Chenna Basava’s Vachanas


Sr #VachanasSr #Vachanas
1There has spread the moss of ignorance
On the ocean of knowledge sweet as nectar;
It will not recede unless pushed back
By him who wishes to drink water,
Nor does it cease to spread again. 1
2As water freezes into hailstone
And liquid ghee into solid ghee,
The great Linga, the Supreme Light divine
Transforms Itself for the good of the world
Into Guru, Linga and Jangama. 1
3As a small seed contains a big tree,
As a glass on the palm shows
the images of elephants and mountains,
The Supreme Shivalinga,
with a noble desire to redeem
all his true votaries,
Has come to assume the form of Linga 1
4"At the touch of the Guru-bull
The devotee-cow becomes the mother,
The Linga is the calf, the body is the udder,
The mind itself is pure milk." 1
5What if a bullock is born of a cow?
He is not Basava without Linga's stamp.
What if an embryo grows in a Jangama's womb?
He is not Jangama without initiation.
If he goes to gargle water
Without initiation among devotees,
It's like a stray dog's pissing on a tree trunk!"
"Can calves born of a street bull
And stray cattle become Basavas,
Unless they receive Linga's stamp?
The devotees' children can't become devotees
Unless the Guru bestows the Linga on them." 1
6The Guru and the disciple should be
Like light hidden in light,
Like an image hidden in a mirror,
Like a pearl hidden in a crystal cube,
Like the heart of body's shadow
Like holding mirror to mirror. 1
7Sir, can a white ant eat a diamond?
Sir, can a serpent sting a bag of gunpowder?
Sir, can a dog sleep on a burning oven? 1
8As gold doesn't know its value
And jaggery its sweetness,
As stone lies hidden in warer,
And fragrance in a flower,
As camphor is concealed in fire,
So is he who is in Mahalinga,
Knowing not, identified with Linga 1
9When the lightning comes,
We should be ready to use it for our experiment.
And we should lose no time to make use
Of the rainbow when it shines in the sky.
Wasting no time, all at once
We must use the mystic speech
When the mystics talk with an open mind.
Self-will'd are the Sharanas
Who are one with Lord Kudala-channasanga 1
10If the alchemic stone touches a dog of iron
Will it turn into alchemic dog?
At best it will be a golden dog.
If you try to convert a man of the world
Into a devotee of Shiva,
Only the change of dress can be seen in him
But not of his heart and soul.
So, O Lord Kudal Channasanga,
Do you expect me to regard
The anointed worldlings as true devotees? 1
11What if an ass becomes a bhakta,
Can it give up eating dirt?
What if a cat becomes a bhakta,
Can it stop eating rats?
What if a pig becomes a bhakta,
Will it not eat night-soil?
What if a dog becomes a bhakta,
Can it stop eating stale meat? 1
12What if a tick clings to the udder
Does it know the taste of milk?
What if a bug hugs the body,
Does it ever know the pleasures
Springing from feminine company?
However tall a mule be,
Can it ever become a horse?
Why, to the lustful, talks of truth?
Why, to the worldlings, Shiva's company?
Why, to an owl, an emerald temple?
Could a landlord's charmaid ever
Dare to swear by her husband?
Can men of loose conduct,
Who descend to deep bell,
Worshipping all low deities,
Imbibe Shiva's discipline? 1
13Just as a sparrow foolishly
Thinks the nest of his neighbour to be his,
The fool thinks that all gold
Woman and land are his 1
14A king's devotion was doom'd
through pride,
A village watchman's was lost
in the tip of his sword
A merchant's in the neck of a measure
A goldsmith's melted in an oven,
A puritan's drowned in deep doubts,
A magician's in shivering fright,
A vow-keeper's in the business of life 1
15A charmaid's friendship
Sets one to fetch water and
carry dust and dung;
Friendship with a harlot
Makes one eat orts 1
16What if you pour sweet water,
Can you make the banyan sweet?
What if you anoint onion with musk
Can you remove its nauseating smell?
What if you squeeze a raw fruit,
Can its juice match that of a ripe one? 1
17Six leaves in a washerman,
And eight leaves in a merchant;
It grew into a plant in an adulterer
It grew into a tree in a drunkard,
And into a massive tree in a gambler;
It blossomed in an acrobat
And bore fruit in a goldsmith;
While growing ripe in a harlot,
It reached the dropping point in a king 1
18People say that water
cleanses the world's impurity;
Then what can purify water?
By mantric words it becomes pure.
What kind of a Jangama is he
Who wanders with Linga on him
Like crores of vachanas being tied to a tree?
He is no Jangama at all.
Look, how the dogs bark
As freely as they like,
Boasting before all people,
Calling themselve true Prasadis.
Does our Lord Kudala Channasanga
Like those greedy dogs who do
As the herd from a famine-hit land,
Who waiting always for a second helping,
Asks for more and more food
And waste all, eating little. 1
19What more remains there
When speech spits out the swallowed ruby,
Light spits out hidden darkness
And the servant spits out his master
whom he has devoured?
There is in this communion
Sorrow without pain,
Meeting without resisting,
And rising without setting 1
20When gross darkness dwells in the mind,
How can a curtain conceal it?
If one steals the golden mountain
And tries to hide it under the earth,
Can it remain undetected?
O Kudala Channasanga's devotee,
Can you hide the bliss born
Of merging in our Lord Prabhu 1
21My daily worship
consists of The offering of a fresh flower
And the waiving of a burning lamp,
Before its beauty fades away
And its halo is blurred
And its flame is put out.
Learning, at the time of dinner,
The inner wish of the Linga
I offer daily dish
Made of the milk of Meru cow
O Kudala Channasanga Lord! 1
22Basava himself is an archer
With an arrow of fresh devotion.
He aimed a shot straight at Linga,
Which, piercing the womb of a child,
Revealed visions of new worlds;
The hunter Basava approached
'The child Kudala Channasanga,
And, bathing him in sacred ash,
Worshipped the Linga with devotion 1
23To the bow of conduct is tied
The string of right thought;
By treading on the bow of equality,
He produced a clang of harmony;
When fixing the arrow of disciple,
The Master Hunter aimed a shot
Straight at the absolute Linga.
It merged into the Linga, tail and all,
Without leaving any mark outside.
Is it possible to find both
The arrow and the target in you,
O Kudala Channasanga Lord? 1
24Look, the body is Shiva's abode.
The navel is His lotus seat,
The Lord of Life who is riding knowledge
Is the God there.
There are nine attendants,
The master is the Lord of the Swan,
Forsaking his duties of
Worshipping the temple God,
He merged in the Linga itself.
O Kudala Channasanga Lord,
Being one with Himself
He is now carefree. 1
25Dressed in the cloak of equality,
With the cap of conscience on,
Stepping into the shoes of passion,
Without falling into the pit of darkness,
Without being stung by the scorpion of pride,
Without stumbling over the log
Of renunciation on the way,
Asking earnestly for alms,
Basavanna came to Kappadi,
O Lord Kudala Channasanga. 1
26Cutting the trees of hunger, thirst
And passion with the axe of pleasure
Heaped together, chopping all
Pride, desire, anger, greed,
And lust and jealousy;
Clearing the plants of the five senses,
Six sins, seven elements,
And eight kinds of insolence,
He started with the bundle of
Seven bonds on his back,
Riding the horse of lust, desire, jealousy,
This great man chased
The cattle of anxiety. 1



Sr #`Reference
1[1] Dr. R. G. Hiremath, M. A., Phd. Vice-Chancellor, "SHRI CHANNABASAVESHVARA, Life and Philosophy", 1978, Karnatak University, Dharwad