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Jagannatha Dasa (1728–1809), a native of Manvi town in the Raichur district, Karnataka state, India, is considered one of the notable Haridasa ("devotee of the Hindu god Vishnu") saint-poets of the Kannada language.[1] Apart from authoring numerous well-known devotional songs that propagate the Vaishnava bhakti ("faith"), Jagannatha Dasa wrote the Harikathamritasara in the native shatpadi (six-line verse) metre and Tattva suvvali in the native tripadi (three-line verse) metre.[1] He was also an accomplished scholar in the Sanskrit language.[2]

Contents

Overview

For about a century after the death of Vadirajatirtha (1480–1600), a noted saint-poet, the Haridasa devotional cult which propagated the Dvaita philosophy of Madhvacharya through lucid Kannada devotional songs, seemed to wane.[3] The movement however revived in the 18th century under the guidance of Vijaya Dasa, this time centred on the holy town of Mantralayam in modern Andhra Pradesh and a large area covering the Raichur district in modern Karnataka.[4] The poetry written by these later day saints closely followed the style established by the 15th and 16th century saints of the Haridasa cadre. The Haridasa contribution to Hindu mysticism and the Bhakti literature overall is similar to the contributions of the Alvars and Nayanmars of modern Tamil Nadu and that of the devotional saint-poets of Maharashtra and Gujarat.[5] According to the scholar H.S. Shiva Prakash, about 300 saint-poets from this cadre enriched Kannada literature during the 18th–19th centuries.[6]

Sainthood

Legend has it that Jagannatha Dasa, whose birth name was Srinivasacharya (or Sinappa), was once invited by Vijaya Dasa, a noted Haridasa of the 18th century, to attend a religious ceremony at Manvi. The ceremony included dining with the devotees of Vijaya Dasa as well. Srinivasacharya excused himself from attending the ceremony on the pretext of suffering from severe stomach ache. Unfortunately, Srinivasacharya actually fell ill and developed severe stomach pains. Unable to find relief, Srinivasacharya sought the help of Vijaya Dasa who asked him to meet his desciple Gopala Dasa. Srinivasacharya visited Gopala Dasa and was cured by him.[2] Repentant for his attitude towards the Haridasas, Srinivasacharya became a disciple of Gopala Dasa and took to the Haridasa fold. His poems are written with the ankita (pen name, also called mudrika) "Jagannatha Vittala".[2] These details are known from a song written by Jagananatha Dasa expressing his gratitide to Gopala Dasa and Vijaya Dasa.[1]

Kannada Writings

The Harikathamritasara treats on the philosophy of Madhvacharya and is considered his magnum opus and a work of immense importance by the Dvaita school. Written in the native Bhamini Shatpadi metre with a poetic touch, it contains 32 chapters (sandhis) comprising 988 stanzas. Later day scholars wrote ten commentaries on this work, including a Sanskrit commentary in 1862 (by Sankarsana Odeyaru), an indication of its superior literary content.[1][7] The Tattva Suvvali, containing 1,200 pithy and proverbial poems of which 600 stanzas are available today, was written in the native tripadi metre, in a simple style, and is known to have been a consolation to his young widowed daughter.[1]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Sahitya Akademi (1988), p. 1764
  2. ^ a b c Sharma (2000), p. 522
  3. ^ Shiva Prakash (1997), p. 200
  4. ^ Sahitya Akademi (1987), pp. 883–884
  5. ^ Sharma (2000), p. xxxii
  6. ^ Shiva Prakash (1997), p. 201
  7. ^ Sharma (2000), p. 523

References

  • Shiva Prakash, H.S. (1997). "Kannada". in Ayyappapanicker. Medieval Indian Literature:An Anthology. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 8126003650.  
  • Various (1988) [1988]. Encyclopaedia of Indian literature, vol 2. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 8126011947.  
  • Sharma, B.N.K (2000) [2000]. History of the Dvaita School of Vedanta and Its Literature: From the Earliest Beginnings to Our Own Times. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 8120815750.  
  • Various (1987) [1987]. Encyclopaedia of Indian literature, vol 1. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 8126018038.  
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