Sri Purandara Dasa Trivia

February 5, 2008

February 7th is Sri Purandara Dasa Aradhane. A few tidbits of information and trivia related to the devaranamas and the great soul.

• Sri Purandara Dasa decided that “Malava gowla” of the South was most suited for beginners. The corresponding Raga in the North is called “Bhairav”. In “Malavagowla” subsequently named as “Maya Malavagowla”, the difference of pitch between ‘Ri’ and ‘ga’ and ‘da’ and ‘ni’ are the same and the notes sa-ri-ga-ma and pa-da-ni-sa are perfect concordant notes. That is why Purandara Dasa found Maya Malavagowla the best Raga to begin lessons in classical music. This system of music is called “Karnataka Music” as he belongs to that region and the music is very pleasing to the ears. He created several phrases of notes called “Sarali” “Janta”, Hetchu-sthayi, “Thaggu sthayi” and “Datu” Swaras. He also simplified “Thala” system and moulded it into “Pancha-Thrimsathi” Thala system and composed “Alankaras” to be sung in those Thalas

• All these initial notes or Swaras are to be sung in Maya Malavagowla. The next phase of learning of a beginner is “Geethe” for which Purandaradasa created “Pillari Geete” in Raga-Malahari” a derivative of Maya-Malava-Gowla. Gradually the Ragas and their notes are to be changed to acquaint the student with different notes step by step. Purandara Dasa was therefore, rightly called Karnataka Sangeeta Pithamaha.

• Bidaram Krishnappa did great service in propagating Purandara Dasa/ Haridasa compositions. He was the first musician to give an all Devaranama concert.

• Vidwan Chennakeshavaiah, an Asthana Vidwamsa of Wodeyar, set to notation a 100 (could be more) Purandarada Saara Devaranamas  which was published during the 4th birth centenary of  Sri Purandara Dasaru.

• We should also recall ML Vasanthakumari`s mother Lalitangi as she also popluarised Devaranamas. Lalithangi was a very good artist in her time. In a CD by Carnatica, there are a couple of tracks by Lalithangi (including Gajavadana beduve). MLV learnt several Devaranamas from her mother.

• To listen to Dasa compositions, I prefer the pristine padanthaaras and native pronunciations of Sri RK Srikantan, Mysore Vasudevachar and Bidaram Krishnappa that bring out the beauty and simplicity of the compositions.

• R.K.Srikantan indeed is another musician who has rendered yeoman service in popularising Devaranamas.

• A beautiful Kannada movie ‘Navakoti Narayana’ with Rajkumar in the lead role was made in the early ’60s. There is another Kannada movie ‘Sri Purandara Dasaru’ with KS Ashwath in the lead.

• Recently an animated Kannada movie Sri Purandara Dasaru has been produced particularly with children in mind! The playback singers for this movie are Sarvasri S.Sankar, V.Kalavati, and Vidyabhushana. More info here –

• Vocalist R.K.Padmanabha has produced drama on Sri Purandara Dasa with himself in the lead role. This has done more than a 100 shows all over karnataka.

• Vidwan R.K.srikantan Trust (R) has published a book: Haridasa  Kirthana  Rathanamala which contains 22 devaranamas of Sripadaraja, Vyasaraja, Purandara Dasa, Kanaka Dasa and Vijaya Dasa complete with text, notations in Kannada, English and Tamil with Swara Samyojane by RKS. They have also CD containing vintage melodies.

• A popular folk song starting, “Mullu koneya mele mooru keraya katti” (raga Paraz) is a maze of riddles spun by Purandara Dasa. He has composed many such puzzling songs called, ‘Mundige’ (allegory). In mundige the wordings are such that we cannot understand the meaning easily. The songs are full of abstract imagery and one has to ponder over and make out one’s own comprehension of the real theme of the song.

The song (translation) goes like this:

“Three ponds were dug in the sharp point of a thorn, out of which two ponds were dry and the third never got filled,

“Three simpletons came to the unfilled ponds, two of them were lame and the third had no legs at all,

“Three buffalos were sold to the legless simpletons, two of the buffalos were sterile and the third didn’t have any calf at all,

“Three sovereigns were paid for the buffalos, two of which were counterfeit and the third was not acceptable,

“ Three inspectors came to check the sovereigns, two of them were blind and the third did not have eyes at all,

“Three villages were given as grants to the blind inspectors, two villages were in ruins and the third was deserted,

“Three potters came to live in the villages, two of them were disabled and the third didn’t have hands at all,

“Three pots were made by the potters, two of which had holes and the third was bottomless,

“Three rice grains were cooked in the pots, two of which were spoiled rice and the third didn’t cook at all,

“Three guests arrived to eat the rice, two of them were on fast and the third was not hungry at all…”

Purandara Dasa himself concludes this song saying, “Only Purandara Vittala knows the meaning of this and no one else”. Religious commentators give Vedantic meaning to this riddle giving metaphorical reference to human body and soul. But we can make out that the riddle subtly indicates how people live in our society making false promises, deceiving others and priding over useless charity. (Courtesy: Sri MVK Narayan)

• I recall a discussion on the Sangeetham board on the attribution of compositions as follows:
1) the songs with the ankita, “purandara viThala” were composer by Sri Purandaradasa
2) the songs with the ankita “tandE siri purandara viThala” were believed to be composed by his sons

Some musicians say “tande purandaraviThala” and “guru purandaraviTHala” are the Mudres of his sons. But there is some confusion as Purandara Dasaru might have composed some songs with “guru” or “tande” preceding his mudre. Readers can kindly throw more light on this.

• The first 3 Devaranamas I learnt were: Narajanma Bandaga, Karuniso Ranga, Pogadirelo Ranga. I must have been in First standard then.


44 Responses to “Sri Purandara Dasa Trivia”

  1. praneshachar Says:

    great work and certainly many will not know so minute details
    (at least this is a great info for me)
    bellur the search and research you have made using search engines is great.
    I am amazed at details and great job.

    nara janma bandaga, acharavillada nalige, karuniso ranga…. laksha laksha keerthanegalannu sadara padisida purandara dasarige
    namo namo. chaitanya maneavaru igagale sangeetharadhane madi mugisiddare. nivella bandu hogidddu kushi aitu.

    blog hiatus madhya nivu hige olleya postgalannu hakuttiruvadu santhosha.

    dasarendare purandara dasarayya
    blogger endare RWB ayya

    keep going

  2. vinay Says:

    I might be wrong , i was under the impression that predominantly ‘Mundige’ was the work of Kanakadasa , but anyway nice post

  3. praneshachar Says:

    mundige means philosophical songs as per the available info in the link below
    so it is applicable to all songs which relate to this according my little knowledge got from this link

  4. praneshachar Says:

    one more link on kanakadasa mundige is refereed and it is same
    it is true they called kanaka mundige

  5. Aram Says:

    Thanks for the wealth of information on the great saint.

    Will try to acquire RKS’ book and CD.

    A small, unimportant point: Just finished reading where it says, “6th February, 2008, is Pushya bahuLa amavasye – the new moon day in the dark half of the lunar month of Pushya. This is the day Purandara Aradhane is celebrated.”

    The point is really irrelevant because we remember Purandaradasa every day of the year when we sing his songs in our daily bhajan sessions.

  6. Veena Says:

    Very good compilation bellur.
    Do you have the kannada version of that song ?

  7. chiroti Says:

    Superb post, RK. It was a very enriching experience. I have also written about Hari Dasas and their compositions in my blog. You must have read those I guess. If not, please got to Sangeethopasana section in my blog. 🙂

    Like you say, I love the concept of using Devaranamas in music concerts. However, lots of people don’t pronounce the kannada words correctly and it is quite a turn off. I like the songs especially sung by my music teacher Smt. H.N.Meera. She has also released a CD full of Devaranamas, you might want to purchase one in Adarsha Bhavan, Malleshwaram 15th Cross. 🙂

  8. rk Says:

    muLLu koneya mElE

    muLLu koneya mElE mUru kereya katti
    eradu thumbadhu omdhu thumbalE illa

    thumbalilladha kerege bamdharu mUvaru oddaru ibbaru kumtaru obbage kAlE illa

    kAlilladha oddage kottaru mUru emmegaLa
    eradu baradu omdhakkaruvE illa

    karuvilladha emmege kottaru mUru honnugaLa eradu savakalu omdhu sallalE illa

    salladhidhdha honnige bamdharu mUvaru notagAraru ibbaru kurudaru obbage kaNNE illa

    kaNNilladha notagArage kottaru mUru UrugaLa eradu hALu omdhakke okkalE illa

    okkalilladha Urige bamdharu mUvaru kumbAraru ibbaru chomcharu obbage kayyE illa

    kai illadha kumbAranu mAdidha mUru madikegaLa eradu odaku omdhakke budavE illa

    budavillada madikege hAkidharu mUru akkikALa eradu bEyadhu omdhu bEyalE illa

    bEyalilladha akkige bamdharu mUvaru nemtaru ibbaru uNNaru obbage hasivE illa

    hasive illadha nemtage kottaru mUru toNapegaLa eradu thAkadhu omdhu thAkalE illa

    thAkalilladha toNapeya thAkisi sadhgathIya nIyabEku puramdhara viTTala rAya


    RwB is very thankful to Sri Keshava Rao (of for providing us with an in-depth and enlightening meaning of this puzzling Devaranama.

    muLLu koneya mElE mUru kereya katti
    eradu thumbadhu omdhu thumbalE illa

    Outer meaning: Three lakes are built on the tip of a thorn and two cannot be filled and one is not filled.

