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Purandara DAsaru- Life history- Part 4

From: Shobha Srinivasan (
Date: Tue Jun 15 1999 - 04:21:33 PDT

Sri Vishnupreranaya Sri VishnupreethyaRTham

An Overview of Purandara Literature (Purandara Sahitya) 

Sri Purandara Dasa is considered to be the main architect of Kannada
Haridasa literature. His influence on the Haridasa literature has flown
like a tide which became as sacred as Ganga and it created a
waves of Bhagirathi river. Purandara Dasa's doctorine is "Devotion". On
holding this theory Purandara Dasa became noble person. 

He is fond of Vittala, whatever service he does became Madhava's service,
whatever he spoke from his mouth became the name of Sri Narayana, and
wherever he went in this world those places became
sacred place. He took refuge with Sri Krishna and Krishna became his
intellect. Udupi's Sri Krishna position became his path of love and this
became Dasa's power also. 

Sri Purandaradasa's eyes filled with tears of joy whenever he thought of
child Krishna. He describes in his verses-Krishna playfulness from the
angle of his mother Yashoda. In some of his verses
Purandaradasa has identified himself with the Gopis of Gokula and has
described Krishna as if he were one of the Gopi's. Although Devaki was his
mother, it was Yashoda's good fortune that she became his
foster-mother and brought him up so lovingly. The child krishna was unlike
other children. He would suddenly burst out crying in the cradle waking up
from sleep which brought Yashoda to the cradle feeling
anxious about his safety. 

She would ask other Gopis to tell her, if they could, why he was crying.
She would try to undo the effect of the evil eye which must have hurt her
child Krishna. Naughty child Krishna would never stay at
home. The whole of Gokula was his home and playground. All the cowherds and
milkmaids were his playmates. Yashoda would plead with him not to go out,
as the famous verse sings, "Do not go out,
Ranga, beyond the threshold. If you go, the Bhagavathas will take you
away". But Krishna would not listen to her. He was always fond of playing
outside the home. Often he went to the other houses and ate
all the butter and milk that he found there. 

Unable to bear the mischief of Krishna, the Gopis complained to Yashoda who
felt unhappy over this. She would cry out, "What shall I do, Krishna my
son, the day has dawned", and would feel sorry at
each sunrise, as it was not within her power to restrain Krishna during the
day. At other times she would silence the Gopis by asking them: "Why are
you complaining against my Rangayya, the idol and the
beloved of all the three worlds?". If some Gopis were tired of his
mischief, some of them gladly welcomed him and played with him comparing
him to the moon. Whatever the complaints or praise of others,
child krishna was Yashoda's dear idol. She would play with him and forget
the whole world during that time. She would bless him in various ways as
she gave him in various ways as she gave him a bath of
oil. If he did not listen to her, she would frighten him by saying "There
is a ghost, Ranga there is ghost waiting for you". She would pretend to
call the ghost. Krishna then would promise that he would be quiet
and request his mother not to call the ghost. If Krishna did not return
home for food after his games, Yashoda would go out searching for him and
asking every woman, "Did you not see my Ranga?" .
Purandaradasa has given detailed description in his verses of Balakrishna's
dress and jewellery with which to identify the child. The description of
his dress and jewellery in the verses is very beautiful. 

As the days went by Krishna's greatness became well known. The incident of
Krishna's lifting the Govardhana mountain to give shelter to every one
against the torrential rain sent by Indra is the most
uncommon episode. Similarly his dancing on the hood of the great serpent
Kalinga who was causing endless trouble to all people who entered the pond
is another proof of his greatness. Purandaradasa has
described this incident graphically in his vers:"Ranga danced on the hood
of Kalinga in a splendid way, giving gifts to all who prayed and enjoying
himself the while and asking for butter". All the moods of
Krishna have been vividly described by Purandara Dasa. Through his verses
we can appreciate and understand the kind of love and affection with which
he approached God. 

