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 Sri Purandaradasa

 

Sri Purandaradasa

PurandaradasaSri Purandara dasa sings
“Yamanelli kANanendhu hELabEda
YamanE Sri RAmanu sandhEgabEda”


...say not ‘Where is Yama? He is not seen!’
Sri Rama is verily Yama, have no doubt!!

The Saint then goes on to clarify

to Vibhishana who had faith (in Him) He was Rama!
to Ravana who did not He was Yama!

to Arjuna who had faith He was a friend!
to DhuriyOdana who did not He was a foe!

to Prahlada who had faith He was Hari!
to Hiranya(kashippu) who did not He was fire!

to UgrasEna who had faith He was the servant!
to Kamsa who did not He was death!

Quick! build up faith in Lord Sri Krishna,
Purandara Vittala, the holder of Conch and Wheel!

Lord Hari said to Narada who stood before Him with folded hands, “Go down to Earth and spread the glory of My Divine Name!” Narada remained silent.

The Lord asked him, “What is it son? Why do you hesitate to carry out My command?”
Narada said, “Oh, Lord! I do desire to carry out your command. But the very thought of the atmosphere on Earth sends a shiver down my spine. What if I lose myself in the vagaries of worldly life there?”

Lord Hari assured Narada, “Do not fear. If anything of the kind happens I shall draw you back unto Myself.” Thus assured Narada came down to earth to carry out the command of Lord Hari.

Leelavati the wife of Varadappa Nayaka, a wealthy Brahmin merchant gave birth to a boy in 1484 at Kshemapura in the Shivamoga district of Karnataka. The baby was named Srinivasa.

He was given good education. At 16 years of age he was married to the pious young girl Saraswati bai. His parents died while he was still young. Well educated and possessing keen business acumen he built up his father’s business of gemstones and pawning: he came to be known as ‘navakoti Narayana’ (one who had earned nine crores)! Srinivasa Nayak was equally known for his tightfistedness. Not a single coin would be dropped in the begging bowl, not a morsel of rice would be offered to Sadhus. His stinginess did not spare even his wife and children.

One day, a poor Brahmin stepped into Srinivasa Nayak’s shop along with his little son. One look at the shabbily clad Brahmin and Srinivasa Nayak pointed to the door. But the Brahmin could not be easily put off! He seemed determined to draw out something from the miser Srinivasa Nayak. He said, “Oh, great dAta! I have come seeking financial assistance from you for the conduct of the holy thread ceremony for my son here.” Srinivasa Nayak’s face flushed with anger on hearing this. But he said calmly, “Oh, Brahmin! Someone has misinformed you. Don’t you know that Srinivasa Nayak does not part with his money for nothing? If you have anything to pawn, bring it here and take its value.”

The Brahmin walked out with his son and went straight to Srinivasa Nayak’s home! Standing at the door he called out, “Oh, Mother!” Hearing the piteous call Saraswati bai rushed to the door. A lustrous, divine Brahmin stood there with a little boy by his side. Looking at the pious and timid lady of the house, the Brahmin said, “Mother! I desire to conduct the holy thread ceremony for my son here. Would you be kind enough to help me?” Saraswati bai stood speechless. She thought ‘oh, divine Brahmin could you not find a better home to seek help?’ But moved by the divine luster of the Brahmin Saraswati bai seemed to suddenly remember the diamond nose ring that had been given to her as a wedding gift by her mother. She thought ‘this diamond nose ring is a gift from my mother and I have the freedom to use it as I like. Offering this to the Brahmin cannot be deemed wrong’.

She, at once, removed the diamond nose ring and offered it to the divine Brahmin. She said, “Oh, Brahmin! Sell this and use the money for your son’s holy thread ceremony.” She, however, cautioned him, “But please do not go to the shop that is down this street.”
Nodding his head and thanking Saraswati bai profusely the mischievous Brahmin went straight to Srinivasa Nayak’s shop!

He now entered Srinivasa Nayak’s shop with his head held high. Srinivasa Nayak looked at the Brahmin and wondered ‘How is this fellow walking in haughtily?’ The Brahmin gave the diamond nose ring to him and said, “Here, take this and give me money.” One look at the nose ring and Srinivasa Nayak’s blood pressure soared high! Locking it in his drawer, he said to the Brahmin, “Stay here. I will be back soon.” He ran out of the shop to his home. A mischievous smile played on the Brahmin’s lips.

“Saraswati!” the loud call sent shivers down the spine of Sarawati bai. Looking at her nose without the diamond nose ring Srinivasa Nayak asked, “Where is your nose ring?”

“Oh, God! Why did that Brahmin go to his shop in spite of my warning?” thought Saraswati bai.