    Tip of a thorn represents infinitesimally small entity.
    Here it means jIva. why?

    “ashvabAlAgramAdAya vibhajya shatadhA hi tat.h | punashcha shatadhA bhinnaM kiyanmAnaM bhavishyati | tAvad.hbrahmAdi\ – jIvAnAM parimANaM prakIrtitaM ||”

    If one takes the tip of horse’s tail and splits into one hundred parts and takes one part and further divides into one hundred parts, that is known to be the size of the jIvas starting from Brahma.

    Lake represents body. The jIva or svarUpadeha is surrounded by three bodies – anAdi linga shaIra, aniruddha deha and sthUla deha (gross body, which we all see).

    The first two dehas, viz. linga deha and aniruddha deha cannot be filled with sAdhanodka (meaning not possible to accomplish sAdhana), while the gross body is needed for sAdhana. But even this is not filled because our sAdhana is not yet complete or I am not doing enough sAdhana.

    “sADhana sharIravidhu nI dhayadhi kottadhdhu sADhAraNavalla sADhupriyane”

    thumbalilladha kerege bamdharu mUvaru oddaru ibbaru kumtaru obbage kAlE illa

    Outer meaning: For the lake that is not filled, came three stone-cutters or diggers. Two are lame and one does not have legs.

    Three stone-workers are three stages that happen to the gross body – boyhood, youth and old age.

    Boyhood and old age are like lame. In boyhood, one is immature and indulges in playing and fun. In old age infirmity, weakness and fatigue set in. Thus these two are hard to utilize for sAdhana. While in youth, one has lot of strength to do sAdhana, but there is no full effort or willingness to indulge fully.

    Thus not having leg is like not having willingness.

    kAlilladha oddage kottaru mUru emmegaLa eradu baradu omdhakkaruvE illa

    Outer meaning: Three buffalos are given to the legless worker. Two are barren and one does not have calf.

    The three buffalos are the three desires known as IshhaNatraya – wife, children and wealth. It is well known that when youth sets in, the three desires set in.

    Wife and children are hindrances to dharmasAdhana. One may argue what if they are cooperative in dharmasAdhana.

    But, still the bandha/bondage is a handicap in doing full sAdhana. Wealth need not be dharmapratibandhaka and instead it can be only dharmasAdhana. But more often than not, it is used for pleasure seeking only.

    Thus its not having calf is like its not having “dharma-chitta” (transferred epithet – the person does not utilize all wealth only for dharmakAryas) .

    karuvilladha emmege kottaru mUru honnugaLa eradu savakalu omdhu sallalE illa

    Outer meaning: Three gold piles were given to the calfless buffalo. Two were utilized and one was never utilized.

    One buys items with gold. The wealth can be spent in three ways – 1. spend in dharma mArga 2. spend in adharmamarga 3. let it rot like a miser.

    One may observe that it takes the course of the last two. This is how the wealth is utilized.

    The first one – dharma marga – is not utilized at all.

    salladhidhdha honnige bamdharu mUvaru notagAraru ibbaru kurudaru obbage kaNNE illa

    Outer meaning: For the wealth, which is not utilized in dharma mArga, came three debtors.

    Two are blind and one does not have eyes.

    The three debtors are the three kinds of karmas 1. Sanchita 2. AgAmi and 3. PrArabdha One does not know what the first two are and so they are like blind. One can gauge the third one as that is reflected in what happens to us all our life. Thus it is perceivable, but still one is so engrossed in materialistic pleasures, that one has no eye to see the third one also.

    kaNNilladha notagArage kottaru mUru UrugaLa eradu hALu omdhakke okkalE illa

    Outer meaning: Three towns are given to the eyeless debtor. Two are deserted and one does not have any inhabitants.

    All the ones, who are undergoing prArabdha, are equipped with three guNa-s – sattva, rajas, tamas.

    Rajas and tamas cannot lead to moksha and so they are like deserted towns. Even though sattva mArga can lead to moksha, one does not use it for that and so it is like having no inhabitants.

    okkalilladha Urige bamdharu mUvaru kumbAraru ibbaru chomcharu obbage kayyE illa

    Outer meaning: Three pot makers came to the town without inhabitants. Two are have crippled arms and one does not have arm.

    Sattva guNa can be further sattvatamas, sattvarajas and sattvasattva. The three abhimAni devatas for these are Rudra, Brahma and Vishnu respectively.

    Rudra and Brahma are not independent and so they are crippled (svatantro bhagavAn.h vishhNuH – only Lord Vishnu is independent) . Though Vishnu is independent and capable of giving us moksha, He has not relieved us from this saMsAra. Thus “not having arm/hand” is to be taken figuratively to mean not wiling to help us.

    kai illadha kumbAranu mAdidha mUru madikegaLa eradu odaku omdhakke budavE illa

    Outer meaning: The One unwilling to use hands, made three pots – two have holes (broken) and one does not have bottom.

    Vishnu, who is has not used His hand to help us, gave three tools – knowledge, detachment and devotion. We don’t have knowledge and detachment and so they are broken. We try to have devotion, but devotion without knowledge and detachment is like a bottomless pot. Devotion must have the support of knowledge and detachment. Otherwise it is futile.

    budavillada madikege hAkidharu mUru akkikALa eradu bEyadhu omdhu bEyalE illa

    Outer meaning: Three rice grains were put in this bottomless pot. Two cannot get cooked and one did not get cooked at all.

    The bottomless devotion has three forms which are like thee rice grains – sAttvika bhakti, Rajasika bhakti and tAmasika bhakti. Rajasika bhakti and tAmasika bhakti cannot lead us to moksha and so they cannot get cooked. sAttvika bhakti can lead us to moksha, but we are not utilizing it and so this did not get cooked at all.

    bEyalilladha akkige bamdharu mUvaru nemtaru ibbaru uNNaru obbage hasivE illa

    Outer meaning: Three relatives came to this uncooked grain. Two don’t eat and one is not hungry.

    This sAttvika bhakti can be exercized by the three “karaNa-s” (means, known as trikaraNa-s) , viz. mind, word and body (thought, speech and action). Speech and action without thought cannot lead us to moksha. Also as body gets destroyed, the tongue and body cannot taste the moksharasa. Mind and chitj~nAna can lead us to moksha, but the jij~nAsa itself is lacking. The mind is not hungry.

    hasive illadha nemtage kottaru mUru toNapegaLa eradu thAkadhu omdhu thAkalE illa

    Outer meaning: This hungerless relative is given (hit with) three cudgels (punishing rods). Two can’t touch and one doesn’t touch.

    The mind is put to pain by the sorrows of past, future and current births. We have no clue about the past and future births. Thus we don’t remember those pains and so they can’t touch. We experience the pain of current birth and so it certainly can have impact on us; but unfortunately, it is not having an impact on us.

    thAkalilladha toNapeya thAkisi sadhgathIya nIyabEku puramdhara viTTala rAya

    Outer meaning: By making the untouching cudgel touch us, Oh Purandara viTThala! please grant us moksha.

    By making us realize the impact of the sorrow of current birth, Oh Purandara viTThala! guide us on the path of moksha by giving knowledge, devotion and detachment and grace us with moksha.


    You can listen to this Devaranama here

  9. vinay Says:

    wow …mind boggling , thanks to Sri Keshava Rao for deciphering this

  10. neelanjana Says:


    A nice post :), and post-script!

    You say

    >>He also simplified “Thala” system and moulded it
    >>into “Pancha-Thrimsathi” Thala system and >>composed “Alankaras” to be sung in those Thalas

    As for as I know there is no proof to say that Purandara Dasa composed alankAras in 35 tALas. In fact, applying different jAti’s to laghu of suLAdi tALas is NOT seen in any of the suLAdis.

    All suLAdis (purandara’s or other haridAsas) use the 7 tALas ( chaturashra dhruva, mathya, rUpaka, Eka , trishra tripuTa, khanDa aTa and miSra jampe only. Nowhere in suLAdis the jAti variation is applied to the laghu in these tALas.

    Prof R Satyanarayana concludes that the 35 tALa scheme ( obtained by 7 tALas and 5 jAti) is post-purandara dAsa development.

    I would think Purandara dAsa would have made only the 7 alankAras in suLAdi sapta tALas, that are normally taught to students.

    Again, would like to make an addition to the following :

    >>The next phase of learning of a beginner is “Geethe” for
    >>which Purandaradasa created “Pillari Geete” in Raga-
    >>Malahari” a derivative of Maya-Malava-Gowla.

    There is evidence to show that Purandara also composed the gIte in Suddha Saveri – AnalEkara – which was sung as a derivative of MMG then. Some manuscripts give it in malahari too.

