VALLAIIIIACHARYA was boni a.n. 1479; he was the son of a Telugu Brahman, and origin ated the -worship of the Bala Gopala, the infant Krishna, and the sect thus founded have the name of Vallabhacharya or Rudra Sampradayi. The worship of the Bala Gopala is widely diffused amongst all mnks of Indian society, particularly in the northern parts of India, but is perhaps best known as the religion of the Gokulaatlia gamins, the title of its teachem He taught that privation and asceticism is not rssnctity, and that it is the duty of the teachers and their disciples to worship the deity, not in nudity and hunger, but in costly apparel and choice food; not in solitude and mor tification, but in the pleasures of society and 'the enjoyments of the world. The gosains or teachers, like Vallabile, are always married men, always clothed with the best raiment, and fed with the daintiest viands by their followers, over whom they have unlimited influence. Zealous disciples devote to the guru, tan, man dhan, body, mind, and means. The temples and' houses of the sect have pictures, and metallic often gold, images of Gopal, of Krishna, and Ra'dlia, and other deified forms connected with the incarnation. The idol is richly decorated aud sedulously attended in daily ceremonies. Besides their public demon strations of respect, this sect, before sitting down to any of their meals, take care to offer a portion to the idol. Those of the disciples who have performed the triple Samarpana, eat only from the hands of each other, and the wife or child that has not exhibited the same mark of devotion can neither cook for such a disciple nor eat in his society. This part of their tenets has been sub versive of all morality, and in 1862 was notori ously brought before the public in a trial for libel instituted in Bombay by one of the teachers, -when it was shown that the women of the wealthiest of this sect deemed it an honour to receive the priest's attentions, he selecting one in the midst of and from amongst hundreds of her fellow-worshippers, and allowing visitors to be present while associating with her. In 1868, in
Bombay, during the Holi festival, indecent pan tomimes were shown by this sect.
Vallabha was the author of the Bhagavat, also of a Bhashya, of one part of Vyasa's Sutras, and of other Sanskrit works, on which the worship of the sect is founded.
Vittala Nat'h, the son and successor of Vallabha, had seven sons, all of whona were teachers, and their followers, though in all essential points the same, form separate communities. Those of Gokul Nat'h, however, look on their own gosains as the only legitimate teachers of their faith. The worshippers of this sect are very numerous and opulent, the merchants and bankers, especially the Bhattia race from Gujerat and Malwa, belong ing to it. Their temples and establishments are numerous all over India, but especially at Ma thura, and many hundreds at Brindaban. But at Sri Nat'h Dwar at Ajrnir is the most celebrated, the most highly venerated, and most richly endowed of all the Gosain establishments. It is a matter of obligation with members of this sect to visit Sri Nat% Dwar at least once in their lives, and the head gosain presents them with a cer tificate to that effect. Gosains are constantly travelling over India under the similitude of pilgrims, but reconcile to themselves on these occasions the profits of trade with the benefits of devotion.
BitthalNat'h's descendants settled in Sambat 1536 at Mahaban or Gokula a town 5 or 6 miles below Mathura. His descen'dants are now the gosains of the temple there. The law members are called Sevakan; their system of doctrine's called Pushti Alarg, or way of happiness ; and its practice as Daiva Jan, or divine life.—Growse, p. 264.