The Philosopher's Stone

- ✍ Her Holiness Maha Jagadguru Dr. Maate Mahadevi
ಪೂಜ್ಯ ಶ್ರೀ ಮಹಾಜಗದ್ಗುರು ಡಾ|| ಮಾತೆ ಮಹಾದೇವಿ.

23. The Philosopher's Stone

Those who could not tolerate the progress of Basavanna, made several attempts to kill him. Once, a butcher by name Bhadra, who was provoked by political animosity, sneaked into Basavanna's Mahamane. He hid himself in darkness. When Basavanna fell asleep, Bhadra moved out from the hidden place to kill him. But before he could stab, he saw Basavanna in the lamp light and was moved by that glimpse. "How can I kill Basavanna, who toils day and night for the welfare of the exploited lot?" His conscience did not allow him to kill Basavanna. He repented for what he had decided and fell on the feet of Basavanna, who woke up and enquired.

"Who are you ?"

"I am Bolla, people also call me "Bhadra-a butcher"

"Why did you come here ? Do you want any help? Are you suffering from poverty ?"

"No my Lord. By your grace the poverty is gone. I am not poor but a traitor. I am a traitor. I had come here to kill you on political conspiracy my Lord..."

" Do you get benefit if you kill me ?"

" It was my ignorance that I had come to kill the divine lamp of the welfare state and the fortune of the poors. Pardon me my Lord and give me a chance to serve you ".

"Ah ! can a butcher like you be appointed for service ?" a guard said. Basavanna replied.

"My dear guard, water solidifies and becomes pearl but it can never become water again. Milk becomes ghee but ghee can never become milk again. From here onwards my dear Bhadra will be my body guard." Basavanna filled in him the confidence by patting him with affection.

Basavanna's hand had a magical touch. It's power and the divinity behind it used to change wordly men into sharanas (devotees of God)

Kamadhenu [1] may be in the form of a cow
but it is not merely a cow.
Kalpavriksha [2] may be in the form of a tree'
but it is not merely a tree
Chintamani [3] may be in the form of a stone
but it is not merely a stone
Marujavani [4] may be in the form of grass
but it is not merely grass

He is varily the epitome of devotion and reminder of all earthly attachments.

Knowing this, folk poets sang the following song.

There is nothing that Basavaiah of Kalyana does not know
He flooded the land with divine light
People sing his glory with pride

Basavanna was not only in the highest position in the political field, but also he succeded in cleansing the mind of an Indian religious person. He was an extraordinary person with divine power. He not only attained salvation but was also a virtuoso prophet in leading others to achieve complete attainment. There is a practice of putting him in Bhakti Sthal (state of devotion) in ascending orders of Shat sthal ( 6 steps towards salvation). But this is not the first step of the ascending order. After having ascended all the 6 steps of the Shat Sthala he descended and stood on this Bhakti Sthal. It is a super Bhakthi sthal (Great state of devotion). Each one of Sharanas adopted the special features of each steps of Shat Sthal. The great devotee Ajaganna reached the highest-the Aikya Sthal (the last step in the Shat sthal) and stayed in that state of silence. But even after reaching that state Basavanna did not stay there. He thought that it was not sufficient if he alone attains the salvation and hence decided to lead others to that exalted position. So, he came down from that supreme position and stood at Bhakti Sthal and ventured to bring down the divinity to this world. Basavanna with an extraordinary spiritual capability and uncomparable personality, has been described as capable of miracles in epics. Miracles can be interpreted as extraordinary divine happenings. Basavanna did not make miracles for any cheap popularity or for money and he never performed them purposefully and tactically to get flattered by his followers. He has done miracles with lot of human affection and compassion, and only to glorify God's power. His own vachanas stand as testimony to his miracles.

Brothern, may be, owing to some oblivion in previous life.
That I am born new in your midst as per the play of Almighty and
That I composed and recited a Lakh and
Ninety six thousand songs and verses
That I gave life to three hundred and sixty carcasses
That I won the battle of allegations in the
Royal court thirty six times ;
That I resorted to miracles
Eighty eight times and praised
The great devotees for end in this mundane world...


