After a brief hiatus, Carnatic Recommendation series is back with another brilliant compositi0n.
“Krishna Neebegane Baro” is quite popular composition, especially among Krishna devotees. The brilliance of this composition lies in the imagining Krishna in his most loved form. This composition was written by Vyasatirtha. Wiki says
He was born inBannur in and about 1460 AD in the Mysore District in what is now the modern Karnataka state. He was one of the foremost dialecticians in the history of Indian philosophy. His father Rallanna Sumati, of kashyapa gotra, was the youngest of the six sons of Ramacharya. By blessings of Brahmanya Tirtha of Channapatna Rallanna Sumati had three children born to him- a girl and two boys. The youngest was Yatiraja the future Vyasaraja swamin. the traditional thread ceremony or upanayana at age of seven, for four years afterwards, he was at his gurukula(school) whence he home at eleven. There he went through the complete course of studies in kAvya, nATaka, alaMkAra and grammar, which must have covered at least a period of five years. As per the promise made by Rallanna, he himself took his son to Channapatna and presented him to Brahmanya Tirtha and returned home. Very much impressed with the superior attainment of his ward, Brahmanya Tirtha ordained his ward Yatiraja a monk and gave him the name Vyasatirtha. Assuming that he was sixteen years old at the time of demise of his Guru (some time after the great famine of 1475-76), we may easily fix the date of birth of Vyasatirtha in or about 1460 AD. Vyasatirtha did not had any time studying much under his Guru Brahmanya. He was obliged, soon after his succession to the head of the maTHa (or Pitha), to go to Kanchi, the center of the vedic studies in South India, in those days, where he is said to have stayed for many years studying six systems of philosophy, under the most eminent pandits there. It was probably here that Vyasatirtha acquired his deep erudition in the systems of Sankara, Ramanuja, Bhatta and others. After the completion of his studies at Kanchi, he went over to the seat of Shripadaraja at Mulbhagal. There he spent many years in study and meditation. Vyasatirtha is believed to have studied for several years under Shripadaraja. [Taken from Wikipedia]
Vyasatirtha is one of the most important figures in India’s history. His disciple Purandaradasa is the one who formalized Carnatic into the currently used format. His other disciple Kanakadasa is known for his Krishna devotion. Both started a new era of Bhakti through music. The effect of this led to a wave of Krishna devotee Carnatic composers. One of the most important implications of Vyasatirtha’s work is establishment of Dvaita philosophy as a logical conclusion by indulging into Nyaya (Logic) theory. This time would have been the most important period in Bhakti movement which bases itself on Dvaita philosophy. To top it all, Vyasatirtha was of the time of Sri Krishna Devaraya, which goes on again to prove that brilliant scholars can be produced only under leadership of able leaders like the Rayas. The wave of philosophical output during Raya reign is absolutely amazing. Vyasatirtha, Purandaradasa, Kanakadasa, Madhvacharya, Jayatirtha and others are glowing examples of the same. In fact, one would expect works of such scholars to be part of compulsory course curriculum in every High School syllabus, but unfortunately, it is not the case.
Now to the composition. Vyasatirtha is calling out Krishna to come to him soon. Listen to this superb rendition by Jesudas
Heres a nice line
taayige baayalli jagavannu thorida
jagadhOdhaaraka namma uDupi shree krishna
The who showed the universe to his mother in his mouth. The one who takes care of the world, my Udupi Sri Krishna.
Notice that Vyasatirtha calls Krishna “Jagadodharaka” and “my Krishna” at a time. There is certain intimacy that every devotee is encouraged to maintain with his God. This is a very peculiar feature in Hindu culture. This intimacy is so deep that Thyagaraja writes “Rama raa raa maa inti daka” in which he refers to Rama in ekavachanam (singular) which is normally not accepted even with elders in a Hindu household. The same intimacy makes Sri Ramadasu cry out “evadabba sommani kulukuthu tirigedavu”. Of course he immediately says “debbalakorvaka, tittitinayya”. But the point is about that intimacy with God. Scholars tells us that this is a feature only in Hindu culture.
Listen to this superb rendition of the same composition by Maharajapuram Santhanam
It is generally argued that Vyasatirtha’s work also affected his contemporaries like Chatinya Prabhu of Bhakti movement. ISKCON which is an offspring of the same movement resulted in many foreigners getting attracted to Krishna and his all pervasive brilliance. One person who is well known in this respect is Jon Higgins. Here is Jon Higgins with the same composition.
Finally, here is K S Chithra’s rendition of the same composition