge.

Vallabha accepts four basic works as the highest authority for the solution of philosophical problems, i.e. (1) the Vedas (including the Upaniṣads), (2) the Gītā,(3) the Brahma-sūtra, and (4) the Bhāgavata.

These sources of knowledge are complementary to one another, and in case of doubts the preceding authority is to be interpreted in the light of the authority that follows in the above-mentioned order.

As a natural consequence of this relative position, the Bhāgavata comes to enjoy a unique status in the School.

From another point of view, the Vedas and the Brahma-sūtra form one group, while the Gītā and the Bhāgavata form another group. The Bhāgavata has been, in fact, considered to be an exhaustive commentary on the Gītā, with full justification.

There were several Schools of the Vedanta before Vallabha, and the founders of these Schools interpreted the sacred texts in their own way.

The interpretation of Śankara, for instance, evoked much criticism; and we are told that Vallabha was ordered by the Lord to appear in the world for bringing order out of chaos which resulted from Śankara’s method of interpretation.

Vallabha, therefore, describes himself as a missionary of the Lord, as a form of fire, and fulfils the mission by offering a different interpretation of the authorities, by criticizing the doctrines of Śankara, and by opening the gates of the city of God to all, without any reservation.

That the problem of God in all its bearings has to be discussed solely in the light of the Śruti (revealed texts), there being no scope for inde­pendent reasoning, follows clearly from the authorities.

Vallabha accepts this principle in toto, and interprets the sacred texts most literally, attaching equal importance to all passages, without caring to know what reason has to say on the point.

This fundamental difference between Śankara and Vallabha in the approach to the Vedic literature is respon­sible for the divergence in their philosophical views.

Vallabha actually criticizes Śankara for his complete reliance on dry logic in the discussion of metaphysical problems, and for the interpretation of the Śruti-texts so as to suit his preconceived notions, and remarks that he (Śankara) is not a faithful interpreter of the sacred texts.

Vallabha, therefore, naturally becomes a severe critic of Śankara, and describes him as an incarnation of Mādhyamika Bauddha and a crypto-Buddhist, a remark offered by Bhāskara, Rāmānuja and others also.

Brahman.—The highest reality according to Vallabha is Kṛṣṇa known as Brahman in the Upaniṣads, Paramātman in the Bhāgavata. Puruṣottama (the Supreme Person) or the Lord Kṛṣṇa is, in fact, the highest God who represents the divine (Ādhidaivika) form of Brahman.

He is one, and one only without a second, possesses all divine qualities, even attributes which are contradictory, and is absolutely devoid of material qualities.

He is existence, intelligence and bliss. He is full of rasa (sweetness) and infinite joy which is His true form (ākāra), and from this point of view Vallabha describes the highest reality as possessed of form (sākāra-Brahman).

He is eternal, unchanging, omni­present, omniscient and omnipotent. He has got the capacity to become anything and everything at any time, and this is what is generally known as His māyā-śakti.

He possesses many powers such as knowledge, action, evolution and involution. He is absolutely free from all sorts of dis­tinctions.

He is the creator of everything and is both the material and efficient cause of the world. He is not different from the souls which emanate from Him. He is the enjoyer. All the attributes of God are quite natural, and non-different from him.

In short, Brahman possesses all qualities and is the origin of both nature and intelligence which lose their differences in Him, and in this respect Vallabha may be compared with the German philosopher Schelling.

The world and souls are in essence one with Brahman, and consequently the system of Vallabha is known as Śuddhādvaita (pure non-dualism) as contrasted with the māyā-vāda of Śankara.

Brahman is absolutely pure, and is not affected in any way by anything like māyā (as in Śankara’s theory). Moreover, both the cause (Brahman) and the effect (world) are pure and non-different from one another, and hence there is pure non-dualism.

The whole Vedic literature describes Brahman only, in its various aspects:

The Pūrva-kāṇda deals with Brahman’s quality of karma in the form of sacrifices, while the Uttarā-Kāṇda deals with its quality jñāna. The Gī and the Bhāgavata, on the other hand, give a complete picture of Brahman in all its aspects.

