Sri Guru Dasa (16th century AD) was a great saint, poet, dancer and musician and composer from Karnataka. He is well known for his honey-dipped songs which were written and sung by him in praise of Lord Hari, and he has written various spiritual articles in the Kannada language like Sri Narasimha Prahalada Divyanubhava, Sri Krishnavenugana, Sri Krishnagopika Darshanam, Sri Ramamirtham and Sri Krishna Leela.
Rajagopala was his original name and he was a small king at a village in the present day Karnataka. He was a great warrior and he has won in many battles through the grace of his beloved Lord Hari. GuruDasa was well educated and well trained in war fare, and he was also an able administrator. Once he was ordered by Lord Hari, to leave his profession, and to devote himself to spirituality. As per the words of Sri Gurudasa, a person is capable to attain salvation, once he eliminates his ego, and treats all the people as alike. He is regarded as an aspect of Lord Chitragupta, the divine accountant, who serves under the death god, Sri Yamadeva, in the Yamaloka.
Gurudasa came to Udupi, as per the request of Sri Vyasaraja, who is also called as Sri Vyasatirtha Swamiji of Vyasaraja Mutt. Sri Vyasaraja was the incarnation of our great Bhagavata, Sri Prahalada. Gurudasa’s devotion to Lord Vishnu is very great, and his great writing shows that Hari Bhakti is one of the daily and essential activities of a common man. He became a follower of Vyasaraja who gave him the sainthood name as Gurudasa. His writings include several social issues in addition to devotional aspect. Guru Dasa was very stubborn in opposing the caste discrimination which was very much prevalent during those days.
The deity he worshiped was Lord Udupi Krishna. In addition of being a poet, Gurudasa made extreme effort towards uplifting the lower class people. He effectively used music to convey his philosophy. He is one of the greatest musicians, composers, poets, social reformers, philosophers and saints that India had ever seen before.
He is the one, who acts as a messenger to god.
His dance is very popular during those days, and during his dance performances, he would forget about himself, joyful tears would flow from his eyes, and his mouth would keep uttering the divine word, “KRISHNA”, “KESAVA”,” KARUNASAGARA”,“KANNA”, “MUKUNTA”, “GOPALA”. “MURARI”, “MADHAVA”.
He is the one, who is very much liked by his Guru Sri Vyasaraja and by Lord Hari himself!
He is the one, who would be present before us within a fraction of a second to remove our troubles and turmoil, based on our sincere faith and bhakti.
He is the greatest among the Bhagavatas like Sri Purandara dasa and Sri Kanakadasa who were lived during his period.
His divine music can be compared with that of Sri Narada’s and Tumburu’s!
It is also believed that his divine music was eagerly watched even by the birds, animals and tiny insects like ants!
Sri Gurudasa had got the direct darshan of Lord Krishna for several times during his life time.
Let us pray to Sri Gurudasa, with pure devotion and chant his Name forever in our life.
‘OM SREE GURUDASARE NAMAHA’.