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Sri Purandara Daasaru

A.D. 1485 – 1564


“Purandara gurum vande Dasa-sreshtham dayanidhim”
(Salutations to you, Purandaraguru, Greatest of the saints and the most kind)

V.Prabhakar Rao
Singapore
Dec 2007
Shri Gurubyo Namaha:

Let me commence my compilation with a namaskara to Shri Raghavendra Guru


Rajaru, …….. who has been described as “Charanara Sanjeeva”, “Kann Thodesiva
Karuneeya”, “Karadhara Baruva Guru”, “Kamadhenu”, “Kalpakavriksha” ……. by
various Daasas and devotees, over the past nearly four centuries.
Haridasa lineage
The Haridasa lineage sprang 800 years ago. It took
birth with the inspiration of Sri Madhwacharya,
blossomed during the period of his disciple Sri
Naraharitheertharu, during which time it took the
poetic form. Two centuries later through the
relentless efforts of Sri Sripadarajaru and his
principal disciple Sri Vyasarajaru, it reached the
common man in the form of lyrics set to music. The
movement gained momentum during the period of Sri
Purandara Dasaru, Sri Kanaka Dasaru & Sri Vadhiraja
Swamy. The tradition was carried on in the same rich
fashion by Vijaya Dasaru, Gopala Dasaru, Jagannatha
Dasaru and others.

Ref: “Purandara Dasaru” by Dr.Aralumallige


Parthasarathy

Among all the exponents of Karnataka Harikatha heritage,


Sri Purandara Dasaru is revered as the foremost figure
Early life of Purandara Dasa

The legend of a miserly Srinivasa Nayak repeatedly refusing


God who was testing him in the form of a poor brahmin
seeking monetary help for his son’s upanayanam
and his sudden awakening to the fact that it was indeed the
Lord himself who was with him all the time, thanks to the
noble deed of his wife ……… is well known. It was at this
moment of awakening that Srinivasa Nayak shed all his
earthly attachments and went searching for Lord.
His wife’s guidance led him to Guru Vyasaraja who showed
his destiny as a Haridasa, spreading Bhakthi
among the common folk. It was Guru Vyasaraja who
transformed him into Purandara Dasa.

The supreme nature of Sri Purandara Dasa’s service to


Lord and humanity was highlighted by his Guru
Vyasarajaru singing his disciple’s praise in his
composition “Dasarendhere Purandara Dasaraiyya” (a
rare occasion where the Guru sings the praise of his
disciple! Shows the greatness of both!!)
His Guru’s guidance and blessings

Shri Vyasarajaru, his Guru (and also the Raja Guru


of King Shri Krishna Deva Raya of the Vijayanagara
Empire) ordained him to use his knowledge of
music and literature, to carry to common masses
the essence of Vedas and Upanishads, in the form
of easy verses and poetry expressed in simple day
to day language. He blessed him to compose such
immortal songs of Bhakthi, Gnana, Vairagya that
they will purify the minds of people and that he
would be responsible for the dawn of a new era in
bhakthi.

Ref: “Purandara Dasaru” by Dr.Aralumallige


Parthasarathy

Guru Vyasarajaru is said to have blessed Purandara Dasa with the


ankita “Purandara Vittala” which will be found near the end of all his
compositions
His Guru’s guidance and blessings
About this great Saint Sri Vyasa Rajaru:

According to the legend he was reincarnation of


Bhaktha Prahalada and was born again as the
“Kaliyuga Kamadhenu” Sri Raghavendra Swamy.

Sri Vyasarajaru was the Guru of both the


prominent Dasas viz., Sri Purandara Dasa and Sri
Kanaka Dasa

Sri Vyasarajaru was the composer of the divine


devotional song that millions of hindu families
have sung, over centuries, to invite Krishna into
their household ….. “Krishna Nee Begane Baaro”.

He was a great devotee of Anjaneya and was


instrumental in establishing over 700 Anjaneya
temples around South India.
His philosophy

Purity of heart, devotion to God and compassion towards


all living beings form the core of Purandaradasa's
philosophy. A householder's life was no impediment to
spiritual progress, as his own life was an example.

