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Re: Songs by Purandara Dasa

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Tue May 06 1997 - 11:23:30 PDT

sriman jaganath wrote:
> But if
> one follows Srivaishnavism, one cannot enjoy the songs of Purandara
> Dasa where he sings in praise of Ganesha etc.  Why?

The songs of Purandara Dasa, in my opinion, can be enjoyed
by anyone, even Sri Vaishnavas, or should I say perhaps
*best* by Sri Vaishnavas! Even Purandara Dasa's songs on
Ganesha are generally only meant to further his own love
for Sriman Narayana.

For example, take the popular song "gajavadana vEduvE,
gauri tanaya".  In the final charaNa of the song, Sri
Purandara Dasaru sings:

	sarasija nAbha Sri purandara viThalana
	nirata neneyuvante dayamAdO!

	[O Gajavadana!] Please grace me such that
	I forever contemplate on Sri Purandara Vithala,
	the one with a lotus in his navel!

Purandara is only asking Gajavadana to clear away any 
obstacles in his contemplation of the Lord.  In Purandara's
conception, all the devatas are only serving Sriman Narayana,
so why not ask these bhaktas to help him advance in his love
for God?

Philosophically speaking, one should have no objection to
singing songs that appear on the surface to be about other
deities.  Since Sriman Narayana is alone the Inner Self of
all these various entities, it is in fact only Him that is
addressed in all these songs.  If we sing or appreciate this
music with this idea in mind, we can progress further and
not worry about whether we are doing "anya-devata-arAdhanai".

Bhagavan Ramanujacharya endorses this approach in the Sribhashya.
In the Prasna Upanishad, the god Indra says, "mAm upAsya" --
worship me as the means to liberation.  It is Ramanuja's
understanding that what is meant here is "worship Me who is
the Inner Self of this Indra, the Supreme Lord". Even though
the god Indra is named, it is not Indra who is worshipped,
since the Inner Self is the actual recipient of the worship.

I believe that with this attitude, we can dispense with the
petty sectarian fights and move on to a greater appreciation
of the vibhUtis of Bhagavan Sriman Narayana.