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Shrikaanth K Murthy @ShrikaanthK
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#kanakadAsa- one of the best haridAsas. I am creating this thread to share excerpts from my discussion about 15 years ago on a now long-defunct site sangeetham.com

#haridasa #karnataka
born in bADa in hAvEri dt, north karnATaka. He had interesting life- warrior chieftain daNNAyaka/ sAmanta in vijayanagara empire; came under influence of tAtAcArya(rAjaguru) and vyAsarAyaru- drawn to path of devotion. Among haridAsas- treated on equal footing with purandaradAsaru
meritorious poet- wrote rAmadhAnya carite & haribhaktisAra (ShaTpadi kAvyas); mOhana tarangiNi (SRngAra) in sAngatya metre. rAmadhAnya carite compares rice with rAgi (millet)- poor man’s grain. rAgi is rAmadhAnya- kanaka concludes rAgi is superior &
more closer to to Lord`s heart
His dEvaranAmas show fine command over kannaDa, SAstra purANas, prosody, element of camatkAra (extraordinary) on background of unfailing devotion. Some are tough to understand- lot of hidden meanings. A great bhakta of AdikESava and tirumale venkaTESa, and also Siva/rudra.
brief intro to haridAsa movement. SrI madhvAcArya credited as progenitor of movement. third in line from him, narahari tIrtha (13-14C CE) is earliest dAsa- compositions including a suLAdi are available. A century later- SrIpAdarAyaru is popularised movement lasting till 20th C
some divide haridAsas into dAsakUTa & vyAsakUTa. former focus on bhaktimArga, wrote songs in kannaDa to spread devotion and knowledge
among masses. Latter on J~nAna mArga, used samskRta
(SlOkas, SAstras) to spread devotion. But both used music as vehicle- considerable overlap
An anecdote- kanaka was favourite of vyAsarAya- others jealous- ask him who would go to Lord’s abode. kanaka says “nAnu hOdare hOdEnu" (I might if I went). Others report his arrogance. On hearing, vyAsarAya smiles and explains- “one would go to vaikunTha if one’s “I” is shed”
kanaka`s fame spread far beyond the frontiers of the kannaDa country.
There is a saying in telugu- "kanaka mIru bangAru tunaka. kannaDa kavulella nI venaka" meaning "kanaka- you are gold and all other kannaDa kavis come only after you".
Who hasn’t heard famous uDupi episode! kanaka wasn’t allowed inside temple as he was low caste. He sang
"bAgilanu teredu sEveyanu koDo hariye"(open the door Hari! give me darSaNa). Wall cracked, kRShNa turned to him. This crack is kanakana kiNDi- kanaka’s window- seen to this day
Link to the song from Dr Rajkumar film



Interestingly this song was originally set in aThANa rAga which conveys impatience & demand. But inthe movie it it is sung in hindOLa, conveying dainya, karuNe & sadness.
elliruvanO ranga- a touching song. I’ve heard this both in kalyANi
and sindhubhairavi

elliruvanO ranga emba samSaya bEDa

Do not have doubts about the whereabouts of ranga!

elli bhaktaru karedaralle bandodaguvano

He arrives in a timely manner wherever his devotees beckon him
taraLa prahlAda hari viSvamayanendu
baredOdalavana pita kOpadinda
sthiravAdaDi kambadali tOru tOrenalu
bharadinda baraladake vaikunTha neremaneye

Boy prahlAda dwelt on Hari as allpervading, his raging dad demands to see Hari in pillar. Was vaikunTha next door-But HarI came anon
pApakarmava mADidajamiLana yamabhaTaru
kOpadindeLeyutire bhItiyinda
tA putrananu kareye kELi rakShise SvEta
dvIpa I dharege sanihadallihude? ||

When sinner ajAmiLa is pulled angrily by Death`s minions, he calls son nArAyaNa in terror. Didn’t hari save him? Was SvEtadvIpa nearby?
karirAjananu negaLu nungutire bhayadinda
moreyiDalu kELi tvaritadali bandu
karuNadali bandhanava pariharise gajarAja
iruva sarasiyu anantAsanavu mummaneye

When elephant was attacked by crocodile it cried in agony. Didn’t He rush to rescue? Was the pond near hari’s serpent-couch?
kurupatiyu draupadiya sIreyanu seLeyutire
taruNi hA kRShNa endodare kELdu
bharadinda akShayAmbara Iye hastinA
purige dwAravatiyu kUgaLateye

draupadi cried kRShNA when duryOdhana pulls her saree. Didn’t He hurry & give infinite sari? Was dwArakA calling distance from hastinApura
aNu mahattinoLella paripUrNa viSvamaya
gaNane illada mahAmahimanenipa
ghanakRpAnidhi kAginele AdikESavanu
nenedavara manadoLihanemba biruduNtAgi

