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.