Guru Basava Vachanas

If the a hog is compared to an elephant,
would it know how to become that elephant?
If the figure of an earthly serpent is compared to Vyaalesha would it know how to become Vyaalesha?
what if I am a devotee
would I know how to match
the pious devotees of our Koodalasangamadeva? -Guru Basava/31/[1]

Do not say the thieves carried off the cow, I beg you.
Do not raise an outcry, I beg you.
Do not search for the cow, I beg you.
It is Sanga who enjoys the milk there,
it is Sanga who enjoys the milk here
as Koodalasangamadeva is everywhere. -Guru Basava/32/[1]

At the doors of ordinary folk always
certain deities keep watch.
Order them to go, they won’t go.
Far more tiresome than dogs are certain deities.
The deities that beg of ordinary folk for food
what could they themselves offer Koodalasangamadeva? -Guru Basava/33/[1]

After giving the word do not hesitate,
after doing good, do not regret, o mind.
After union, do not err,
to those that ask, do not say no, o mind.
Do not worry about the comments,
with folded hands entreat the sharanas of Koodalasanga. -Guru Basava/34/[1]

What if you dance,
what if you sing,
what if you read,
if there is no trividha daasoha?
Would not
the peacock dance,
the string sing and the parrot read?
Those without devotion
Koodalasangamadeva rejects. -Guru Basava/35/[1]

Singing and dancing
one could offer devotion to the linga,
as it neither demands nor commands.
one could offer what is brought.
If a begging and bothering jangama arrives
he cannot be entertained,
Koodalasangamadeva. -Guru Basava/36/[1]

Dancing goes well,
singing goes well,
worship goes well,
honouring goes well,
daily worship of the linga already goes well.
when the sharanas of Koodalasanga arrive
taking orders from them,
to ask what do I do
and what is your command
becomes impossible. -Guru Basava/37/[1]

do not let me listen to my praises or
criticism of the others, I beg you.
If I feel I am a devotee
and that I have virtue,
to you I am a traitor.
the good of your sharanas alone
is my good. -Guru Basava/38/[1]

vachana of the elderly is the touchstone.
Have faith that vachana is the linga called Sadaashiva.
If you have faith, you are the victor.
Bitter to the palate, yet sweet to the stomach
the vachana of Koodalasanga’s sharanas is like tasting neem. -Guru Basava/39/[1]

The vachanas of the elderly
are touchstones, I say.
How would I obtain that touchstone?
I speak of body, mind wealth.
I cannot tolerate test.
Like the untouchable’s drum
a conceited speaker I am Koodalasangamadeva. -Guru Basava/40/[1]

would an elephant fear the mahout’s hook?
It fears but the unceasing claw of the lion.
Would I ever fear this Bijjala?
as you immensely love all life
I would but fear you. -Guru Basava/41/[1]

No one to demand
the elephants, the treasury, the horses from the stable
I feel impoverished.
God what could you ask?
Before this you had asked
for Sindhu Ballala’s bride.
If asked again will I put you in fetters?
If I do not give to the sharanas
what they demand,
my head would be the toll
Koodalasangamadeva. -Guru Basava/42/[1]

You rode mounting the elephant,
you rode mounting the horse,
you rode smearing vermillion and musk.
you rode away without understanding the truth,
you rode away without planting or nurturing virtue.
As you rode the elephant in rut called ego
you became the targets of fate.
Without understanding our Koodalasangamadeva
you became worthy of hell. -Guru Basava/43/[1]

If an elephant took that path
could it be said that the goat took that path too?
Can I boast that I am equal to the sharanas of Sanga?
Am I equal to the devotees who serve the jangama
tell me, Koodalasangamadeva. -Guru Basava/44/[1]

I shall do offerings to satiate
I shall bow to the insignia.
If there is no deportment befitting the insignia
with you as witness,
I will scorn it. -Guru Basava/45/[1]

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

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