Original Kannada Article by : Soumitri
One day at the crack of dawn during the month of Magha, a time of semi- darkness, the glorious Vijaya Dasaru bathed in a pond and was engaged in the ritualistic chanting of prayers. The sun was just about rising. The melodious chirping of birds, recitation of Vedas somewhere at a distance, faintly audible Nadaswara from a temple nearby, overall it was a pleasant and mellifluous environment that would engross the mind of anybody. Beside Vijaya Dasaru, constantly serving him were his son Sheshagiri Dasaru and adopted son Mohana Dasaru. They too were engaged in ablution. From somewhere a juvenile boy aged five or six years appeared in front of the Dasaru, descended the steps into the pond and began playing in the water. The Dasaru were unmindful of the boy and lost in meditation. The boy emerged from the water, gently touched the Dasaru and ran away. The tranquil natured Dasaru presumed this to be a lapse by the boy and once again headed for a bath. The Dasaru would finish bathing and come up and the boy would again come near the water dovetailing them. No sooner than they sat for ablution, the boy would splash water onto the Dasaru’s chest. Is a special mention of the cold days during the month of Magha required? The saintly and tranquil Vijaya Dasaru again descended into the pond to bathe, but every time the Dasaru bathed and emerged, the boy would come from somewhere, touch the Dasaru and defile them several times.
This time the Dasaru bathed, filled water from the pushkarni (agrodaka) for the worship of God and went on. By now they had bathed around eight – ten times in the freezing cold, the travail notwithstanding. Besides, they were anxious as they emerged from the pond owing to the delay in the worship of their revered almighty Vijaya Vittala Swami. The boy appeared before them yet again. They chastised the boy stating that they will be delayed for the worship and hence they not be touched. An interesting occurrence transpired at this point. That boy spat the water that he had filled in his mouth upon the Dasaru, uttered “Other worship when I am in front of you” and vanished. With the touch of that spittle, the Dasaru came to realize that the boy who had played with them up until then was no ordinary boy but Balagopala himself. With a choked throat they rushed towards the temple of the local deity located close-by. As they gazed at the beautiful festivity idol of Balagopala, tears flowed constantly. They were rendered speechless and stood astounded. The form of the boy seen at the lake side manifested in the festivity idol at that place and became visible not only to the Dasaru but everyone present there. The gushing flood of the juice of devotion within the Dasaru came forth as a devotional song (kirtane).
That Devaranama (Song composed by Haridasas) is thus.
Raga : Todi aditala
Mātannāḍai mannāri kr̥ṣṇa mātannāḍai |
Dātanu nīnendu bayasi bandenu mātannāḍai ||pa||
Ūduva siripoṅgoḷalō |jaga| dādhārada nijahoḷalō |
Pādada poṅgejje ghaḷilō | sarva | vēdagaḷarasuva mahimeya taḷalō ||1||
Kastūri māyada mrgavō | mukuṭā | mastakadali jhagajagavō ||
Vistaradali pokka jagavō | para | vastuve nanda yaśōdeya maguvō ||2||
Ānanda jnānada hrdavō | śud’dha | mānavarige balu vrdavō ||
Ānana chaviyoḷ vidhuvō | pāpa | kānana dahisuva pāvaka padavō ||3||
Navanīta piḍida karavō | nava | navamōhanada śr̥ṅgāravō |
Avanitadā surataruvō | dēva | raviyanduṅguraviṭṭu tūguva bharavō ||4||
Trijagava niruta pālakanō | paṁ | kajanētraḷa nāyakanō |
Ajabhavādigaḷa janakanō | nam’ma | vijayaviṭhṭhala (kavaratano) rēya yadukumārakanō ||5||
The shrine of Shri Krishna who displayed such playfulness in front of Vijaya Dasaru and others is near one of South India’s pilgrimage center Kumbakonam at a town called Rajamannarugudi. The festivity icon (utsava vigraha) of the local deity of this place Shri Rajagopala Swami is the focal point of attraction for visitors. An exquisite figurine holding a whip in one hand and a baton used by cowherds in another hand flanked by Rukmini and Satyabhama can be seen here. The pond (teertha) where the Dasaru observed the prescribed practices (anushtana) is extensive and is called Haridra Teertha. Even to this day the Haridasa kutas visit this place and are thrilled with joy. They recount the glory exhibited to Vijaya Dasaru over and over again and get highly emotional. At Raichur which is the abode of Dasa literature, men and women of the older generation narrate this story to the next generation through hymns with absolute joy and I have personally been witness to such instances. Wherein children aged 2-3 years are yet to begin speech, the tradition of mothers reciting this particular Devaranama is still alive.
While touring South India remember to visit Mannarugudi, it will certainly be a supernatural and beyond articulation experience for you.
This Devaranama has been taken from the publication of Varadendra Haridasa Sahitya Mandala and my transcript collection.
If you intend to listen to this Devaranama in hindustani style click here.