Sir Purandara Dasaru in this beautiful composition begs the Lord to make him His dAsa. Dasaru says, “ Make me Your dAsa .” After that he is addressing the Lord as ‘swami’. Here there is a contradiction. After all the swami is the address used by a dasa ,not an equal. Then why is Dasaru still saying ‘make me your dasa’.
This brings out clearly the ambiguous nature of ‘kartritva’ of human beings. There are in effect two points of view. The jiva’s point of view and the Lord’s. The Lord’s point of view is the one which rules and moves the entire creation.The Lord being independent and all knowing , knows everything as it should happen to every entity and He is the force which makes things happen as per His iccha.
dravyam Karma cha kaalascha svabhaavo jeeva eva cha |
Yat prasaadaat ime santi na santi yadupekshayaa ||
(matter, Action, Time, Nature of things, souls – all get their existence because of His will, if there is no will of His, then they do not exist
though this is true it does not contradict the point of view that the jiva is doer
a doer, a dependent.
The jiva’s expereince is not one of dependence always. Everyone of us have the expereince of desiring something and taking steps to fulfill it. The jiva always feels that he/she himself is the one who got the desire and also initiated the following events.
This feeling of independence was also designed by the Lord only, He being the independent cause of everything in the universe. Why has God designed this type of experience for the jiva? It is precisely because He wants the jiva to feel responsible for his/her thoughts and actions and carry them out as per the instructions from Shastras and elders.The process leads the jiva to expereince and acquire knowledge . This knowledge is the tool which can cut away the jiva’s countless doshas and make the jiva pure. ‘na hi jNAnena sadrisham pavitram iha vidyate’. This knowledge can pave the for further sadhana which can then move one to progress spiritually as per God’s will.
Here Dasaru is reminding us of this responsibility that we have, at the same time accepting the Lord’s total independence in all actions of the jiva. Dasaru is using the fact that there is ichcha and jNana and kriya for the jiva, all being dependent on the Lord.
These 3 when discussed in this context take the following import.
The wish of wanting to become a dasa is the iccha of the jiva (dasana mADiko enna).
The knowledge that the Lord is omnipotent and oneself is dependent on the Lord for one’s very identity and existence and it is the Lord’s right to make us His dasa is the jNAna of the jiva (mADiko, muDisO etc shows acceptance of His control)and the kriya is the action that we perform with this body(adigeruguve anudinapADi) of which He is the supreme controller.
jNana – I am a dasa, the Lord is the swAmi. But even to actually become His dasa, He has to accept me as His dasa. The other side of this coin: Whether one knows it or accepts it or not, one always remains as a dasa(under the Lord’s control) , doing His every bidding .
But the difference in the purpose of leading a life with the awareness of this compared to not being aware of it is so vast . The entire sadhana is foccussed on finding out and becoming aware of this ompnipotent Lord, whose very essence is ‘karuna’ whose very essence is to uplift the jivas. It is natural for Him to be benevolent. But we need to become aware of His benevolence. We need to accept our dependence on Him, just as naturally as He exists. For Him, existence at all times is nature. For us, dependence on Him is nature. We are not aware of our nature, and to jolt us awake, Dasaru begs the Lord to make him a dasa.
Sri Kanaka Dasaru says,
eneMdu koMDADi stuthisuveno dEva
nA enu balle ninna mahimegala
anurEnutrinadalli paripurNanu nInu kshana kshanage avaguNada karmi nAnu
vAni arasanapetta vaikuMTapati nInu tanu nitya ballada boMde nAnu
“How shall I glorify You, O Lord. I don’t even have an inkling of Your magnificience. You are completely full of auspiscuous attributes while I am unsteady in my karma being controlled by negative emotions. You are the father of Brahma , You are the Lord of Vaikunta while I am a doll which does not know where it is heading all the time.”
Coming back to the song , dasana mADiko enna
On a social level one can become the employee of an employer and obtain wealth and job satisfaction. But even on this level ,unless the employer agrees to employ one, there is no question of any benefits. But the Lord’s magnanity is enormous. Before even accepting us as the dasas in the true sense, He gives all the benefits like wealth , progency, good health or even knowledge. Our duty is to seek to become His dasas with a wholehearted gratitude.
You are the one with the thousand names, O Venkataramana.”
dAsana mADiko ennA sWAmi sAsira nAmada veMkaTaramaNA
sAsira nAmada veMkaTaramaNa is a beautiful address for the Lord. The word sAsira tells us of the nature of His sWAmitva(Lordliness). The word sAsira does not mean just 1000. If means thousands and thousands. It means infnite.
The purusha sukta glorifies the Lord
‘sahasra shIrshA purshaH sahasrAksha sahasrapAt”
sAsira nAma means infinite names. What is the significance of infnite names. Will not one name suffice? Why does He need infnite names ?
Here the implication of the meaning of the word’ nama’ comes to aid in understanding this concept. For a human being, name gives identity. For a person, a name is not an adjective. We use name to call and identify a person. It is temporary as existence in a body is temporary.
