Shree Purandara dasaru

sharanu purandara daasarayare sharanu sharanu dayaanidhe
sharanu vyaasamuneendra priyatama sharanu manmanobhisTada

jnaana bhakti vairaagya shama dama
guNagaNaadi sampanna nee
hIna vishayagaLalli ratanu
buTakanu guNahIna nA

ninna suswabhaavavaada Ou
daaryaguNadinda ennannu
innu munde korate sarvava
pariharisi pAlisu

shree purandara vijaya vittala
gOpAla kapila shreeshage
puspajana pita shree prasanna
shreenivaasage priyatama

In this beautiful poem, Shree Prasanna Shreenivasa dasaru seeks the grace of the great Haridasa saint Shree Purandara dasaru. He addresses him as ‘daasaraayare’ meaning the king of dasas. The feeling of dasatva is itself a very unique one wherein there is total surrender to the will of Hari. One who experiences this and is aware of it at all times is a true dasa .Among such dasas Purandara dasaru is a king. Why so? one of the reasons could be the way in which he was coaxed by Hari to part with a little of his wealth in dana and as a result of his reluctance, Hari showed him in his own dramatic way that ‘His will will rule supreme’. This revelation was so profound that he renounced his entire wealth and went in search of a guru along with his family. He is the king of dasas also because of the sheer numbers’ in his compositions . Another reason could be that he was acknowledged as a great dasa by his own guru. Also he set the path for the compositions of songs in praise of Hari along with music in the saptaswaras which is exceedingly dear to Hari. His praise is sung in many songs as “gana vilola”, as “sAmagana priya”,”sAmasannuta” etc means He is pleased with verse sung with emotion which can be shown using intonation as done in “raga” with “tala” and “laya”.

Next he says “dayAnidhe”. Whatsoever maybe the greatness of a king, if there is no compassion then one will come across a concrete wall, if one tries to seek something there. In this case, Dasaru says ,”You are the king of dasas and that too a very compassionate king.” You have the sway over the wealth that I seek and are compassionate enough to grant it to seekers who have accepted you as their guru.

You are close to the heart of Vyasarajaru, being one of his most brilliant disciples. You have been glorified by him as “dAsarendare purandara dasaraiyya..” Your greatness is that “You are an avatar of Narada muni who gave the upadesha to Prahlada while he was in the womb.The same Prahlada is Vyasaraja as a guru .” That song is a glory of the guru of his previous avatara too.  You are the granter of the wishes of your devotees. Whatsoever may be in the minds of your devotees, you have the power to grant it to them, being the foremost among Hari’s dasas. Even the famous shloka chanted at the beginning of bhajans as part of mangala shlokas has this guna described,”manomanobhishTavaradam…..”

In the first charanam , Dasaru  declares the possession of auspicious gunas like “janana’ etc  by Dasaraya and his own wrechedness in being bereft of good attributes . In the next stanza, he beseeches Dasaraya to shower some benefactions and cleanse away the impurities.  In the third one ,Dasaru extols the greatness of Dasaraya by saying that he is very dear to Lord Hari in His varied forms.

One should note that all the prayers are on the behalf of the layman and does not imply that the author of this poem had such moral defects, whatsoever.

Let us examine the charanams a little.

The three “sharanus” in the opening of the song ie pallavi of the song are for the three important benefactions “jnAna bhakthi vairagya”. The two “sharanus” in the next line of the pallavi are for seeking “shama and dama”. These are the first of the bhagavatha dharmas which every sadhaka needs on one’s journey towards liberation. Dasaru says ,” I not only lack these good gunas which are necessary but also have a host of bad habits like being attracted to the objects of the senses and considering them to be precious, always trying to project an image of oneself which is not actually one’s and many other attributes detrimental to my own happiness.” In order that one obtains knowledge, devotion and detachment to the worldly objects, the mind should not stray to objects of desire and should not do anything which is not actually felt by oneself. Exhibitionism only gives a false sense of righteousness which can propel one to seek even more desires and pleasures as it encourage such thoughts as, ” I have chanted this shloka, I have done my japa, so I can do whatever I please.” This kind of thinking is dangerous.

