Best of Basavanna Vachana in English | Translation from Kannada

Best of Basavanna Vachana with Meanings in English

Basavanna was the progenitor of the Lingayat tradition within Shavism – Veershaivism. It is an independent egalitarian movement that sourced its inspiration from the larger and much older frameworks of Bhakti traditions in South India. This page has best picks of Basavanna Vachana in English language.

This Veerashaivam revolution was as much social as it was spiritual, and along with Brahminical rituals that dominated the Hindu ways of devotion then, also sought to do away with the prevailing attitudes of social discrimination on gender and caste lines.

At the core of the Lingayat philosophy of life is the continuous practice of single-minded devotion to Shiva,  and the doctrine of “Kāyakavē Kailāsa” which means “to work [Kayakave] is to be in the Lord’s Kingdom [Kailasa]”. 

Vachana Literature in Kannada

Vachanas (literally, that which is said) form the backbone of the Veershaiva religious canon. Though this genre of poetry predates the inception of Veershaivism itself, it does owe most of its flourish to the works of Lingayat saints such as Allama Prabhu, Akka Mahadevi, Basavanna and Dasimayya.

Vachanas are written in Kannada of the common folk. The Vachanas are free verse poems that reject any pretence of a metre for their lines or the stanza form for the verses. This makes them seem refreshingly modernist in nature. Both of these innovations together allow for a high degree of originality and spontaneity that is not very easy to miss.

Best of Basavanna Vachana in English Meaning

Basavanna Vachana in English

ಚಕೋರಂಗೆ ಚಂದ್ರಮನ ಬೆಳಕಿನ ಚಿಂತೆ
ಅಂಬುಜಕೆ ಭಾನುವಿನ ಉದಯದ ಚಿಂತೆ
ಭ್ರಮರಂಗೆ ಪರಿಮಳದ ಬಂಡುಂಬ ಚಿಂತೆ
ಎನಗೆ ಎನ್ನ ಕೂಡಲಸಂಗಮದೇವನ ನೆನೆವುದೆ ಚಿಂತೆ!

The partridge bird
worries about moonlight
The lotus flower
worries about the sunrise
The bee only worries
about drinking fragrant nector
My only worry is to be
reminiscing about you
Oh my lord of kUDala sangama!


Lord Shiva loves devotion

ನಾದಪ್ರಿಯ ಶಿವನೆಂಬರು ನಾದಪ್ರಿಯ ಶಿವನಲ್ಲ
ವೇದಪ್ರಿಯ ಶಿವನೆಂಬರು ವೇದಪ್ರಿಯ ಶಿವನಲ್ಲ
ನಾದವ ಮಾಡಿದ ರಾವಣಂಗೆ ಅರೆಯಾಯುಷವಾಯ್ತು
ವೇದವನೋದಿದ ಬ್ರಹ್ಮನ ಶಿರಹೋಯ್ತು
ನಾದಪ್ರಿಯನೂ ಅಲ್ಲ ವೇದಪ್ರಿಯನೂ ಅಲ್ಲ
ಭಕ್ತಿಪ್ರಿಯ ನಮ್ಮ ಕೂಡಲಸಂಗಮದೇವ!

They say Shiva loves music;
No, he doesn’t.
They say Shiva loves the learned;
No, He doesn’t.
Ravana, who made wonderful music
did not lead a full life.
Brahma, who learnt all the Vedas,
had to lose his head.
Neither is he fond of music
Nor is he fond of the Vedas
Our good lord of kUDala sangama,
is fond of devotion!


Rich will construct temples but what poor can offer?

ಉಳ್ಳವರು ಶಿವಾಲಯವ ಮಾಡುವರು
ನಾನೇನು ಮಾಡಲಿ ಬಡವನಯ್ಯ?
ಎನ್ನ ಕಾಲೇ ಕಂಬ ದೇಹವೆ ದೇಗುಲ
ಶಿರವೇ ಹೊನ್ನ ಕಳಸವಯ್ಯ!
ಕೂಡಲಸಂಗಮ ದೇವ ಕೇಳಯ್ಯ
ಸ್ಥಾವರಕ್ಕಳಿವುಂಟು ಜಂಗಮಕ್ಕಳಿವಿಲ್ಲ!

Rich build temples for Shiva
What can I, a poor man, do?
My legs are pillars
My body is the temple
My head makes the golden cupola
Oh, Lord of kUDala sangama
The standing will perish
The moving will stay on.


