| Purandara Dasa (1484-1564)
Purandara Dasa is known as Grand Sire (Pitamaha) of Karnatic muasic. His parents named him as Srinivasa Nayaka. At the age of 30 years he realized the futility of material wealth and greed and abandoned his fascination for wealth. Spiritual wisdom dawned on him. He travelled extensively in Karnataka visiting many holy places. He became disciple of Sage Vyasa Teertha and there after he was called Purandara Dasa. During his pilgrimage he sang soul stirring songs known as 'Devaranamas' in praise of Lord Hari also known as Vitthala.
Purandara Dasa systematized the learning of Karnatic music. He composed many Alankarams, Pillari Geetams, Swarajatis etc. He emphasized the importance of Raga, Laya and also Bhava. His lyrics are full of devotion to Lord Vitthala. He also rendered Padas depicting evils and dogmas existing in the society in simple Kannada language. Unfortunately, only about 700 compositions out of lakhs of Padas are available now.
Hindusthani Music also is influenced by his scholarly expositions. Swami Haridas the Guru of great musician Tansen was his follower. A few Tyagaraja's compositions also bear the influence of his lyrics. Doyens of classical music Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, M.S. Subbulakshmi, M.L. Vasantakumari and many other artistes enthrall their audiences by rendering spiritual Devaranamas like Bhagyada lakshmee baramma, Jagadoddharana, Venkatachala nilayam etc. Purandara Dasa's lilting songs, describing the childhood of Krishna remain on the tongues of mothers in South India.