In the Year in which Shri Vallabh was born there was a rumour that there was going to be an invasion in the city of Benaras(Varanasi).So shri Laxman Bhattji left Benaras with his wife, who was pregnant, and started from their house at Hanuman Ghat in Benaras to go to his native village in Andhra Pradesh (South India).
On the way when they came to the little forest of Champaranya Shri Illamaji had severe labour pain and gave birth to Shri Vallabh.This was only the seventh month of the pregnency period so all were not sure whether the child would survive.At first Shri Vallabh did not cry or make any sort of movement that a new born baby makes.Even when Shri Laxman Bhattji tried a few things he did not respond.So all of them thought that the child was born dead and so they continued with their journey leaving Shri Vallabh behind in the forest.
At night the Lord himself came to Shri Laxman Bhattji and told him to go back and pick up the child who was the incarnation of the Lord himself.Shri Laxman Bhattji sat up from his sleep and decided to go back to the spot where he had left Shri Vallabh,though he thought that the child might have perished alone in that forest.On returning to that place all of them saw that Shri Vallabh was playing and had the thumb of his leg in his mouth and a ring of fire was lit up around him to protect him.All those present, along with Shri Laxman Bhattji himself, were astonished on seeing this scene.After a while all of them regained their senses and Shri Illamaji picked Shri Vallabh in her hands as the ring of fire disappeared.
They took Shri Vallabh back to Varanasi instead of going to their native place.On their way they stayed in Chauda Nagar for performing some of the initial sanskaras such as the namkaran (naming of a child).After a few days they returned to varanasi.
When Shri Vallabh was nine years old Shri Laxman Bhattji performed the Yagyopavit Sanskara (thread ceremony) of his two sons (Shri Vallabh had an elder brother,Shri Ramchandra Bhattji).Soon afterwards the best teachers were employed to teach subjects such as Adhyatma Vidya (education of the Vedas) and Shad Darshan (six systems of Indian Philosophy) to them.Shri Vallabh acquired command on these subjects within only two years of initiationAt the tender age of 11 years Shri Vallabh began discussing the intricacies of the meaning of the various doctrines such as Vishishtadwaita,Kewaladwaita,Dwaita,etc.in a most critical manner.This surprised all those who met him.
From this we can see that Shri Vallabh was a very bright and good student of all the aspects of the Hindu society and achieved their thorough knowledge at a very tender age.
The dialogue of Vidyanagar
When Shri Vallabh went to visit his uncle in Vidyanagar a Shastrarth (discussion) was going on between the Vaishnavas and the Mayavadins.Shri Vallabh came to know from the locals that the Mayavadins were going to win in a day or two.On hearing this Shri Vallabh himself decided to the palace of Maharaja Krishnadev Rai where the discussion was taking place.
When Shri Vallabh entered the palace the courtieres present and those who were discussing were so astonished to see divine beauty of Shri Vallabh that they were left speechless.They were equally amazed to know that a child of such a small age was ready to enter into a discussion with such learned men.Shri Vallabh then started asking questions to the Mayavadins, who till then were on the verge of winning the discussion.The Mayavadins had no answer to the questions asked by Shri Vallabh and they finally accepted defeat after - days.On this day Shri Vallabh established a new school of thought known as the Shhudhadvaita.
Krishnadev Rai then decided to perform a Kanakabhishek (a bath in water of pure gold) of Shri Vallabh.He not only weighed Shri Vallabh with gold but also gave him vast wealth.But Shri Vallabh took only 7 gold coins because he wanted to construct a temple of Shrinathji and gave the remaining wealth to the poor.
- The Prithvi Parikramas
There is a tale regarding the parikramas.When Shri Vallabh decided to start his first Parikrama he was only 13 years old.In India there is a tradition to take leave of one's parents before going out so Shri Vallabh approached his widowed mother and told her that he wanted to go on a parikrama.On hearing this Shri Illamaji (Shri Vallabh's mother) was shocked and refused to give him the permission to do so.But it was necessary for Shri Vallabh to go to Vraj where Lord Shrinathji was waiting for him so Shri Vallabh thought a way out.Shri Vallabh was the incarnation of Agni (Fire) and so on his wish his own house caught fire.Shri Illamaji quickly ran out of the house but Shri Vallabh stayed inside.On seeing his son not coming out Shri Illamaji started screaming "Get out!Get out of the house!!".Shri Vallabh took his mother's sentence (Get out of the house) as her permission to go on a parikrama.This is all Shri Vallabh wanted to hear and he set out for Vraj.Before setting out Shri Vallabh promised Shri Illamaji that he would be by her bedside when she would pass away(He did keep this promise too!).
Shri Vallabh completed the three parikramas and settled in Adel near Allahabad.
During all the three parikramas Shri Valabh imposed three ardous rules on himself.They were :
- Do the parikrama barefooted.(He walked 12000 kms. barefooted in his life)
- Never enter a village or city but always stay on it's outskirts.
- Never wear stitched clothes.(He wore only a dhoti and a small piece of cloth known as a Uparana throughout his life).