    Probably he composed the other sanchAri gItes that are taught by default to all music students – This point I am little less certain to how many were his, because they do not contain his ankita ( But even two gItes in malahari also do not have the mudre, but are considered his compositions by tradition).


  11. Lakshminarayana Says:


    Delighted to read about Sri Sri Purandara Dasaru on his Aradhana day.

    Since I am based in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu and cant read kannada fast, I would be thankful if you could suggest a nice link for Dasara Padagalu (including Purandara Dasa’s) in Sanskrit.

    Please continue the good work and keep me posted.



  12. neelanjana Says:

    check out

    Still a work in progress – but ultimately 1000+ of purandara dasa’s compositions will be available in several scripts.


  13. rk Says:

    dear all,
    sorry for the late response.

    dhanyavadagalu. and thanks for giving the meaning of mundige.

    sri pranesh ‘s comments must have answered your doubts. thanks for dropping a comment.

    i had collected these tidbits sometime back. your last sentence says it all.

    thanks a lot. hope you saw the kannada version above.

    glad you liked the post. have read your informative posts at ‘Sangeethopasana’. keep posting more such stuff.
    i have heard a concert by sri RK Srikantan where he presented only Dasara padagalu. it was a wonderful experience.

    thanks for commenting. please visit the the link provided by neelanjana. you will surely love it.

    namaskara! very happy to see your enlightening comments. y’day, i got time to go through the book
    ‘Daasa Saahitya’ from the Kavi Kaavya Parampare series (No.20) written by NK Kulakarni, Prof. SK Ramchandra Rao and Prof. K Sampadgiri Rao. It is edited by Late V. Seetharamayya and Prof. G Venkatasubbayya. [IBH Prakashana (1987)]

    you must have already read this book. if not, i would request you to kindly do so.

    in this, there is a section titled “Sangeetha Seve” (pg.136 to 144): (i’ve tried my best to give a rough translation of a few paragraphs from this section which i felt was relevant here) –

    The contribution of Haridasas to the development of Karnatak music is valuable and unique. Sri Purandaradasa has been regarded in the South as ‘Karnataka Sangeetha Pithamaha’ which is literally true.

    Students who are learning Karnatak music are first introduced to Sri Purandaradasa’s Pillari Geethe and Alankaras. This is the paddhati/ practice. This means that Sri Purandaradasa’s Sri Gananaatha Sindhuravarna, Kundagoura Gowrivara, Kereyaneeranu kerege chelli and Padumanabha paramapurusha – these 4 are practiced first. Apart from these it is believed that Sri Purandaradasa also composed some Lakshana Geethes. But only the above mentioned 4 are practised today.

    It seems before Sri Purandaradasa’s times, ‘Kharaharapriya’ raga was considered Aadi or Shuddha raga. Sangeetha abhyasa would begin with this raga in those days. The swaras in this raga are sa, ri (chathushyuthi), ga, ma,pa, dha (chathushyuthi), ni (kaishiki). Sri Purandaradasa saw that beginners found it hard to sing the different notes in this raga. He then changed the sampradaya and instructed that Mayamalavagoula raga was the Shuddha raga and thus must be brought into practise.

    The swaras in this raga are:
    sa ri1 ga3 ma1 pa dha1 ni3 (kakali)

    This is a sampoorna raga having all the sapthaswaras.
    Sri Purandaradasa composed the above 4 geethes in Malahari raga born out of Mayamalavagoula. Malahari is a raga that is fit to be sung during early morning.

    Malahari: aarohana is – sa ri ma1 pa dha1 sa – and avarohana is -sa dha pa ma1 ga3 ri1 sa. Kakali nishada and anthara gandhara in the aarohana has been left out. This foundation laid by Sri Purandaradasa has been of great importance and help for students learning Karnatak music. This is also a reason to call Sri Purandaradasa ‘Karnataka Sangeetha Pithamaha’.

    A note about the taala:

    Taala-laya has a very important place in Karnataka sangeetha. While composing a krithi, taala nibhaddhate must be followed. Taala is the soul of dance…. Purandaradasa’s taala-laya jnaana can be gauged in the song he has composed in Aarabhi raga ‘Aadidano ranga adhbhutadindali kaalingana phaneyali’. This song also shows that he had knowledge of Bharathanatya.

    “In the earlier times, it is said that hundreds of taalas were in use. This must have been only in theory. Purandaradasa and his guru brought this down to 35. 7 taalas namely dhruva, matya, rupaka, jhampe, triputa, atta and eka where each had 5 jaathis – trishra, chaturashra, mishra, khanda and sankeerna.


    i am eager to know more about Dasa Sahitya, and music. it will be very helpful for music enthusiasts like yours truly and some of my friends here if you and other sangeetha rasikas could please share more info with us. thanks for the link containing 1000+ purandaradasa’s compositions. really happy to know about the efforts.

    best wishes and regards

  14. rk Says:

    In the book ‘Karnataka Sangeetha Deepike’ by Dr. VS Sampatkumaracharya and Prof. V Ramarathnam (Publishers: DVK Murthy, Mysore), there is a concise piece on Sri Purandaradasaru (pg. 320 to 326). A few excerpts translated here:

    ** At the age of 16, Srinivasa Nayaka married Saraswathibai.

    ** Aadhyaramacharya has said with proof and logically too that Srinivasa Nayaka/ Purandaradasa was born in Purandarapura (Shivamogga Jille, Theertha halli Taluk)

    ** When Srinivasa Nayaka was transformed in to Purandaradasa, it is said he must have been around 40 years of age.

    ** Sri Vyasathirtha praised his disciple thus: ‘Daasarendare purandaradasarayya’, and in return, Purandaradasa also showed how much he revered his guru when he sang ‘Vyasarayara charanakamala darushanavenage enu janmada sukrutha phaladhi dorakitho enna’ in the devaranama ‘Eesumunigaliddenu maaduvaru’.

    ** Pillari means Ganapathi (Pillayar). Thus the name Pillari Geethe. In the 17-18th century Tanjavur, Purandaradasa and his compositions had become very popular.

    ** It is believed that 32 ragas were in much use during Purandaradasa’s time. In the song ‘Nalinajaanda taleyatoogi mohisutiralu’, he has mentioned 26 ragas thus:

    maaravi, deshi, gurjari, bhairavi, gouli, naati
    saveri, aheri
    poorvi, kaambhoji, paadi, deshakshi, shankarabharana, maalava
    varaali, kalyani, todi, mukhari, yurali
    vasantha, bhouli, dhanyasi
    saurashtra, gundakriya, ramakriya, megha
    natakuranjiyu paadalu nodi

    the remaining 6 ragas are mentioned in this keerthane ‘tutthuru toorendu battheesa raagagalannu chitravallabha tanna kolalanudidanu’.

  15. neelanjana Says:

    You can read about the 32 raagas that are mentioned by Purandara in the following post:


  16. neela Says:

    Thanks to you, RK and all those who have commented here .
    My mom too got to read this and she has conveyed her appreciation and gratitude.

  17. rk Says:

    Extracts from an article titled ‘Miser who became saint-composer’ written by G. Dwarakanath in The Hindu dated Jan.12, 1964:

    It was Purandaradasa, who, more than 400 years ago, gave form to the system of training in music that is being followed today. Purandaradasa initiated the practice of starting the music lessons in Mayamalavagowla raga, and formulated graded exercises like Sarali, Janta, Alankara, Geethas, Suladis, and Varnas. The selection of Mayamalavagowla raga itself was a stroke of genius, for it enabled the later development of 72-mela scheme. As the creator of the Kirtana form, Purandaradasa has won unique place in history of being the father of Modern Carnatic music. “Sangita Pitamaha”.

    Using simplest of words with baffling dexterity, he adopted the conversational style for his songs in which we find the impassioned pleas of a pater familias urging the people to follow virtuous ways.

    Very little by way of regular research into his compositions has been undertaken. Even for purely historical reasons these songs can offer much scope for research. Glimpses can be had from a study of his songs into the social life of the people of those days, particularly the middle and lower classes.

  18. rk Says:

    enjoyed reading the post. thanks fos sharing the link.

    you are welcome.
    felt really happy that your mom visited this place.
    we will be grateful if she can add to the discussion here.


  19. rk Says:

    Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan writes:

    Sri Purandara Dasa pays tribute to his wife in this composition thus:

    “Hendati santhati savirawaagali gandage bettha hidisidalayya” [Let the wive’s lineage become 1000 fold as one such made her husband to hold a staff (a Dasa)]

    While Bhakti is the underlying theme of his works, Purandara Dasaru was also a great social reformer. He opposed many social practises and hypocracies of his time which he felt were bad or evil:

    1. Muppina Gandanu Bedakka
    (Sister don’t marry old man)

    2. Ibbara sangha abhimana bhanga
    (Against multiple wives)

    3. Holeya bandanendhu…
    (against untouchability)

    4. Achara villada naalige..
    (against gossip)

    *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

    One evening Sri Purandara Dasa was resting on a pyol of a house in the Sannadhi street of Lower Thirupathi after his darsan of Sri Govindaraja of Keezha Thirupathi (This is the Archa murthy consecrated by Sri Ramanuja few hundred years earlier). Next morning Sri Purandara Dasa was going to climb the seven hills for the darsanam of Lord Srinivasa of upper Thirupathi. He had finished his Sandhya anushtanam and was engaged in Dhyanam of Sri Venkatesa. It was getting dark. He then saw a most beautiful lady rushing with a Veena in her hand. Purandara Dasar was awe struck at this unusual sight and was emboldened to ask the young woman as to where she was going in such haste at that hour.She answered:”Sir , I am rushing to play the Veena at the Sannidhi of ThiruvenkatamudayAn”.

