Guru Basava Vachanas

Dry away my sap,
make me sound hollow.
Even then, till my life lasts,
I won’t give up thinking of your feet, I won’t.
I won’t, I won’t cease to say
‘I surrender to you.’
Koodalasangamadevayya
even if you eat keeping the plate on my dead body
I won’t give up, I won’t. -Guru Basava/121/[1]

Will not the fire scorch my hand even if I made it?
O my mind don’t say ‘I did it, I did it, I did it.’
O my mind don’t say ‘I did it, I did it.’
Koodalasangamadeva, listen,
to Chenna Basavannas feet
I bow down. -Guru Basava/122/[1]

Loveless worship,
work without affection,
brothers,
such worship, such work
are mere pictures of beauty,
pictures of sugarcane.
No pleasure in embracing it,
nor is it appetizing to chew.
Such is the devotion of the one who has no truth,
Koodalasangamadeva. -Guru Basava/123/[1]

If the hearth catches fire one might withstand,
but if the earth catches fire, no place to stand.
If the tank drinks up water
if the fences feed off the field
if the wife cheats in her own home
if the mothers breast milk turns poison
whom would I complain to, Koodalasangamadeva? -Guru Basava/124/[1]

Do not purchase ashes from the fire place,
it smears ash in whichever way it pleases.
What use is smearing ash
if there isn’t goodness in the mind
Koodalasangayya does not like
the vainglorious who utter umpteen things. -Guru Basava/125/[1]

I don’t, I don’t like those that are not yours.
I don’t like, I don’t, let the world know it.
I don’t like, I don’t like, even if you get angry
I don’t like, I don’t like.
Koodalasangamadeva,
I swear on you, I swear on your pramathas. -Guru Basava/126/[1]

To say I don’t want, is renunciation.
To say I want, is corporeal nature.
Offering to the linga and enjoying
whatever that obtains to you is righteous behaviour.
Thern prasada-body
that has come to please Koodalasangamadeva
shouldn’t be spoiled. -Guru Basava/127/[1]

Like winsome Mailaara
who has jute Within and luster without,
like the sleep of a dog
like the penance of the ignorant
was my knowledge Koodalasangamadeva. -Guru Basava/128/[1]

One who flees is no vassal.
One who begs is no devotee.
A vassal should not flee,
a devotee should not beg.
I won’t flee, I won’t beg,
Koodalasangamadeva. -Guru Basava/129/[1]

How would a pan know the taste of pounded rice?
Does a monkey know the pleasures of the swinging bed?
What if a crow is in the Nandana garden would it become cuckoo?
What if a wild pigeon squats on the banks of the lake
would it become a royal swan Koodalasangamadeva? -Guru Basava/130/[1]

Like the lizard loitering along the fence,
is my mind.
Changing colors like the chameleon,
is my mind.
Like the life of a bat,
is my mind.
Like the blind man feeling it is dawn
having woken up at midnight,
is my mind.
Koodalasangamadeva the devotion which is not,
would it be there by my mere desiring? -Guru Basava/131/[1]

What use is reading,
what use is listening,
until Shiva’s path is known?
The parrot reads, look, without knowing Shiva-path.
But, the fruits of reading
did obtain to Maadaara Chennayya,
Koodalasangamadeva. -Guru Basava/132/[1]

With you
eyes are full, nothing to see,
ears are full, nothing to hear,
hands are full, nothing to worship,
the mind is full, nothing to meditate upon,
o ultimate Koodalasangamadeva. -Guru Basava/133/[1]

Right in front sighting a Shiva devotee,
sight geared to him if you salute
all the sins of seven lives die away.
If you touch his feet as if embracing them
it is like touching the touchstone.
The companionship of the creator Koodalasanga’s sharanas
wouldn’t thread us into strings of lives. -Guru Basava/134/[1]

Devotee is one who salutes when he sees another devotee. Gentle speech alone is all incantation,
gentle speech alone is all penance,
genuine humility alone gets Shiva’s winsome grace.
Koodalasangamadeva does not like it otherwise. -Guru Basava/135/[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.