Tag Archives: Purandaradasa

Bhagyada Lakshmi – 2

[This is in continuation of the previous post covering the remaining 3 stanzas of Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma . Link for Post 1: https://naadopaasana.co.in/2020/08/06/bhagyada-lakshmi-1/ ]

Goddess Lakshmi

Verse 3: ” attittagalade bhaktara maneyali nitya mahOtsava nitya sumangaLa
satyava tOruva sAdhu sajjanara cittadi hoLeyuvA puttaLi bombe”

“O most Effulgent One, you are always enshrined in the hearts of the great saints and seers. Do not go hither and thither, but take up your permanent abode in the house of your devotees wherein your auspicious presence is daily invoked.”
Lakshmi is supposed to be ‘chanchala’ – never stays in one place for a long time. But the great devotee of Guruvayoorappan, Sri Narayana Bhattathiri says, “O Mother of the Universe, Goddess Lakshmi, you are not ‘chanchala’ at all. Your permanent abode is where Lord Hari resides. When ignorant people get attached to sheer materialistic wealth, you quietly leave them in search of the abode where Hari resides”. Therefore the prayer to Goddess Lakshmi not to go anywhere else but to take up her permanent abode where there is nitya Hari smarana.


Verse 4: “sankhye illAda bhAgyava koTTu kankaNa kaiya tiruvuta bAre
kunkumAnkite pankaja lOcane venkaTaramaNana binkada rANI”

“Adorned with the sacred and auspicious red kumkum, O Beloved Consort of Lord Venkataramana, you are a personification of modesty. You have taken up the vow (kankana-badha) of protecting the devotees of Sri Hari. Bestow and shower your countless blessings on your devotees.”
Sri Lakshmi dwells in the heart of Lord Venkataramana and therefore she resides only in a heart and home where her Lord is invoked. She is kankana-badha (has taken a vow) to protect her devotees, yet it is not easy to win her favours. To receive her grace, Lakshmi has to be ardently courted and devotedly worshipped. She is an embodiment of modesty, she is shy and therefore very slowly she enters our lives only after making sure that Lord Hari is there in our hearts! 
Very often Lakshmi is depicted in red attire. Red signifies activity. She is also glorified as not only adorned with the sacred red kumkum but haldi or turmeric as well. And kumkum is made from haldi. In any puja, we first offer or use haldi and only then the kumkum. Yellow colour (haldi) represents Knowledge or Jnana, and the red colour (kumkum) represents Activity or Karma. The significance is that with the help of the right knowledge (Jnana), when we put forth the required self-effort (Karma) in any undertaking, material or spiritual, we can surely gain the countless blessings of Goddess Lakshmi.  

Verse 5: “sakkare tuppada kAluve harisi shukravAradha pUjaya vELage
akkareyuLLa aLagiri rangana chokka purandara viTtalana rANI”

“O Beloved Consort of Ranganatha, the Queen of Lord Vittala, as I invoke you on the auspicious shukravara (friday), shower your grace and blessings and let them flow into my life like sugar and ghee!”
Ranganatha is the Supreme Parabrahma, who is the Lord (Natha) of the colourful drama of life (Ranga). The Lord represents the Spirit (Purusha) and Lakshmi is his Shakti (Prakriti). Traditionally, Lakshmi-vara (Lakshmi’s day) is Guru-vara (thursday). Guru-vara represents ‘standard of life’. Shukra-vara (friday) represents ‘standard of living’. First, one must take care of one’s own ‘standard of life’ (values, knowledge). Only then the ‘standard of living’ (enjoyment, pleasures, life’s experiences) will become aligned to dharma. Hence Guru-vara comes before Shukra-vara! Only when we invoke Lakshmi to take care of both, our ‘standard of life’ and ‘standard of living’, our life becomes meaningful and full.

