Kannada vacanas

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun May 10 15:46:19 UTC 1998

S Krishna <mahadevasiva at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>2. I find that the signature of the poets in the vacanas is seldom
>own name, but the name of a God to whom the poem has been
>dedicated..i.e. basavEzvara uses "kUDala sangamEzvara!" mahAdEviyakka
>uses "cennamallikArjuna", dasimaiya uses "O rAmanAtha!"...is there any
>special reason for this?

My guess is that this is a reference to Siva-rAmanAtha at a little known
rAmakshetra in northern Karnataka, not to rAmanAtha at the Setu. If I
remember right, this rAmakshetra is the site of an old battlefield, on
the Tungabhadra. Some of the Calukya-Cola battles were fought here.

>At a subsequent stage, we find that many of
>the signatures of poets belonging to the "dAsakUTa" school are largely
>their own names i.e. purandAra dAsa uses "purandara viTThala", viTThala
>dAsa uses "vijaya viTThala dasa" etc( though kanakadAsa
>uses "kAginEle kEzava" which is closer to the style of the vIrazaiva
>school than the dAsakUTa)..What is the reason for the stylistic change?

Well, the vIraSaiva poets refer to specific temples of Siva. The
situation is not very different with the dAsakUTa poets, and it is not
really a stylistic change within Kannada poetry. Each name has strong
geographical connotations, e.g. Pandharpur, Hampi. The dAsas take their
names after the particular temple/form of vishNu to which/whom they
relate their dAsa-hood. Rather than putting their own names into their
songs, they have changed their names to reflect their religious
sentiment. In each case, the song carries only the name of the God the
poet regards as his/her own.


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