Ref: Wikipedia.org

Essentially Purandara Dasa carried his Guru’s teachings (based on Sri


Madhwacharya’s philosophy) to ordinary folks through his
“devarunamas”
Sri Purandara Dasaru has been
affirmed by Saints and Scholars
as an avathara of Sage Narada
A legend – Vittala’s Leela
An interesting episode reflecting Vittala’s Leela to
show his affection for Purandara Dasa has been
heard by generation after generation. This leela of
Panduranga Vittala makes the King’s guards suspect
Purandara Dasa in the case of a missing royal jewel.
And he is tied to a pillar in the Panduranga Mandir
and lashed as a punishment for this alleged misdeed.
And each time he receives a lash a cry of pain
emanates from the sanctum sanctorium, revealing
the close bond between Purandara Dasa and the
Lord Himself.

Even today this pillar has been named after


Purandara Dasa and is worshipped by all devotees
visiting this famous temple.

Ref: “Purandara Dasaru” by Dr.Aralumallige


Parthasarathy

“Purandara Vittalane sarva Jagathu” – Sri Purandara Dasaru in the


devarunama “en Savi en savi Harinama …..”
“Pithamaha of Carnatic Music”
* He is credited with having consolidated and structured the
teaching of Carnatic music. He systematised the teaching
method by framing a series of graded lessons such as
swaravalis, janta swaras, alankaras, lakshana geetas,
prabandhas, ugabhogas, thattu varise, geetham and sooladis.

* He introduced the Mayamalavagaula as the basic scale for


music instruction. These are followed by teachers and students
of Carnatic music even today.

* Another of his important contributions was the fusion of


bhava, raga and laya in his compositions.

* Purandaradasa's era was probably the beginning of Carnatic


music's movement towards krithi based classical music (one of
its distinguishing characteristics compared to Hindustani).

Ref: Wikipedia.org

For all these reasons and the enormous influence that he had on Carnatic music,
musicologists call him the "Sangeeta Pitamaha" or the grandfather of Carnatic
music.
His compositions

Purandaradasa was a prolific composer who is been


said to have composed around 4,75,000 songs.
However, only around 1000 compositions have been
found to date. Most of his compositions are written in
simple Kannada, but he has also written in Sanskrit.

He set most of his compositions in popular


tunes/ragas of his time so that even a common man
could learn and sing them. His compositions are also
popular as 'padas' and 'devarunamas'.

His songs touch almost every aspect of spiritual life


such as devotion, morality, ethics, good behaviour
and compassion to all living beings.

Ref: Wikipedia.org

Purandaradasa's devarunamas occupy an honoured place in the


devotional music of south India
A legend

An old Kannada movie on “Sri Purandara Dasa”


showed an episode of a meeting between a divinely
elderly Annamacharya and a young Purandara Dasa,
in the sannidhanam of Tirupathi Lord. I do not know
whether written records have authenticated this
meeting or not. But in the movie this episode by itself
was very touching. Sri Annamayya singing a
Purandara Dasa composition to Lord Venkateshwara,
Purandara Dasa standing right there in the crowd,
both not knowing each other, Sri Vyasaraja
Tallapaka Annamacharya introducing them to each other, Sri Purandara falling
at the feet of Sri Annamayya and Sri Annamayya
blessing Sri Purandara that his name & compositions
will last as long as Sun & Moon last …… it was very
touching indeed!

Two extraordinary divine musicians


Sri Purandara Dasaru’s
Dasarapadhagalu/Devarunamagalu
To write about his dasapadas is a mind boggling task, leaving you gaping in awe,
wondering where to start and where to end! Let me make a humble attempt.

Every beginner student of carnatic music knows the “Pillari Geethe” songs
“Lambodara Lakumikara”, “Keraya neeranu kerege chelli”, “Padumanabha
paranthama” …….. all compositions of Purandara Dasa.

