BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, January 10, 2020: “The uniqueness of Dasa Sahitya (literature) is its universal and timeless life lessons rendered in rhythm by its proponents over the ages,” stated Raichur Sheshagiri Das, Founder, Trustee and Director of Haridas Seva International Trust Bangalore and Secretary for Shruti Sahitya Mela, Raichur, in his interview with NRI Pulse. Sheshagiri Das was in Atlanta at the Daasara Aaradhane celebrations organized by Ananthaadi Rayara Matha (RAMA), Atlanta on December 15, 2019 at the Yugal Kunj premises.
Aradhana is held every year on the anniversary of the demise of Purandara Dasa, saint and composer, considered the Pitamaha of Carnatic music. It is observed in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and primarily in Hampi, where Purandara Dasa lived and attained Samadhi (salvation).
The walls of the hall reverberated to the classical compositions of Dasa Sahitya (literature) rendered by over 120 talented participants throughout the day culminating to a celestial finale, Daasa Namana, by Sheshagiri Das accompanied on the tabla by Anjeneya Sastry.
“Our 2019 activities began with Purandara Daasara Aaradhane and concluded with Daasara Aaradhane and Daasa Namana. On behalf of RAMA we would like to thank all the participants, teachers, parents, audience and volunteers for making the events divine and memorable,” said Pradeep Vittalamurthy.
Dasa Sahitya is the literature of the Bhakti movement. Haridasas spread the didactic teachings in a musical form to reach the hearts of the common man
So, why celebrate the literature today?
Citing compositions of Dasa Sahitya “Manava janma doddadu and DuggaNi embodu Durjana sangha”, which talk about the greatness of humanity and the need to respect it, and the ill effects of chasing only after money, Sheshagiri Das stressed upon the timeless nature and underlying principles of the literature which offers life lessons relevant to present day and a better way of life with a mind free of impurities.
Hailing from the culture-rich genealogy of Sri Askihal Govinda Dasaru, known as a saint of Raichur, Das started learning Hindustani classical music early on, at age 7, earning his Vidwat. “Dasa sahitya is a gift and family tradition bestowed upon our family music is something I have learnt. I have combined the two to propagate the literature.”
Das has recorded over 500 songs for Kannada, Telugu devotional albums and released over than 100 Albums.
“Dasa Sahitya houses enormous source of knowledge. But its strength lies in the fact that it draws everyone from a child to an adult through its enticing music. The listener is initially drawn to its beguiling music and will gradually dig deeper into the philosophy.”
Having performed extensively across the world, Das says he has observed a growing interest in Dasa Sahitya among the diaspora. “I have noticed a significant increase in interest among people living outside India. And within the country it is heartening to see youth partake enthusiastically in this literature, just as the older generations did, when I started 20 years ago.” Das was on a nonstop 70-day USA trip, setting up workshops and performing across 16 cities, including Atlanta.
“In India we say Kumbhakonam is the city of temples. I was very happy to learn that Atlanta has earned the title in the U.S.,” said Das. He commended the diaspora for maintaining the culture and encouraging places of worship, adding that despite the commercial aspect, temples can flourish as long as devotees participate actively.
“Dasa Sahitya has survived through its devotees passing it on their next generations for 500 years when there was no way to record the works, even through times when other cultures overpowered them. It is my earnest desire to be able to get the youth
born and raised in the U.S. get more involved and interested in this literature, so they can pass it on to future generations,” said Das, also commending RAMA in its efforts to keep the culture alive through events such as these.