The Haridasa philosophical movement served an enormously important purpose in India, especially Southern India, during the thirteenth through seventeenth centuries C.E. Prior to that, two devotion movements, Hindu saints wandered the land teaching Haridasa in the dialect of the people, the Veerashaiva movement in the twelfth century and the Alvar saints during the tenth century, set the foundation for the movement. Haridasa originated in Karnataka, in the southwestern region of India.
The Haridasa's peak of influence during the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries came just before Islam had made powerful inroads in the northern regions of India. The Mughals conquered India, except the southern area where the Haridasa movement had become powerful. It might not be too much to say that the Haridasa revitalization movement provided Hinduism in south India the vitality needed to resist and survive the rising tide of Islam in India.
The founders of the Haridasa movement shared a common goal. They sought to teach the Hindu doctrine of bhakti (Hari bhakti) to the common people, to all people. Their campaign to spread Hinduism through Hari bhakti during the thirteenth through seventeenth centuries, the time of the Vijayanagara Empire, provided tremendous dividends for the Indian people. Hindu philosophers like Sripadaraya, Vyasathirtha, Vadirajatirtha, Purandara Dasa, and Kanaka Dasa played a leading role in propagating Haridasa using the Kannada language. That elevated the use of the Kannada language.
Some Haridasa saints wandered as bards, singing stories to convey their message. In that endeavor, they gave birth to Kannada literature and Carnatic music. They sought to use the language of the people to spread the ideas of bhakti through songs, literature, art, and philosophy. Incidentally, they conveyed other grand Hindu concepts to the common people, including consciousness (jnana), ethics and the fundamentals of Hinduism. Their work created a renaissance of Hindu culture during the same time as the Renaissance in Europe, a renaissance that had a profound impact on Indian civilization in Southern India.