Friday, June 20, 2008

Purandara Dasa


muLLu koneya mElE

muLLu koneya mElE mUru kereya katti
eradu thumbadhu omdhu thumbalE illa

thumbalilladha kerege bamdharu mUvaru
oddaru ibbaru kumtaru obbage kAlE illa

kAlilladha oddage kottaru mUru emmegaLa
eradu baradu omdhakkaruvE illa

karuvilladha emmege kottaru mUru
honnugaLa eradu savakalu omdhu sallalE illa

salladhidhdha honnige bamdharu mUvaru
notagAraru ibbaru kurudaru obbage kaNNE illa

kaNNilladha notagArage kottaru mUru
UrugaLa eradu hALu omdhakke okkalE illa

okkalilladha Urige bamdharu mUvaru
kumbAraru ibbaru chomcharu obbage kayyE illa

kai illadha kumbAranu mAdidha mUru
madikegaLa eradu odaku omdhakke budavE illa

budavillada madikege hAkidharu mUru
akkikALa eradu bEyadhu omdhu bEyalE illa

bEyalilladha akkige bamdharu mUvaru
nemtaru ibbaru uNNaru obbage hasivE illa

hasive illadha nemtage kottaru mUru toNapegaLa
eradu thAkadhu omdhu thAkalE illa

thAkalilladha toNapeya thAkisi sadhgathIya
nIyabEku puramdhara viTTala rAya


“Three lakes were built on the sharp point of a thorn, out of which two ponds were dry and the third never got filled,

“Three simpletons came to the unfilled ponds, two of them were lame and the third had no legs at all,

“Three buffalos were sold to the legless simpletons, two of the buffalos were sterile and the third didn’t have any calf at all,

“Three sovereigns were paid for the buffalos, two of which were counterfeit and the third was not acceptable,

“ Three inspectors came to check the sovereigns, two of them were blind and the third did not have eyes at all,

“Three villages were given as grants to the blind inspectors, two villages were in ruins and the third was deserted,

“Three potters came to live in the villages, two of them were disabled and the third didn’t have hands at all,

“Three pots were made by the potters, two of which had holes and the third was bottomless,

“Three rice grains were cooked in the pots, two of which were spoiled rice and the third didn’t cook at all,

“Three guests arrived to eat the rice, two of them were on fast and the third was not hungry at all…”

muLLu koneya mElE mUru kereya katti
eradu thumbadhu omdhu thumbalE illa

Outer meaning: Three lakes are built on the tip of a thorn and two cannot be filled and one is not filled.

Tip of a thorn represents infinitesimally small entity.
Here it means jIva. why?

“ashvabAlAgramAdAya vibhajya shatadhA hi tat.h | punashcha shatadhA bhinnaM kiyanmAnaM bhavishyati | tAvad.hbrahmAdi\ - jIvAnAM parimANaM prakIrtitaM ||”

If one takes the tip of horse’s tail and splits into one hundred parts and takes one part and further divides into one hundred parts, that is known to be the size of the jIvas starting from Brahma.

Lake represents body. The jIva or svarUpadeha is surrounded by three bodies - anAdi linga shaIra, aniruddha deha and sthUla deha (gross body, which we all see).

The first two dehas, viz. linga deha and aniruddha deha cannot be filled with sAdhanodka (meaning not possible to accomplish sAdhana), while the gross body is needed for sAdhana. But even this is not filled because our sAdhana is not yet complete or I am not doing enough sAdhana.

“sADhana sharIravidhu nI dhayadhi kottadhdhu sADhAraNavalla sADhupriyane”

thumbalilladha kerege bamdharu mUvaru oddaru ibbaru kumtaru obbage kAlE illa

Outer meaning: For the lake that is not filled, came three stone-cutters or diggers. Two are lame and one does not have legs.

Three stone-workers are three stages that happen to the gross body - boyhood, youth and old age.

Boyhood and old age are like lame. In boyhood, one is immature and indulges in playing and fun. In old age infirmity, weakness and fatigue set in. Thus these two are hard to utilize for sAdhana. While in youth, one has lot of strength to do sAdhana, but there is no full effort or willingness to indulge fully.