Purandaradasa won over all the hurdles because he took oath on Tatva.
That's why he composed a song 'krishnamU^rthy kanna mu.nde ni.nthiv^rthide'
(he is seeing the standing position of Sri Krishna in his

Sri Purandara is considered to be one of the ever over flowing river in the
Karnataka Haridasa Sahitya rivers. He is one of the founder of the
Karnataka music. Navakoti Narayana suddenly became
Haridasa by holding tamboori in his hand. There is song ' dAsaru t.amboori
mItidaru, javabdi dAtidaru, gejjeya kattidaru, khalaredeya mettidaru,
arisshatwargagalannu kuttidaru, vykuntada bagilanu tattidaru,
gayana pAdidaru, harimurthyyanu nodidaru (he played tamboori, he crossed
the fetters of the world, he weared Gajje (spherical jinging bell), chased
the shyness, he defended the hearts of thiefs (khalarede),
he grinded all materialistic aspirations (arishatwarga), he knocked the
door of moksha, vaikunta, adobe, he sung devotional songs and saw Sri Hari). 

After seeing the great saint Sri Vyaasaraja his crores of ancestors became
purified and sacred. He got the eligibility power to pray Srisha. He got
ankita as Purandara Vittala. His attachment to the magical
samsara has been cutoff and he was blessed by the preceptor - Sri
Vyaasaraja. He suceeded in getting the friendship with Haridasa's and his
dream of getting the sacred people as friends became reality. He
repeatedly and continuously (without any interruption) shown interest in
praying Madhava. 

It is natural for a Haridasa to think of his Lord as his master. His prayer
to his Lord to accept him as his servant has been expressed in a variety of
ways. In his vers "Take me as your dasa (slave). You are
kindness itself. How then can you wound me by your delay?" We can see the
sincerity of his prayer. In another verse Purandaradasa sings, "Every day I
prostrate at your feet begging that you grant me
firmness of mind to be your devotee". 

The relationship that each Hari Bhakta (devotee of Hari) wishes to
establish with his Lord is called Dasyabhava-the relationship that exists
between a good master and an ideal servant. Many of
Purandaradasa's verses give expression to this sentiment. As intimacy
develops between God and his devotee, a feeling of mutual regard and love
develops. As if to give expression to this feeling,
Purandaradasa sings rather with a sense of too much familiarity. "I donot
need you nor your obligation. It is enough that I have the strength of your
name". At another time Purandardasa sings with feeling of
friendship with his Lord. "I swear and so should you, both of us should
swear on the deovtees." He comes to terms with his Lord in this way. 

Sri Purandara Dasa has travelled all over the country. He popularised the
concept of Devotion. He carried the people to the top of the mountain
called 'Bhagavadbhakti' (God's devotion). He attacked the
kama, kroda (lust, hatredness). Like the common usage of lakhs of stars in
the sky, lakhs of lamps, etc. he composed four lakh seventy five thousand
songs. T he genesis of his songs go like this 'vishayada
vichara bidu, vihita ka^rma mAdu, vairAgya bhAgya bhedu, vinayadi sajjanara
kooda volagannu teredu, volaganninolaginda volagolage iruva hariyanu
mOr^jaga dhoreyanu nodu' (leave mundane things, do
your duty, ask for passionlessness asset, along with sacred people open
your eyes, inside the eye see the presence of the king of three worlds Sri
Hari.) By these songs the whole country became enlightened.

All Purandara's compositions are sutra's (theorems), commentaries
(bhashya). His vision is like Garuda's (King of Birds) vision. He touched
the hearts of common man and tamed him to be satvik (good)
from his writings and compositions of songs. Because of his noble
characters his songs have become all time great and powerful. He doesnot
have the mind of show off of his schloastic knowledge. Each song
carries morals and mundane things of a common man. This has real effect on
the minds of the people. He has the great vision and inquisite mind of
providing knowledge to all of them who seek devotion
through his songs. He called the people to live in pure and sacred mind. He
advised those people who unnecessarily blaming others. 

Sri KrishnArpanamasthu