Birth anniversary of Saint Kanakadasa is celebrated as Kanakadasa Jayanti in Karnataka. Kanakadasa was a Great Bhakti poet, philosopher, musician, social reformer and a composer. Kankadasa belonged to the tradition of Haridasa literary movement and propagated Dwaita philosophy to masses through bhakti movement in Karnataka.
Kanakadasa Life history
Kanakadasa lived between 1509–1609 and was born to Biregowda and Beechamma at Bada village. He belonged to the Kuruba Gowda community. His birth name was Thimmappa Nayaka and he was chieftain and had hands on experiences of wars and administration. He was a devotee of the God Adikeshava whose temple is found even today in Kaginele the native place of Kanakadasa. He came to be called as Kanaka Nayaka after a treasure was found by him. It is believed that his defeat in the battle led him in the path of devotion.
He was a great disciple of Vyasarja who gave him the name Kanakadasa. The songs of Kanakadasa dealt with every aspect of life and often raised a strong voice against the inequality caused by the caste system. He is known for his Kirtanes and Ugabhoga compositions in the Kannada language for Karnataka Music. He wrote about two hundred songs which include kirtans, padas and philosophical songs besides five major works. Some of his major compositions are Nalacharitre, Haribhaktisara (core of Krishna devotion), Nrisimhastava, Ramadhanyacharite and an epic Mohanatarangini (Krishna-river). His compositions have not only the devotional aspect but also carry a message for social reformation. He put great effort in reforming the lower castes by weaning them away from ignorance, superstition and barbaric practices.
Legend has it that Kanakadasa was denied entry into the Udupi Sri Krishna temple because of his low cast. Kanakadasa stood to a west of the deity and started singing praise of Shri Krishna and burst in tears of song appealing to the Lord to give darshan. Pleased by the worship of Kanakadasa a small hole was created in the back wall of the temple and the idol turned west to face the hole so that Kanakadasa could see the lord. This hole came to be known as KanakanaKindi and is present even today in the temple.
How is Kanakadasa Jayanthi Celebrated?
Kanakadasa Jayanti is celebrated throughout the state with great devotional fervour and gaiety. All the government offices, schools and colleges around the state celebrate the birth anniversary of Shri Kanaka Dasa with great enthusiasm and pay tribute to this poet and a social reformer. On this day colourful processions are taken out and various cultural programmes are organised. Special celebrations are also held in Shri Krishna Mutt in Udupi which has special significance in Kanaksdasa’s life.