Akṣara-Brahman.—

Vallabha accepts three forms of Brahman, i.e.

1. Para-Brahman or Puruṣottama,

2. Antaryāmin, and

3. Akṣara- Brahman.

Kṛṣṇa or Puruṣottama is the Lord par excellence, full of rasa (sweetness) and ānanda (joy), and is the object of love and worship.

The joy of Puruṣottama is infinite. He is, in fact, a complete undivided mass of bliss. He dwells in the souls in the form of Antaryāmin (inner- controller) who possesses limited joy.

In the case of Akṣara-Brahman, the joy is also finite.

The Akṣara-Brahman which is the spiritual (ādhyātmika) form of Para-Brahman is the object of meditation by the wise (Jñānins) who become one with it in their final stage.

It is looked upon by the bhaktas as the foot and the abode of the Lord Kṛṣṇa (and in this capacity it is described as, caraa, parama-dhāman, vyoman, etc.). It is the Akṣara-Brahman from which the souls, generally, emanate like sparks from fire.

When the Lord desires to grant liberation through knowledge, He makes the Akṣara-Brahman appear in four forms, i.e. (1) Akṣara, (2) time (kāla)(3) action (karma) and (4) nature (svabhāva).

The Akṣara form, then, appears as prakṛti and puruṣa, and becomes the cause of everything. The four forms referred to are eternal principles being one with God.

When the joy of Akṣara-Brahman is obscured by the will of the Lord at the time of creation, it is generally known as mukhya-jīva

a view which can be favourably compared with that of Auḍulomi who is of the opinion that the intelligent soul merges into the intelligent Brahman.

Akṣara as mukhya-jīva is, however, superior to souls. As a matter of fact, Akṣara-Brahman possesses limited joy, and assumes the puruṣa incarnations of the Lord. The first will of the Lord, when it materializes, is known as prakṛti.

The Akṣara is higher than both prakṛti and puruṣa, and contains within it innumerable worlds. It is described in the Upaniṣads and the Gītā as avyakta, etc.

The negative description of Brahman generally refers to Akṣara-Brahman, which is lower than Puruṣottama, and similar to Śankara’s Para-Brahman.

Vallabha rightly deserves the credit for the conception of Akṣara-Brahman which remained till then a forgotten chapter in Indian Philosophy.

World.—

God is quite alone, and desires to be many. He desires to create the world for the sake of mere pleasure, and He actually creates it from His own self merely by His own desire, on the analogy of a spider and its web.

The world comes out of the very essence (sva-rūpa) of Brahman, and not from the māyā, or the body, or the power of Brahman, as found in the systems of Śankara, Rāmānuja Nimbārka and others.

In upholding the doctrine of the transformation of essence(sva-rūpa- pariṇāma) Vallabha remains most faithful to the Scriptural authority.

God, therefore, happens to be both the material and efficient cause of the world; and although the Lord becomes the world by the process of modification (pariṇāma), He does not suffer any change within Himself (a-vikta-pariṇāma)

—a position, although it fails to satisfy the test of logic, has to be accepted on the strength of the Śruti which is the final authority for Vallabha.

The creation of the world is mere līlā (sport) on the part of God who is absolutely self-sufficient. The world is the sat (existence) aspect of Brahman, the other two qualities of Brahman, i.e. intelligence and joy being obscured by the divine will.

The world is, therefore, a real manifestation of Brahman, the physical (Ādhibhautika) form of Para-Brahman, and is not an illusion. It is non-different from Brahman.

The relation between Brahman and the world is that of cause and effect, and that of pure non-dualism, as there is nothing like Śankara’s māyā to mar their purity. The world gives us an idea of the greatness of the Lord, and those who realize this greatness cannot but worship Him.

Everything in the world is Brahman, and different qualities manifest themselves in different objects at the will of the Lord, and the objects consequently are known by different names.

But ignorance (māyā) obscures the vision of souls and creates in their mind another unreal (māyika) object similar to the real object in the world, and superimposes it on the real object.

The result of this process is that objects are seen not in their true form but as possessing the imaginary (māyika) attributes superimposed on them by the deluding ignorance (vyāmohikā māyā).

