Sri Mahipathi Dasaru (1611-1681)
Sri Mahipathi Dasa was the son of Sri Koneri Rao, an orthodox and ardent devotee of Sri Hari.
When Koneri Rao wanted to perform the Upanayana of his son the astrologer who saw his horoscope predicted that Mahipathi would lead a royal life and become a sacred yogi.
Mahipathi continued his early education with his father and became a popular scholar like him. He became very fluent in Sanskrit, Marathi, Hindi, Kannada, Urdu and Persian. His philosophical discourses were very popular and attended by thousands.
One day, Khawas Khan a minister in Adil Shah's court was passing by the Narasimha Temple where Mahipathi Rao was conducting a discourse and saw thousands of people listening to the discourse. Khan listened for some time and liked what he heard. He wanted a discourse to be conducted in his house too. Mahipathi immediately agreed to do so.
The next day, Mahipathi conducted a discourse in Khan's house. He explained incidents from Bhagawatha, Ramayana etc in urdu and parsi, languages which the people in the house understood. His discourse was so well liked that it became a practice and henceforth discourses were conducted both in Khan's house and the temple. Many muslims, including mullas, attended his discourse and appreciated his knowledge and scholarly attitude.
Once, the Nawab's auditors were in a fix as they could not rectify a mistake in their accounts. Somebody suggested that Mahipathi should be consulted as he was good at accounts. When Mahipathi saw the accounts he immediately identified the mistake. The Nawab was very happy and appointed Mahipathi as his courtier. Eventually, Mahipathi's sincerity and hard-work made him the Diwan.
Mahipathi married a girl called Tirumala, and led a very simple and austere life, even though he could afford luxuries and comforts.
In Bijapur, there lived a brother and sister called Shahanunga and Shahanungi. They belonged to the Soophi sect and were very popular as they could predict the future. However, their existence and character seemed to something of a mystery as nobody knew where they lived, what they ate, or wore. They were very pious and respected by both Hindus and Muslims.
One day, Mahipathi was inspecting some construction work on the banks of a water tank. Shahanunga came there and was curious to know what Mahipathi had in his hand. Mahipathi told him that it was the Nawab' ring (raja mudra). Shahanunga begged Mahipathi to give the ring and upon receiving it, threw it into the the tank. Mahipathi was scared as the ring was a symbol of the Nawab's position and power, and could not be trifled with. So he pleaded with Shahanunga to retrieve the ring. Shahnunga asked his sister to get the ring. She immediately retrieved hundreds of identical rings from the water. The baffled Mahipathi could not identify the Nawab's ring and requested Shahanunga to help him, whereupon Shahanunga retrieved his ring and uttering the words 'mouthghaghana mouthghaghana throw this throw this' he disappeared.
Mahipathi could not understand Shahnunga's utterance [mouthghghana means smell of dead body] or its significance. After pondering about this for a while he gave up and decided to approach Shahnunga himself for an explanation. This was not easy as Shahnunga's whereabouts were difficult to predict. Finally, after great effort, Mahipathi finally met Shahnunga and prostrated before him, asking him to explain the significance and accept him (Mahipathi) as a disciple. Shahnunga told him to go to Bhaskar Swamy who was living in Saravada and take him as his preceptor.
After this Mahipathi decided give up his position and go to Bhaskar Swamy. Even though the Nawab was initially reluctant to let him go, he relented on hearing Mahipathi's goal, and wished him luck. Even Tirumala was happy with Mahipathi's decision and decided to accompany him to Sarawada.
Bhaskar Swamy was very famous in Karanataka and Maharashtra. Even though Sarawada was a small village, his presence attracted a number of devotees, turning Sarawada into a piligrimage centre.
Mahipathi and his wife went to Bhaskar Swamy for obtaining sacred and philosophical knowledge. Bhaskar Swamy accepted Mahipathi as his disciple and gave him upadEsha. He also blessed the couple to have illustrious children. Mahipathi and his wife stayed with Bhaskar Swamy for some time before going to their native place in Bijapur.
Later, Mahipathi went to Shapura village in Gulbarga district, where he selected the Sri Hanuman Temple on the banks of the Mandakini river as the setting for his activites. From then on, he became known as Mahipathi Dasa and composed many songs with the ankitha 'mahipathi'. He spent the rest of his life conducting philosophical discourses, bhajans and other devotional activites.
Sri Mahipathi Dasa had two sons - Devaraya and Krishnaraya. Devaraya
chose the career of a warrior and became the leader of some small army.
Krishnaraya followed in his father's footsteps and became a haridasa,
and composed many songs.
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