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Purandara DAsaru- Life history- Part 2

From: Shobha Srinivasan (srinivasan_at_clarityconnect.com)
Date: Sat Jun 12 1999 - 05:37:36 PDT

MukhyapranAmthaRgatha

Sri Vishnupreranaya Sri VishnupreethyaRTham

manmanObhiShta varadham saRvAbhIShta phalapradham |
puramdhara gurum vamdhE dhAsa shrEshtam dhayAniDhim ||

manmanObhiShta varadham saRvAbhIShta phalapradham |
puramdhara gurum vamdhE dhAsa shrEshtam dhayAniDhim ||

nAham kartA hariH kartA tatpUjA karmachaakhilam.h|
taThaapi matkR^itaa pUja tatprasaadhEna naanyaThaa|
tadbhakti tadphalam.h mahyam.h tatprasaadaat.h punaH punaH |
karmanyaasO harAvevam.h vishNOsthR^iptikaraH sadhA  ||

"I am not the doer, shri Hari is the doer, all the actions that I do are
His worship. Even then, the worship I do is through His grace and not
otherwise. That devotion and the fruits of the actions that come to me are
due to His recurring grace" 
If one always practices to do actions with a dedicated spirit to Hari, in
this way, it pleases Vishnu.

World of Purandaradasa 

Purandaradasa went on singing and praying for God's grace and finally he
realised God's grace. He felt the ectsasy of God realisation and at such
moments he broke into song delcaring "I saw Achyuta with
my own eyes". He often became unconscious on account of the joy of God
realisation and sang: "I am saved, I have conquered life. The good fortune
of serving at the feet of Padmanabha has come to me". 

Each stage of Purandaradasa'a growth and development as a pious man moving
towards the higher stages of God realisation is significant. The greatness
of his divine nature can be compositions (Suladis and
Ugabhogas). The conflicts, anxieties, his hopes, fears and despair have
been expressed in simple Kannada very eloguently and clearly. Purandaradasa
bcame great because of his success in living the life of
piety and proving the superiority of the soul over the wordly success. He
has created a world of his own with his preoccupation with the life of the
spirit and the strength of his devotion. We can read his
verses and understand how the boy Dhruva and the sinner Ajamila reached the
highest places as devotees by their devotion and piety. Krishna's
advetnures as a boy have been beautifully recoreded and sung
in his verses. If his playfulness, mischief and cleverness endear
themselves to us in a particular way, the picture Purandaradasa gives about
the coquetries and the passionate attachment of Gopis for krishna,
their lover may please the readers in quite a different way. There are
vivid pictures of the Gopis complaining to Yashoda about her son's mischief
in these verses. 

There is also the picture of the other Gopis taking the boy Krishna in
their arms, kissing him with materanl affection and solicitude and
propititing the evil powers in various ways so that nothing evil should
happen to him. We can enjoy such pictures described beautifully by
purandaradasa in his verses. 

Purandaradasa has expressed his devotion to Lord Krishna,(Panduranga
Vittala) his personal deity, imagining him in so many ways and had
relationships with him. His pure love and devotion came out very
clearly in all his verses. He admits that he has erred in hundred ways
which he ties his tongue making it different for him to ask for
forgiveness. He sings again -"you are the God who can kill and save. I have
not seen gradeur like yours in any other God". Before a God Purandaradasa
surrenders completely and asks for refuge. His love and devotion and the
stages by which he travelled before coming to the
summit can be understood by us according to each one's ability to
understand such spiritual development. 

Good Conduct 

Purandaradasa set the highest value on good conduct. The strength and
greatness of Sri Hari's name have been beautifully enshrined and sung in
this world. People who do not know Sanskrit find it hard to
understand the vedas and upanishads. But Purandaradasa has explained the
whole essense of these scriptures in simple kannada and show the way that
one should live. He practised in his life what he
preached. It is important to note ths aspect of his life. He gifted away
all his wealth and lived the life of renunciation which he preached to
others. Although he took to the life of renuciation and asceticism he
did not desert his wife and children. He lived with them. 

He made it clear to others by his conduct how it ws possible to achieve
purity of thought, word and deed regardless of caste, religion or creed. He
did not believe that man could understand God by mere
external purity unless it was accompanies by purity of mind. 

Art 

Whatever Purandaradasa says, the way he introduces it and explains it is
very pleasant. His similes are very simple and telling. He compares wicked
men to the knotted tree of thorns. He warns the non
believers that life is being wasted at every stroke of the bell. When he
saw a post man he sang "A letter has arrived from Padmanabha. A letter that
has been written by Padmanabha himself!". 

He preached several moral precepts making use of familiar incidents like
the postman delivering letters. It was God's gift that Purandaradasa was
able to preach, in simple kannada, what is difficult even for
philosophers to put across in a way which the ordinary people can understand.

Incidents of Life 

Just as Purandaradasa used incidents to preach the value of devotion he was
able to put across difficult principles in the few simple words in Kannada.
Here is the verse: "The eyes which cannot see Narahari
(Krishna) are no better than the eyes of peacock's feathers". He has
criticised the pretense of people who merely shave off their heads without
cultivating detachment of mind and pose as saints. 

Scholars think that Purandara lived for about 84 years (from AD 1480 to
1564). On the basis of the verse in the name of Madvapathi his son it is
held that Purandaradasa must have passed away a year
before the fall of Vijaynagar. Taking it as authentic, his death
anniversary is celeberated on the New Moon Day, in the second fortnight of
Pushya. 

It's once own duty to understand Purandaradasa's personality from his
compositions and not be content with the stories that have grown around his
name. We cannot come across such originality and variety
in any other saint of that creed. On the basis of a verse in his name, it
is said that he composed 4.75,000 songs. Whatever the number of his songs
we can see the greatness from the verses available now. 

It's once own duty to understand Purandaradasa's personality from his
compositions and not be content with the stories that have grown around his
name. We cannot come across such originality and variety
in any other saint of that creed. On the basis of a verse in his name, it
is said that he composed 4.75,000 songs. Whatever the number of his songs
we can see the greatness from the verses available now. 

He made music and song an integral part of the common man's life. About a
quarter of his songs deal with his spiritual life and how it grew stage by
stage. The remaining songs reveal his abundant experience,
devotion, wisdom and his detachment. 

Vyasaraya, his teacher himself has called his verses "Purandaropanishat".
There is no need for some one else's praise. Some great man who saw the
greatness of the soul which has pleased and guided the
people for four hundred years has praised him in the following line which
may be our tributealso to that great soul: 

"Salutations to you, Purandaragur, Greatest of the saints and the kindliest" 

(Purandara gurum vande Dasa-sreshtham dayanidhim) 

Sri KRuShNARpanamasthu