The imaginary object created thus is technically called viayatā, while the real object as the manifestation of Brahman is called viṣaya.

The viṣayatā is of two types; one is obscuring (the true nature of things) and the other is responsible for wrong impression:

Those who have known Brahman can truly see the objects of the world as Brahman, and thus there is no error (a-khyāti) in their case, while others see only the imaginary objects (viṣayatā), and hence there is apprehension of something else (anya-khyāti).

The scriptural passages describing the world as māyā really refer to this world of the individual’s erroneous experience (viṣayatā), and not to the real world (viṣaya) which is the manifestation of the Lord.

Vallabha draws a fine distinction between the real world and the unreal world (saṁsāra) which is the creation of soul’s ignorance.

The saṁsāra consists of selfishness(ahatā) and mine-ness(mamatā), and is destroyed by the knowledge of Brahman which the soul comes to possess.

Vidyā and avidya are the two powers produced by the māyā-śakti of the Lord, and have their own bearing on souls only.

Vidyā has got five forms:

1. renunciation (vairāgya), 2. knowledge (sāṁkhya), 3. mental discipline (yoga), 4. penance and 5. devotion to Keśava.

Avidyā also has its own five varieties:

1. ignorance of one’s own self, and the superimposition of the 2. inner organ, 3. vital breath (prana), 4. senses and 5. body.

When vidyā destroys avidyā of a soul, the creation of avidya, i.e. the saṁsāra, is automatically destroyed, and the soul enjoys full freedom.

The world (Jagat) is not destroyed by vidyā; but it is merged in the Lord when He desires to wind up the whole creation in order to enjoy within His own self.

This distinction between the two worlds(Jagat and saṁsāra) is a special contribution by Vallabha, who thereby succeeds in maintaining pure non-dualism. There are several ways of the creation of the world, according to the will of the Lord.

Soul.—

At the time of the creation of the world, souls come out of the Lord or the Akṣara-Brahman, like sparks emanating from fire.

Souls are many, eternal, atomic, and parts of Brahman. They are the knowers, agents and enjoyers. At the desire of the Lord, the quality of joy is suppressed in the soul which possesses the other two qualities of Brahman, i.e. sat (existence) and cit (intelligence).

The soul being the part of Brahman is non-different from it, and the pure-non-dualism desired by Vallabha is not at all affected.

The soul, although atomic in size, pervades the whole body by virtue of its quality of intelligence, on the analogy of a flower whose fragrance spreads in other places also.

The soul is an intelligent reality, a part of Brahman, and not phenomenal as is the case with Śankara.

When the Lord desires to play the so-called game of the world, merely for the sake of pleasure—and pleasure is not possible with­out diversity—

the element of joy becomes latent in the soul, and con­sequently the six divine qualities(bhāga) such as aiśvarya, etc. are suppressed, and a fine variety of souls comes into being.

The disappearance of the six divine qualities—1.aiśvarya,2.vīrya,3.  yaśas,4.śrī, 5.jñāna, and 6.vairāgya, from the soul is responsible for:

1. dependence, 2. suffering of all miseries, 3. inferiority, 4. calamities of birth, etc., 5. ego and false knowledge, and 6. attachment to worldly objects respectively.

In other words, the suppression of the first four divine qualities gives rise to the bondage of the soul, and that of the other two results in wrong knowledge.

The soul is atomic, but when the suppressed element of joy becomes evident, the soul, like Brahman, enjoys omni­presence.

The Scriptural passages mentioning the all-pervading nature of the soul refer to this aspect of the soul which, at the full manifestation of joy, has become Godlike.

When the joy of the soul finds full expression, innumerable worlds begin to appear in that soul which, then, knows no limitation of space. The soul is essentially one with Brahman.

The world is full of diversity, and souls stand on different levels.

Although God has created such a world and made some happy and others unhappy, He is not open to the faults of partiality and cruelty, as the status of the world and souls is determined by the previous cycles of the world and the actions of the souls.

