Archive for January 12th, 2023

Bhaganna Becomes Gopala Dasaru – Part 2

P.S: Gopala Dasara Aaradhane – Jan 14th Saturday USA, Jan 15th India

Part 1 in case you missed :

Gopala dasaru’s first name was Bhaganna, popularly known as ‘Bhaktana in Bhakti‘, there is not much information about the life of Gopaladasaru. The only reliable source is ‘Gopala Vithalara Charitara Pada‘ written by Gopala dasaru’s brother Ranga dasaru. A few things are also known from the works of Gopala dasaru. Along with these, the popular stories about Gopaladasru can be checked.

Gopaladasaru  was born in 1721 at Masarukalli in Devadurga Taluk of Raichur District. His father was Murari, his mother Venkamma, his grandfather – Mudgallappa, Bhaganna was the eldest, and he had three brothers namely Dasappa, Sheenappa and Rangappa. They also belong to Dasakuta. They were an ordinary farmer family. His ancestors were not versed in Shastras or puranas. 

After the death of his father, Murari’s property was dissolved. Mother Venkamma brought the children to Sankapur as life became difficult. He came to Uttanoor after seven years. An abandoned hut outside the town became their abode. Venkamma used to go from house to house begging and raising children. She prayed to the teachers of that town and educated her children. Bhaganna’s Upanayana took place with the son of Shanubhoga Gundappa of Sankapur. Sermons, agnikarya, gayatri mantras were all held. People were surprised to see that Bhaganna, who was like a normal child before, was acting like a learned  miracle man.

A significant change took place in Bhaganna’s life after seeing Vijaya dasaru. It was Bhaganna who received initiation from Vijaya dasaru and got the title ‘Gopala Vithala‘ and became Gopala dasa. There is a record in Chippagiri about the year when the inscription was granted. According to it ‘Kshayanama Samvatsara Margashira Shuddha Tayodashi Friday Ashwini Nakshatra Hanumanteva Vrata Sangam Kalavu’ means AD. In 1746 Gopaladasari was given an inscription.

After this Gopaladasa started composing hundreds of songs, ugabhoga’s and suladis. Later he also initiated his brothers. Dasappa, Seenappa, Rangappa got the titles ‘Gurugopal’, ‘Varadagopal’ and ‘Tande Gopala’ respectively. Thus, not only Gopaladasa but also his three brothers contributed to Haridasa literature Important point.

To be continued ……

Gopala Dasaru and his Disciples – Part 3

All details about Sri Gopala Dasaru and his compositions :

Makara Sankranthi – Jan 14 and 15 2023

The 2nd week of January is the festival “Makara Sankranthi”.

This year it is on 14th, which is a Saturday here in USA. And it is celebrated 15th Sunday in India.

P.S: Please check your local calendars and temples to see the exact date.

Makara Sankranthi is a widely celebrated festival in different parts of India.  On this day,  Lord Surya or Sun is worshiped.  It is also celebrated as a harvest festival in many parts of India. On this day, Sun begins his journey to the Northern Hemisphere, most commonly called as Uttharayana.  As with all other festivals, this festival also has many legends, two such commonly told legends are:

1. Lord Surya or Sun visits Shani on this day.

2. Bheeshma Pithamaha, who was able to choose when he will die, chose this day to end his life.

The house is cleaned, and decorated with fresh green mango leaves tied as thorana to the front door. Beautiful, and colorful rangoli is drawn at the front of the house.  After performing the pooja, yellu(Sesame seeds) and Bella(Jaggery) is offered to God. Usually it is prepared by mixing Till, finely chopped Jaggery, roasted groundnuts cut into small peices, with finely chopped dried coconut, and Putani, also called as Hurigadale.

I use the following proportion to prepare the yellu:

* 1/2 cup Yellu or Sesame Seeds
* 1 cup Groundnuts or peanuts ( Fried, skin removed and cut into half)
* 1 cup Dhalia or hurigadale
* 1 cup finely chopped dry coconut
* 1 cup Jaggery, finely chopped

Usually the Sesame seeds are cleaned, washed and dried. Later, they are fried. I skip this step, and just fry the Sesame seeds for a few minutes.

Next, grate the black portion of the dry coconut. Chop them into squares as shown in the above picture. Chop the Jaggery also and make sure they are dry. My mom used to keep it in the sun for a few days.

Mix, all the ingredients together. Distribute to your family and friends. If all the ingredients are dry, it will stay for months.

Here is the recipe for Yellu Unde/Burfi:


  1. Sesame Seeds/Yellu – 1 cup
  2. Peanuts – 1 cup
  3. Dhalia – 1 cup
  4. Jaggery – 2cups
  5. Grated Coconut – 2 tsp
  6. 7-8 cardamom – ground finely
  7. 2 tsp Oil or Ghee(I never use Ghee)


  • Fry the Sesame seeds for 4-5 minutes. Take out in a plate.
  • In a pan, heat oil or ghee. Now add the jaggery. Add just enough water so that the Jaggery dissolves.
  • Keep stirring for almost 9-10 minutes until the jaggery starts leaving the sides.
  • Next, add peanuts, sesame seeds, dhalia and mix well. Let it continue on the stove top for another 3-4 minutes. Add in the cardamom as well.
  • Turn off the stove. Grease a tray, and pour the mixture. Let it cool a little bit.
  • Cut squares. ANd the left over, was formed to a round shape.
  • Finally garnish with grated coconut.

I called it Yellu Burfi, and everyone called it Sesame Squares.

Most dishes prepared during this day are made out of Yellu or Sesame seeds and Rice. It is also tradition to prepare Sweet and Khara Pongal during this festival. The recipes are posted here in the blog and are attached below for your convenience:

If you wish to cook elaborate dishes during Sankranthi, many authentic recipes are posted here:

And you can find various Rangoli designs here:

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