Archive | November 16, 2013

The Dasa who could see Rayaru anytime


He respected Raghavendra Swamy or Rayaru of Mantralaya as his Antaranga Guru. He shared his name with another renowned Dasa and even today people are confused among the two.

He was a great scholar in Kannada and Sanskrit and like his namesake he was from Raichur district. He has penned over 40 stotras and books in Sanskrit.

He has written several books on philosophy and he has written commentaries on Harikathamrutsara in both English and Sanskrit.  

If the earlier Dasa by the same name was born at Manvi, he was born in Kosigi which is now in Andhra Pradesh.

More than a century separated their birth. Yet, confusion still persists about them and their works and many people wrongly assume both are the same personalities.

If Vijaya Dasa was the guru of the earlier Dasa, Gopala Dasa was the guru of  this Dasa. This Dasa is Guru Jagannatha Vittala Dasa and he is often mistaken for Jagannatha Dasa of Manvi.

If the Manvi Dasa wrote Harikathamrutasara, Guru Jagannatha Dasa wrote a beautiful commentary on it in both Sanskrit and English.  

Guru Jagannatha Dasa (1837-1918) was born in the small village of Kosigi or Kessigi, now in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh to Venkatagiriyacharya and Seetamma.

Before the reorganization of states, Kosigi was in Karnataka. Gopala Dasa (1722-1762) blessed him with the ankita in a dream, while Manvi Jagannatha Dasa was the shishya of Vijaya Dasa. 

Both the Jagannatha Dasas were ardent devotees of Rayaru and both visited Mantralaya a number of times. They also visited Bichale, Gandhal and other places connected with Rayaru and Vyasa Raja, the earlier avatar of Raghavendra Swamy.

He has composed scores of devaranamas and stotras such as Sri Venkatesha Stavaraja, Sri Lakshmi Hrudaya and Sri Prahladaraja Charite.

He has written the maximum number of  lyrics on Rayaru and many of them are popular even today. They are: Brindavanalli Nintha, Swamy Laalli, Nee Paliso Gururaya, Indu Guragula Kaneno, Namise Beduve, Dayamado Dayamado, Sharanu Gururaghavendrage, Yaeliah belagaayithu, Thuthisalennoshave ninna,  Sri Gururaja Gururaja, Rayanendare Gururaya, Raghavendra Krupasagara, Entha Dayavanthano, Kayo Kayo, Sri Jayamangalam.

Of course, the most famous is “Nambi Kettavarikkavo Ee Gurugala, Nambidae Keduvarunto”.

It is said that the Dasa could see Raghavendra Swamy at any time and that Rayaru performed several miracles through him. His compositions on Rayaru are full of deep respect, love, affection and devotion. Sometimes, he becomes very familiar with Rayaru. In one of his poems, “Rayara Nodirai shubhathama kaayara paadirai”, he describes the personality of Rayaru and his physical features.

His contemporaries were Satyadheera Theertha and  Satyajnaana Theertha of Uttaradi Matha, Vidyaratnakara Theertha of Sri Vyasa Raja Mattha, Raghudantha Theertha of Koodli Akshobhya Theertha Matha, Vairagyanidhi Theertha, Sujnananidhi Theertha, Sugunanidhi Theetha and  Sudhinidhi Theertha of Sripadaraja Mutt and Sugunendra Theertha, Suprajnendra Theertha, Sukruteendra Theertha  of Rayara Mutt.

Some of the Haridasas who were his contemporaries were  Modalakallu Sheshadasa and Guru Pranesha Dasa. There were several disciples who obtained Ankita from him and became Haridasas. Some of them are Varadesha Vittala Dasa, Varada Vittala Dasa, Ananda Vittala Dasa, Varadendra Vittala Dasa, Sundara Vittala Dasa, Jagadisha Vittala Dasa, Muddu Guru Jagannatha Vittala Dasa and Srinivasa Dasa. 

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The Dasa parampare of Raichur


If Hampi or Vijayanagar saw the rise of the Haridasa movement, it also saw the demise of the Vaishnava bhakti genre when the Muslim forces of the Deccan states invaded Vijayanagar and destroyed Hampi in 1565.