As a matter of fact, the world and souls have come out of the very sva-rūpa of God, the whole universe is the self-creation (ātma-sṛṣṭi) of Lord, the creation by Lord from His own self, and hence there is no scope for any criticism.

Means of Liberation.—

The temperamental differences in the world are responsible for the different ways of approaching God,

and the Scriptures mention the three paths of action, knowledge and devotion, as the means of liberation. The emphasis on one of these three factors has resulted in differences among the different Schools of the Vedanta.

Vallabha has divided the souls into three classes in the descending order, i.e. 1. puṣṭi, 2. maryādā, and 3. pravāha.

Souls, which are aimlessly moving in the world, which are completely engrossed in it and which never think of God, belong to the class of pravāha (the current of the world),

while those which study the Scriptures, understand the real nature of God and worship Him accordingly form the second class of maryādā (Law of Scriptures).

The puṣṭi souls are, however, the chosen people of God, who worship Him most ardently out of their boundless love for Him. The souls are called puṣṭi (grace of God) as they are blessed enough to enjoy the divine grace, which enables them to realize the highest ideal.

Persons who live an objectionable life have to suffer and to move in the cycle of the world.

Those who perform sacrifices for the fulfilment of desires or get their rewards accordingly and go to heaven, if desired, by the path of manes, and have to return to the world of mortals when their merit is exhausted.

When a person performs Vedic sacrifices without any desire, he enjoys spiritual happiness (ātma-sukha), and later on when his life is over, assumes a new body according to the procedure laid down by the doctrine of five fires.

In this new birth he gets the knowledge of God, and ultimately qualifies himself for union with Him by passing through the different stages of the path of gods.

In the Vedic sacrifices, God manifests Himself in the forms of rituals (agṇi-hotra, darśa-pūra-māsa, paśu, cāturmāsya and soma);

and those who worship the ritual power (kriyā-śakti) of God by performing these sacrifices and possess at the same time the knowledge of God, enjoy liberation in the form of divine joy.

The liberation in the maryādā-mārga is gradual, as one is required to move spiritually by the path of gods. Immediate liberation is possible only through the grace of God.

There are, again, persons who come to possess the knowledge of God, realize His presence everywhere in the world and devote their whole time to the meditation upon Him.

These people, passing by the path of gods, merge in the Akṣara-Brahman which was the content of their knowledge.

They consider Akṣara-Brahman as the highest reality and are not aware of anything else, such as Puruṣottama, the Supreme Person.

But if these knowers of Brahman happen to worship Lord Kṛṣṇa, none is superior to them. These learned devotees of the Lord, at the end of their lives, become one with Him.

Devotion to Lord assumes different forms. There are nine varieties such as:

1. hearing, 2. reciting, 3. remembering, 4. falling at the feet, 5. worship, 6. salutation, 7. service, 8. friendship, and 9. self­-dedication.

These stages are in the ascending order, and show the progress of the devotee who ultimately comes to love God.

One who studies the Scriptures realizes the greatness of God, considers Him as his own soul, and consequently bows down to Him out of strong boundless affection.

This kind of devotion which has been enjoined in the Scriptures and which is, therefore, practised accordingly, is known as maryādā-bhakti, and corresponds to the vaidhī-bhakti of other Vaiṣṇava Schools.

The maryādā devotees generally enjoy union with Puruṣottama. Sometimes they enjoy the status of the Lord, or dwell in His vicinity, or remain in His place.

The Scriptures mention the aforesaid means for the realization of the goal, and declare in the same breath that the ultimate reality cannot be obtained by any means excepting God’s grace.

Vallabha removes this contradiction by means of his theory of maryādā and puṣṭi.

The knowledge and devotion which can be acquired by human efforts and which are recommended by the Scriptures, give rise to liberation called maryādā; while the liberation granted by God to those who have no means of approaching Him is known as puṣṭi.

In the path of maryādā, the Lord desires to grant liberation according to the achievement of souls, while in the path of puṣṭi, the Lord wishes to liberate souls, although the latter have not acquired, even in the least, the means laid down in the Scriptures.

The doctrine of election is, as with Augustine, a special feature of Vallabha’s system which is, therefore, otherwise known as puṣṭi-mārga.

