Haridasas and Culture
Haridasas and Culture

The Thirteenth century witnessed a great revival of learning and minute examination of the prevailing dogmas and the theology. As the challenge came from iconoclastic and monotheistic religions like Islam from the North, threatening the very foundations of Hindu beliefs, a restatement of the fundamental tenets of religion and its polarization among the diversified fragments of Hindu society in order to protect it against disruption, was a vital aspect of the thought of the Age. Strife for power, narrow engrossment on insensate ambition for usurpation and self-aggrandizement, conflicting loyalties dissident groups promoting fissiparous tendencies, appeared like disintegrating the Cultural solidarity of the country.

The philosophy of love and action was the need of the hour to unite people for a defensive solidarity against crisis and impending dangers from the North. A vaidika dharma with due regard to the Vedic injunctions of Varnasrama Vibhaga based on the bed rock of personal rectitude and purity of conduct was the only antidote to divisions and threat from outside.

A couple of centuries before Purandara the Vachanakaras had the great responsibility of saving the souls of the masses from attrition and utter extinction was due to neglect of religion and lack of love of God. Madhvacharya preached Bhakti among the masses and tried to unite them all by the common bond of Bhakti and by the use of regional languages as the vehicle of communication of sublime philosophic ideas to the people.

Regulations and restrictions and other forms of disciplines were necessary to compel conformity to established religion of the land based on the infallible authority of the Vedas. The Philosophy of the Vedas has to be revived, recreated and revitalized, inspired with the inner poet of fresh and living thought and of ideas made alive by passing through an absorbing human intelligence; and thereby addressed to both the scholar, the theologian and the layman. It was the conviction of the hour that the philosophy of Vedanta alone was the basis of true religion and when practiced, according to Vedic injections would eliminate chaos and bring peace and happiness to society.

It was the message of the Haridasas that thought and religion and faith in and devotion to God Sri Hari should be reconciled into a new synthesis which should represent the consummation of human evolution with implications far deeper and claims greater than any, which the saints of old were allowed to advance.

The message of the Haridasas constituted a challenge, at once bold and universal to outworn shibboleths of ritualistic religions which were in a state of attrition inviting the advent of a new Gospel fundamentally, in practice, different from and perhaps superior to what had been practiced as religion which kept large masses of the people in complete ignorance of true religion. The message of the Dasas implied on organic change in the outlook on religion and called for a reconstruction of the social order, based on the reform of the spiritual outlook of man, a definite formula of action and on a defeat of the theory of fatalism which had bleached the masses to the marrow of their bones, and had rendered them unfit for the defense of religion and for the dignity and superiority of their ancient culture. Purandara's voice "Yeesabeku Iddu Jayisabeku..." was that of a clarion call of a Prophet to awaken the people of inaction and the dogmatic slumber of ages.

The Haridasas were unique like the Vachanakaras, in the nature and process of self-consecration, involving principle that is highest and purest in the influence of one's life and their effect upon the lies it touched. Haridasas not only influenced their fellow human beings by personal example, but visualized Sri Hari in His varied manifestations, relieving human suffering, comforting man in his hour of sorrow, by giving occasional glimpses of his Infinitude and making man constantly contemplate him. The Omnipresent and Omniscient Hari was the symbol of optimism and confidence in a future life, because as Purandara says "Sakalavellavau Hari Seve anni..". Regard every thing you do as service to Sri Hari, for there is no place where He is not. Haridasas carried great principles of Truth, Goodness, Love and harmony based on the knowledge of limitations of human power and of the benevolence and infinite compassion of Sri Hari.

The daily and incessant remembrance of the holy name of Sri Hari was the certain guarantee of immortality for says a Haridasa "I will worship my Lord's image in my heart, with all my heart with unfailing remembrance. My Body is His temple and my heart is the central shrine. My eyes are the lamps lit for him. My Hands are the sacred fans to wave in worship. My every movement is a sacred round and my lying asleep is a long 'Namaskara'.

Purandara asks why seek then, other ways that lead to Him. Why other idols, why again other spells and rituals? I shall worship my Lord in me well and truly, for all the tools of worship are in me.

The Haridasa movement carried peace and illumination. This movement affirmed the unity of all things, it was necessarily a religion of reconciliation to meet the needs of the day, fitted into the larger outlook of the times, better than the rigid older faiths. A characteristic of this Movement was its liberality and tolerance for it accepted all the great religions as true and their scriptures as inspired. Haridasa in enunciating the worship of Maha Rudra as the supreme symbol of the Kali Age, reveals his universality of outlook and nonsectarian perspective and toleration. The haridasas movement has in it, the potency to create a new earth and a new Heaven and to quicken human beings with a holy passion of Service.

Haridasas attitude to society is more liberal than the Advaitins and ascetics who advocated a life of renunciation and abstinence from food and from marriage and worldly enjoyments. The end of all philosophy to an ascetic was to teach mankind to despise life and seek perfect inner detachment and all virtue, in a sense to be a preparation for ative and creative contemplation an intuitive process leading to appropriate action.

The nature of everything is the best that it can grow into, and the best of human nature is divine. As individuals whatever be the nature of Samsara with its prejudices, sentimentalities, cupidity, ignorance and folly, they are not debarred from the highest life. The vital lesson of our lives which Haridasas taught was faith in absolute values, in Hari Sarvothama and in absolute principles which were the source and goal of the whole cosmic process. There was no conflict between the rational and the spiritual, for the spiritual was the most rational. Another great principle of Haridasas lives was the recognition of action as the ritual of contemplation and the conduct of life resting on an act of faith in a transcendental Deity.

The history of mankind and the voice of history have sounded across the centuries that many nations have perished after a long decline and the these profound falls were generally due to the enfeeblement of the human will. It was always by enfeeblement of character, and not by that of intelligence that the great peoples disappeared from history. The hope of a restoration of human powers lay in the time Purandara as in our times, primarily in the awakening of our true spiritual dynamics. Humanity needs martyrs, and Haridasas by their dedication to Hari, by personal example and great character, rare heroism, by love and suffering cut the deepest channels in the souls of human beings and revealed the most precious of God's secrets.

History of Haridasas Devotion/Bhakthi Haridasas & Other Saints Vyasa Kuta & Dasa Kuta
Haridasa Literature Haridasas and Music Haridasas and Culture Sri Madhva's Philosophy & Haridasas
Haridasas on Sri Madhva Ankita Compositions & Style of Haridasas Scope of Haridasa Homepage

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