Guru Basava Vachanas

For what I chance to see
I won’t pine in my mind.
I won’t yield to what my eyes see.
J won’t let my tongue utter what is false.
Koodalasangamadeva
such is the manner
of your sharanas. -Guru Basava/136/[1]

Ayya, I am luster-less
having no one to care for me.
Ayya, I am waning
having no one to speak, make me speak.
Ayya, am made feeble
having no one to ask for my body, mind and wealth.
Koodalasangamadeva
bring to me the demanding and pleading sharanas
make them demand and plead. -Guru Basava/137/[1]

You brothers,
looking into the looking glass,
look at the jangama rather.
There,
within the jangama, lingayya is.
Sthaavara and jangama are one
Koodalasanga’s utterance said -Guru Basava/138/[1]

Like the frog
sheltering under the hood of the serpent-
such has been my existence.
Alas,
my worldly life is wasting away.
o maker Koodalasangamadeva
avert all these, save me. -Guru Basava/139/[1]

On the sugarcane
the honeycomb is nesting,
they say.
One doesn’t know the sweetness of the other.
Look, Koodalasangamadeva
between the devotee and the jangama
haunt the skins of money, life and ego. -Guru Basava/140/[1]

An iron monkey touched by the touchstone,
so long as its former self remains,
what if it becomes golden or whatever else?
Ayya, Koodalasangamadeva
the vainglorious trust you without faith. -Guru Basava/141/[1]

What if the iron touched the touchstone?
If it cannot turn iron into gold, why that touchstone?
Why that light,
if it cannot break the gloom inside the house?
Why that worship of Koodalasangamadeva
from the depths of mind,
if karma doesn’t fly away? -Guru Basava/142/[1]

Ayya,
melt me and remove the dross of my mind.
Rub me on the touchstone,
burnish me and test my luster.
Pound me, thrash me, and turn me into pure gold.
Look after me Koodalasangamadeva,
making me an anklet for your sharanas. -Guru Basava/143/[1]

Ayya
could it be said
that the elephant is huge
and the mahout’s hook is small?
No, it couldn’t be.
Could it be said
that the mountains are huge
and the thunderbolt is tiny?
No, it couldn’t be.
Could it be said
that darkness is dense
and light is too meager?
No, it couldn’t be.
Could it be said
that oblivion is formidable
and that the mind that thinks of you is a trifle?
No, it couldn’t be.
Koodalasangamadeva. -Guru Basava/144/[1]

Ayya
the elephant fears the mahout’s hook,
the mountain fears the thunderbolt,
the jungle fears forest fire,
the five deadly sins fear Koodalasanga’s name. -Guru Basava/145/[1]

If one is heroic
one must fight with the sword or with a needle.
Ii one is on the path of the sharanas
onc must turn buttermilk into panchaamrita
at the homes of Shiva devotees.
Koodalasangamadeva does not like
such sinners who are caught in delusion
and look for food for the linga. -Guru Basava/146/[1]

Ayya
one must be like the sword in the hands of a warrior.
If his playfulness bares bones, one must bear it.
In the battle field
with the head chopped down
trunk fallen to the ground
if you let blood curdling cry
Koodalasangamadeva graces it. -Guru Basava/147/[1]

When they see a stone snake
‘feed it with milk, they say.
When they see a live snake
‘kill it, they say.
To the jangama who eats
‘get lost,’ they say.
To the linga that does not eat
‘make offerings of food,’ they say.
Those that show indifference
to the sharanas of Koodalasanga
would be like lumps of earth that hit the stone. -Guru Basava/148/[1]

Within the rock there is gold,
within the tree trunk there is fire,
within milk there is ghee,
within the thought there is Shiva.
Koodalasangamadeva why this darkness?
Why nothing shows up?
Because,
the Guru who can show, is not. -Guru Basava/149/[1]

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. -Guru Basava/150/[1]

[1] Number indicates at the end of each Vachana is from the book "Vachana", pub: Basava Samiti Bangalore 2012.

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[1] From the book "Vachana", pub: Basava Samiti Bangalore 2012.