Sri Jagannath Dasaru (1727 to 1809)
Born in a pious Brahmin family, he was given the name of Srinivasa. Even at a young age his brilliance was very evident and he was commended by Sri Vageesha Theertha, the then Pontiff at Mantralaya. He grew up to be a very great scholar, very well versed in all the great Dvaita works. Unfortunately, he also grew very proud and developed an intense dislike for Haridaasas, who he felt, were misrepresenting Dvaita philosophy.
He was a great sanskrit and dvaita scholar before becomming Dasa ( Srinivasa ). He had ego about his knowledge and disliked the Haridasas of that time. Foremost among the Haridasas among the time was Sri Vijaya Dasa. He disliked Haridasas of that time because he felt that they are misrepresenting the Dvaita School of thought by composing works in Kannada ( the local langauge ). He is said to have commented about Sri Vijaya Dasa that "Kannada pada heluva aa kUsi maganenu dasanaguttane". Meaning "How can that son of kUsi(name of Sri Vijaya Dasa's Mother), who sings kannada songs be a scholar". Later on he also refused to a feast in the honour of Sri Vijaya Dasa in the same city even when invited by Sri Vijaya Dasa himself. He complained that he is having some problems with stomach and thus he has already taken the food. To this Sri Vijaya Dasa replied "hage aagali" ( let it be so). Then Srinivasa developped a 'real' pain in the stomach.
From that day, Srinivasa developed intense stomach problems which grew worse by the day, finally reaching unbearable proportions. Srinivasa went to Tirupathi, Ghatikaachala and Mantralaya, performing intense Seva towards the Lord, Vaayu Devaru and Sri Raghavendra Swamigalu. None of this proved to be of any avail.
Finally, at the end of his stay in Mantralaya, he decided to commit suicide. That night, the epitome of mercy, Sri Raghavendra Swamigalu, appeared in his dream and told him that the cure for his problems lay in surrendering to Sri Vijayadaasaru and seeking his blessings. Srinivasa felt intense disgust at his own arrogance and rushed to Sri Vijayadaasaru, deeply regretting his behavior.
Sri Vijayadaasaru welcomed him without rancor, gave him a cure right away, and directed him to Sri Gopaala Daasaru who would be his swaroopa guru. Srinivasa went to Sri Gopaala Daasaru and spent some time with him. He realized the greatness of both the Daasarus and the fallacy of his own thinking.
Later, Sri Gopaala Daasaru and Srinivasa visited Tirupathi, where another miracle happened. Due to a combination of his previous ill-health and the strain of travelling to Tirupathi, Srinivasa expired on Bhadrapada Shukla Navami . Then, Sri Vijaya Daasaru appeared in an astral form before Sri Gopala Daasaru and directed him to donate 40 years of his life-span to Srinivasa and revive him. Sri Gopala Daasaru immediately complied, and by the grace of the Lord, Srinivasa came back to life again.
Deeply affected by the events in his recent past, Srinivasa decided to become a Haridaasa. Sri Gopala daasaru gave him Haridaasa Deekshe and directed him to Pandarapur for ankitha. There Srinivasa found a stone bearing the words "Jagannatha Vittala". From that day, he started composing devotional works with that ankitha. He became renowned as Jagannatha Daasaru.
He lived for 40 years after his miraculous rebirth. His life was full of incidents that reveal that he was an Aporaksha Gyani and a great Bhaktha with whom the Lord performed many leelas. There were many instances when the Lord took somebody's form and personally served Jagannatha Daasaru. When he visited Mantralaya, Rayaru personally appeared from the Brindavan and spoke to him (this wonderful incident is captured in the Devaranama "Yeddu Baruthaare Nodu...."). The jewel in his devotional crown was of course Hari Kathaamrutha Saara. It is said that in this wonderful work Sri Jagannatha Dasaru has captured the essence of his amazing grasp of Sastras, Srimad Acharya's works and works of other great Dvaita saints. It is a "must" for every Mumukshu aspiring for the grace of Hari, Vaayu, Guru.
Again, on the same Bhadrapada Shukla Navami, exactly 40 years after his rebirth, he reached the Lord's lotus feet.
When we look into the entire Compositions of Sri Jagannatha Dasaru most of them are devotional and giving importance to bhakti. One more thing we can find in his compositions are that it is stotra oriented: vittalayya vittalayya tatitkotinibhkaya jagannathavittalayya.. it starts and yendu kambeno pan.duran.ga mArutiya yi.ndu bhaga nivAsa narana sArathiya... prays humbly. He also expresses satisfaction when he felt that he has seen the Panduranage Vittala in his songs.. ka.nde pa.ndarirAyana... and dhanyanAde vittalana ka.ndu. He felt very happy in explaining Vittala whom he met. Sri Jagannatha Dasa exponents contains Devottee humble beginning to see and percept Sri Hari, his humanatarian relationship which makes him happy and comfortable, devotion which is beyond emotional touch are some of the concepts of his works. It is assumed that a devotee can build a relationship with Sri Hari in four ways, they are:
Sri Jagannatha Dasa is a very forciable writer and known chiefly for
his prodgious schloarship in Sanskrit and mastery of original sanskrit
texts of the system. He has burning enthusiasm for the cause of
Madhva philosophy and writes a powerful style laden with technical wisdom
and theological intricacies. His style is highly Sanskritised and his
work teems with the details of Bhakti, Mukti, Taratamya, Aparoksa etc.
His magnum opus, the Harikathamruthasara
is a mind of information
on Madva theology and is honored as a great authority and standard work
of reference on the Estoerics of its theology, by adherents of Dasa Koota.
It is written in the Bhamini Satpadi meter and is an epitome of Madhva
theology, in 32 sandhis (chpaters). This Kannada work has the special
honor of having a very recondite sanskrit commentary by Sankarsana
Odeyaru disciple of Sri Visvapriya Tiirtha of Sode mutt.
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