The devotees of the puṣṭi type have got natural love for Lord Kṛṣṇa, and do everything simply out of their boundless love for the Lord, as in the rāgānugā-bhakti of Bengal Vaiṣṇavism.

They, in all humility, solely depend on God and can enjoy divine bliss only when chosen by Him.

In the path of maryādā, love for the Lord is the result of the nine forms of devotion, while in the puṣṭi-mārga, love is the starting-point which naturally results not only in the nine varieties of bhakti but in other spiritual activities also.

Puṣṭi is thus the opposite of maryādā.

In the class of puṣṭi, the devotees are further divided into four cate­gories according to their special qualities. The four types are (1) pravāha, (2) maryādā, (3) puṣṭi, and (4) śuddha.

The devotees of the first type are always engaged in the activities connected with the Lord, while those of the second type know the qualities of the Lord and worship Him.

Devotees of the third type are omniscient, and those of the last type have got boundless love for the Lord, and are rare indeed! The gopis are the best illustration of this.

The Puṣṭi devotees, in general, are first united with Puruṣottama without going through the stages of the path of gods, and the Lord, out of sheer grace, then bring them out, give them a new divine form, and allow them to participate in His eternal sport (rāsā-līlā).

The devotees of the highest order, like the gopis, immediately enter into the Lord’s arena of sports, and enjoy the very bliss of the Lord for all time.

In the eternal līlā, the devotee enjoys all sorts of pleasure in the company of the Lord who entirely places Himself at the disposal of the former. This is, according to Vallabha, the highest stage of liberation, the summum bonum.

Vallabha tells us that action, knowledge and formal devotion (maryādā- bhakti) had their day in the past, but they had ceased to be in his own time on account of unfavourable circumstances.

It is, therefore, abso­lutely necessary to depend upon the grace of God for liberation.

He who realizes his spiritual bankruptcy and utter helplessness naturally seeks the shelter of God, like an insolvent approaching a court of law for protection against his creditors.

Such a person, a Puṣṭi-bhakta, completely throws himself at the feet of the Lord by dedicating not only his own self but also all his belongings.

He devotes his whole life to the service of the Lord, reads His account in the Bhāgavata, and minimizes worldly affairs, if any.

Self-dedication does not leave any scope for selfishness and attachment to worldly objects, and the saṁsāra of the devotee auto­matically vanishes.

The home of such a devotee becomes the temple of God, and the whole family can enjoy the divine happiness even in this world.

The Puṣṭi-bhakta loves God so intensely that he gives up all earthly loves and ignores the duties of class (varṇa) and order (āśrama).

God Kṛṣṇa is rasa, ānanda, beauty per excellence, and Vallabha develops a special philosophy of aesthetics:

Kṛṣṇa represents all the rasas (senti­ments) in general, and śṛṅgāra-rasa (sentiment of love) in particular, and as śṛṅgāra has two aspects of union and separation, Kṛṣṇa exhibits them in His dealings with His devotees.

The whole description of the boyhood of Kṛṣṇa, as given in the Bhāgavata, is most enchanting, and one who reads it indeed becomes God-intoxicated.

All the actions of Kṛṣṇa in Gokul, which are full of philosophical significance, clearly show the wonderful efficacy of His grace, and it is for this reason that the boy form of Kṛṣṇa is recommended for worship.

The gopis were smitten with the marvellous beauty of Kṛṣṇa, became mad after Him, sacrificed all things at the altar of love, proved their sincerity by defying even Kṛṣṇa’s moral instructions,

lost the company of the Lord on account of their pride, expressed regret in a touching manner, won the Lord's favour and enjoyed the divine bliss of His company.

It was by the grace of God that the gopis cherished love for Him and could reach the goal.

Whoever succeeds in establishing a permanent contact with God by any means such as love, anger, fear, affection, identity and friendship, undoubtedly enjoys the divine bliss.

These are some of the ways of soul's approach to God. The closest contact between God and soul is possible only through the ardent love of a lover and his beloved, and Rādhā is an embodiment of such love.

