Biography of Purandara Dasa

Purandara Dasa (1484-1564) was a prominent composer, musician, and saint from the Indian state of Karnataka. He is widely regarded as the pioneer of Carnatic music, one of the two main traditions of Indian classical music. Purandara Dasa was not only a prolific composer but also a great scholar and philosopher. Here is an overview of his life and contributions:
Early Life - Life Transforming Events  - Contributions to Music - Teaching and Disciples - songs by Purandara Dasa
Biography of Purandara Dasa

Early Life of Purandara Dasa:

Purandara Dasa was born as Srinivasa Nayaka in 1484 in the town of Purandaragaddi in present-day Karnataka, India. He belonged to a prosperous merchant family.

Life Transforming Events of Purandara Dasa:

In his early years, Srinivasa Nayaka led a worldly life, engaged in trade and other material pursuits. However, a series of events, including financial difficulties and the death of his wife and children, led him to a profound spiritual transformation.

Renunciation and Musical Pursuits of Purandara Dasa:

After these life-altering events, Srinivasa Nayaka took up the life of a wandering saint and changed his name to Purandara Dasa. He became a devotee of Lord Krishna and dedicated his life to composing devotional songs, known as “kritis,” in praise of the divine.

Purandara Dasa’s Contributions to Music:

Purandara Dasa made immense contributions to the field of Carnatic music. He is credited with the standardization of the musical scale in Carnatic music, known as the “saptaswara” system. He composed numerous compositions in Kannada and Sanskrit, which are still sung and revered by musicians and enthusiasts.

Teaching and Disciples of Purandara Dasa:

Purandara Dasa was not only a composer but also a renowned music teacher. He laid the foundation for systematic music education and is considered the “Pitamaha” (grandfather) of Carnatic music. He had many disciples, some of whom became famous musicians in their own right.

Philanthropy and Social Reforms of Purandara Dasa:

Apart from his musical contributions, Purandara Dasa was also known for his philanthropy and social reforms. He used his wealth to support the needy and uplift the downtrodden.

Compilation of songs by Purandara Dasa

Gaja Vadana Beduve Gauri Thanaya, a popular old das composition, in Karnataka Raagam Hamsadhwani
Jackson, William J. 2002. Songs of three great South Indian saints, Oxford India ISBN 0-19-566051-X
KavyaPremi 1996. Purandra Das Haduglu Dharwar: Samaj Publishers CA contains 225 songs; In Kannada language

Legacy of Purandara Dasa:

Purandara Dasa’s compositions are an integral part of the Carnatic music repertoire. His deep spiritual insights and musical genius continue to inspire generations of musicians and listeners. He is revered as one of the greatest saint-composers in the Bhakti tradition of India.
Purandara Dasa’s life and work have left an enduring impact on the cultural and musical heritage of Karnataka and the broader Indian classical music tradition.