Terribly frightened she tried to hide her act of charity. She said, “I had had an oil bath this morning. I have removed and kept the nose ring inside.”

“Bring it here at once,” commanded the miser.

Saraswati bai ran to Tulasidevi in the backyard. She cried to her, “Oh, Mother! Please save me. I wanted to help that Brahmin and here is my husband demanding the nose ring.” No sooner had she prayed than a diamond nose ring exactly like the one she had offered to the Brahmin fell into her open palm! Tears flowed down her cheeks at the compassion of Tulasidevi. She ran back to her husband and gave him the nose ring. Stunned and confused, Srinivasa Nayak rushed back to his shop with the nose ring. The Brahmin was still there with his little son. Srinivasa Nayak rushed behind the counter and opened the drawer; the nose ring that the Brahmin had given him. was there safe and sound! Both the nose rings looked alike. He looked up and found the Brahmin and the little boy gone! He looked again at the nose ring and an oval shaped light shone there. In it he saw himself as Narada standing in front of Lord Hari and the conversation that had taken place. In a flash everything came up in his memory. He realized that the Brahmin was none other than Lord Hari who had promised to take him unto Himself if he were trapped in the mire of worldliness.

Leaving his palatial home and wealth at once, holding a tamboora in his hand and accompanied by his wife and children he walked out singing the praise of the Lord. In his first composition ‘ana le kara’ (raag shuddha saveri) he bemoans ‘Oh, I have wasted 30 years of my life’. During his wanderings he met with his Guru Sri Vyasa teertha who gave him the name ‘Purandaradasa’.

Purandaradasa wandered about in what was then known as Vijayanagara samrajya (kingdom) singing the glory of the Divine Names of Lord Hari. Innumerable kirtans on the Lord flowed out of his lips. His kirtans are in simple and easy Kannada that even a common man can comprehend and sing. Krishnadevaraya, the emperor of Vijayanagara kingdom, held him in high esteem.

Founder of musical pedagogy Purandaradasa came to be known as ‘Sangeeta Pitamaha’ of Carnatic music. He moved to Humpi during his last years of life and died there in 1564 on Pushya Amavasya at the ripe age of 80.

In one of his kirtans that speaks of the glory of the Divine Name of the Lord, Purandaradasa asks,

(Raag: JOnpuri taal: Aadi)

nara-janma bandAga nAligE yiruvAga Krishna yena bAradE?
Krishna yendarE sakala kashtavu parihara Krishna yena bAradE?

Oh, man! Whilst you have been blessed with a human birth and a tongue can’t you utter “Krishna”?
uttering “Krishna!” removes all woes: Oh, can’t you utter “Krishna?”

malagiddhu maimurittu yELuttalOmme Krishna yena bAradE?
sulidAdutta maneyOlagAdaru ommE Krishna yena bAradE?

whilst you wake up after sleep and stretch can’t you, just once, utter “Krishna”?
dancing about, at least within the house, can’t you, just once, utter “Krishna”?
Krishna yendarE sakala kashtavu parihara Krishna yena bAradE?
uttering “Krishna!” removes all woes: Oh, can’t you utter “Krishna!”

snAna pAna japa tapagaLu mAdutta Krishna yena bAradE?
sAlyAnna shatrasa tindu triptavanAgi Krishna yena bAradE?

even as you bathe or do japa or tapa can’t you utter “Krishna”?
content eating your fill of six rasas can’t you utter “Krishna”?
Krishna yendarE sakala kashtavu parihara Krishna yena bAradE?
uttering “Krishna!” removes all woes: Oh, can’t you utter “Krishna”?

kandana bigibigidu appi muddAduttha Krishna yena bAradE?
mandagAminiyoLu sarasalAdutthalommE Krishna yena bAradE?

while tightly embracing and fondling your child can’t you utter “Krishna”?
while demonstrating your affection to your beloved wife can’t you utter “Krishna”?
Krishna yendarE sakala kashtavu pariharaKrishna yena bAradE?
uttering “Krishna!” removes all woes: Oh, can’t you utter “Krishna!”

durita rAsigalaNu daridu bisAduva Krishna yena bAradE?
Garuda gamana namma Purandara vittalana Krishna yena bAradE?

can’t you utter “Krishna” that casts away, all at once, the influence of planets and stars?
can’t you utter “Krishna!”(calling out to that) Purandra Vittala who moves on Garuda?
Krishna yendarE sakala kashtavu parihara Krishna yena bAradE?
uttering “Krishna!” removes all woes: Oh, can’t you utter “Krishna!”

 

   
 

Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.
                                                                                                                                -- The Bible - John 14.13-14

 
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