For the Lord the names are used to describe His infinite auspicuous attributes. It makes complete sense for Him to have thousands and thousands of names as He has infnite attributes which can never be concieved by anyone, not even Mahalakshmi who is at all places and times with Him.
Sri Jagannatha dasaru describes this in HKS 1.2’ bageya bageya nUtanava kANutha mige harushadim pogali higguve triguNamANi mahAlakumi…”
His names are permanent just as His existence is. One of His names is purAtana. He is called as ‘purAtana’ implying ‘He exists since ages and ages and ages… meaning infinite time – eternal time.
In this devaranama, Dasaru is reminding every sadhaka how he/she has to take heed of the icicha shakthi which is given by God and use it consiously. Dasaru expresses his earnest desire to be free of negative thoughts and emotions.
He says ,” O Lord please push away all the bad thoughts and decesions and make me wear the protective sheild of armour which is Your Karuna. Please grant me the opportunity to offer seva to Your lotus feet and adorn my head with the flower of fearlessness.”
durbuddigalanella biDisO ninna karUNa kavacha enna haraNakke tODisO
charaNa sEve enage koDisO abhayakara pushpavenna siradalli muDisO
The shastras are advising one to follow the bhagavatha dhrama. They are asking one to make oneself free of the doshas of the mind. These are all possible if one has the ichcha but at the same time the understanding that without the Lord’s karuna kavacha it cannot happen. Any goodness in our self is because He granted it to us. Dasaru is saying, if we seek from the Lord it should not be tainted with the feeling of acquisition once it is acquired. The eternal truth that we exist and the acquired character is in our possession is because of His karuna and not otherwise. It can be toppled at any time . If the karuna kavacha of the lord is there , then this knowledge will also be there.
The karuna kavacha instills a feeling of awe and gratitude to the towering Lord. As a flow of gratitude the jiva will next want to do the pada seva of this benovelent Lord. Doing the seva with this proper anusadhana results in fearlessness. The Lord bestows the abhaya pushpa . This pushpa is made of the petals of knowledge about God’s infinite reach and control. Its fragrance is made of the contented feeling that ensures out of security. A crude example would be the feeling of security that a babe gets while sitting on its mother’s lap.
driDAbhakthi ninnalli bEDi nAnaDigereguvenaiyyA anudinapADi
kaDegaNNile enna nODi biDuve koDu ninna dhyAnava manasuchi mADi
Dasaru continues entreating the Lord.
“ O Lord, I beg that I should have unshakable love and devotion towards You and fall at Your lotus feet extolling and revelling in Your wonderful glories. Please look at me with a glance from the corners of Your eyes and grace me by purifying my mind so that I move upwards from bodily expression of devotion to mental expression of devotion which is conteplation of Your infinite forms and glories within my limited ability.”
Here the word kaDegannilE has a special significance. It shows the supreme ease with which God creates and sustains the universe. He has no need to exert Himself . In dwAdasha stotra Srimad Acharyaru says
………sriyatkaTAksha balavathi ajitham naMAmi’
All the devathas like Brahma, Vayu, Garuda ,Sesha and Rudra and Indra and others are doing their duties in the maintainence of the world by the grace of a side glance of Sri Mahalakshmi and to that victorious Lord who bestows such power on Mahalakshmi , I offer my obeisances.” Even Mahalaskhmi does not exert herself in empowering the other devathas. She bestows a side glance. So imagine the power of the Lord who granted this power to Lakshmi devi.
The next charanam of the song.
morehokkavara kAyva birude nee enna mareyade rakshane mADaiyya poredu
duritagalella taridu srI puraMdara viTTala ennanu poredu
The first two charanams are ardent entreaties to the Lord. But in the last charanam Dasaru is conveying to the devotees that devotion is not all about just one type of emotion. The bhava of the devotee keeps changing as and when the devotee perceives the Lord in a new light. Exploring the Lord’s leelas from the puranas and itahasas one can be sure that the Lord will come to the aid of the devotee when He is entreated.There is a definite pattern. If the devotee is elibigle and earnest then the Lord will come.
Dasaru gives confidence to the seeker by taking a turn in this third charanam. He wants to assure us that wanting to become a dasa is what we have to do and after that the Lord will take over. He is giving the assurance to the devotees that this is what the Lord has done and this what He will do incessantly.
Now Dasaru stops begging. He starts talking of his rights as a devotee. He is strenghtening his case by citing that the Lord has always uplifted those who have entreated Him. Dasaru’s claim is, “You have a history of coming to the aid of those devotees who seek You earnestly. Please uplift me and protect me. Remove all the distresses and protect me O Purandara vittala.” The state of being completely free of distress is the state of moksha. That is what is the end result of becoming a dasa .
The way that Sri Hanumantha devuru identifies himself in the court of Ravana. ‘dAsOham kOsalEMdrasya’. “ I am the dAsa of the king of Kosala-Ramachandra”
We have to follow these directives given by our parama guru, then by our guru parampara and our dasa paramapara and strive to become the dasas of the Lord according to our eligibility. That is the one and only one path to be free of distress.