Sugar and Ghee are two of the five ingredients which constitute Panchamruta, the other three being milk, curds and honey. They all have medicinal properties. When these ingredients are used for abhishekam, they easily absorb the divine vibrations of the deity and transfer it to us when we receive the panchamruta as prasad. Sugar is the end product of the processing of sugar-cane juice, and similarly, ghee is the end product of milk-processing. Therefore, both sugar and ghee represent the end product or “fruits of our activities” – Karmaphala. Sugar denotes Happiness or Bliss. Ghee denotes the Light of Knowledge. By putting forth the right effort (Karma), we seek the grace of Goddess Lakshmi to bestow upon us the sacred Spiritual Knowledge which ultimately leads us to the State of Eternal Bliss.

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Bhagyada Lakshmi – 1

Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma is a beautiful and very popular composition of Sri Purandaradasa, who is regarded as the Grandsire of Carnatic Music. It is an invocation to Goddess Lakshmi, the presiding deity of Shukra-vara (Friday), and it is usually sung in mangala ragas (tunes) like Sri or Madhyamavati. Purandaradasa was initially a very wealthy and miserly tradesman who would not even part with a coin in the name of charity. But having obtained the grace and blessings of Sri Hari, he was totally transformed and gave away his entire material wealth in charity. Years later the Saint composed this song, invoking the Goddess of Fortune and Prosperity!

The songs of Sri Purandaradasa, the greatest of Haridasas are known as “Purandara Upanishad”. The songs soaked in bhakti are in simple kannada language and can be easily tuned and sung. Apart from the simple word meaning, there is a very significant and deep inner meaning expressed in all the songs. They indicate the purpose of human life, the ultimate goal to be reached and the path to be taken to reach it.

Significance of Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma:

Pallavi : “bhAgyada lakShmi bArammA nammamma ni sau”

Chorus: “Come, O Mother of All, verily an Embodiment of Auspiciousness, Bhagyada Lakshmi, come…..” 

‘Bhagya’ comes from the word ‘bhaga’. ‘Bhaga’ represents the six divine glories: Lordliness, Strength, Knowledge, Fame, Prosperity and Dispassion. Whoever has these six glories in immeasurable quantities is known as Bhagavan or Bhagavati. The Goddess is one who possesses these qualities – Bhagyada Lakshmi. Lakshmi comes from the word ‘lakshya’. It means ‘One who leads and guides’. She also represents the ‘goal’ to be reached. Lakshmi Sampat (wealth) represents the ‘noble and divine values’. Hence the invocation here is not just for material wealth. It is an invocation, an ardent prayer to the Divine Mother of the Universe, who is the Bestower of all that is Good and Auspicious, both for our materialistic and spiritual life. She is not only Dhanalakshmi (wealth), but also Vidyalakshmi (knowledge), Dhairyalakshmi (courage), Veeralakshmi (strength), Dhaanyalakshmi (food & grains), Vijayalakshmi (victory), Bhaktilakshmi (devotion) and Mokshalakshmi (liberation). Any asset that comes to us, materialistic or spiritual, is nothing but ‘Lakshmi Herself in a different form’.

VERSE 1: “hejjaya mele hejjeyanikkuta gejje kAlgaLa dhvaniya tOruta
sajjana sAdhu pUjeya vELege majjigeyoLagina beNNeyante”

“Just as butter manifests out of the churning of buttermilk, similarly, during the auspicious time of worship and upasana undertaken by the virtuous and devoted seekers, O Mother, step by step, slowly but surely, accompanied by the tinkling sound of your beautiful anklets enter our lives.”
Goddess Lakshmi represents Knowledge, and also Values. Hence she is invoked by the noble and virtuous people. Knowledge does not easily come to the seeker. Values also do not come to a person overnight. They have to be ardently courted and a lot of effort has to be put forth. Only then they come into our life…slowly….very slowly, but surely, just like butter comes out of the efforts of the process of churning the buttermilk. And when the divine values come, they bring along with them a divine fragrance, a divine aura which can be felt vividly around the person. This is indicated by the tinkling sound of the anklets. The beautiful sound vibrations made by the silver anklets are very auspicious and beneficial in creating a positive atmosphere around and that is the reason why women wear anklets.