    Dasar said:”Amma! You should not travel alone at night in the mountainous region. May I therefore accompany you for the sake of your safety”. The lady replied:”Sir, Thank you. I will be very happy if you could accompany me. My name is Ramaa Devi.”

    Both Dasar and Ramaa Devi climbed the hills and arrived at the gates of the temple of Srinivasa after ardha Jaamam.The temple gates were closed for the day. There were no one near the temple at that late hour. When Ramaa Devi put her foot on the steps of the front gate of the temple, the doors automatically opened. Both the visitors entered and the temple gates shut themselves behind them. Dasar was wonderstruck and travelled to the Garbha Gruham of Lord Srinivasa with Ramaa Devi. At that time, Ramaa Devi addressed Dasar and asked him to hide behind one of the pillars of the ardha Mandapam to have the
    darsanam of the Lord.

    She entered the sanctum sanctorium and began to play on her Veena songs in praise of the Lord of the seven hills. On hearing the divine music, Lord Srinivasa appeared as Sanka -Chakra – Peethaambharadhaari and danced before her to the accompaniment of the music. Dasar was thrilled to hear the divine music and to see the Lord’s extraordinary dance.

    Lord Srinivasa decided to test Dasar, who was known for his short temper. The Lord stopped His dance and took the Veena from the Lady’s hand and began to play. He purposely introduced Apaswarams in his playing, which fell like molten lead in Dasar’s ears. Dasar was livid with rage and he came ourt of his hiding place behind the stone pillar and castigated the Lord this way:”O Lord of the Universe who is the embodiment of Naadam! How can I put up with you and your Apaswarams? Is it fair?”After being addresses this way, Lord Srinivasa and the Lady who played the Veena disappeared instantaneously. Dasar
    recognized his AparAdham and asked forgivenness of the Lord through the following four songs:





    WHEN Dasar completed singing of these four songs, the Lord and the Lady who climbed the hills with Dasar reappeared. The Lord revealed that the lady, who offered Veena worship was none other than Saraswathi Devi. Both of them blessed Dasar. The grateful Dasar composed two songs right there on the Goddess of Learning Saraswathi Devi for blessing him this way with the apoorva, antharanga darsanam of the Lord of Thirumalai. These two songs are: Kodubega Divyamathi Saraswathi in Raga Saraswathi and Paalisamma Muddhu Saaradhe yenna Naaligeyalli Nilla Bharade in Raga Nagaswaaraali. After that he sang many songs in praise of the Lord of Thirumalai until the Suprabhaatham time. He incorporated the visesha Naamaankitham”VenkataramaNaa”in these songs composed and sung in presence of the Lord.

    Lord Srinivasa was delighted with Dasar and blessed him and lifted him with His divine hands and placed him before sunrise at the front pial of the house, where Dasar was resting prior to the trip up the hills with Saraswathi Devi.

    *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

    The first of the four krithis composed in front of Sri Venkatesa is the following one in MadhyamAvathi:


    tirupati vEnkaTaramaNa ninagyAtake bAradu karuNa


    nambide ninnaya caraNa paripAlisa bEkO karuNa

    caraNam 1

    aLagiriyindalli banda svAmi anjanagiriyali ninda
    koLalu dhvaniyudO canda namma kuNDalarAya

    caraNam 2

    bEDeyADuta banda svAmi beTTada mEle ninda
    vITugAra gOvinda alli jEnu sakkareyanu tinda

    caraNam 3

    mUDala giriyali ninda muddu vEnkaTapati balavanta
    Idilla ninage shrIkAnta IrELu lOkakananta

    caraNam 4

    Adidare sthiravappa abhaddagaLADalu oppa
    bEDida varagaLinippa namma mUDalagiri timmappa

    caraNam 5

    appavu atirasa metta svAmi asurara kAlali odda
    satiya kUDADutalidda svAmi sakala durjanaranu

    caraNam 6

    bage bage bhakSya paramAnna nAnA bageya sakala
    bage bage sobagu mOhanna namma nagumukhada

    caraNam 7

    kAshi rAmEshvaradinda alli kANike baruvudu canda
    dAsara kUDe gOvinda alli dAri naDevude canda

    caraNam 8

    ellA dEvara gaNDa ava cillare daivada miNDa
    ballidavarige uddaNDa shiva billa murida pracaNDa

    caraNam 9

    kAsu tappidare paTTi baTTi kAsu biDade kaNDu kaTTi
    dAsanendare biDa gaTTi namma kEsakki

    caraNam 10

    dAsara kaNDare prANa tA dhareyoLadhika pravINa
    dvESiya gaNDala kANa namma dEvage nitya kalyANa

    caraNam 11

    mOsa hOguvanallayya ondu kAsige oDDuva kayya
    Esu mahimegAranayya namma vAsudEva timmayya

    caraNam 12

    cittAvadhAna parAku ninna cittada daya ondE sAku
    satyavAhini ninna vAku nInu sakala janarige bEku

    caraNam 13

    allalli pariSeya gumbu mattallalli tOpina tampu
    allalli sogasina sompu mattallalli parimaLadimpu

    caraNam 14

    allalli janagaLa kUDa mattallalli brAhmaNarUTa
    allalli piDida kOlATa mattallalli uRige Ota

    caraNam 15

    pApa vinAshini snAna hari pAdOdakave pAna
    kOpa tApagaLa nidhAna namma purandara viTTalana

    O Thirupathi VenkataramaNa! May I be the object of your Karunaa. Please protect me, who believes in You and has sought refuge at your holy feet. Please do not disaapoint me by giving me darsanam first and then removing Yourself from my presence. O Mukunda who has chosen Anjana Giri as your place of residence! O Lord who is resplendent with Your Makara Kundalams! The music flowing from Your flute is bewitching. O Muddhu Venkatesa standing on the top of the Eastern hill!
    There is none equal to You in all the 14 worlds.

    You are indeed the Lord, who is the Jagadanadakaraka. As such, You gladden the hearts of one and all. You bless those who practice Dharma Margam and punish those who engage in unrighteous acts. O Lord who blesses one with the sought after
    boons! O Varada! O Moodala Giri Timmappaa! Please protect me, who has taken bath in the auspicious waters of Paapa Naasani Theertham and drunk the holy Sri Paada Theertham of Yours. Please protect me, who has abandoned now the anger
    and desires and stand infront of you singing Your praise. Please come to my rescue!

    *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

    In the third krithi set in Ragam Kaambhoji, Dasar takes Srinivasa to task for not heeding to his request to bless him with Darsana Bhagyam. In the krithi starting with the Pallavi”Naanenu MaadithenO Venkataraya Nee yenna kaya BekO”, he queries Venakatarayan this way: O Lord! What did I do to deserve this utter neglect and indifference by You ? Why wont You come to my side?

    O Deena Rakshakaa!”Manaabhimaanavu Ninnadhu, Yenagenu?” (Anupallavi vaakyam). It is your problem to worry about your abhimaanam (attachment cum affection) for your Bhakthas and the consequent worry to protect them as well. It is not my concern to worry about the harm to your reputation as Bhakta Vatsalan, if you do not execute your self-avowed duties as protector of your bhakthas in times of their dire need and distress. I have done Baranyaasam to You and the burden of protecting me is your responsibility. I am not therefore worried. Even if I am free of worry , I still do not understand a few things. Please explain them to me.”Dasar goes on to describe the matters that confuse him in three CharaNams:

    CharaNam 1:
    Kari raja karisitaneh
    Drowpadi devi patradol kaLisitalen
    rishi rajapatni kallaghi sthreeyaghitadhu
    ee jagavalla ariyarenoh Govindaa (Naanenu)

    CharaNam 2:
    rakkasatalananeh kelO Dhruva raayanu
    ukki paruva karmamaaditha AjaamiLa ninnakkana
    nahanenO Govindaa (Naanenu)

    CharaNam 3:
    ommadi avalikkeh yaatatantha avanikkeh oppi kottayO
    sarpa sayana Sri Purandara Vittalaa
    aprameyaneh salahO Venkataraayaa (Naanenu)

    O Venkataraayaa! You are running around boasting the name of Deena Rakshakan. Did Drowpadi write a letter to you at the time of her distress asking you to save her from humiliation at the court of evil Duryodhana? The whole world knows that you
    transformed the Rishi patni Ahalya through your Paada sparsam (contact with the dust associated with your holy feet) from the state of stone to her former beautiful self. O Lord who destroys the Rakshasaas! Did you not bless the little child Dhruva
    and respond to his intense penance?

