VALLABHAS. The followers of the Hindu religious teacher, Vallablia or Vallahhaearya, " Teacher Val labha." Vallabha is said to have been born about A.D. 1479. He is said to have shown great precocity at the age of seven, and at the age of twelve to have formulated a new form of the Vaishnava creed. He travelled for some years, and then settled in Benares. Here he com posed a number of works, including a commentary on the Bhagavata-purana. He disapproved of fasting and self-mortification. The body onght to be reverenced and fostered because the soul contained in it is a portion of the Supreme Soul. This doctrine exposed him to the charge of Epicureanism. His creed has been called Pushti-marga, " the way of eating, drinking, and enjoy ing oneself." Vallabha taught, or professed to teach, a pure non-duality : individual human spirits are like sparks from the _Supreme Spirit; in essence the two are identical. His teaching in general lent itself to abuse.
His successors acquired such power and renown that they received the title Maharajas. " great kings." They have indulged in great luxury and sensuality. Men and women do homage to them as representatives, or incarna tions, of Krishna. They devour the leavings of their food and the dust on which they have trodden. They drink the water in which their feet have been washed. In a peculiar rite called Self-devotion, they make over to Krishna's vicars upon earth body, soul, and property, " and women are taught to believe that highest bliss will be secured to themselves and their families by the caresses of Krishna's representatives " (Monier-Wit name). See Monier-Williams; E. W. Hopkins.