VERSE 2: “kanaka vrushtiya kareyuta bAre manakAa manaya siddhiya tOrE
dinakara kOTi tEjadi hoLeva janakarAyana kumAri bEga”

“O Daughter of King Janaka, whose aura surpasses the brilliance of countless suns, may the showers of your divine grace and blessings (kanaka vrishti), fulfill all our desires”. 
Goddess Lakshmi manifested as Seeta from the bosom of Mother Earth. She has all the innumerable and inexhaustible qualities of Bhudevi. She was brought up by King Janaka, who was a unique combination of Jnana and Karma. Seeta personifies all these characteristics, and represents a personality incomprehensible and incomparable. It is through her sheer grace and blessings that Hanuman bestows nava-nidhi (material wealth), ashta-siddhis (supernatural powers) or rama-nama (the antidote to the malady of samsara) to his devotees. She not only rains down material riches on her devotees but also bestows upon the seeker the brilliant ‘Light of Knowledge’ with which the seeker can achieve his goal of Self-realization.

[The 2nd part will be post on Friday – 14th Aug 2020]

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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!!

Sripadaraya – An Exemplary Guru!

Sripadaraja

Sri Sripadaraya was one among the eight prominent Haridasas of Karnataka. He was considered to be the founder of the Haridasa movement in the 14th century along with Narahari Tirtha. Being the pontiff of Madhvacharya Mutt at Mulbaagilu (town in Kolar District in the state of Karnataka), he is credited with the invention of suladi (musical rendering of devotional verses).

During his lifetime, Sripadaraya taught sarvamula granthas (Acharya Madhva’s works collectively are known as Sarvamula) forty times to forty different batches of students.  Being an exemplary guru, he would take lessons paying personal attention to the learning of each and every student.  One young worker (paricharak) who stayed and worked in the ashram used to regularly attend classes and listen to the discourses of the Guru with great attention. He stayed in the ashram, and therefore happened to  listen to the teachings of Sripadaraya being taught to forty different batches! Hence, he sat through forty batches as a student. On the day of graduation of the fortieth batch, students from the other thirty nine batches were also called.

The students who had come, saw this paricharak and made fun of him that he had indeed not completed his learning in any of the batches. They commented that he was indeed a junior to all those who passed out and a senior to all new students who joined.  Sripadaraya heard all their comments silently. When all of them assembled in front of the Master, he picked up a certain sloka from the texts taken and asked each and every student of the outgoing batch to explain it. Since all the students were from the same batch, they all gave the same interpretation as heard from their Acharya during the classes taken.  The Acharya nodded with approval and then turned to the paricharak who was also sitting in one corner and asked him to explain the same sloka. All the students were astonished. They thought that now the paricharak’s ignorance would get  exposed and they all waited to see him totally crest fallen.

The paricharak rose up from his seat, offered his salutations to his Guru, and in all humility, and to the astonishment of all the students gathered there, he rendered forty different interpretations of the same sloka! Every year the teacher had interpreted the same sloka in a different and unique way, to which only he was exposed to! The paricharak was the only “student” who had listened to all the forty different unique and rare interpretations by the Guru! Not only he had heard the different interpretations, but also had retained them in his memory!!

Hearing this, all the scholarly students hung their heads in shame. The Guru, Sripadaraya was immensely pleased with the devoted paricharak-student and blessed him immensely. He then advised all the students who had gathered there never to look down upon anyone and to respect all.

The legacy of Haridasa tradition was continued by Vyasatirtha after Sripadaraya who was the guru of Purandaradasa and Kanakadasa.

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

The shortest and most direct method is to hear from a Master of Experience, with all attention, full faith, supreme concentration, abject devotion, extreme vairagya and acute intellectual absorption. Such rare ones are called Supreme Disciples. For them, to hear the Guru is itself to float at once into the experience of IT. - Swami Chinmayananda

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