    Did you not save AjaamiLan , who was intricately bound in the net of his Karmaas ? How do you explain your partiality (DaakshiNyam) for him? Was he your nephew ? You gave the wealth of all the worlds to your boyhood friend Kusela in return for a handful of pounded rice. What is the mystery here? O Lord resting on your serpent bed! O Seshadri Sekhara VibhO! Why wont you show mercy to me? What wrong did I do? Why this utter indifference? Thus asks the angry Dasar with salugai in the spirit of Nindaa Sthuthi in this Krithi.

    In the next song, Dasar’s anger is reduced and he addresses the Lord with affection. In the Pallavi and Anupallavi Vakhyams, he begs the Lord of seven hills to show him the sanmaargam:

    “O Srinivasa! O Asritha Jana Rakshakaa! O Nada Brahmam! O VeNugopAlaa! O Mukundaa! O the essence of Vedas and Vedanthaa! O The embodiment of eternal bliss! You alone can and must save me. Please grant me the boon of following sadaachaaram and the right path. The pallavi and anupallavi Vakhyams containing these thoughts are as follows:




    DhyaanamaaLpa sajjara maanathim paripaalisuva
    VeNugopaala Mukunda Veda Vedyaa nityaanandhaa

    In the first charaNam , He asks”Yeshtu Dina kashtapaduvuthO Yasodhaa kanda? “O Yasodhaa Bhagyam! How long should I suffer from these samsaaric afflictions?”Won’ t you cast your benovolent glances at me (Drishtiyinda nodha barade)?
    “Mutti ninna bhajisalaareh ketta nara janmatava dhushta kaaryamaaditaakyu ishtanaagi kayyapidiyO, Srinivasa” was the next appeal of the dejected Dasar. O Srinivasa! It is not clear to me that in this human birth one can attain Youby devoting one’s life to nama sankeerthanam about Your kalyaNa GuNaas. Please do not abandon me even if I might have done many worst deeds.

    In the final charaNam, Dasar makes a moving appeal to Srinivasa in the spirit of utter meekness symbolizing his performance of SaraNaagathi. He says:”O Lord! You know very well that I suffer daily from the disease of Samsaara. I am not sure that I
    have the courage and endurance anymore to bear the scorching flames of the fire of Samsaara. I do not have the strength. Your cool and saving glances should fall on me just as abundant rain falls on the parched/ scorched land. O Lord of the Universe! Please do not forget to come to my rescue”. With great humility and meekness , Dasar thus performed saraNaagathi
    at the lotus feet of Srinivasa and repented for his short temper. The Lord of the seven hills could not hold himself back from his dear devotee any more and appeared before Dasar along with Saraswathi Devi. Dasar was overjoyed with the blessings of Lord Srinivasa and composed many immortal songs thereafter.

    On the eve of this DeepaavaLi celebration of Dhaathu Samvatsaram, it is a blessing for all of us to think of the Bhaktha Daakshinyam of Sriman Narayana standing atop of the seven hills and offer our prayers a la Purandara Dasar and other bhakthaas that followed him to the sannidhi of Srinivasa like Mutthuswami Dikshitar (Seshachala Naayakam BhajAmi Visesha Pala PradhAyakam) and Sadguru Thyaga Brhamam (Terathiyaga Raadhaa loni Thirupathi VenkataramaNa matsaramanu).

    *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

    Dasar used Thodi Raga to make saranaagathi to the Lakshmi RamaNan standing on the peak of the seven hills. Here he states that he has become blessed by the Darsana Bhagyam of His Subaasrayam.

    O Lord who has Vynatheya as your vehicle (Pakshi Vahanaa)!

    O Lord who destroys the Asuraas! O lotus eyed one!

    O KaruNaamurthy who took a message to Duryodhanaa’s court and pleaded the case of the Paandavaas!

    Please cast a glance on me and protect me. These thoughts are summarized in the following Pallavi and Anupallavi VAkyams:





    In the charana vaakyams, he asks a question of Sri Venkatesa consistent with the Daasa Vrutthi that he has chosen(Tamburi Meetidava –TaaLava tattidava– gejjaya kattidava — gaanava maadidava):

    O VenkataramaNaa! Govindaa! Am I not a servant of yours as I go from place to place singing your praise and being overcome by that moving experience ? Do not you know that in my heart of hearts I want to be protected by you from the Samsaaric ills ? Jagadheesaa! Please show me the sanmaargam and get me across this fearsome ocean of Samsaaraa.
    Please have Dayaa and take me– who is sinking in this ocean– by Your hand and lift me up. Daasar performed SarANAgathi in this manner in the Thodi raga krithi. The charaNa vakhyams containing these thoughts are as follows:

    desa desa thirigi naanu aasa bhaddha naateh
    swami daasanu naanallava Jagadheesa kaayO
    srinivasa kantha kanaka kelO yenna
    antharanga daasayennu antaravillateh
    paalisu SRIKAANTHA, Purandara VittalA

    Here, Daasar addresses the Lord on whose chest resides Sri Devi as Sri Kanthan in charaNam. Earlier in Anupallavi, he addressed Him as Lakshmi RamaNaa to remind himself and us about His status as the one who gives immense Joy to Sri Alamelu Mangaa presiding over Her temple at Thirucchaanur. Thus Daasar makes SaraNAgathi in the classical way prescribed by the Acharyas of one Sri Vaishnava sampradhaayam.This Prapatthi to Jaganmaathaa and Jagannaathan at the same time reminds us of the first two verses of Sri Venkatesa Prapatthi. The two verses are as follows:

    IsaaNaam Jagadhoasya venkatapathehr Vishno:
    parAm preyaseem tadh vakshasthala nityavaasa
    rasikAm tadhkshaanthi samvardhineem I

    Padmaalankrutha PaaNi pallava yugAm
    PadmAsanasthAm SriyAm vatsalyAdhi gunOjwalAm
    Bhagavtheem vandeh Jaganmaataram II

    Sriman KrupAjala Nideh sritha sarvaloka
    Sarvajna saktha natha vatsala sarvaseshin I
    Swaamin Suseela Sulabhaasrita PaarijAtha
    Sri Venkatesa charaNou saraNam Prapathyeh II

    The first Prapatthi slokam salutes the consort of Lord Srinivasa as PadmAsani , who resides in the chest of the Lord and increases His forbearance(Kshaanhti) for our trespasses as our compassionate Mother. She is saluted here as the ocean of Vaatsalyam (endearing affection) for us and is resplendent with that KalyANa gunam as the mother of ALL the beings of this Universe.

    After this salutation to Sri Devi in the traditional manner, The second slokam goes on to offer Prapatthi at the Lotus feet of the Lord. This slokam addresses the easily accessible Paarijaatha pushpam standing on the top of the seven Hills as Sarva Seshin, Sarvajnan, Krupaajala Nidhi, Sakthan and SwAmin. Each of the Naamas incorporated in this verse are powerful reminders of the Lord of Alamelu Mangaa, who has Dayaa as His cardinal Kalyaana GuNam. Each of these Naamaas can be connected to Dayaa DEvi saluted by Swami Desikan in his Daya Sathakam. Swami Desikan has invoked Lord Srinivasa’s Dayaa as a Devi and conversed with Her through the Slokas of DayA sathakam. Purandara Daasa is one of the”KAMALA VAASA KAARUNYA EKAANTHINA KRUTHINA”.

    Swami Desikan had Azhwaars in mind, when he chose the above words to describe the twelve Bhagyasaalis some two hundred years before the birth of Purandara Daasa. Latter is indeed fit to be considered as one of the great devotees of Srinivasa, who immersed deeply (azhwaar) in the Kaarunya Gangaa of Kamalaa Kanthan (KAMALAA KAANTHA KAARUNYA GANGAA PLAVITHAR).
    Daasar performed SaraNAgathi to that Sri Devi, the mother of the Universe in Her role as the embodiment of the Daya of Srinivasa (SRYEASEEM SRINIVAASASYA KARUNAAMIVA RUPINEEM).

    In this Thodi krithi as well as in the earlier Bhairavi and Siva KalyAN krithis, Daasar captures the essence of the above two slokAs of Sri Venkatesa Prapatthi. He salutes the self-manifested ocean of KaruNaa, which is limitless and offers the bhagyam of Darsanam to us at the environs of Vrisha sailam in a manner evocative of Swami Desikan’s ninth verse of Daya Satakam:



    *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

    There is a special bond beween Purandara Dasa and Thirupathi Srinivasa. Kannada is not my mother toungue. Hence, I request the indulgence of Kannada speaking friends here to bear with me, when I make number of mistakes in transcribing the sahityam of his”Saurabhas”or Bhakthi-laden blossoms forming the garland Purandara Dasa placed at the feet of Purandara Vitala. ”Saurabha” is an apt term coined by my dear friend, Late Dr. Yamuna T Thathachari of first thirumaaLigai at Srirangam. He was a great scholar befitting lineage that goes back to Yaamunaacharya. He came up with the title”Purandara Dasa Saurabhas for a beautiful audio casette of Purandara Dasa Krithis sung majestically by Srimathi Jayashree Varadarajan of
    Sunnyvale, California.