The Haridasa movement suffered a massive setback and it took almost two centuries for it to rise again. But this time around, the movement was spearheaded by poet-composers from Raichur and Mantalaya became the focal point of the second coming of the Haridasa movement.

Raichur and its district has not only been a fertile land sandwiched between the Krishna and the Tungabhadra but it has also been a place with innumerable temples, shrines and islands , each with its own history and religious significance. No wonder, the cultural and literary history of the district even predates the Dasa renaissance.

We seethe emergence of the poetical movement in Raichur district more than a hundred years before the advent of Basaveshwara. Then, Naoli in Lingsugur taluk of Raichur district was known as the native of two reputed vachanakaras, Shankara Dasimayya and Dhakkeya Marayya.

These two initiated the vachana style which was carried forward by Basaveshwara and his followers. In the 12th century, Ayadakki Marayya of Amareshwara in Lingsugur taluk, his wife Ayadakki Lakkamma, and Bibbi Bacharasa of Gabbur also wrote vachanas. In the 16th century, Lingannacharya of Kallur wrote Vararamya-Ratnakara in Bhamini-shatpadi metre.

The Haridasa tradition took deep roots with Vijaya Dasa (1688-1755), Gopala Dasa (1722-1762) and Jagannatha Dasa of Manvi (1727-1809) laid the foundations for this form of literature.

Vijayadasa was born in 1687 A.D., at Chikalparvi in then Manvi taluk. He composed 25,000 songs and hundreds of suladis and came to be known as Suladi Dasa. Gopala Dasa was born in 1717 at Masarkal of Deodurg taluk and he was a disciple of Vijaya Dasa. Gopaladasa is well known for his songs, which are full of devotion.

Jagannatha Dasa was born in 1727 in a family of Kukarnis or village accountants at Biagwat, a village in Manvi taluk. He was given the ankita Jagannatha Vitthala by Gopala Dasa. He was an eminent scholar in both Sanskrit and Kannada. He composed a number of devotional songs and his magnum opus is “Harikathamritasara”.

Another Haridasa from Manvi taluk was Manohar Vitthala of Buddinni. He was also called as Buddinni Desai Narayanappa and he was a disciple of Gopala Dasa. He lived about 175 years back and he is known for writing “Raghavendraguru Stotra”, “Manmathavilasa”, “Sri Krishna Jayantikatha”, “Gadayuddha”, “Sankocha Bharata” and “Anantakathe.” 

Another Haridasa, who was a great devotee of Raghavendra Swamy (1705-1801), was Vasudeva Vitthala. He was earlier known as Venkataramacharya and subsequently as Paramahamsa Vyasattvagna.

He was proficient in both Sanskrit and Kannada and he wrote thirteen works in Sanskrit, of which his treatises on Manasasmriti and Upasanabhaga and his comments on the seventh canto of Bhagavata are famous.

He wrote ten ugabhogas, sixteen suladis and hundreds of padas in Kannada.

Pranesha Dasa (Pranesh Vitthala:1744-1822), whose former name was Yogappa, was born in Lingsugur taluk. He served his guru, Jagannatha Dasa, for nearly sixteen years. He is the author of Parth Vilasa, Veerabhadra Vilasa, Aniruddha vialasa and 12 other Harikathas. He composed the Vayustuti in Kannada and several ugabhogas and suladis. He is also the author of hundreds of padas.

Asigyala Govinda Dasa (1873-1915) is another acclaimed figure in the Haridasa movement of Raichur district. He was born in Asigyala village and he was a disciple or shishya of Raghavendra Dasa of Mahaboobnagar in Andhra Pradesh. It was Raghavendra Dasa who gave him the ankita Sri Govinda Vittala. He is noted for the composition called Kaliyuga Lavane.

The other famous Dasas from Raichur are Panganama Thimmanna Dasa, Kallur Subbannacharya, Guru Pranesha, Sreesha Pranesha Vitthala, Guru Sreesha Vitthala, Ananda Dasa, Modalakal Seshadasa, Varadesha Vitthala, Srinivasa Vitthala, Asigyala Govinda Dasa, Manvi Gundacharya, Lingsugur Padmanabha Dasa, Panduranga Rao Kasbe and many others.

Almost all these dasas were from Raichur district and they all were devotees of Raghavendra Swamy of Mantralaya. All ofthem visited Mantralaya and each has his own style and substance.