Thursday 7 March 2013

When Krishna reproached Vyasa Raja

Krishna Nee Beegane Baro…….. is perhaps one of the most popular compositions of all times. Infact, this song is closely associated with dance and it generally forms the opening sequence of any performance, particularly Bharatanatyam.
One of the Haridasas was so fond of this song that he included it in his repertoire and sang that in his own style. Over the years, this song was so closely associated with this Haridasa that many people believed it to one of his own.
This Haridasa too did not discriminate between his compositions and that of others. He sang all kinds of songs and as a wandering minstrel, he popularised the Haridasa Sangeeta all over south India.
He also set the tone and tenor of Carnatic music and today he is acknowledged as the first great composer and pioneer of Carnatic music. This Haridasa was Purandara and the man who copmposed Krishna Nee Beegane Baro….. was Vyasa Theertha or Vyasa Raja.
Purandara not only sang his own compositions but generally included Krishna Nee….. in all his performances as a wandering minstrel.
Since Purandara acknowledged Vyasa Raja as his guru, he frequently accompanied him on his tours and pilgrimage. To give an example, Purandara accompanied Vyasa Raja to the Apremeya Swamy temple in Doddamalur near Chennapatna and he was so bewitched by the Ambegallu Krishna idol, that he burst into the song… Jaggadodarana.
Similarly, when Vyasa Raja consecrated the Srinivasa Temple in Chennapatna town itself (It exists even today), Purandara sang and danced and a large number of people donated money with which Purandara built a mantapa which came to be called as Purandara Mantapa.
So, the Guru and Shishya has a close bond and each respected the other. Purandara saw in Vyasa Raja, a seer unparalled in scholastic achievements and a selfless servant of God. To Vyasa Raja, Purandara’s songs were nothing short of musical philosophical treatises which he expounded in Vijayanagar University of which he was the Chancellor.
One day, Purandara had just finished singing Krishna Nee Beegane Baro and Vyasa Raja too was sitting in meditation. Suddenly a flash of light appeared and Krishna appeared in front of Vyasa Raja.
Even as the Madhwa Seer was taking in the glory of Krishna, the God gently castigated Vyasa Raja. Krishna, in his sonorous voice, reminded Vyasa Raja that he (Krishna) was a householder and he had wives and children.
He then sought to know from Vyasa Raja how he could compose songs just calling him Krishna. “I am a householder and I derives better respect. You are a mendicant and you would not mind is you are called in singular”, Krishna told a dumbfounded Vyasa Raja.
Vyasa Raja immediately saw the merit in Krishna’s gentle rebuke and immediately changed the tone of all his compositions on the lord and ended them with Sri Krishna rather than Krishna.
This is not the only time that the venerable Vyasa Raja had the darshan of Krishna.
Several decades before this incident, when he was studying under Sripadaraja of Mulabagal, Krishna had danced before the seer. This is how the incident unfolded.
Sripadaraja was famous in those days for conducting poojes in Kannada and for singing songs in Kannada. One day, he was busy and he asked Vyasa Raja to conduct the pooje of the Saligramas which were kept in a box.
Vyasa Raja commenced the pooje and soon he began singing the glories of Krishna. He took a pair of Saligramas and began singing to the beat of the sacred stones.
Very soon, he opened one box or Samputa which contains idols of gods. The Samputa had the idol of Gopala Krisjna and even Sripadaraja had not opened it. When Vyasa Raja placed the idol of the sacred peeta where other idols were there, the Gopala Krishna started dancing.
A little later, Sripadaraja came and was astounded to see the idol dancing. He immediately handed over the idol to Vyasa Raja and to this dancing deity is in possession of Sosale Vyasaraja Matha.
On another occasion, Krishna the presiding deity of the Krishna disappeared from view when it was being bathed in honey and milk. The devotees, who were shocked, ran to the Madhwa saint with the news. He asked the devotees what might have happened to make Krishna disappear.
Almost all the devotees and even some disciples of Vyasa Raja told him that a farmer whom the seer had allowed near the idol might have polluted Krishna and the lord might have disappeared because of that. They also said that the low-caste person should not have been allowed to tend to the cows at the Goshala as it is a sin.
Vyasa Raja did not say anything. He beckoned to all of them to follow him. Follow they did and to their surprise they found the low caste person scrubbing the cows at the goshala. He was so involved in the work and he was doing it with such sincerity and devotion that he did not even look up to see that Krishna himself was holding up the bucket of water for him to dip his brush and scrub the cows clean.
The devotes and disciples realised their mistake and feel at the feet of Vyasa Raja. The Seer then took the low caste person as his Shishya.  

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