    I will focus on the Srinivasa Saurabhas in these postings. Sri Purandara Dasa (Born AD 1494) lived for 80 years on this earth, half of which was spent as a Sanyasi. He is considered Naradaamsam.Satya Dharma Teeertha of Vyasaraya mutt conferred on
    Srinivasa (Purvaasrama name) the dasa name of “Purandara Dasa”. He derived his inspiration from the three strands of musical tradition-Karnataka, Maharashtra and Hindusthani – and poured his bhagavad bhakthi in the two musical styles of Margi and Desi. As a Karnataka Sangita Pitamaha , he followed the foot steps of the great Talapaakam Annamacharya , who sang the glories of Thriupathi VenkataramaNan day and night.

    Visits of Purandara Dasa to Thirupathi —
    Purandara Dasa in his dasa Vritthi wore Tulasi maala , Gejjai and held his chaplaa kattai in one hand and his tampuraa in the other hand and climbed the seven hills many times to have the darsanam of Srinivasan.

    He had a great attachment to his”name sake”, Srinivasan. He would run off to Thirupathi in a moment’s notice, when the thought of Srinivasan overpowered him. He offered his Sangeetha Saurhabham on those occsions to the Lord of seven hills. One such krithi is set in Ragam Sindhu Bhairavi:


    venkaTAcala nilayam vaikuNThapura vAsam pankaja nEtram parama pavitram
    shanka cakradhara cinmaya rUpam


    ambujOdbhava vinutam agaNita guNa nAmam
    tumbur nArada gAnavilOlam


    makara kuNDaladhara madanagOpAlam
    bhakta pOSaka shrI purandaravithalam

    Here, Purandara Dasa worships Srinivasa as Sri Vaikuntanatha with His base in Thirumalai. There he sees Him with His lotus eyes, sanka and chakra, chinmayaananda rupan enjoying the divine music of sage Narada and Thumbhuru and the eulogy of His lotus-born son, Brahmaa. His indescribable sacredness and unimaginable Nama Mahimaa are then referred to. Lord of
    Thirumalai must have given darsanam to him as the most enchanting Madana Gopala wearing Makara Kundalam. Dasar salutes this protector of devotees in the rakthi ragam of Sindhu Bhairavi.

    On yet another occasion, He chose Bhairavi ragam and offered saraNaagathi at the feet of Srinivasa.




    He cries aloud to the Karunaa saagaran and addresses Him as the munificient boon-granter. He says:”O Lord who rushes on the back of Garuda to protect the devotees in distress! Hari! Bhaktha Vatsalaa! please banish my fears and sufferings associated with Samsaaric life.I am counting on Your Dayaa and Anukampa”.

    In the charana Vakhyams , Dasar addresses Srinivasa as the Antharyaami Brahmam residing inside the crores and crores of chetanas and Achetanas of His universe and salutes Him as the Lord of the Seven hills sanctified by His residence. He recognizes him as the Aapath Bhaandhavan , who comes to the rescue of Devas and Sages during their times of distress. He points out thE this Seshaadri Sekhara Vibhu never fails to protect His devotees. He declares his Maha Viswasam as the central credential of his Saranaagathi to VenkataramaNan.

    Dasar chose a rare ragam known as Siva KalyaaN for his third krithi on Srinivasa, who gave darsanam to him as Govinda. In this Govinda Naama sankeerthanam echoing in the seven hils as”Govindaa, Govindaa”as we hear it even today, when the Bhakthaas come in front of Venkataachalapathi, Dasar declares:


    gOvindA ninna nAmave candA gOvindA ninna nAmave candA


    aNurENu trNa kASTa paripUrNa gOvinda nirmalAtmakanAgi iruvude Ananda


    shrSTi sthitilaya kAraNa gOvinda I pari mahimeya tiLiyuvude Ananda
    parama puruSa shrI purandara viTTalana hingada dAsara salahuvude Ananda

    In the charana vaakyams, Dasar describes the pervasive and seamless presence of Srinivasa Govindan from atoms, dust particles , blades of grass to dry branches and every thing in this universe. The greatest joy that a Jeevan can experience is the understanding of this principle of yours and to stay in the blemishless and pure state (NishkaLanka, Nirmala) exhibited by You. O Lord , the one responsible for the creation, protection and destruction of the universe and its beings!

    What a joy it is to understand this truth about yourself being the root cause for the functioning of Your universe and to sing about your limitless auspicious GuNaas. The Dasaas immersed in the nectar of joy through the Nama Sankeerthanam of your Sahasra Naamaas forget every thing and do not let their mind wander into worthless pursuits.

    I will conclude this series of postings on Purandara dasa’s krithis on Sri Venkatesa with the first two slokas of Sri Venkatesa Sahasra Naamam and a few select Venkatesa ashtotthara Naamams:








    *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

    courtesy: and Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan

  20. Rashmi Says:

    The Trend Setters in Carnatic Music

    by Ashok Madhav

    The Bhakti movement was infused with musical fervour by many saint -musicians all over India over the centuries. Notable among them -Purandara Dasa and Thyagaraja played key roles during their lives. Both these men belonged to the line of saint-musicians, who influenced the masses for their moral and spiritual upliftment through the medium of their musical compositions. Both men have emphasized that bhakti without sincerity of devotion is meaningless. These two ardent devotees of God were in a manner of speaking, trend-setters. Their reformist zeal to set bhakti in its proper perspective devoid of sham and meaningless rituals was frequently stressed in their krithis. The spiritual and philosophical contents of their krithis are often compared to the Upanishads.

    While Purandara Dasa was instrumental in laying the foundations of Carnatic music, Thyagaraja took Carnatic music to the peak of its perfection. It is not surprising that these two musical stalwarts are featured more often than other musical personalities in many discussions of Carnatic music.

    Purandara Dasa (1484-1564) had enjoyed the privileges and comforts in his youth and middle age. However, he realized the tawdry selfishness of people and the world around him which prompted him to give up all his wealth and physical comforts and devote himself to a life of high ideals of philosophy and spirituality. After his tutelage from his guru-Vyasa Raya, Purandara Dasa devoted his second half of his life to composing songs in praise of Lord Krishna-the deity of Pandharpur. He, thus became Purandara Dasa- a devotee or servant of Supreme Lord.

    Purandara Dasa was a great bhakta, musician and composer. His krithis are set in simple words which exude bhakti, common sense and philosophy and which have universal appeal. He was a pioneer and creative genius. His contributions to Carnatic music are immense. He adopted ‘Malavagoula’ (later changed to ‘Mayamalavagoula’) to enable beginners learn the basics of Carnatic music. He introduced various musical forms like Sarali, Janta varisas, Hecchu and Taggu stayis, Alankaras, Geetas etc. Simple lessons (pillari geethams) in ragas like Malahari and Shuddasaveri were introduced by him. He also systematised suladi sapta talas. He is credited to have composed several thousands of krithis. Unfortunately, only a fraction of his total output of krithis is available.

    It is incredible that even four centuries later, Purandara Dasa’s teaching models have been handed down to us with no variation! His immense contributions to music have earned him the recognition as the Sangeetha Pitamaha-the grandsire of Carnatic music.

    Thyagaraja (1767-1847) was born of modest means, but eschewed all material comforts even as a youth and devoted himself to the worship of Lord Rama. He had his musical training from Sonti Venkataramanayya. Thyagaraja was influenced by the music of Purandara Dasa and other great savants. Thyagaraja has paid tribute to Purandara Dasa in his “Prahlada bhakti vijayam”. His unswering devotion to Rama is demonstrated through emotional outpourings in many of his krithis. His compositions are simple but laden with bhakti and philosophy which caught the appeal of many music lovers. Thyagaraja’s krithis reached the height of perfection. He was instrumental in developing several new ragas, which were used in his compositions. One outstanding feature of Thyagaraja’s krithis is its inherent scope for adding sangatis eg: Dorakuna itu vanti (Bilahari) and Dharani telusu (Shudda saveri).

    Similarity in Their Thought Process

    While these musical geniuses (Purandara Dasa and Thyagaraja) lived almost three centuries apart, it is interesting to compare their lives, their contributions to music and philosophical thoughts. There are several parallels in their lives. Both Purandara Dasa and Thyagaraja were pious, saintly and great devotees of Krishna and Rama respectively. The lyrics of their krithis were simple, but with high philosophical and spiritual contents. Both were musical prodigies who disliked royal patronages and gifts. They abhorred ‘narastuthi’ or praising of mortals. Purandara Dasa was not enamoured of the royal bounty and wealth of King of Vijaya nagar.

    Similarly, Thyagaraja too refused invitations from the Tanjavur Maharaja and other Kings of Travancore and Mysore. Both have commented on their feelings in musical forms and idioms. In Purandara Dasa’s krithi ‘Namma bhagya doddado,Nimma bhagya doddado’, he feels more blessed because of the Lord’s protection compared to the King, who has just material possessions. In another krithi,’ Antarangadalli Hariya kaanadava’, Purandara Dasa retierates the same concept ‘Narara sevisa bedavo endendigu’ , while Thyagaraja says in his ‘Nidhi chala sukhama, Ramuni sannidhi seva sukhama’, that he does not need anybody’s blessings but Rama’s.