Offering body to play ragas

ಎನ್ನ ಕಾಯವ ದಂಡಿಗೆಯ ಮಾಡಯ್ಯ
ಎನ್ನ ಶಿರವ ಸೋರೆಯ ಮಾಡಯ್ಯ
ಎನ್ನ ನರಗಳ ತಂತಿಯ ಮಾಡಯ್ಯ
ಬತ್ತೀಸ ರಾಗವ ಹಾಡಯ್ಯ
ಉರದಲೊತ್ತಿ ಬಾರಿಸು ಕೂಡಲಸಂಗಮದೇವ!

Make my body the fretboard,
Make my head resonator
Make my nerves into the strings
Sing thirtytwo rAgas
Play intensely, Oh koodalasangama dEva*!


Purity, way to win god

ಕಳಬೇಡ, ಕೊಲಬೇಡ, ಹುಸಿಯ ನುಡಿಯಲು ಬೇಡ,
ಮುನಿಯಬೇಡ, ಅನ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಅಸಹ್ಯಬಡಬೇಡ,
ತನ್ನ ಬಣ್ಣಿಸಬೇಡ, ಇದಿರ ಹಳಿಯಲು ಬೇಡ.
ಇದೇ ಅಂತರಂಗಶುದ್ಧಿ, ಇದೇ ಬಹಿರಂಗಶುದ್ಧಿ
ಇದೇ ನಮ್ಮ ಕೂಡಲಸಂಗಮದೇವರನೊಲಿಸುವ ಪರಿ.

Do not steal, do not kill,
do not lie, do not rage,
do not loathe the other,
do not brag of yourself,
do not revile the opponent.
This itself is inner purity,
this itself is outer purity.
This alone is the way to win
our Koodalasangamadeva.


I am a bee around your feet lotus

ವಚನದಲ್ಲಿ ನಾಮಾಮೃತ ತುಮ್ಬಿ
ನಯನದಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಮೂರುತಿ ತುಮ್ಬಿ
ಮನದಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಮ್ಮ ನೆನಹು ತುಮ್ಬಿ
ಕಿವಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಕೀರುತಿ ತುಮ್ಬಿ
ಕೂಡಲ ಸಂಗಮ ದೆವಾ
ನಿಮ್ಮ ಚರಣಕಮಲದೊಳಗಾನು ತುಮ್ಬಿ

The words spoken (by me) are full of ambrosia of (Your Holy) Name !
The eyes are enriched with the vision of Your Form !
The mind is full of Your thoughts !
The ears are filled with Your Glory !
Oh Lord of kUDala saMgama,
in Your Feet lotus, I am there as a bee !


What is the best decoration for Koodala Sangama?

ನೀರಿಗೆ ನೈದಿಲೆ ಶೃಙ್ಗಾರ
ಸಮುದ್ರಕೆ ತೆರೆಯೆ ಶೃಙ್ಗಾರ
ನಾರಿಗೆ ಗುಣವೆ ಶೃಙ್ಗಾರ
ಗಗನಕೆ ಚಂದ್ರಮ ಶೃಙ್ಗಾರ
ನಮ್ಮ ಕೂಡಲ ಸಂಗನ ಶರಣರ
ನೊಸಲಿಗೆ ವಿಭೂತಿಯೆ ಶೃಙ್ಗಾರ

For the water (pond) water-lily is the charm;
For the ocean tides are the charm;
For the woman character is the charm;
For the sky moon is the charm;
For foreheads of the refugees (devotees) of the
Lord of kUDala sangama, the holy ash is the charm.


Sense of inclusion: Basavanna Vachana in English

ಇವನಾರವ ಇವನಾರವ ಇವನಾರವನೆಂದು ಎನಿಸದಿರಯ್ಯ.
ಇವ ನಮ್ಮವ ಇವ ನಮ್ಮವ, ಇವ ನಮ್ಮವನೆಂದು ಎನಿಸಯ್ಯ.
ಕೂಡಲ ಸಂಗಮದೇವಾ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಮನೆಯ ಮಗನೆಂದು ಎನಿಸಯ್ಯ.

Don’t make (me) think, “Whose is this man ? Whose is this man ? Whose is this man ?”
Make (me) think, “This is our man. This is our man. This is our man.”
Oh the Deity of kUDala saMgama, make (me) think that “I am a son of Your house.”


What is devotion?

