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Ascribe not love of music to the Lord, no lover of music He; Nor lover of Vēdas for Vēdic lore loves not He. Consider Rāvaṇa, for muses’ favor forfeited half his life’s span! Or Brahma, versed in Vēdas, with head, paid he his fee! No lover of music, nor lover of Vēdas He, Save; hold the devotee in felicity, O Kūḍala Saṅgama Dēvā. The explanatory note on this vaĉana is on pages 77-78 of the same reference. Rāvaṇa was the king of Laṅka; he had sung the Sāmavēda in praise of Śiva; but this did not rescue him from being killed by Rāma whose wife he had kidnapped; Vēdas did not prevent his life being cut-short by half. Brahma is said to have uttered a lie to Śiva; Brahma, his name itself meaning Vēda, is well versed in the Vēdas; but this did not prevent one of his heads being cut off by Śiva. In the above vaĉana, Basavaṇṇa is not saying that reciting or singing his vaĉanas instead of the Vēdas would have prevented the above two incidents. No, not at all, nothing can rescue from such atrocities. Basavaṇṇa is merely making the point that it is not necessary to know the Vēdas, and that true devotion is more important. Two vaĉanas, 93 and 94, are on page 67 of the same reference, and they are as follows. Like the lamb led to the sacrificial fire Blithely nibbles the green leaves adorning the altar, Unmindful of its doom awaiting, deeming most the passing present, So prospers all mortal life, O Kūḍala Saṅgama Dēvā. O dear lamb! Cry unto the Lord and lay thy cause before Him. In vain were thou slain to flattering unction claim, This, thy slayers have done! Make thy pleading known Before those that propound the Vēdas and Śāstras. Thou shall surely be avenged by my Kūḍala Saṅgama Dēvā. The explanatory note on these vaĉanas is on page 81, and this is what it states – The lower classes believe that diseases like small-pox are caused by the disfavor of petty gods such as Mari, and that sacrificing sheep or other animals, and offering them to her, she will be appeased. Similarly, the higher classes believed that by sacrificing goats and other animals in what were known as Yagnas, and offering to the Gods, they would acquire merit. Both these practices are condemned, and it is asserted that all religions are based on kindness. Here, the sacrifices are condemned, not the Vēdas. Basavaṇṇa does not condemn the Vēdas. He condemns the sacrificial rituals contained in the Vēdas, and also the people who perform those rituals. He makes it known that the study and the knowledge of the Vēdas is not necessary to attain the Absolute (Śūnya).

About the author: Dr. Linga Raju is VSNA life member, native of Davaṇagere, India. Dr. Raju is a prominent Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Diseases physician. He has written spiritual publications - “A Journey through Hindu and Vīraśaiva Concepts’, and ‘SIDDHĀNTA ŚIKHĀMAṆ; The one hundred one sthala doctrine A concise composition’.

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Baandhavya March 2014  

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