Monday, November 8, 2010

Recent publications

Section – 5
Recent Publications

This is a unique publication on the research done by the author on the works, especially the kirtanas composed by Kanakadasa, a chieftain in the Vijayanagara Kingdom, who turned into a mystic saint and social reformer.
The book has dwelt at length on the three-phase transformation of Kanakadasa into a great Vaishanava saint of the Dwaita genre, through his innumerable kirtanas. Earlier, he had undergone spiritual experience in Veerashaivism and Vishistadwaita which had already flourished in Karnataka.
Honoured with the Padmashri,Govindacharya has succeeded in bringing out the mystic poet that Kanaka was. The publication has acknowledged the rich contribution of Kanakadasa (a Kuruba by caste) to Kannada literature by equating his works to that of an Upanishad, because of the importance he gave for the uplift of the soul rather than material benefits. "Kanakopanishat" is replete with examples of how the saint had gone in search of truth even as he tried out the 14-line sonnet written on the Dashavataras.
The book throws light on many kirtanas of Kanakadasa, Some of them were unknown till recently. Simultaneously the author rejects many, saying that they were not written by him. Taking a critical view of a song which was attributed to him, the author says it distorts history. The song narrates how presiding deity Lord Krishna at Udupi turned westwards after he completes his song explaining his plight of not being allowed to see Him. The author, a native of Udupi quotes works of Surothama Teertha, saint and brother of Vadiraja Teertha, saying that Acharya Madhwa installed the idol facing west and not eastwards as it was made out in the song. The song is not authored by Kanakadasa, but became famous thanks to a Kannada film, after the legendary saint.

The book throws light on his scholarship in the Vedas, the Upanishads and the epics whose essence he used in his songs, endearing him even to the elite class. Govindacharya is unhappy over distortion in deciphering Kanakadasa's Mundiges, a rare song genre ( a form of puzzles). Unless one has the knowledge of the Dwaita philosophy and the context in which Dasaru had employed them in his kritis, it is difficult to understand them. The mind ofthe poet cannot be understood by a mere literary exercise as it contains deep philosophy. 


A critical interpretation of the
devotional songs and puzzles of
Kanakadasa by
Bannanje Govindacharya

Published by
Samshodhana Peetha

Rashtrakavi Govinda Pai
Samshodhana Kendra
Udupi 2008

Pages 6+222

Price  Rs. 150

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