Sri Purandara Dasa’s songs such as ….. “Venkatachala Nilayam”,


“Jagadodhdharana”, “Gajavadana beduve”, “Sakala graha bala neene”,
“Kaliyugadali harinamava”, “Ramanama payasakke krishna nama sakkare”,
“Bhagyada Lakshmi Baaramma” …. are all household songs sung over centuries
by South Indian families, on every auspicious occasion.

Sri Purandara Dasaru has sung many songs in praise of Lord Hari, Gods &
Goddesses, on Guru Parampara (on Srimad Madhwacharya & Sri Vyasarajaru),
songs preaching to the society on ways of leading one’s life in an ethical and
pious way (“Hari smarane maado niranthara”) and many of his songs are by way
of appeal to Lord to shower His Grace (“Dasanna maadiko enna”) on him.
A few of my favourite
Dasarapadhagalu/Devarunamagalu
“Dasanna Madiko Enna”

Raga: Naadanaamakriye Thala: Aadhi

daasana maaDiko enna swaami


saasira naamada venkaTa-ramaNa |pa|

durbhudhdhi-gaLanella biDiso ninna


karuNa-kavachvenna thoDiso
charanasaeve enage koDiso abhaya
kara-pushpavanenna shiradalli muDiso |1|
Please watch from the DVD, the
dhriDha-bhakthi ninnalli beDi naa divinely M.S. Subbalakshmi singing
aDigeraguvenayya anudina paaDi this song in her final concert (1997).
kaDegaNNilekenna noaDi biDuve The ethereal expression on her face
koDu ninna dhyaanava manashuchi maaDi |2| when she expresses the words
“Dasanna Madiko enna” simply
mare-hokkavara kaava birudu enna takes you to a supreme level of
mareyade rakshaNe maaDayya poredu ecstasy. You can sense her being in
durithagaLellava tharidu siri the exalted company of Purandara
purandhara viThala ennanu poredu |3| Dasa in front of Lord Venkatramana!

Ack: www.saahitya-puta.org
“Hoova Tharuvara Manege”

Raga: Kambhodhi Thala: Jambe

hoova tharuvara manege hulla tharuva


avva lakumiramana ivagilla garuva

ondu dala sritulasi bindu gangodakava


indira ramanagarpitavennalu It was a very fulfilling experience
onde manadali sindhushayana mukunda ene listening to Shri Vidyabhushanaru
endendu vaasipana mandiradolage singing this song in his uniquely rich
voice with a crystal clear diction,
paripariya pushpagala paramatmagarpisi during his recent concert in
paripurnanendu poojeyanu maade Singapore. And I thank God for the
parama aasaktiyali poojeyanu maadidare opportunity me & my family had,
sari bhaaga koduva thannaramaneyolage listening to him explaining the real
meaning of this song, in a discussion
pandavara maneyolage kuduregala thaa tholedu in the Singapore airport before he
pundarikaksha hullanu thinisida went on to board his flight. These are
andajavahana sri purandara vitalanu the inspiring moments worth waiting
thondarige thondanagi sancharisuthihanu a lifetime for!

Ack: “Sri Purandara Dasa Sankeethanagalu” – Sri Rama Vittala Trust, Chennai
Ack: www.belluramki.wordpress.com
“Kaliyugadhali Harinamava Nenadere”

Raga: Behag or Senchuruti Thala: Aadhi

Kaliyugadhali Harinamava nenedere


Kulakotigalu udhdharisuvadhudhu
Sulabhadha mukthige sulabhnendhenisuva
Jalaruhanabhana nene manave In this song Purandara Dasa brings
out the power of “Harinama”, in his
Snanavanariyenu …………………………. unique direct manner. He says one
………………………………………………….. does not have to worry about not
…………………………………………………… knowing any of the rituals, practices
Ganavinodana nene manave such as meditation, tapas, archana,
puja etc. His universal advice is to
Archisalariyenu ……………………………. just remember Harinama, and it will
……………………………………………………. do the miracles!
…………………………………………………….
Iccheyindha nee nene manave I recall the Namasankeerthana
exponent Shri Udayalur Kalyanarama
Japavondhariyenu …………………………. Bhagavathar’s highly musical bhajan
………………………………………………… on Purandara Dasa, in our residence
……………………………………………….. a few years ago and his energetic
Upayadhindhali nene manave rendering of this particular
dasarapada.
Ack: “Sri Purandara Dasa Sankeethanagalu” – Sri Rama Vittala Trust, Chennai
“Krishna Enabaradhey”

