Category Archives: Ugabhoga

Bhagavan: His All-pervading Nature!

Kanakadasa (1509-1609) was one the 8 prominent Haridasa’s of Karnataka. Sri Vyasatirtha was the Guru of Kanakadasa and Purandaradasa. He was a renowned scholar, philosopher and composer. He worshipped and adored the Lord in the form of Sri Adi Keshava (Vishnu). His beautiful compositions in simple Kannada language carry his signature: ‘Adi Keshava’.

Kanakadasa was greatly devoted to the Lord and was ever at the service of his Guru. He belonged to the shepherd community which was looked down by other members of the society and the students of the Gurukula in particular. They always felt that Sri Vyasatirtha gave undue importance to Kanakadasa instead of them and were jealous of him. The Guru got to know about this and wanted them all to realize the greatness and true devotion of Kanakadasa.

One day, Sri Vyasatirtha decided to test all his disciples. A simple task was given. It was the day of Ekadashi, a day for fasting. Sri Vyasatirtha called all his students including Kanakadasa. At the end of the day, to break the fast, a fruit was given to all of them. Vyasatirtha told them that they could break their fast and eat the fruit, but he laid down a condition. They had to eat the fruit in a place where no one would see them.

In the evening, Sri Vyasatirtha again asked all the disciples to assemble, and asked each one of them, how and where they had eaten the fruit. One by one, each student came and told the Guru where they had eaten. One had eaten hiding in a corner of his house, one under a cot, another covered himself with a blanket, still another under a tree and some in far off woods where no one was around! All had eaten the fruit given to them by their Guru and they were very happy that no one had watched them eating it. Finally it was the turn of Kanakadasa. He had heard what all the others had said. Kanakadasa stepped forward, offered his salutations to his Guru and showed the fruit in his hand. He had not eaten the fruit. All the disciples started laughing and they were sure that Vyasathirtha would pull him up for not obeying his words. Eagerly they looked forward to what would unfold next.

On enquiring, Kanakadasa told Vyasatirtha that he did search for a place where no one was there, and no one would see him eating, but wherever he went he felt the ‘presence of the Lord’. Kanakadasa did not find even a single place where the Lord’s presence was not there. How could he eat when the Lord was present everywhere? It would amount to disobedience. On hearing this, the other disciples felt ashamed and realized the greatness of Kanakadasa’s devotion. Sri Vyasatirtha praised and blessed Kanakadasa as he indeed had the ‘vision’ to see the All-pervading Lord: Sri Adi Keshava.

Devotion does not mean Love to the Lord alone. This Devotion...... subtler than the subtlest and all-pervading, will, naturally, without effort, embrace all Creation for, all are His Forms only. Therefore a true devotee expands in his Love to identify with all and feel his essential oneness with the totality. - Swami Chinmayananda

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The Grandsire of Carnatic Music!

Purandaradasa

Srinivasa Nayaka (1484 – 1564) was a merchant dealing with gold and precious stones residing in Tirthahalli, Karnataka. Though wealthy, he was a miserly person. Charity was something unknown to him.

One day an old brahmana came to his shop asking for some monetary help. Nayaka sent him away asking him to come the next day. He came the next day, but again he was asked to “come tomorrow”. Nayaka thought that the old man will stop coming after a few days but he persisted — every day the old man was there in front of the shop! After months of postponement, one fine day Nayaka threw an old coin at the poor man and asked him to go away. The poor man refused the unusable coin and went away.

The brahmana went to Nayaka’s house and approached his wife, Saraswati Bai. He told her how he had every day sought help from her husband but in vain – an old coin was all that he got in response. He asked her for help, but she pleaded her helplessness, saying that she had nothing with her to give him. All money transactions and accounts were exclusively with Nayaka. The old man said that she could give to him the diamond nose-ring which she was wearing. After all that was a gift to her from her maternal house, and Nayaka had no claim or hold over it. She thought for a second, removed her nose-ring and gave it to the old man. He happily accepted it, blessed her and walked away.