    Purandara Dasa and Thyagaraja have expressed their thoughts and feelings on other aspects of life as well. A general concept of the meaning of their songs is given within brackets. Regarding music,what Purandara Dasa has said in ‘Talabeku takka mela beku’ Thyagaraja has echoed similar ideas in his ‘Sogasuga mrudanga talamu’ (basic details of an ideal krithi). The words ‘Sakala tirtha yaatreya maadidante nikhila punyada phalavu’ in Purandara Dasa’s ‘Smarane onde saalade’ have parallel expressions in Thyagaraja’s ‘Dhyaaname varamaina Ganga snaanamu’ (Plunging in holy waters will not purify from the sins of deceit). To focus one’s mind to the devotion of the Lord, the words used by both Purandara Dasa and Thyagaraja in their krithis are almost identical. Purandara Dasa says ‘Manava nilisuvudu balu kashta’ and Thyagaraja’s lyrics are ‘Manasu nilpa shakti leka pothe’ (Controlling one’s mind for worship is hard). Purandara Dasa’s ‘Sakala graha bala neene’ and Tyagarja’s ‘Graha bala memi’ are close in their contents (Strength from the Divine protection is better than those from all planets). Similarly, Dasa’s ‘Dwaitavu sukhava’ and Thyagaraja’s ‘Dwaitamu sukhama’ are alike in their philosophical content (the decision to follow Dvaitha or Advaitha for bliss).

    There are several examples where the thoughts of these two men run very similar. A few relevant lines are mentioned:

    Mosahodenallo naanu (Purandara Dasa) and Mosabegu vinave satsahavasamu (Thyagaraja) (Do not get deceived by not thinking of God)

    Manuja sharira enu sukha (Purandara Dasa) and Pranamuleni vaaniki bangaru baaga jutti in Bhakti beecha meeyave (Thyagaraja) (Praise the Lord to get eternal bliss)

    Saamanyavalla Sri Hariye seve (Purandara Dasa) and Adi gadu bhajana manasa (Thyagaraja) (false pretence is no bhajana at all)

    Daasana madiko enna (Purandara Dasa) and Meluko Dayaanidhi(Thyagaraja )(Accept me as your own)

    Idu bhaagya,Padumanabha paada bhajana sukhavayya (Purandara Dasa) and Ide bhaagya gaka, yemi yunnadira, Rama (Thyagaraja) (blessed is the one who worships God sincerely)

    Kaliyuga dalli Hari naama (Purandara Dasa) and Padavini sadbhakti galkude (Thyagaraja) (only true devotion to God can bring a status of value)

    Raama naama paayasakke Krishna naama sakkare (Purandara Dasa) and Raama kathaa sudha rasa paanamu(Thyagaraja) (Drink the divine nectar)

    Dharma shravana yetake (Purandara Dasa) and Chevitiki-yupadeshinchi natu gaado (Thyagaraja) (Worship of God is more important than other trivial pursuits)

    The contributions of these two vaggeyakaras are enormous in terms of the voluminous number and different types of compositions. Their rich bequest to Carnatic music continues to captivate and fascinate music lovers all over the world and will carry through for many centuries more.

  21. rk Says:

    Thanks for sharing that enlightening article here. Got to know a lot of things about Tyagarajaru and Dasaru.

    Want to share this charming story about MS. This happened around the mid ’60s (must be 1964).

    The Karnataka Government had organised the 400th Purandara Jayanti at the Purandara Mandap on the banks of the Tungabhadra in Hampi. M.S. was to inaugurate the concert that evening. On the morning of the concert, a few women near the riverbank were talking among themselves and wondering whether they would ever get a darshan of Subbulakshmi. As it happened, M.S., along with some women friends was walking towards the river to have a holy dip when she overheard the conversation. It is said that she instantly stopped, squatted in front of the women and sang Dasana madiko enna swami, Yelliruvano Ranga emba samshaya beda and Enduro mahanubhavalo to the thrilled listeners.

    Asked why she sang, the answer that M.S. gave was classic.

    She said: “Every rasika is a Purandara-Kanaka-Tyagaraja and other saint composers to me. So a rasika’s wish is a command to be obeyed at once!”

  22. Jagannath Says:

    But if one follows Srivaishnavism, one cannot enjoy the songs of Sri Purandara Dasa where he sings in praise of Ganesha etc. Why?

  23. Mani Says:

    My friend Sri Jagannath wrote:

    But if one follows Srivaishnavism, one cannot enjoy the songs of Sri Purandara Dasa where he sings in praise of Ganesha etc. Why?

    The songs of Sri Purandara Dasa, in my opinion, can be enjoyed by anyone, even Sri Vaishnavas, or should I say perhaps *best* by Sri Vaishnavas! Even Sri Purandara Dasa’s songs on Ganesha are generally only meant to further his own love for Sriman Narayana.

    For example, take the popular song “gajavadana bEduvE, gauri tanaya”. In the final charaNa of the song, Sri Purandara Dasaru sings:

    sarasija nAbha Sri purandara viThalana
    niruta neneyuvante dayamAdO!

    [O Gajavadana!] Please grace me such that I forever contemplate on Sri Purandara Vithala, the one with a lotus in his navel!

    Purandara is only asking Gajavadana to clear away any obstacles in his contemplation of the Lord. In Purandara’s conception, all the devatas are only serving Sriman Narayana, so why not ask these bhaktas to help him advance in his love for God?

    Philosophically speaking, one should have no objection to singing songs that appear on the surface to be about other deities. Since Sriman Narayana is alone the Inner Self of all these various entities, it is in fact only Him that is addressed in all these songs. If we sing or appreciate this music with this idea in mind, we can progress further and not worry about whether we are doing “anya-devata-arAdhanai”.

    Bhagavan Ramanujacharya endorses this approach in the Sribhashya. In the Prasna Upanishad, the god Indra says, “mAm upAsya” — worship me as the means to liberation. It is Ramanuja’s understanding that what is meant here is “worship Me who is the Inner Self of this Indra, the Supreme Lord”. Even though the god Indra is named, it is not Indra who is worshipped, since the Inner Self is the actual recipient of the worship.

    I believe that with this attitude, we can dispense with the petty sectarian fights and move on to a greater appreciation of the vibhUtis of Bhagavan Sriman Narayana.


  24. […] posts a tidbit trivia post on Purandara […]

  25. mohankumar Says:

    really great, i am great follower of sri purandara dasa, i can dedicate any thing in this world for sake of sri purandara dasa.
    recently we felicitated one lady ( smt saraswathi ) in bangalore on 16th of feb 08 for her dedicated service to sri purandara dasa. for past 9 years we are celebrating dasara aradhane and round the clock we chant only purandaradasas songs, last year we conducted purandara vaibhava yakshagana first of its kind in the history of yakshagana. sri purandaradasa is my guru and lord krishna is my guri ( aim)
    pl give details so that i want to work more on sri purandaradasaru.

  26. mohankumar Says:

    it is really great to read about sri purandara dasa. we are (our family ) also staunth follower of dasaru. we are felicitating people who have worked for sri purandara dasa. recently we felicitated one lady ( 68 years ) who have done lot of work on dasaru, and her parents were doing aradhane for a week long some 50 years ago.
    he is our guru and sri krishna is our guri ( aim ) we want to work more for purandara dasa songs. if all like minded people join we can do wonders. pl keep in touch
    dasara dasa

  27. uma Says:

    can anyone give me the word by word meaning of purandaradasa composition, Kunidhado krishna?

  28. divyasandesh Says:

    i am a research scholar doing phd in pondichjerry university. i am working on the songs of purandaradasa. this site proved to be very useful 4 my study. i could collect opinions of different people. purandaradasa’s mention on the social conditions in the period which he lived are seen in some of his songs. can any one get me the the detailed meaning of those songs

  29. Sastry Says:

    Sri Purandara Dasaru lives in the popular imagination as a ‘bhakta’ rather than as a ‘bhagavata’. Purandara Dasa is one of the saints included in the canonical roll of the “Bhakta Vijaya”. Even in the service of the Lord, Purandara seems to have retained his love of music in tact. Witness the numerous ‘Geetes’ he composed to illustrate ragas in as simple a form as one could imagine, besides the ‘Padas’ which he composed in praise of Panduranga.

    Purandara Dasa has left proof of a well-savoured life in his compositions. They are a record of a rich worldly wisdom, patiently gleaned out of the distracting situations of life. His similes are as homely as spun broadcloth, and as cozily fitting. At places, he is even morbidly anatomic in his castigation of the claims of the body. Nevertheless, his transcendentalism is finely tempered by a concern for his fellow-beings which has a personal warmth rarely to be found in many other composers.

    Source:- Saints and Singers : 03.02.1963

  30. Lalithashree Sriram Says:

    All the posts made interesting reading. It is higly informative and has drawn me to know more and more of this great saint Sri Purandaradasa and learn many more of his compositions. Thankyou once again.

