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Purandara Dasa Teachings

Purandara Dasa, often referred to as the "Father of Carnatic Music," was a prominent composer, singer, and a great devotee of Lord Krishna. He lived in the 15th-16th century and composed thousands of songs in Kannada and Sanskrit that blend profound philosophical teachings with devotion and simplicity. Here is a collection of some of his significant teachings and themes expressed through his compositions:

Devotion and Bhakti (Devotional Love)

Purandara Dasa emphasized the importance of pure devotion and surrender to God. He often highlighted that true devotion transcends ritualistic practices and is about heartfelt love and surrender to the divine.

Example Composition: 

Jagadodharana: This famous kriti praises Lord Krishna as the savior of the world, born to uplift humanity.

Moral and Ethical Values

His songs often contain moral and ethical teachings, urging people to live a righteous life, perform their duties sincerely, and avoid evil deeds.

Example Composition:

Govinda Ninna Namave: This song emphasizes the importance of chanting God's name and living a life of righteousness.

Critique of Hypocrisy and Superficiality

Purandara Dasa was critical of those who outwardly performed religious rituals but lacked true inner devotion. He often condemned hypocrisy and stressed the importance of sincerity in one's spiritual practices.

Example Composition:

Narajanma Bandaga: This kriti emphasizes the preciousness of human life and the importance of using it for genuine spiritual pursuit rather than superficial rituals.

Equality and Universal Brotherhood

He advocated for the equality of all human beings, regardless of caste, creed, or social status. He believed in the universal brotherhood of mankind and the importance of treating everyone with respect and love.

Example Composition:

Krishna Nee Begane Baaro: This popular song invites Lord Krishna to come quickly, symbolizing the longing of every soul for divine love, irrespective of their background.

Impermanence of Material Wealth

Purandara Dasa often reminded his followers about the transient nature of worldly possessions and the importance of seeking spiritual wealth over material wealth.

Example Composition:

Yaare Rangana: This song reflects on the impermanence of life and material wealth, urging listeners to seek eternal truth and devotion to God.

Importance of Guru (Teacher)

He stressed the importance of having a guru or spiritual teacher who can guide one on the path of devotion and knowledge.

Example Composition:

Guruve Varava Kodu: This song is a prayer to the guru, seeking blessings and guidance in one's spiritual journey.

Self-Reflection and Inner Purity

Many of his songs are calls for self-reflection, urging individuals to cleanse their inner selves and develop virtues such as humility, compassion, and honesty.

Example Composition:

Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma: This composition is often sung to invoke the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi, but it also subtly reminds the singer to reflect on their own virtues and purity.

Devotion to Family and Duty

While advocating for spiritual pursuits, Purandara Dasa also emphasized the importance of fulfilling one's familial and societal duties with devotion and integrity.

Example Composition:

Tulasi Dala: This song highlights the significance of performing daily duties with devotion, symbolized by offering a tulasi (basil) leaf to the Lord.

Purandara Dasa’s compositions remain timeless, cherished for their depth, simplicity, and universal appeal. They continue to inspire and guide millions in their spiritual and daily lives. 

A small collection of quotes and teachings of Purandara Dasa

When I meditate on you, O Lord, what harm can others do to me? What can they achieve by their jealousy when I am surrounded by your boundless mercy and when I repeat your name constantly?

Do ants lay siege to fire? Will the dust that a scampering horse throws up envelop the sun? Is there anything that can go against one who has patience? Will the mountain tremble when the wind blows? If a thief tries to break open and seize the money which he sees in a mirror, can he get hold of it?

From market to market ’tis needless to run; The shops know it not, the bazaar can have none. My candy, you see, is the name of Vishnu, So sweet to the tongue that gives praise as is due.