Hari is complete- in atom and universe. His strengths infinite, full of compassion. kAginele AdikESava is present in minds of devotees
elliruvanO ranga is also sung as purandaradAsa’s composition. Here is a heavenly rendering by the inimitable Vid|| Late R.K.Srikanthan in sindhubhairavi

dAsas composed several genres- pada/dEvaranAma, ugAbhOga, suLAdi, muNDige, bhramaragIte, tattva suvvAli,vRttanAma, daNDaka, SlOka etc. ugAbhOgas are like SlOkas/viruttams. suLAdi is tALamAlike & often rAgamAlike with strict rules about its construction/form.
suLAdi is likely sAlagasUDa prabandha mentioned by venkaTamakhi in caturdanDIprakASike.(He states sUDa as a dESya pada. sUDa is a kannaDa word meaning song.

muNDiges are particularly associated with kanaka- has hidden/cryptic meanings & are in form of allegories/ riddle
A muNDige

andhakananujana kandana tandeya
kondana Siradali nindavana
candadi paDedavana nandaneyaLa nala-
vinda dharisida mukundanige ||1||
andhaka- blind man- dhRtarAShTra- his anuja/younger brother pANDu, his son yudhiShThira-his father yama, his slayer ISvara: candra/moon adorns his head; moon born from samudrarAja/ocean (by amRtamathana/churning of ocean). daughter of ocean laKShmi; the one who wed her is viShNu
rathavanaDari sura pathadali tiruguvana
sutanige SApavanittavana
khatiyanu taDedana satiya janani sutana
satiyaranALida caturanige-2

to the wise man who took wives of son of mother of wife of one who checked wrath of him who cursed son of he who travels celestial path on chariot
hariya magana Sira taridana tandeya
hiriya magana tammana pitana
bharadi bhujisidavana Siradali naTisida
vara kAginele AdikESavanige-3

to kAginele AdikEsava who danced on head of him who ate father
of father of eldest son of father of one who beheaded son of hari (hari
Is sun)
mangaLAratiya pADire mAniniyaru ||

Sing mangaLArati o ladies.
The above muNDige with 3 caraNas is set as an Arati song
Here we see “hari” used in various meanings

harimukhi harivANi harivENi
hariNAkShi harimadhye harigamane ||

hariya nandana sakhanenipa ahObalada hariya nI tandu tOre ||
harimukhi- moon-faced lass
harivANi- she with voice of parrot/cuckoo (Take your pick :)
harivENi- plait like a snake
hariNAkShi- doe-eyed
harimadhye- with thin waist as of lion
lion is reputed for a notably thin waist-simhakaTi
harigamane- lass with gait of swan
hariya nandana- son of indra, arjuna(hari=indra)
O friend,bring with you & show me that friend of arjuna, the ahObala narasimha. The friend(sakhi) here has all those attributes mentioned in the pallavi.
And here is a heartwarming portrayal of mother’s love- mAtRvAtsalya

maganendADisuvaLu moga nODi naguvaLu
jagaduddhArana moga mogadoLirisi konDu

Behold yaSOde showering affection as if He was her son; she smiles seeing his face.
keeping face to face of uplifter of the universe
kAlalanduge gejje tOLa maNiya daNDe
phAlda araLeleyu kuNiye
nIladuDuge uTTa bAlane bArendu
pAluNisuva puNyaventu paDedaLayya-1

How did she get fortune to feed milk by calling to Him- "come boy! with jingling anklets, armlet, araLele
(a forehead ornament shaped as pipal leaf)
baNNa sara allADe vara ranna nEvaLada
honna gaNTeyu ghaNa ghaNarenalu
paNNagaSayanane kuNi omme kuNi endu
kuNisi naguva puNya entu paDedaLayya-2

Wherefrom her fortune to tell Him Who reclines on snake to jump & laugh so His chains shake, gold bells in waist-thread jingle ‘ghaNar
poDaviya IraDi mADida dEvana
kuDiberaLane karadali piDidu
aDi iDu magane mellaDi iDu enutali
naDegalisuva puNyaventu paDedaLayya-3

Holding tender finger of Him who measured world in 2 paces, she teaches him to walk saying "put foot forward son". Whence did she get this fortune!
That caraNa above- just wow- what a tender and totally realistic portrayal. kanaka himself has become yaSOdE here ❤️❤️❤️
kukShiyoLage IrELu jagavannu salahuvana
rakShiparu uNTe traijagadoLage
pakShivAhana nInu anjabEDa enutali
rakShe iDuva puNyavanentu paDedaLayya-4

She tells Him who protects the 14 worlds in his tummy not to fear and places rakshe. Who in universe to protect Him! Wow her fortune
Sanka cakra gadA padumadhArakana
pankaja mitra SatakOTi tEjana
sankhye illadAbharaNagaLa toDisi a-
lankarisuva puNyaventu paDedaLayya-5

