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
women, and God and men, preach religious practices, convey
the message of dignity of labor, insist on the equality
men and women, do not tolerate injury to other creature,
display the meaning of heaven and hell, show the path of
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.
||Kudala Sangama Deva
||Mahalinga Kalleshwara Deva