  31. Lalithashree Sriram Says:

    Can anybody kindly give the word by word meaning of the kriti kuNidhado Krushna kuNidhado.

  32. T.K.Jagannathan Says:

    I am a mad Dasa follower.
    So I do viered things.
    For example I spent months transalating Sant Sri’s Songs from Kannada to Tamil in the musical way so that Tamilians can not only understand the deapth of the phylosophy but can sing them in Tamil in the same raga as they are sung in Kannada.
    My first book of 54 songs is printed but i do not know how to reach it to interested people.
    The manescript of the next group of 108 songs is ready and I am blinking with it.
    Manescript of my similar taransalation of Sant Thyagaraja’s songs from Telugu to Tamil is also ready.
    Is there any music lover who would help me?
    My email is

    If you know tamil and a little bit of music try singing this

    Raga:Madhyamaavathi Bhaagyadha Laxmi baaramma
    Bhaagyathin thirumagale nee varaveNdum
    Ennannai nee bhaagyatthin thirumagale nee varaveNdum.
    Adimel adiyai Azagai vatthhu
    Salangaigal shabdam kuklungida varuvai…

    Ofcourse my book gives the Kannada song in the left in tamil script and the tamil version in Tamil script on the right.

    At the service of music lovers

  33. rk Says:

    Vijayavittaladaasa – (1682-1755)

    Also known as Vijaya Dasa, Vijaya Vittala Dasa is one of the most renowed scholars and philosophers in Dwaita philosophy as well Dasa Sahitya, revered as the spiritual heir of Purandara Dasa. He was born to Srinivasappa and Kusamma who were very poor Brahmins in Chekalaparvi of Manwi Taluk in Raichur District. For his studies, he went to Kashi (Varanasi) for four years for studies and later returned. At 16, he married Aralamma, but they had a troubled domestic life because of their poverty. When his parents died, he returned to Kashi and became a renowned Sanskrit scholar. Once he had a dream in which Purandara Dasa appeared, initiated him into the order of Dasas and gave him the ankita or mudra of ‘Vijay Vittala’. From then on, he was known as Vijaya Dasa.

    He spent the rest of his life popularizing Dwaita concepts, the works of Srimadacharya and Hari Bhakti malas. He has written about 25,000 Padya Sulyadi or UGAHA BHOGHA’s. His works are called kalasha’s creations or Urasu’s creations. In Kannada sahitya his literary works are regarded as second only to those of Sri Purandara Dasa. He is affectionately called Dasa Shresta, for his personality, knowledge and the brilliant disciples he left behind.

    He also spent his life with purpose, doing good for others. Vijaya Dasa prevented a woman from killing herself and her son. He looked after them as part of his family. Later that boy became his disciple and a very famous Haridasa called Mohana Dasa. It is said that Mohana Dasa had another close brush with death and it was again Sri VijayadAsa who saved him. Among other miracles attributed to him, it is said that he gave rebirth to his own son (4 years from his own life, and 7 years from those of another). Another story relates that during one of his visits to Kashi, when the Holy Ganges was in spate, he took a dip in the river and sat in the lotus pose over the flowing river, all without getting his clothes and body wet. It is also said that he demonstrated his amazing mystical powers by making a dimwitted man recite and explain JayatIrtha’s Sriman NyAya Sudha in simple words, a task which even very learned scholars find difficult to do.

    Vijaya means victory and he is regarded as the one who knows how to win the heart of Krishna and devotees of Krishna through his compositions. He is regarded as the reincarnation of Bruga Muni. It is believed that in the Krtha Yuga or era, he incarnated as a disciple of Sage Narada, in TrEta Yuga as a monkey called Suraleela, in Dwaapara Yuga as a Yaadava called Nikampana and in Kali yuga (the current era) as a calf and later as a brahmin. Bruga muni is also known as the tAratamya saint since he proclaimed that Krishna or Vishnu is the most powerful among the gods. Vijaya Dasa composed many songs and Suladis. His style is very scholarly and full of words from Sanskrit. His thorough grasp of the Sastras is very evident in his works. His compositions are simple and lucid, replete with telling phrases and similies, like those of his master Purandara Dasa. He was an ardent Vaisnava, which is evident in his compositions that praise Vishnu as the greatest of all gods.

    Vijaya Dasa’s disciples include Jagannatha Dasa, composer of ‘Harikathamrutha Saara’, Gopala Dasa, and Kallur Subramanya Charya. Gopala Dasa, his chief disciple, constructed a temple for Anjaneya in front of the ‘Katte’. There is a pond close by called ‘Vijaya Thirtha’. It is believed that during his third visit to Kashi, Vijaya Dasa brought the Ganges and installed it in that pond, for the benefit of his disciples.

    Every year, during Karthika Shudda Navami, Dashmi and UtwanDwadashi his ‘Aradhana’ is celebrated in Chippgiri, which is about 3 miles from Guntakal. The location where the aradhana is celebrated is called ‘Sri Vijaya Dasara Katte’ (Vrundavana). Thousands of Madhwas attend and get his blessings. The old house where Sri Vijay dasaru lived Chippgiri has been preserved by his devotees, as also the Mahadeva and Srinivasa Temples that he used to visit. There is cave close by where the Sun god is supposed to have conducted penance. It is believed that even to-day Sri Vijay Dasaru visits the spot in an astral form, takes bath in the Vijay Thirtha and cleans the Mukya Prana temple. One of the temple servants is supposed to have witnessed this miracle. He lived till the age of 79.

    A story is told of the relationship of Vijaya Dasa and Purandara Dasa: Sri Purandara daasa had a son called Madhwapathi. Purandara Dasa would visit the Sri Yanthrodaara Praana Devaru temple (Hanumantha) in Hampi and offer naivedya (divine offering) to the deity. Once, due to paucity of time, Sri Purandara Daasa asked Madhwapathi to do the naivedya. Madhwa pathi, who was a small boy, honestly believed that Hanumantha would literally eat the food offered to him. When this did not happen, the little boy became very upset and started punishing himself. To prevent this, Hanumantha appeared before him and actually ate the food, leaving behind a small portion as prasad. When Madhwa pathi returned home and related this incident to his parents, nobody believed him. To test the veracity of his story, Purandara dasa accompanied him the next day, and saw the miracle with his own eyes. He became ecstatic and told Madhwa pathi that he was very lucky to have obtained the grace of Hanumantha. Sri Purandara dasa composed a total of 4,75,000 literary pieces (devaranamas, suladis, ugabhogas) in his lifetime. When Madhwapathi pointed out to his father he was 25,000 short of 500,000, Sri Purandara daasa told him that by the grace of Vijaya Vittala, he (Madhwapathi) would be reborn as a hari daasa in his next birth and make up the balance 25,000. Accordingly, Madhwapathi, the son of Sri Purandara daasa was reborn as Sri Vijaya daasa in his next birth and composed 25000 songs with the ankita(signature) of Sri Vijaya Vittala.

    Mudra: VijayaviTThala

    Sadaa enna hrdayadalli – kaanaDaa, behaag

    source: Karnatik dot com

  34. mohankumar Says:

    lot of work is being done on sri purandara dasa. in a small way self and my family are honouring personalities who have done work on sri purandara dasa. incidentally by the grace of the lord we are shortly bringing out purandara namana writtten by sri vidyavachaspathy . Dr. aralumallige parthasarathy. this was first published in year 2000. people who are intrested can approach.
    purandara prathistaana
    E- mail:

  35. sandhya Says:


    I need the lyrics of “Tamboori meetidava” ,and I know it is in raga Sindhu bhairavi…could anybody forward the lyrics?

  36. rk Says:

    Tamburi meetidava

    Tamburi meetidava, bhavaabdhi dhaatidhava
    taalava tattidhava , surarolu seridhava

    Gejjeya kattidhava , khalaredheya mettidhava
    Gaayana paadidhava , hari moorthi nodidhava

    Vittalana nodidava (purandara) vaikuntake odidhava

  37. Parvathi Says:

    Can anyone give me word by word for Kunidado Krishna?

  38. satyask Says:

    I am creating a page about Purandaradasa on AncientIndians. I am using some excerpts from your article there.. with a link back to this post.

    If you confirm that you are okay with the idea.. I would like to combine the information in the comments with your article and host the whole thing on my page with a linkback here and credit to you…

    How do you find such things out?

  39. Suresh Rao Says:


    I have translated 15 kritis of Purandaradasa into Marathi and have made a CD. This CD will not be marketed and will be given to interested connoisseurs of music from both sides of the border. But I am very poor in modern methods of publicity through internet. Can someone help me?

    Suresh Rao (from Mumbai)

    • Suresh Rao Says:


      I forgot to mention that it will be given free of cost. I do not have any intention to sell it. The release ceremony of this CD will be on 9th October 2011 at Vishweshwarayya Hall, Matunga (W), Mumbai. All those attending the programme will be given this CD.

      Suresh Rao

  40. priya Says:

    can i pl get the lyrics and meaning of thirumalai giri raya

  41. bhuma Says:

    please send the lyric of banda nodi govinda

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