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.