Dasaru pleads with the dasaraya singing his glory as “the bestower of wishes”. In my mind ,I have these wishes so I seek your grace in obtaining them.

Compassion is but an outflow of your natural essence and hence I plead with you to eradicate all thoughts of incompleteness inside me and hence uplift me. ” Lack is an attitude more than a situation.” A contented person will have no need to hanker after more and more objects to satisfy one’s needs. Contentment is an attitude and this can be brought out through the knowledge of truth referred to in this poem by Dasaru as “jnAna”. With the knowledge of truth that Hari is the all powerful independent Supreme who dispenses everything as per one’s own eligibility without any partialiaty then one can become free from hankering. “Whatsoever He will, He will bestow, he cannot be stopped by anyone.” Sri Vadirajaru has sung ,”narayanana nene , aavana paksha balakedurilla avana upekshe kulakshayavenipudu,…. aa devanigaava ene?”  “He who is full of auspicious attributes and completely free from flaws, such a Narayana is in full control. Whatsoever is His decesion, nothing can topple it and whoever goes against it is sure to bring one’s entire clan to nothing.”

With knowledge comes a loving respect which is termed “bhakti” and once devotion flows from the heart as a result of knowledge, there is no place for any other worldly thing in it. All worldly things seem lowly and unworthy when the bliss and contentment ensuing from knowledge takes root in the heart.

Such knowledge etc is not just going to come by the wave of wand. It is to be obtained by grace , by adhering to set principles which will secure grace, those being the Bhagavatha dharmas like shama and dama, One has to exercise extreme restraint in expereincing worldly pleasures that comes to one’s lot as part of life. One cannot submerge oneself in it and forget the giver of that pleasant experience. “It may be eating good food, sleeping on a comfortable mattress, wearing good clothes, chatting with one’s children etc…..” Shri Purandara Dasaru himself has advised, “krishna enna baarade? narajanma bandaaga naalige iddaaga krishna enna baarade? ” In this song, “He has suggested all the activities which please us and asked us to remember Krishna, the sole giver of all these benefactions with gratitude.”

An attitude of gratitude is the seed which can grow in a huge tree of bliss with wonderfully sweet and tasty fruits.

Both charanams deal with the devotee seeking from Dasaru after surrendering , knowing one’s weakness and understanding the need for the uplifting hand of the guru. A guru , however capable or compassionate will come to one’s aid only when surrendered to. Lord Krishna does not advise Arjuna until he sees Krishna as the one who could shine light and empower him. He starts of his upadesha after Arjuna says ,” …shishyasteham shaadi maam tvaam prapannam..”

The last charanam explains the characteristics of this guru. For a Haridasa,” What is more exhilatingly true, than the fact that God is pleased with him.” This is what Prasanna Shreenivasa Dasaru has to say in praise of “Purandara dasaru”. He says , “You are extremely dear to Lord Prasanna Shreenivasa who is none other than Shree Purandara vittala, Shree Vijaya vittala, Shree Gopala vittala , Shree Kapila, Shreesha the father of the Brahma. I bow down to you repeated and surrender at your feet.

“mama swAmi harir nityam sarvasya patirEva cha”


Author: Parimala R

I am a student of Madhwa's philosophy and a listener of the expositions of Shri Madhwa's works through my gurugalu Shri Bannanje Govindacharya .This blog is an attempt to express the jewels contained in those along with the verses of a Haridasaru, Shri Prasanna Shreenivasa dasaru . I speak on the verses of the Harikathamruthasaara to students at my place and in the nearby Turahalli Rayar mutt and also on skype. I am also into studying the Bhagavad gita closely with a small group, since the past year, the source of study being the expositions of Shri Bannanje .

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