She adorns Him with innumerable ornaments- Him that holds conch, discus, mace, lotus. Him that is bright as 100 crore suns. How this fortune!
sAgaraSayanana bhOgISana mEle
yOganidreyoLippa dEvananu
Agama nigamagaLarasi kAnada vastuvanu
tUgi pADuva puNyavanentu paDedaLayya-6

She rocks, sings to Him who reclines on king of snakes in ocean- in yOganidre; Him that the vEdas/ SAstras seek in vain! Wow her penance!
SrI purandaradAsa sings of kanaka

kanakadAsanu kabbaliganu endu
aNakisi nuDiya bEDiraNNa
janarante naranalla tumburanItanu
janakaje ramaNana pAda sEvakanu

Some say kanaka was bEDa/ hunter caste & not shepherd/kuruba.
purandara calls him kabbaliga (kabbila, kabbaliga- hunter)
Here is a very interesting beautiful song on daSAvatAra. mAsALu means warrior/brave man. When one hunter spots an animal, he cries "allallallyO"
to alert other hunters in the group.

In "hariScandra kAvya", poet rAghavAnka uses the cry "alelelO" in this context.
tALallallallallyO mAsALallallallallyo

Look There goes warrior!
(matsya)

heccida tamanemba danuja vEdava kaddu
bacciTTu nIroLu muLugiralu
macca rUpadinda pOgi avana konda
acyutarAyanemba mAsALamma-1

When tama stole & hid with vEdas underwater, acyuta took fish-form & killed him
kUrma

sindhu mathanava mADe amararellaru
mandaragiri nIroLu muLugalu
candadi kUrma rUpinindettida gO-
vindanembuva mAsALamma-2

When dEvas churned ocean & mt.manadara started sinking ,
it was this warrior gOvinda that nicely took the form of a tortoise and held it aloft.
varAha

rUDhiya kaddu koNDODuva daityana
nIDi tividu kOre dADeyinda
dUDi dhvamsava mADi rUDhiya tanda
kADu varAha rUpi mAsALamma-3

When hiraNyAkSha forcibly took the earth with him, this very warrior of
wild boar-form chased, vanquished & slayed him with his tusks (rUDhi-earth)
narasimha

lEsu tappidanendu hiraNyaka tanayana
ghAsi mADalu, kamba oDedudisi
rOShadi daityana karuLa kitta nara
kEsari rUpina mAsALamma-4

When hiraNyakasipu tortured his son for deviating from right(!) path,
this man-lion emerged shattering a pillar, ripped the demon`s entrails
vAmana

A mahAsiriya garvadi mundariyade
bhUmiyanu bali tAnALutire
nEmisi eraDE hejjeyoL aLakoNDa
vAmana rUpina mAsALamma-5

When bali cakravarti reigned drunk with arrogance of his enormous riches, it was this very warrior vAmana that measued the universe in just 2 paces.
paraSurAma

kAmadhEnuvigAgi kArtavIryArjuna
A mahAmuniya prANake muniye
tAmasavillade kShatriyara samharisida
rAm bhArgavanemba masALamma-6

Out of greed for kAmadhEnu(divine cow), when kArtavIryArjuna killed great sage
jamadagni, this paraSurAma promptly slayed the warrior-race.
rAma

janakasuteyanu kaddoyyalu lankege
gaNitAtIta Saradhiya kaTTi
ghana kOpadi dasaSirana kattarisida
inakula rAmanemba mAsALamma-7

When 10-headed rAvaNa abducted sIta to lanka, this warrior of sUrya clan-rAma constructed bridge across immeasurable ocean & beheaded him in anger
kRShNa

dEvaki basuroLu bandu gOkuladi
Ava kava gollara salahi
mAvana kondu mattaivara salahida
dEva kRShNanemba mAsALamma-8

Born of dEvaki`s womb, arriving at gOkula it was this Lord kRShNa that protected the cowherds, killed his uncle and safeguarded the 5 pANDavas.
buddha

pativrateyara vrata aLiyabEkenutali
atiSayadi tripurada strIyara
nuta bouddha rUpadi bahu bhanga paDisida
ratipitanemba mAsALamma-9

With intention of spoiling chastity of wives of tripura, this warrior buddha-father of cupid, paraded naked and succeeded in his intention.
kalki

khulla manujaranu kollabEkenutali
bhalle hiDidu turagavanEri
allalle sollaDagisi vallabha enisida
ballida kalkiyemba mAsALamma-10

With purpose of killing base mean people, this able warrior kalki mounted horse with spear in hand & went about on his mission, praised by all
mangaLa mahima bhujangasayana kA-
Linga mardana dEvOttunga
angajapita neleyadikESava anta-
rangadoLiruva masALamma-11

This is the auspicious warrior AdikESava that lies on a snake; danced on snake kaLinga`s
head. Bestof all Gods; dad of Cupid; the one who resides in ones heart.
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