Thus not having leg is like not having willingness.

kAlilladha oddage kottaru mUru emmegaLa eradu baradu omdhakkaruvE illa

Outer meaning: Three buffalos are given to the legless worker. Two are barren and one does not have calf.

The three buffalos are the three desires known as IshhaNatraya - wife, children and wealth. It is well known that when youth sets in, the three desires set in.

Wife and children are hindrances to dharmasAdhana. One may argue what if they are cooperative in dharmasAdhana.

But, still the bandha/bondage is a handicap in doing full sAdhana. Wealth need not be dharmapratibandhaka and instead it can be only dharmasAdhana. But more often than not, it is used for pleasure seeking only.

Thus its not having calf is like its not having “dharma-chitta” (transferred epithet - the person does not utilize all wealth only for dharmakAryas) .

karuvilladha emmege kottaru mUru honnugaLa eradu savakalu omdhu sallalE illa

Outer meaning: Three gold piles were given to the calfless buffalo. Two were utilized and one was never utilized.

One buys items with gold. The wealth can be spent in three ways - 1. spend in dharma mArga 2. spend in adharmamarga 3. let it rot like a miser.

One may observe that it takes the course of the last two. This is how the wealth is utilized.

The first one - dharma marga - is not utilized at all.

salladhidhdha honnige bamdharu mUvaru notagAraru ibbaru kurudaru obbage kaNNE illa

Outer meaning: For the wealth, which is not utilized in dharma mArga, came three debtors.

Two are blind and one does not have eyes.

The three debtors are the three kinds of karmas 1. Sanchita 2. AgAmi and 3. PrArabdha One does not know what the first two are and so they are like blind. One can gauge the third one as that is reflected in what happens to us all our life. Thus it is perceivable, but still one is so engrossed in materialistic pleasures, that one has no eye to see the third one also.

kaNNilladha notagArage kottaru mUru UrugaLa eradu hALu omdhakke okkalE illa

Outer meaning: Three towns are given to the eyeless debtor. Two are deserted and one does not have any inhabitants.

All the ones, who are undergoing prArabdha, are equipped with three guNa-s - sattva, rajas, tamas.

Rajas and tamas cannot lead to moksha and so they are like deserted towns. Even though sattva mArga can lead to moksha, one does not use it for that and so it is like having no inhabitants.

okkalilladha Urige bamdharu mUvaru kumbAraru ibbaru chomcharu obbage kayyE illa

Outer meaning: Three pot makers came to the town without inhabitants. Two are have crippled arms and one does not have arm.

Sattva guNa can be further sattvatamas, sattvarajas and sattvasattva. The three abhimAni devatas for these are Rudra, Brahma and Vishnu respectively.

Rudra and Brahma are not independent and so they are crippled (svatantro bhagavAn.h vishhNuH - only Lord Vishnu is independent) . Though Vishnu is independent and capable of giving us moksha, He has not relieved us from this saMsAra. Thus “not having arm/hand” is to be taken figuratively to mean not wiling to help us.

kai illadha kumbAranu mAdidha mUru madikegaLa eradu odaku omdhakke budavE illa

Outer meaning: The One unwilling to use hands, made three pots - two have holes (broken) and one does not have bottom.

Vishnu, who is has not used His hand to help us, gave three tools - knowledge, detachment and devotion. We don’t have knowledge and detachment and so they are broken. We try to have devotion, but devotion without knowledge and detachment is like a bottomless pot. Devotion must have the support of knowledge and detachment. Otherwise it is futile.

budavillada madikege hAkidharu mUru akkikALa eradu bEyadhu omdhu bEyalE illa

Outer meaning: Three rice grains were put in this bottomless pot. Two cannot get cooked and one did not get cooked at all.

The bottomless devotion has three forms which are like thee rice grains - sAttvika bhakti, Rajasika bhakti and tAmasika bhakti. Rajasika bhakti and tAmasika bhakti cannot lead us to moksha and so they cannot get cooked. sAttvika bhakti can lead us to moksha, but we are not utilizing it and so this did not get cooked at all.

bEyalilladha akkige bamdharu mUvaru nemtaru ibbaru uNNaru obbage hasivE illa

Outer meaning: Three relatives came to this uncooked grain. Two don’t eat and one is not hungry.