Vallabha tells us that females alone are competent to enjoy the divine bliss, and it is well known that devotion is not possible without some kind of femininity.

Some devotees worship Kṛṣṇa as their child and others as their lover. As a matter of fact all souls are females and their natural husband is Lord Kṛṣṇa.

Every soul is, therefore, expected to love Kṛṣṇa, as a wife loves her husband, a theory which can be well contrasted with Sufism. The doors of the Puṣṭi-mārga are thus open to all.

The Puṣṭi-bhakti, as illustrated in the case of gopis, although the highest ideal, is very difficult in the present circumstances. Vallabha, therefore, offers another happy solution in the form of self-surrender(prapatti) to God.

All persons, irrespective of caste and nationality, can reach the goal by sustaining throughout the whole life the spirit of self-surrender and resignation to the will of God. With this mental attitude they may devote their life to the worship of the Lord, hearing and reciting the Scripture, the Bhagavata.

The rāsā-līlā of Kṛṣṇa in Gokula is eternal, and the idea has been traced to the ig-Veda. The conception of rāsā-līlā has been variously interpreted from the time of Śuka to the modern period.

Vallabha understands it both literally and metaphorically. When it is taken in the literal sense Vallabha is most anxious to show that there is no tinge of sensualism,

as God and all His activities are free from passion and as the reflection on the rāsā-līlā not only purifies a man but engenders in him devotion to the Lord.

In the case of metaphorical interpretation there is no danger of the rāsā-līlā being misunderstood:

The gopis, according to Vallabha, are the Vedas or Śrutis, and the Śrutis are always connected with the Lord who is their only topic. The constant association of the Śrutis with the Lord is represented in the form of the rāsā-līlā.

Conclusion.

Vallabha taught the philosophy of Śuddhādvaita and the religion of Puṣṭi on the authority of the Scriptures which are to him the final court of appeal.

Some of his doctrines such as Brahman posses­sing attributes, transformation of Brahman into the world, the reality of the world, and combination of action with knowledge, were known even before Śankara. The ideas of devotion, self-surrender and divine grace were current before Vallabha.

What is, then, Vallabha’s own contribution to Indian Philosophy?

The doctrine of non-dualism, the conception of God as full of delicious­ness (rasa) and joy, the coexistence of contradictory attributes in Brahman, the idea of Akṣara-Brahman,

the theory of the creation of the world from the very form (sva-rūpa) of Brahman, the transformation of Brahman into the world without suffering any change,

self-dedication to the Lord, emphasis on God’s grace, and the aesthetic and emotional form of devotion are the special features of Vallabha’s teaching.

Vallabha criticizes Śankara for the doctrine of māyā, Bhāskara for his doctrine of upādhi, Rāmānuja for the trinity in the final stage, Nimbārka for his emphasis on dualism, Madhva for his advocacy of pure dualism, and the Śaktas for their doctrine of śakti as the efficient cause of the world.

Vallabha holds that the Scriptures teach realistic (vāstavika) non-dualism which can be reconciled with devotion (a view expressed later by Sri Aurobindo also) and not that monistic idealism as desired by Śankara.

Śankara is unmatched for his metaphysical depth and logical power, and is supreme as a philosopher and dialectician.

Vallabha, however, is matchless in his acceptance of the Scriptures as the final authority, and, naturally his system is purely theological and reminds us of Christian theology. Śankara and Vallabha can, therefore, never agree.

Under direct instructions from Lord Kṛṣṇa, it is said, Vallabha started his mission of turning people to God, without any distinction of caste and nationality, by initiating them in the service of the Lord.

Vallabha, like Plotinus, remarks that just as children immediately tom from their parents and for a long time nurtured at a great distance from them, become ignorant both of themselves and their parents,

so also the souls separated from the Lord are suffering, and the earlier they are put again in His charge, the better for them.

Vallabha’s teaching elevated the life of all the sections of society and proved to be completely democratic.

Painting, music and literature in Sanskrit, Hindi and Gujarati have richly flourished under the inspiration obtained from the system of Vallabha. And there has been a regular stream of mystics in the School of Vallabha who lost all individual life in an ecstasy of immediate union with God.