It was sometime in the early 1500s and Hampi or Vijayanagar was a thriving City and the richest in the while world.
Krishna Deva Raya was the Emperor and Vyasa Raja or Vyasa Theertha was his preceptor. Krishna Deva Raya had ascended the Vijayanagar throne in 1509 and he had defeated Bijapur,
Berar and even . He had extended the boundary of the Vijayanagar
from coast to coast and put the fear of God
in his Muslim adversaries. Ahmednagar
While Krishna Deva Raya presided over the Raja Durbar, there was another equally important durbar and this was conducted by the venerable Vyasa Theertha. If the Raya’s durbar was full of pomp and gaiety, Vyasa’s was academic and religious and it was also the place where Dasa Sahitya and Vaishnava literature flourished.
Vyasa Raja one day consecrated the Yanthrodaara Praana Devaru temple (Hanumantha) in Hampi. He would visit this idol regularly with Purandara Dasa (1484-1564) and his other disciples. Purandara had made it a point to pray to the deity every day and also offer naivedya.
One day, Purandara was called away for some work and he asked his young son, Madhwapathi, to go to the shrine and offer naivedya. Madhwapathi agreed and he went with the naivedya to the deity. He first prostrated before the deity, offered prayers and then called out to the monkey god to eat the naivedya.
When there was no response from the deity, Madhwapathi became angry and started calling out to Hanuman to come and take the food. He said if he refused to eat, he would hit himself. When still the deity remained unmoved, Madhwapathi began punishing himself.
Hanuman was unable to see the young boy torture himself. He came in his physical form to towards the boy and took the naivedya. He also ate the naivedya and left back a small portion.
Madhwapathi went back home with the small portion of the naivedya. Both Purandara and his wife were surprised at the tale their son related. Both disbelieved Madhwapathi.
The next day, Purandara accompanied Madhwapathi to the place and asked his son to give naivedya to Hanuman. To his surprise and amazement, Hanuman emerged from the rock, ate the naivedya and went back.
A stunned Purandara realised that Hanuman had shown himself to his son as he was pure at hear and pure in mind. Moreover, Madhapathi’s heart was full of devotion and bhakti.
Purandara then appreciated the devotion of his son and blessed him, saying that he was lucky to see God at such an young age. Purandara blessed told Madhwapathi that he was very lucky to have obtained the grace of Hanumantha.
When Purandara was on his death bed, Madhwapathi pointed out that he had been able to complete only four lakhs and seventy five thousand songs out of the target of five lakhs he had set himself. Purandara told Madhwapathi that he had left the rest 25,000 songs to be completed in the next generation. He blessed Madhwapathi saying that he (Madhwapathi) would be reborn as Vijaya Dasa and composed the rest 25,000 songs.
Madhwapathi as Vijaya Dasa (1682-1755) composed 25000 songs with the ankita (signature) of Sri Vijaya Vittala. Today, much of our knowledge of the life and times of Purandara are sourced from the songs of Vijaya Dasa.