This sAttvika bhakti can be exercized by the three “karaNa-s” (means, known as trikaraNa-s) , viz. mind, word and body (thought, speech and action). Speech and action without thought cannot lead us to moksha. Also as body gets destroyed, the tongue and body cannot taste the moksharasa. Mind and chitj~nAna can lead us to moksha, but the jij~nAsa itself is lacking. The mind is not hungry.

hasive illadha nemtage kottaru mUru toNapegaLa eradu thAkadhu omdhu thAkalE illa

Outer meaning: This hungerless relative is given (hit with) three cudgels (punishing rods). Two can’t touch and one doesn’t touch.

The mind is put to pain by the sorrows of past, future and current births. We have no clue about the past and future births. Thus we don’t remember those pains and so they can’t touch. We experience the pain of current birth and so it certainly can have impact on us; but unfortunately, it is not having an impact on us.

thAkalilladha toNapeya thAkisi sadhgathIya nIyabEku puramdhara viTTala rAya

Outer meaning: By making the untouching cudgel touch us, Oh Purandara viTThala! please grant us moksha.

By making us realize the impact of the sorrow of current birth, Oh Purandara viTThala! guide us on the path of moksha by giving knowledge, devotion and detachment and grace us with moksha.

12 comments:

meera said...

very intense and sharp! thanks for this shyam...

Anonymous said...

A Poem with truly deep meaning. I had not seen/heard of this song of Saint Purandaradasa. The translation is also fine. Thanks for this enlightening piece. First it sounded like a very similar bunch of verses of the Yoga vasishtha that describes the emptiness of the entire samsara. But this poem of Purandaradasa brings out both the emptiness as well as the means to transcend samsara.

Regards,
subbu

Anantha Krishnan said...

Dear Shyam

Really very nice. I read this poem in Tamil in our school days andthought it is only an expression of a person doing hard work but not getting the results. But your way of explanation gives correct vision.

Thanks a LOT

Regards

S. Anantha Krishnan

Suresh Kumar said...

Downloaded this song from Kannadaaudio.com. Wanted to know the meaning and searching came here.

Thx for posting the meaning. But it is too depth. To understand it is so tough, then to follow it....

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Srinidhi said...

I was searching for the meaning of this "Daasa pada".

U really helped me to understand this one. Tone's of Thanks to you.

I don't know you are younger or elder to me. "God bless you"

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the meaning

Prashanth Hegde said...

Thank you very much Shyam.
I could not figure out the entire meaning of this song by myself. Your commentary helped me understand it.
Great thanks to you.

-Prashanth

Prashanth Hegde said...

Thank you very much Shyam. I could not figure out the entire meaning by myself. Your commentary helped me understand this song fully.
Great thanks to you.

Prashanth

Anonymous said...

I think the real meaning of the poem by Purandara Dasa, a pure devotee of Sri Vitthala, a name of Sri Krishna, has eluded the translator, who has confused pure devotional service to Krishna with the impersonal concept of Moksha or impersonal liberation into the Brahman effulgence of Lord Sri Krishna.

Milind Joshi

shivmallik said...

The punch line that our current sorrows are the keys and serve as a wake up call is revealing. ShivMallik

K.A.Harnahalli said...

I too was searching for the mystical meaning of the song. Thanks for providing the same to the full extent. Moksha in Dvaita is enjoying the intrinsic bliss by the liberated Jeeva (svaroopa ananda anubhava)in Lord's i.e.Vitthala's (which is the same thing as saying /Krishna's/ Vishnu's) presence. It is definitely not impersonal. Nor is it impersonal mergrer into Brahman, who again is none other than Vishnu calle by names such as Vitthala, Krishna, Rama etc.As such the meanong provided fully conforms to the teachings of Shri Madhva whose successor Shri Vyasateertha was Purandar Dasa's teacher.