One of the few people who have been personally blessed and guided by Raghavendra Swamy or Rayaru (1595-1671) is Prasanna Venkata Dasa (1680-1752). Born as Venkanna in Bagalkot, he was guided by Rayaru in a dream to go to Tirupathi and seek the blessings of Lord Srinivasa.
It was in Tirupathi that Srinivasa inscribed the name or Ankita Prasanna Venkata Dasa on Venkanna’s tongue.
A rathger prolific composer, Prasanna Venkata Dasa has to his credit a variety of keertanas, scores of songs based on the Bhagavath Geetha and Indian epics and ancient religious texts, suladis and ugabhoga ( short poems). He has even authored some humorous poems such as Naradaru Korvani Vesha talda karitre.
This Dasa is better known for his compositions regarding the Bhagavata and other texts on Vishnu or Hari. One of his compositions “Samastnama manigana satkarana” is startlingly similar to Sri Visnusahasranama and here he eulogises Vishnu.
This saint-composer is one of the few to have seen Rayaru in Mantralaya. This incident goes back to the time when Prasanna Venkata Dasa was coming back home-Bagalkot in north Karnataka- after visiting Tirupathi.
The Dasa came to Mantralaya and he decided to have a darshana of the saint who had set him on course of preaching the tenets of Hari. He had his early morning bath in the Tungabhadra and came to the Brindavana of Rayaru after paying his respects to Manchalamma, the presiding goddess of Manchale or Mantralaya.
It was Brahmi muhurata and in Hindu religion, prayers offered in early morning is considered to be highly auspicious. Brahma or Brahmi muhurata begins at dawn and it can be considered to be the penultimate muhuarta of night. The concept of Brahmi is not new to religion. It also exists in Ayurveda which says, “Brahmi muhurte uttishtet swastho rakshaarthamayushah.” What this means is that getting up early would give us a lot of helth benefits and long life.
Coming back to the Dasa and his sojourn to Mantralaya, Prasanna Venkata was standing in front of the Moolabrindavana when he realised that Rayaru was in Yoga Nidra. Knowing that Sri Raghvendra Guruji was in the state of Yoga nidra (yogic sleep).This is a sleep-like state during meditation. Yoga nidra, which in Westen terminology, is called lucid sleeping is among the deepest possible states of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness. Yoga nidra is conscious awareness of the deep sleep state and is called as prajna in Mandukya Upanishad..
Seeing Rayaru in Yoga Nidra, Prasanna Venkata Dasa instantly composed a keertana on him in Udayaraga:
“ Yelu Sri Gururaya Bellagaitindu
Dhooli Darshan Kodiri Yi Velle Shishyarige
Yellu Guru RaghavendraYellu Daya Guna Saandra
Yellu Kumuduke Chandra Sri Raghavendra ….. “
“ Ashegollagadeno Heshi Manujanu Nanu
Yeshu Janmadi Yenna Gashi madidi Munna
Dsanaguve Toro Prasanna Venkata “.
Rayaru then blessed Prasanna Venkata Dasa and asked him to preach Madhwa or Dwaitha philosophy. Prasanna Venkata Dasa then continued his journey to Bagalkot, all the while preaching the glory of Hari and eulogising Rayaru.
Prasanna Venkata Dasa is also known as Kakhandki Dasa.