|| Shri Guru Basavalingaya Nama || Basava Dharma
Basava Dharma  
Sri Basaveshwar  
The twelfth century was not only the birth century of Veerashaivism but also of Vachanas. Basavanna popularized his new movement by conveying the principles of religion in the language of the people, Kannada, which thus became the best means and medium of carrying conviction to them. The result was the Vachanas of Sharanas of Shivanubhavamantapa, who every day sent messages to the people by means of Vachanas or Sayings. Thus the new religion fiercely penetrated every day life of men and women.

Basavanna preached and practiced the practical aspect of religion and thereby set an example to the mass. He educated the mass through his Vachanas. Vachanas of Basavanna and the Sharanas of 12th century precisely emanate a socio-religious conduct of life derived from their life experience. There was a similar growth of Vachana literature in the post-Basavanna period. Later writer of the new community wrote works after works in Kannada and this period that followed Basavanna goes by the name of Veerashaiva literary period in the history of Kannada literature. Thus the Vachanashastra of Basavanna and Sharanas of 12th century as well as later centuries is the basic scripture of Veerashaivism.

Vachanas are the greatest asset to Veerashaivism. They are like holy bible to Veerashaivas. The Vachanas are like Upanishads in poetic fervor and profundity of meaning. They are short sentences, simple telling, soul-stirring, and very effective in delivering their messages. They have unparalleled freshness and vigor. They are the greatest "literary treasure." Vachanas are original in nature. Their style and nature undoubtedly reflect on the intricate personalities of Sharanas along with their view of men, society, nature, and God. Even though, the Vachana scriptures existed since the 12th century, only recently they are being appreciated immensely by scholars and laymen alike. They appeal to scholars because of their profound thoughts and to laymen because of their simplistic expression. Their meaning and value never diminish in any century since they tackle social, philosophical, religious, and economical problems of the society. For example, demand for equality and women education was in fact put forward and practiced by Basavanna in the 12th century.

Vachanas, now a days, are being transformed into music of variety kind and are often sung in various gatherings, like, literacy conferences, marriages, society meetings, social gathering, and various auspicious occasions. They are now considered to be unique addition to Kannada literature. Lately, widespread admiration and interest in Vachana scriptures are displayed in Veerashaiva community. Mere interest or admiration without the application of their truth to life is as good as a monkey in the flower garden.

Vachanas teach moral values, how to behave in the society, judgement on rights or wrongs, relationship between men and women, and God and men, preach religious practices, convey the message of dignity of labor, insist on the equality for men and women, do not tolerate injury to other creature, display the meaning of heaven and hell, show the path of final beatitude, and so on and so on. There is no limit to their power of conveying meanings and messages.

The Vachanakaras ( Authors of the Vachanas) have never used their true name but always insignia. One can recognize the Sharana (author) by his/her insignia. Following is the list of vachanakaras and their insignia.

Basavanna Kudala Sangama Deva
Allamaprabhu Guheshwara
Akkamahadevi Channamallikarjuna
Channabasavanna Kudala Chennasangama
Ambigara Chowdayya Ambigara Chowdayya
Aydakki Marayya Amareshvara
Urilinga Peddi Urilinga-priya-Vishveshvara
Hadapada Appanna Basava-priya-ChannaBasavanna
Havinahala Kallayya Mahalinga Kalleshwara Deva
Madivala Machayya Kalideva
Muktayyakka Ajaganna
Jedara Dasimayya Ramanatha
Shanmukha Shivayogi Akhandeswara
Tontada Siddalingheshvara Guru Shivasiddhesvara


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