Raga: Saurashtra Thala: Chaapu

Krishna ena baradhey Krishna endharey


kashtavondhashtilla Krishna enabaradhey
Narajanma bhandaga naalige iruvaga
Krishna enabaradhey

Malagidhu ………………………….
…………………………………………………..
……………………………………………………
Krishna enabaradhey

Merethappi maathanaduvaga ……………. …


…………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………. This is another song where Purandara
Krishna enabaradhey Dasa appeals to people “can’t you
chant the name Krishna as you are
Gandhava poosi …………………………. going about your normal daily
………………………………………………… routines?” It is as simple as that but
……………………………………………….. can do wonders for you …. is the
Krishna enabaradhey implied message.

Ack: “Sri Purandara Dasa Sankeethanagalu” – Sri Rama Vittala Trust, Chennai
“En Savi En Savi”

En savi …Aha … En savi en savi Harinama How sweet is Harinama


Manasu thripthiya kalu prema Learn it with love till your heart is full of it
Janariga thiliyadhu idhan mahima People do not know the power of this name
Ganna mahima vishnu sasinama (En savi) The power and Grace of the thousand names of
Vishnu

Amrithadha ruchiyunda valmiki It is the same name that was chanted by


Smarisidha narahari namma kanaka Valmiki and bhaktha Pundareeka
Premadhindha haribhaktha pundareeka The whole world is full of the same Rama nama
Ram ram ram ram sarva jagathu (En savi)

Prahalada succeeded on the power of


Prahlada golidha harinamadhindha Harinama
Allallallalla dhruva rajendra Same with Dhruva
Palgunaga palisidhu henchendhu Arjuna was victorious thanks to his faith in Hari
Ram ram ram ram sarva jagathu (En savi) The whole world is full of Rama nama

Hari hari hari smarane maadabeku Keep chanting Hari nama & keep reciting Hara
Hara hara hara endhu ennabeku The four Vedhas are based on the same thing
Vedhagalu saarauthive idhu naaku Purandara Vittala is the entire world
Purandara Vitalane sarva jagathu (En savi)

Yet another popularly sung dasapada of Sri Purandara Dasa, exalting the sweetness
& Grace of Harinama
“Ragi Thandheera”

Raga: Naadanamakriye Thala: Chaapu

rAgi thandira bhikshake rAgi thandira

yogyarAgi bhogyarAgi
bhagyavantharAgi nEvu ||rAgi||
This is a very impressionable “needhi
annadAnava mAduvarAgi
bodhana” song. In this song Purandara
anna chatrava nittavarAgi Dasa explains how one should live. But in a
anya varthegaLa bittavarAgi very charming way he has played with the
anudina bhajaneya mAduvarAgi ||rAgi|| word “Ragi”. He starts off the song with the
common day to day meaning of the word
mAtha pitharu sEvithrAgi and wakes you up with a jolt with a very
pAthaka kAryava bittavarAgi different use of that word as he delves into
the song proper. And just watch how many
kyathiyali migilAdavarAgi times that word is used in this song by
nEthi mArgadali kyAtharAgi ||rAgi|| Purandara Dasa. It is class poetry, in
simple words but carrying profound
shriramaNana sadA smarisuvarAgi education for living. Next time when you
guruvige bAguvanthavarAgi come across a singer well versed with
kare kare samsara nEguvarAgi Dasapadas ask him/her to sing this song. It
will be an experience!
purandara viTalana sEvitharAgi ||rAgi||

Ack: www.saahitya-puta.org Ack: www.Youtube.com


“Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma”
Raga: Madhyamavathi Thala: Aadhi

Bhaagyada Lakshmi baaramma nammammaa shri


Sowbhaagyada Lakshmi baarammaa.