With the nose-ring in his hand and a smile on his face, the brahmana returned back to Nayaka’s shop. He was furious to see him coming back again. The old man told him that he had not come to beg but had come to do business with him. He showed the merchant the nose-ring, asked him to fix up its value and give him the equivalent cash. A shocked and surprised Nayaka took the nose-ring in his hand and examined it in detail. He immediately knew that it was his wife’s nose-ring. He questioned the old man as to who gave it to him. He answered that a pious generous lady gave it to him. Nayaka told him to come the next day for money, sent him away, carefully put the nose-ring inside a trunk and locked it. He then closed his shop and hurried back home.
On reaching his house, he loudly called out to Saraswati. Seeing her in the courtyard he looked at her face. Sure enough the nose-ring was missing! He asked for it. The poor lady was trembling within and not knowing what to do, said that it was inside. He asked her to bring the nose-ring immediately. She went in, and knowing her husband’s anger, she decided to end her life. She picked up a cup of poison and was about to consume it, when she heard a metallic sound inside the cup. Inside the cup she saw her nose-ring which she had given away in charity! Overwhelmed at the Lord’s grace, she ran outside and handed it to her husband. Nayaka could not believe his eyes. The nose-ring he had locked up in his shop was here in his wife’s hand. Crazily, he ran back to the shop and opened his trunk. The nose-ring was not there! He ran back again home and asked his wife to tell him all that had happened. She told him everything.
Srinivasa Nayaka’s eyes opened! That was none other than Lord Sri Hari who had come to him disguised as an old brahmana to “wake” him up from the dream of materialism. Srinivasa Nayaka was a totally changed person now. He gave away everything in charity,  and went in search of a Guru. He came to Sri Vyasa Thirtha who accepted him as his disciple, gave him the name PURANDARADASA and introduced him to the Haridasa Sampradaya.
Sri Purandaradasa travelled extensively and composed songs on all the deities with the signature “Purandara Vittala”. The most difficult and profound philosophical truths were simplified and presented in the form of simple songs, and hence his compositions are known as “Purandara Upanishad”. He formulated basic lessons for teaching Carnatic music by structuring graded exercises. Even today the music lessons start with the simple “Gitas” he has composed. He is known as Karnataka Sangeeta Pitamaha — the Grandsire of Carnatic Music.
Purandaradasa was such a great personality that even his Guru, Sri Vyasa Thirtha glorified him in one of his compositions!!

Anuvige Anuvaagi – Purandaradasa – Ugabhoga

Anuvige Anuvaagi , Ghanakke Ghanavaagi | Gunatraya Tatvakke Meerida Doreyaagi|

Gunanidhi Purandaravithala, Ninna Mahime Yenikemaaduvaryaaro Ennapaane? 

ಅಣುವಿಗೆ ಅಣುವಾಗಿ, ಘನಕ್ಕೆ ಘನವಾಗಿ , ಗುಣತ್ರಯ ತತ್ವಕ್ಕೆ ಮೀರಿದ ದೊರೆಯಾಗಿ   

ಗುಣನಿಧಿ ಪುರಂದರವಿತ್ಥಳ, ನಿನ್ನ ಮಹಿಮೆ  ಎಣಿಕೆ ಮಾದುವರ್ಯಾರೋ ಯೆನ್ನಪ್ಪನೆ?
 
 
This Ugabhoga reminds us of the popular and beautiful composition ” Jagadhodharana ” of Purandaradasa . Vishnu Sahasranama mentions the Lord having opposite qualities. He is With and  Without form, He is smaller than the smallest and Larger than the Largest, He is very close to us [he’s in our own hearts] , but is farther than the farthest [if we are immersed in Samsaara].
Here the saint composer mentions that The lord is smaller than the smallest- [Anuvige Anuvaagi ], asserting His divine presence even in the smallest know substance to mankind.He’s all present. He is Mightier than the Mightiest . Ghana -indicates might, large, and refers to a person of great character and discipline.
He in beyond the tri-gunas – Satva, Rajas and Tamas. It is from him the three gunas have emerged. He is the Lord of Maya – illussion representing this world as Jagat- the ever changing..
He’s the treasure house of all Nidhi’s- wealth [ including wealth in the form of gold, land, character, talent, power etc].
Oh Lord is it possible for a lay human to measure and count your innumerable glories echoes Purandaradasa.

Allada Karmava – Ugabhoga – Purandaradasa

Allada Karmava Aacharisidava ketta| Ellarolu virodhisuva ketta|

Ballidavarodane Senasaaduvava ketta| Lalle Maatina satiya Nambidava ketta|

Phullanaabhana namma Purandaravitthalana Melladi Nambadava ketta NaragEedi|   

 

Here Purandaradasa elaborates what  one should avoid doing in life..

A person who performs deeds [karma] which should be avoided [allada ]would  ruin his own  life[ketta]. Similarly one who constantly accuses and goes against all [ellaranu virodhisuva] for no reason, one who fights against the powerful and strong [ ballidava] , one who believes a lady who has no virtue — they all end up suffering in life..

Finally Purandaradasa concludes by saying that – One who does not believe [nambadava]  Purandaravitthala would suffer all his life.[Naraka].