Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

Purandara Dasa and his legacy


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Purandara Dasa

Mains level : Bhakti Saints of South India

The Department of Archaeology, Karnataka has commenced field research work regarding the birthplace of Purandara Dasa who is held as the father figure of Carnatic music.

Recently there was a news on Lord Basaveshwara. Now comes the other popular saint.

Vaishnavism and Shaivism are the two most profound strands of Bhakti Movement in Indian history. Enlist all the Bhakti Saints and their theistic philosophy and teachings. Try to spot the minute differences between them.

Purandara Dasa

  • Purandara Dasa (1484 –1565) was a Haridasa, a renowned composer of Carnatic music, a great devotee of the Supreme Lord Krishna, a Vaishnava poet, a saint and a social reformer.
  • He was a disciple of the Dvaita philosopher-saint Vyasatirtha, and a contemporary of yet another Haridasa, Kanakadasa.
  • He was a composer, singer and one of the chief founding-proponents of South Indian classical music (Carnatic music).
  • In honour of his significant contributions to Carnatic music, he is widely referred to as the Pitamaha (lit. “father” or “grandfather”) of Carnatic music.
  • He is respected as an Avatara (incarnation) of the great sage Narada (a celestial being who is also a singer).

Confusions over his birthplace

  • As ‘Purandara Vithala’ was the pen name of his compositions, it was widely believed that the mystic poet was born in Purandar (near Pune), Maharashtra.
  • However, many in Malnad claimed that he hailed from this region.
  • According to historians, Araga in Malnad was a buzzing commercial centre during the Vijayanagar rule, the period to which the poet belonged to.
  • Prior to his initiation to Haridasa tradition, Purandara Dasa was a rich merchant and was called as Srinivasa Nayaka.

Back2Basics: Bhakti Movement

  • The Bhakti movement refers to the theistic devotional trend that emerged in medieval Hinduism.
  • It originated in eighth-century south India and spread northwards.
  • It swept over east and north India from the 15th century onwards, reaching its zenith between the 15th and 17th century CE.
  • It has traditionally been considered as an influential social reformation in Hinduism and provided an individual-focused alternative path to spirituality regardless of one’s birth or gender
  • The salvation which was previously considered attainable only by men of Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya castes, became available to everyone.

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