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We all know that the 15th century Ascended Master Purandara Dasa as the Grandfather of Carnatic music for his immense contribution along with the discovery of Mayamalavagaula Raga. His genius gave birth to as many as three hundred thousand kritis. His yester-name was Srinivasa Nayaka, hails from a diamond merchant’s family. Despite his struggles, he’s blessed with immense material wealth; he became a successful businessman in his field! But how did he become Purandara, the master of music?

Being know as a wealthy icon in the town, one day, a Brahmin approached Srinivasa and asked him to give a large amount of money as he wanted to celebrate his son’s Upanayana event grandly! Srinivasa said that he’d only lend money but not simply give it as a donation as he’s a businessman. So the Brahmin had to leave, but not without a promise. Srinivasa’s wife observed their conversation and felt so annoyed over her husband’s attitude. So she called the Brahmin back and gave him her nose ring which was a wedding gift of Srinivasa. She told the Brahmin to show her husband this ring and ask for money. As the Brahmin did the same, Srinivasa got enraged and brought the ring back to his wife and enquired the reason for her action. She was so disappointed towards her husband that she’s afraid that he’s become greedy as other businessmen. She threatened him that she’d drink poison, but in the cup, the poison turned into the nose ring instead, which made the couple astounded at once.

Then the Brahmin appeared at their doorway. He said that “If a human can realize his/her own divinity, their God within can manifest any form of wealth they desire. So who’re you to give or not to give?” and he disappeared straight away into thin air! That made Srinivasa realize what actually the God is! Then he began the journey of enlightenment and got initiation from Saint Vyasatirtha. Thus, he chose music as a vehicle of practice, after a decade, he emerged as Purandara Dasa! He travelled extensively throughout south India and sang many krithis in the court of Vijayanagar Empire.

-Viswanath Venkat Dasari.

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