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Hagiography

(9,040 words)

Author(s): Richard Barz
Hagiography is the recording of the lives of holy men and women. It has a very long history in the literatures of India. In those literatures hagiographical writing is found in three genres: Purāṇa ("Legend"), Carita ("Biography") and Kathā ("Story"). While all of these genres include hagiographies, none of them is exclusively hagiographic. Although some Indian hagiographies are outstanding works of literature, their main purpose is religious and hagiographies have a place in the spiritual life…

Vallabha

(10,276 words)

Author(s): Richard Barz
For historians of Hindu thought, Vallabha (1478-1530) - or, with his title ācārya (teacher), Vallabhācārya - is well known as a philosopher and religious leader within the Vaiṣṇava tradition. As a philosopher he created the Śuddhādvaita (pure monism; see Vedānta) system of thought, and as a religious leader he established a sect or sampradāya, known from his name as the Vallabha Sampradāya. But for the members of the Vallabha Sampradāya, Vallabha is much more than just a formulator of doctrines or a guide to religious observance. For them he is a …

Vallabha Sampradāya/Puṣṭimārga

(7,124 words)

Author(s): Richard Barz
From the 14th to the 19th century, bhakti , or the devotional form of Hinduism, was predominant throughout most of India. One of the leaders of the bhakti movement in northern and western India was Vallabha (1478–1530), a Tailang Brahman born near Raipur in what is now Chhattisgarh state in central India. Vallabha, who wrote only in Sanskrit, was famous as a philosopher, and his accomplishments in that area are recognized by the title ācārya , which is often suffixed to his name. There are three facets of Vallabha’s teachings on bhakti. The first of these is his philosophical system, …