An amsha of Brighu muni and the younger son of Purandara Dasa, this man is one among the three Dasa Shresthas of the Haridasa tradition.
An ardent devotee of Hari, he could bathe in the Ganges whenever he felt like. There are several instances of this man going from his native in south India to Kashi several hundred kilometers away to take a bathe at the Ganga and return back.
The place where he lived today is among the most celebrated pilgrim places and it is here that we can see a small body of water that is believed to be the Ganga. This Haridasa ensured that the people of his village had the benefit of bathing in the Ganga without ever going to north India.
A Aprokshagnani, this Haridasa went up all the way to Vaikunta to obtain a fresh lease of life to a person. At the Yamaloka he met Yama, the God of Death, and conversed with him.
Born in a poor Brahmin family, this Haridasa is believed to have been Madhwapathi Dasa, the youngest son of Purandara Dasa. He was reborn again to fulfill his father’s promise to Hari to write 5 lakh Devara Namas. Purandhara Dasa had managed to write 4,75,000 Devara Namas and he asked Madhwapathi to complete the rest.
Madhwapathi was unable to do so and he took rebirth again as a Haridasa to compose 25,000 Devara namas and thus fulfill his father’s wishes.
He was given Deekshe into the Haridasa fold by none other than Purandara Das who came in a dream and took him to Vyasa Kashi. To his wonder, this Haridasa saw Veda Vyasa sitting beneath an Ashwatha Katte along with several other sages and rishis. Purandara Dasa took this Haridasa to Veda Vyasa and introduced him. Veda Vyasa asked Vijaya Dasa to stretch out his tongue and he wrote the ankita Vittala.
When Vijaya Dasa got up the next day and went to bathe, he found himself chanting Sanskrit and Kannada slokas. He then went on to compose suladis, ughabhogas and other forms of devotional songs. He composed do many suladis that he came to be known as Suladi Dasa.
This Dasa is none other than Vijaya Dasa (1682-1755). Before being given the Ankita Vijaya Dasa by Purandara, he was known as Dasappa and he was born in Cheekalparvi or Chippageri, now in Andhra Pradesh.
Soon after his initiation into the Haridasa fold, Vijaya Dasa made his way to Mantralaya where he conversed with Raghavendra Swamy who was sitting in his Brindavana and composed a sloka on him.
This is how the second coming of the Haridasa movement began. The Haridasa movement had waned after the fall of Vijayanagar in 1565. Vijaya Dasa began composing on Raghavendra Swamy and this led to the second revival of the movement.
Vijaya Dasa often went to Mantralaya and stood in deep devotion before the brindavana of Rayaru or Raghavendra Swamy. He saw Rayaru in the Brindavan and conversed with him.
One of the pontiffs of the Mantralaya Matha was Vasudhendra Theertha. He was not only a contemporary of Vijaya Dasa but also a descendent of Rayaru.
Vijaya Dasa revived the Dasa movement and it was Rayaru who inspired him to do so. The Moola Brindavan in Mantralaya was Vijaya Dasa’s source of devotion and inspiration. Vijaya Dasa sang peans to Rayaru and called him Bhagavatottama.
It was Vijaya Dasa who brought to our notice the holiness of the Brindavana and the hidden facets of Rayaru. In the song, Nodide….. he speaks of seeing Lord
Narasimha, Rama, Vedavyasa and Krishna on the four sides of the brindavana. He also sees all the gurus from Madhwacharya to his own guru present within the brindavana and Lord Lakshminarayana in the form of a discus or chakra granting the desires of devotees.
“Nodidhenu Guru Raghavendrara
Maadidenu Bhakutiyali Vandane
Bedidenu Kondaadi Varagala
Eedu Illade Koduva Gurugala
Nooru Parvata Varusha Bidadale
Vistaara Aradhaneyu Tolagade
Vaara Vaarake Aagutippudu
Saara Kaarunyadali Lakumee
Narayana Taa Chakra Roopadi
Saaridavara Agha Kaledu
Ivarige Keerutiya Tandippdanudina,”
says Vijaya Dasa. This is perhaps the first ever composition (after Appanacharya of course) to give us a vivid picture of Rayaru sitting in the Brindavana.
Another popular song on Raghavendra Swamy by this Dasa is
“Raghavendra Guru Pavana Kaya … Raghavendra Manthralaya Nilaya,” Some of his other compositions on Rayaru include “Parama Mangala Mooruti divya keeruti” and “Raghavendra Guru pavana kaaya.”