A few years before he passed away in 1564, Purandara Dasa warned the people of Vijayanagar about the dangers of forsaking god and falling into the trap of gaining wealth and leading an improper life. He sang, “Neechadhiree Bhagya” but the Emperor and the masses remained oblivious. Retribution was swift and the Vijayanagar forces lost in 1565 and Hampi was plundered and thousands of people put to the sword.
He also sang,
“Dharma shravana vetake murkhage
Karma anushtana vansega dhiruva ,
Durmargi etka Brahmana Janma”
Konage veene gana videtake,
Tranavu tolagida hennigethake ,
Katani muthina haravu koralige.
Garthabha udugore sahithale shvananige,
Kadu vratthavahage mai neardu hennina,
Odane bhogipenembabila seyake.
Huttu kurudage deepavidetake,
Bharastannigetke kula dharma,
Srushtiyola damage purandara vittlana
Muti bhajipenemba abhilaksha vetake.
Both Vyasa Raja (1447-1539), the Guru of Purandara Dasa (1480-1564) and the Dasa himself had foreseen the fall of Vijayanagar after the death of Krishna Deva Raya.
Krishna Deva Raya (1509-1530) was an Emperor who had upheld the Hindu dharma and he laid great store by the advice of Vyasa Raja, his Raja Guru. Krishna Deva Raya had immense respect and devotion to Vyasa Raja and he always went by his advice.
When Vyasa Raja warned him about the Kuhu Dosha, Krishna Devara Raya had gone by the perceptor’s advice. He had made Vyasa Raja the Emperor of Vijayanagar and he was reluctant to take back the Kingdom. But Vyasa Raja insisted that Krishna Deva Raya take back the Kingdom.
When Krishna Deva Raya pointed out that he had handed over the Kingdom to a saint and ascetic and that he could not take back what he had given as Dhana or offering, the erudite Madhwa seer turned this very same argument against the Emperor.
Vyasa Raja pointed out gently to the Emperor that he was only a wandering mendicant. He said a mendicant or sage had no interest in worldly things and that a sage could not be expected to take on the duties of a King.
Vyasa Raja then buttressed his arguments by quoting from the Bhagavath Geetha. He said
had clearly said in the Geetha that one must do what one is asked to do or what
one is best suited to do. “I am a wandering mendicant and I have no wordly
attachment. I was taken away by my guru, Brahmanye Theertha, when I was young.
I was brought up to lead a scholastic and monastic way of life. I am best at it.
You, who are a King, know how to rule”, said Vyasa Raja.
He said a man who had given up everything to be near Hari had no attachment and even a Kingdom held no interest. Moreover, OI was sent to earth to fulfill a mission and I am still discharging the duty. O, King, I give back the Kingdom to you in the same manner that you gave me. Hence, there is no dosha or sin. No blame will accrue on you and you rule in a just and fair manner. That is all I ask of you”, Vyasa Raja said.
Though Krishna Deva Raya and Vyasa Raja did have difference of opinion, it never came in the way they respected each other. Krishna Deva Raya’s respect to the seer increased manifold when he was saved from the Kuhu Dosha and after he emerged victorious over the Adil Shah forces from Bijapur at the battle of Raichur.
Krishna Deva Raya then inscribed the sign, “Vyasa Raja is mu guru” on a panel in the
in Hampi. Krishna Deva Raya passed away in 1529 or 1530, grieving deeply over
the death of his only male heir, Tirumala Raya, who appeared to have been poisoned
to death. Virupaksha Temple
Though Achuta Deva Raya, the brother of Krishna Deva Raya, ascended the throne of Vijayanagar and ruled from 1529 to 1542, he had a tough time quelling challenges from Krishna Deva Raya’s son-in-law Rama Raya, also known as Aliya Rama Raya.
Achuta Deva Raya continued to pay respect to Vyasa Raja who was his Raja Guru too. When the time for entering Brindavana came in 1539, Vyasa Raja appears to have warned the Vijayanagar Emperor about the dangers that the Kingdom faced.
Unfortunately, Achuta Deva Raya was unable to rectify the faults that Vyasa Raja and Purandara Dasa pointed. Rama Raya, for some reason, appears to have taken a hostile attitude towards Madhwas and this led to the gradual erosion of support to the Emperors.
The Hindus had been the mainstay of the Vijayanagar Empire for close to three centuries. Once Rama Raya began antagonizing them, they began moving away from Vijayanagar.
The movement of the Hindu intelligentsia, including Haridasas like Kanaka Dasa 1509-1609 (he moved away from Hampi after the death of Purandara Dasa and in his last days, he lived in Tirumala), Vadiraja 1480-1600 (he went back to Sonda after the passing away of Vyasa Raja), Vijendra Theertha (he came to Vijayanagar to pay respect to the Brindavana of his ashrama Gurugalu Vyasa Raja, and then went back to Kumbakonam), Belur Vaikunta Dasa 1480-1550 (He went back to Belur in Hassan district after the death of Vyasa Raja) signaled the decline of Hindu literature.
Vijendra Theertha (1517-1614) too foresaw the fall of Vijayanagar and he too warned the Vijayanagar Emperor but alas his warning was not taken seriously.
Purandara Dasa’s youngest son Madhwapathi Dasa continued composing Devara namas after his father passed away at the Purandara Mantapa in Hampi in 1564. He too was mildly critical of the epicurean lifestyle of the people of Vijayanagar and its Kings.
Srinivasa Theertha, who ascended the Vyasa Raja Matha pontificate after Vyasa Raja, ruled till 1564. He passed away in 1564 and he was buried near his guru, Vyasa Raja in Nava Brindavana. Being the Raja Guru of Vijayanagar, he too warned the Vijayanagar Emperor, Achuta Deva Raya and other Kings who followed him but to no avail.
Srinivasa Theertha was followed by Rama Theertha and he became the Raja Guru of Vijayanagar in 1564. He headed the Vyasa Raja matha till 1584 and even he too appears to have forsaken Hampi once the Vijayanagars lost the battle of Rakasa Tangadi or Talikota.
When the battle of Talikota took place in 1565, Rama Raya was beheaded by the Muslim forces who then converged onto Hampi or Vijayanagar and completely sacked it.Madhwapathi Dasa fled to Pune, while Kanaka Dasa took himself away from Hampi and wandered all over Karnataka. Belur Vaikunta Dasa spent his last days in Belur itself. Vijendra Theertha ruled from the Sri Matha pontificate in Kumbokanam.