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Vachanas, in which the essence of life was written in the vernacular of his time, simple spoken Kannada language. He wrote his vachanas in a way that the not only the learned part of society, but also the common people could easily understand the content of any vachana. Vachanas were rational and progressive social thoughts that will always stand true. By popularizing vachanas he added a new chapter to the already large collection of great literature and at the same time gave the common people an easy way to understand the Veerashaiva concepts. Here is an example of one of Basavanna’s famous vachanas:

Volume 2

and that they are all equal. So every person of all vocations has to follow the same set of rules and codes of conduct. He showed that there was pride in manual labor by teaching people about “Kayakave Kailas,” or that work is worship. And because of that all vocations and jobs should be looked upon with love. He preached that honest labor, regardless of occupation, was what let to a higher state of being. Basavanna even created a council where representatives of every occupation were present so that all of the people’s problems and concerns were addressed. By doing this Basavanna created an economy where all worked hard at their job and took pride in what they did.

Ivanaarava ivanaarava ivanaaravaneMdu enisadirayya. Iva nammava iva nammava, iva nammavaneMdu enisayya. kUDala saMgamadEvA nimma maneya maganeMdu enisayya.

There was not a single pressing area of the time that Basavanna didn’t try to revolutionize, from the economy to literature to social inequalities. He always tried to bring justice to the people who were suppressed by the community, and among them were people of lower castes and women. He also preached of a monotheistic view on religion and opposed temple culture, preisthoodness, and meaningless rituals. Basavanna also tried to reshape peoples’ life values and behaviors. He also revolutionized the way people viewed work. In the process, Basavanna popularized vachanas to portray his messages. Many revolutionaries before and after his time have tried to reach the goals that Basavanna strove for, but none were as successful in revolutionizing so many areas with such astounding success. As said by The Times of India in its issue dated May 17, 1918, “The present day social reformer…is but speaking the language and seeking to enforce the mind of Basava.”

This short vachana encompasses the Veerashaiva belief that any person can become a Veerashaiva and that all are equal and welcome. Not only did Basavanna believe that all are equal, he believed that anybody who has willing to embrace the Veerashaiva religion and its philosophies should be aloud be part of the community as an equal regardless of their past, sex, caste, or occupation. Basavanna and other sharanas inspired by him wrote vachanas like this one that were simple yet meaningful. Basavanna alone is believed to have contributed hundreds of vachanas himself. Basavanna was also able to help change the economy and the way people perceived work. He established the Anubhava Mantapa so that people could freely discuss Veerashaivism and their beliefs. By doing this he inadvertently created the foundation of what a democratic state is based on, people getting to freely express their opinion without being punished. He also preached that all the people of the community are laborers, regardless of their vocation

Sources: “Basava: The Great Socio-Religious Reformer” by Mahatapasvi Sri Kumarswamiji


Profile for Ravi Babu


Supplement to ARIVU Souvenir of 2009 VSNA Chicago Convention.


Supplement to ARIVU Souvenir of 2009 VSNA Chicago Convention.