ಭಕ್ತಿ ಎಂತಹದಯ್ಯ ? ದಾಸಯ್ಯ ಮಾಡಿದಂತಹದಯ್ಯ.
ಭಕ್ತಿ ಎಂತಹದಯ್ಯ ? ಸಿರಿಯಾಳ ಮಾಡಿದಂನ್ತಹದಯ್ಯ.
ಭಕ್ತಿ ಎಂತಹದಯ್ಯ ? ನಮ್ಮ ಬಲ್ಲಾಳ ಮಾಡಿದಂತಹದಯ್ಯ.
ಭಕ್ತಿ ಎಂತಹದಯ್ಯ ?
ಕೂಡಲಸನ್ಗಮದೆವ, ನೀ ಬಾಣನ ಬಾಗಿಲ ಕಾದಂತಹದಯ್ಯ !.

What is the nature of devotion ? It is like the deed of dAsayya.
What is the nature of devotion ? It is like the deed of siriyALa.
What is the nature of devotion ? It is like the deed of our ballALa.
What is the nature of devotion ?
Oh the Divine of kUDala sangama, it is like You waiting at the door-step of bANa !


You own me: Basavanna Vachana in English

ಎನ್ನ ವಾಮ ಕ್ಷೇಮ ನಿಮ್ಮದಯ್ಯ
ಎನ್ನ ಹಾನಿ ವೃದ್ಧಿ ನಿಮ್ಮದಯ್ಯ
ಎನ್ನ ಮಾನ ಅಪಮಾನವೂ ನಿಮ್ಮದಯ್ಯ
ಬಳ್ಳಿಗೆ ಕಾಯಿ ದಿಮ್ಮಿತ್ತೆ, ಕೂಡಲ ಸನ್ಗಮ ದೇವಾ

(The ownership of) my ill-being and well-being is Yours.
(The ownership of) my decay and growth is Yours.
(The ownership of) my dignity and disrespect is also Yours.
For the creeper is the fruit a load ?
Oh Lord of kUDala sangama


Anyone can become a great saint

ಉಮ್ಬ ಬಟ್ಟಲು ಬೇರೆ ಕಂಚಲ್ಲ
ನೋಡುವ ದರ್ಪಣ ಬೇರೆ ಕಂಚಲ್ಲ
ಬಾಂಡ ಒಂದೆ ಭಾಜನ ಒಂದೆ
ಬೆಳಗೆ ಕನ್ನಡಿಯೆನಿಸಿನಿತ್ತಯ್ಯಾ.
ಅರಿದಡೆ ಶರಣ ಮರೆದಡೆ ಮಾನವ
ಮರೆಯದೆ ಪೂಜಿಸು ಕೂಡಲಸಂಗನ.

The vessel used for eating is not a different bronze and
the mirror is not made of different bronze.
Material is the same; Nature is the same;
When polished it shines as the mirror.
If realizes (s/he) is a sharaNa;
If forgotten then (ordinary) human being.
(So) worship without forgetting the One in kUDalasangama


Praying Shiva for sins

ಪಾತಕ ಶತಕೋಟಿಯನೊರಸಲು
ಸಾಲದೆ ಒಂದು ಶಿವನ ನಾಮ ?
ಸಾಲದೆ ಒಂದು ಹರನ ನಾಮ ?
ಕೂಡಲಸಂಗಮದೇವಾ ನಿಮ್ಮ
ಉಂಡಿಗೆಯ ಪಶುವ ಮಾಡಿದೆಯಾಗಿ.

To wipe off hundreds of crores of sins,
isn’t one uttarance of the name of shiva enough ?
isn’t one uttarance of the name of hara enough ?
Oh the Divine of kUDalasangama,
when You have put Your bull (cow) symbol (on me) !


Praying to help concentrate

ಅತ್ತಲಿತ್ತ ಹೋಗದಂತೆ ಹೆಳವನ ಮಾಡಯ್ಯಾ ತಂದೆ,
ಸುತ್ತಿ ಸುಳಿದು ನೋಡದಂತೆ ಅಂಧಕನ ಮಾಡಯ್ಯಾ ತಂದೆ,
ಮತ್ತೊಂದ ಕೇಳದಂತೆ ಕಿವುಡನ ಮಾಡಯ್ಯಾ ತಂದೆ,
ನಿಮ್ಮ ಶರಣರ ಪಾದವಲ್ಲದೆ
ಅನ್ಯ ವಿಷಯಕ್ಕೆಳಸದಂತೆ ಇರಿಸು,
ಕೂಡಲಸಂಗಮದೇವಾ.

Not digressing here and there, make me a lame person, my Father !
Not letting sight around and away, make me blind, my Father !
Not letting hear something else, make me deaf, my Father !
Other than Your refugee’s feet, keep not getting dragged
into anything else, Oh the Divine of kUDalasangama !!

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