Vachanas of Basavanna

Posted on ನವೆಂಬರ್ 18, 2011. Filed under: Basavanna, Kannada Literature, Vachana Literature | ಟ್ಯಾಗ್ ಗಳು:, , , |

The saint poets of Veerashaiva literature composed thousands of ‘vachanas’ (speech/utterance),idiomatic short poems in Karnataka,South India in the 12 CAD.Devotion in metaphysical way ,social criticism denying discrimination of caste ,profession and gender ,metaphorising personal experiences ,socialising ecumenicalism -such were the paradigms we find in ‘vachana ‘literature.

BASAVANNA is considered as the protagonist of the Veerashaiva religion in Karnataka in the 12th Century.He was a social reformer ,who lead the Sharana movement in Karnataka and his vachanas blend the concept of devotion and reformation ,thereby making them very much  relevant in the contemporary society.’Koodalasangamadeva’ was the ‘ankita’ ,the signature -word of Basavanna.’Ankita ‘was a name of a personal god or deity of a  saint-poet(vachankaara),which normally appears at the end of each ‘vachana’.”Sharana’ -the one who worships and is  devoted to Shiva.

Some of the vachanas of  BASAVANNA are quoted here in translation from Kannada into English:

Source Book: ‘THE SIGN -Vachanas of 12th Century’

Editor:O.L.Nagabhushana Swamy

Translators :O.L.Nagabhushana Swamy , Laxmi Chandrashekhar , Vijaya Guttal.

Classical Kannada Texts in Translation Series,Kannada University,Hampi

Series Coordinator: Tharakeshwar  V.B.

Publisher:Kannada University,Hampi.Karnataka,India. 2007

The following vachanas are translated by Laxmi Chandrashekar and Vijaya Guttal.


Speech should be like a string of pearls

Speech should be like the  flash of a ruby

Speech should be like a bar of crystal

Speech  should make the ‘linga’ say yes yes

If you don’t act within the bounds of your words

how will you win Koodalasangamadeva’s love


If you say

welcome and how are you

will your wealth fly away?

If you say please sit down

will the ground sink?

If you make a prompt reply

will your head break?

We need not give anybody anything

if goodness is also not there

will not Koodalasangama hack your nose?


The wealthy build

temples of Shiva

Lord, what can I do

a poor man?

My legs are the column

and body itself a temple

my head the golden crest.

Listen,O lord Koodalasangama,

things fixed shall end

the moving shall stay.


Brothers bathing in streams

masters bathing in streams

give up

give up first other woman’s company

and desire for another’s wealth.

Without giving up these

merely bathing would be

like bathing in a dried up stream



What profit is it

if a parrot can read

it can not tell cat’s coming.

The eye that sees the world

cannot see its own squint.

They say they know

others’ qualities

they do not know

their own Koodalasangamadeva.



is there any religion

without compassion?

There must be

compassion for all creatures.

Compassion is the basis

of religion.

Anything otherwise

is unacceptable to



Even a particle of gold

a thread of cloth

or a grain of rice

I shall not desire for today or tomorrow.

I swear on you and your ancients

apart from your ‘sharanas’

I desire nothing

that is not for your ‘sharanas’



Is the master of the house in

or is he not?

Grass grows on the threshold

the house is filled with dust.

Is the master of the house in

or is he not?

The body is filled with lies

the mind filled with desire.

The master of the house is not in



You shall not steal

you shall not kill

you shall not lie

you shall not get angry

you shall not loathe anyone

you shall not boast

you shall not disdain anyone.

This is inner purity

this is outer purity

this is the only way

to win our lord Koodalasangamadeva.


Look lord

the power of knowledge

leads to loss of ignorance.

The power of light

leads to the loss of darkness.

The power of truth

leads to the loss of untruth.

The power of ‘parusha’  gem

leads to the loss of base metal.

Look lord

the spiritual power

of Koodalasangama’s ‘sharanas’

leads the loss of worldliness.


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10 Responses to “Vachanas of Basavanna”

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ಕನ್ನಡ ವ್ಯಾಕರಣವನ್ನು ಕುರಿತು ಜರ್ಮನ್ ಭಾಷೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ರಚನೆಯಾದ ಗ್ರಂಥ ಮತ್ತು ಬಸವಣ್ಣನ ವಚನಗಳ ಆಂಗ್ಲ ತರ್ಜುಮೆ Vachanas of Basavanna ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದೆ. ಕಳಬೇಡ ಕೊಲಬೇಡ ಹುಸಿಯ ನುಡಿಯಲುಬೇಡ.. ಈ ಮೊದಲಾದ ಸಾಲುಗಳು You shall not steal, you shall not kill. you shall not lie….ಮೊದಲಾಗಿ ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಸಹಜವಾಗಿ ಮೂಡಿಬಂದಿವೆ. ಅಭಿನಂದನೆಗಳು.

ನಂದಾವರರಿಗೆ ನಮಸ್ಕಾರ.ನಿಮ್ಮನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಕಂಡು ಸಂತೋಷ ಆಯಿತು.ಕನ್ನಡ ಭಾಷೆ ಜಾಗತಿಕ ಆಗಬೇಕು.ಕನ್ನಡ ವಚನಗಳ ಮೂಲಕ ವಿಶ್ವ ಸಂದೇಶವನ್ನು ಕೊಟ್ಟ ಬಸವಣ್ಣನವರ ಚಿಂತನೆಗಳು ವಿಶ್ವಮಾನ್ಯ ಆಗಬೇಕು.ಎಲ್ಲಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಮೊದಲಾಗಿ ಅವು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಜ ಆಗಬೇಕು.

IT’s Great see vachanas Translation in English i’m very happy to see this…and will be thankful

Am very happy at seeing these vachanas in english. I wish, his works should not limited to certain region, should spread across the globe. Appreciate the effort.. Many thanks…

please translate “chalabeku sharanange paradhanavanollenemba, chalbeku sharanange parastriyanollenemba….

Sharana must be resolute
not to desire another’s wealth.
Sharana must be resolute
not to desire another’s wife.
Sharana must be resolute
not to desire another’s gods.
Sharana must be resolute
that linga and jangama are one .
Sharana must be resolute
that grace is truth.
Koodalasangama does not love
those who are not resolute.

Wonderful Sir

vachanas are meaning full to human man kind

Basavannas vachana are very meaning full this were made to change society during those days but if we include the same thing in our life we can even change today’s society

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