Kanaka Dasa was a poet, philosopher, musician and a composer from modern Karnataka.He belongs to the tradition of Haridasa literary movement which prospered in an era of devotional literature in Karnataka. Purandaradasa and Kanakadasa are the foremost among Haridasas. Apart from conveying dualism tenets, they preached kindness and equanimity in a world full of sorrows. They condemned superstitions, hollow rituals and upheld virtues of a pious life. He is well known for his Kirtanes and Ugabhoga compositions in the Kannada language for Carnatic music.He often used colloquial language for his compositions. He was a disciple of Vyasathirtha and a follower of Dwaita philosophy propounded by Madhvacharya. His writings has an intimate touch that identifies the reader with the poet himself.
His real name was Thimmappa Nayaka and he belonged to chieftain Kuruba family of Kaginele in Haveri district. He was born at Baada village. Kanaka Dasa was well educated and capable of analyzing the society microscopically. He used to travel to many places to gain more knowledge. However he had maintained a balanced secular view. He authored poetries such as Narasimha stotra, Ramadhyana Mantra, and Mohanatarangini at a young age.He was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. His Ramadhanya Charite is a poetic expression of the problems between rich and poor classes .He joined Haridasa movement and became a follower of Vyasaraja ,who named him as Kanakadasa. His kirthis exposed the futility of external rituals.His compositions addressed social issues. He was very fierce in criticizing evils of society such as superiority in caste system.According to him all humans are same.
Some of his major works :
- Kanakadasa wrote about two hundred forty Karnataka Music compositions which includes Kirtane, Ugabhogas, Padas and Mundiges or philosophical songs.His compositions are published in different languages.