Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Purandara Dasa - "Sangeeta Pitamaha" (grandfather) of Carnatic music.

Purandara Dasa is aptly called the "Sangeeta Pitamaha" (grandfather) of Carnatic music. He systematized the method of teaching Carnatic music which is followed to the present day. It was a miraculous incident in his life which changed him from a greedy merchant to an ardent devotee and devotional music composer.

Inscriptional evidence suggests Purandara Dasa was born in 1484 AD in Kshemapura, near Tirthahalli, Shivamogga district in Karnataka state. He was the only son of Varadappa Nayaka, a wealthy merchant, and Leelavati and was named Srinivasa Nayaka, after Lord Venkatachalapathy (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu). He married Leelavathi when he was 16 years old and inherited the family business of jewellery at the age of 20 when his father died. He was immensely rich and was called "navakoti narayana" (abundantly rich man). His wife was extremely God fearing and pious lady and in contrast to her, he was extremely greedy and miserly.

One day a brahmin came to their house begging for money to perform the sacred thread ceremony (upanayanam) for his son. He was at his work and his wife was in a dilemma. Finally she decided to give him her nose ring to sell. But unfortunately the brahmin went to Srinivasa himself to sell the jewellery. He immediately recognized his wife's nose ring and was boiling with temper when he came back to his home to enquire his wife about her nose ring. But to his astonishment, he found the same ring on his wife's nose! She told him what happened and they knew that God played a miracle on her because of her devotion and to teach him a lesson in life. He was moved and realized his folly in sticking to a life of attatchment to worldly posessions. At his age of 30, he gave away all his belongings and dedicated his life in devotional service to God.

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