Gejje kalgaLa dhwaniya thorutha


Hejjeya mele hejjeya nikkutha
Sajjana saadhu poojeya veLege
MajjigeyoLagina beNNeyanthe

Kanaka vrushtiya kareyutha baare


Manakaamaneyaa siddhiya thore
Dinakara koti thejadi hoLeyuva
Janakaraayana kumaari begaa

Shanke illada bhaagyava koDaloo


kaN~kaNa kaiya thiruvutha baare
kumkumaaN~kite paN~kaja lochane
veN~kaTaramaNana binkada raaNee

Atthitthagalade bhakthara maneyoLu


Nithya mahotsava nithya sumangala The auspicious song which every
Sathyadi thorutha saadhu sajjanaraa
Chitthadi hoLeyuva putthaLi gombe southern housewife has sung
sometime or other while doing
Sakkare thuppada kaluve harisi
Shukra vaarada poojeya veLege “Aarathi” to the deities at the end of
AkkareyuLLa aLagiri rangana a puja!
Chokka Purandhara viThalana raaNee

Ack: www.saahitya-puta.org
Even if I just want to showcase a few of the devarunamas which never fail to inspire me,
there are so many and so many that touch your heart. I am fascinated by each one of them
and do not know which to highlight and which to leave.
There is the lovely song in Sahana Raga “Kandu kandu nee enna kai biduvare krishna” that
simply moves you to tears with his fervent appeal to Lord. There is the song “Sundara
Muruthy Mukya Prana” in which Purandara Dasa virtually helps us to visualise Anjaneya
dancing “janaku janaku endhu kunidhu kunidhu bandha” with the happiness of listening to
“Rama nama dwani”.
And then the song “Eesa beku idhdhu jeyisa beku” that infuses confidence into anyone
getting depressed with the trials and tribulations of day to day life.

There are so many more devarunamas that have inspired me & others at various times. But
in order not to enlarge this reading material any further, permit me to bring this work to a
conclusion by drawing your attention to a tribute paid to Sri Purandara Dasa by Sri Vijaya
Dasa who lived during the period 1682-1755, more than 100 years after Sri Purandara Dasa.
His composition “Guru Purandara Dasare” is in the next slide.
Sri Vijaya Dasaru (1682 – 1755)

guru purandaradAsare nimma charaNakamalava nambide||


garuvarahitana mADi ennanu poreva bhAravu nimmade||

ondu ariyada mandamati nAnindu nimmanu vandipe|


indireshana tandu tOrisi tande mADelo satkRupe||

purandaragaDadolage nindu niruta dravyava galiside|


paramapuruShanu vipranandadi karava nIDi yAchise||

parama nirguNavanavanaritu harige sUreya nIDuta|


aritu manadOlu haridu bhavagala taruni sahitA horaTane||

mArajanakana sannidhAnadi sAragAnava mADuva|


nAradare I rUpadindali chArudarushana tOrida||
Ack: www.aarshavani.org
My humble dedication of this write-up to two of the most important women in my life ………
my mother and my wife.

It is my mother’s frequent and voracious full throated singing of many of these


devarunamas, during my childhood and boyhood days, which was instrumental in these
songs mixing with my blood in such an intense manner. Those days I might not have been
even aware these were all Purandara Dasaru’s padas. But they just started popping up once
my serious spiritual journey commenced.

And my dear wife for the way she has taken to these devarunamas and shares my own joy in
listening to them. My thanks to her for her companionship in this journey as well as for
doing a painstaking proof reading of this work.

It is also a matter of happiness that my daughter, the other most significant lady in my life,
has also gradually started swimming in this ocean, that is aptly named by Sri Purandara
Dasa’s Guru Sri Vyasa Raja Theertharu as ……. “Purandaropanishad”.

This piece is also dedicated to our good friends in Singapore who keep giving us a lot of joy
with their singing of many of these dasapadas.
“Dharma brings happiness”