Basavanna tells in this Vachana that he had done 88 miracles, answered 36 complainers and kept the enemies silent and got back the lives of 360 carcasses. What Basavanna performed as miracles are also of rational nature. Without interpreting them with superstitious beliefs and blind faith, if we look at these with critical bent of mind, we see more rationality. We shall interpret some of them.

1. The miracle of saving Chaama

It was alleged that Basavanna himself had pushed Chaama into pond. Later, Chaama coming out alive responding to Basavanna's call : "Chaama, come out and tell the truth" can be interpreted as follows;

By nature Basavanna was brave. When Chaama slipped into the pond, he might have jumped into the water and dragged him out and gave him the first aid. Seeing their son coming alive, the parents must have uttered : "You have saved our son miraculously". What is surprising in it ?

2. The miracle of turning jower into pearl

This is a special miracle and very popular among people about Basavanna. The speciality of this is that he turned the jower grains into pearls by just touching them. This looks like a miracle if depicted as a wonder happening of divine power and looks like revolutionary if it is examined with rational view. A royal guest once came to Basavanna's residence Mahamane. While having food, he had left some food in the plate. This made Basavanna unhappy. He arranged to serve the guest with a plate full of pearls the next time. The guest was shocked and asked, "Why is this?" Then the servitors replied, "Pearls are very valuable". "May be, but are they eatable ? However rich he may be, man eats only grains of jower, rice, but not the pearls", the guest said angrily. Then Basavanna appeared infront of him and said.

"My dear guest, our country can survive without pearls but not without rice ; grains are more valuable than pearls. Can we afford to waste it so carelessly ?"

The guest was taught a lesson ; then he must have uttered " Basavanna you are a miracle person and gave the jower the value of pearl."

3. The Miracle of bringing 12000 Jangamas in a bag

Mahadeva Bhoopala of Sapadalaksha, in Kashmir Kingdom, was providing free food for innumerable number of Jangamas everyday. Taking shelter under king's magnanimity, many yogis, saints, pious persons were living happily by praising him. During the same time the Anubhava Mantapa was established at Kalyana by Basavanna. And he travelled different parts of the country to spread his message.

With this background, a discription of a miracle appears. It is as follows : After knowing that there were 12000 Jangamas with Mahadeva Bhoopala, Basavanna set out towards that place. In order to attract them to his Jangama Dasoha, Basavanna brought all those 12000 Jangamas in a bag which he had carried with him. The king was astonished When he learnt about the incident. He and his wife Gangadevi were practicing a right. According to that they should not have food without feeding Jangamas. The couple started suffering without food since all the Jangamas were taken by Basavanna . When the minister did not find even one Jangama in Sapadalaksha, he obviously became more worried. He rushed to Kalyana on a horse and requested Jangamas to come back. But they decline to do so. The Jangamas said, that they were happy here. When the Minister did not succeed in pursuading the Jangamas to get back to Sapadalaksha, out of desperation, he sent a slayer to kill Basavanna. But the very glimpse of Basavanna had transformed the slayer. Throwing the dagger away, he fell on to Basavanna's feet. When Sama (Negotiations), Danda(punishment), upayas(tricks) failed, Mahadeva Bhoopala started thinking : "What power is there in Basavanna? Why people are behind his principles?" The king was wonder struck by Basavanna's principles. He wanted to follow them. He relinquished his kingship and entrusted that to his son. He came along with his wife to Kalyana to lead a simple life. He adopted wood-cutting as his Kayaka (work).

The miracle of carrying 12000 Jangamas in a bag may be explained as follows: Both the priesthood and Kinghood grew together and were coexisted. King used to feed priests and saints. He also granted them lavishly. These religious persons had considered kings as extraordinary and divine personalities. Both-the Kindhood and the Priesthood used to enjoy common man's wealth. Religious leaders or hypocrites used to stay in the lavish shelter provided by the kings. During this period Basavanna's reformations became very famous. 'The practice of making them unemployed and nourishing them only to get praised is not desirable. It will be a sin for creating a group of people who are unemployed and lazy. Whoever it may be, they have to work. Whether he is Guru or a Jangama, he has to work. No one has right to eat without working. If any one eats other's earnings it is a crime. Whether physically or mentally they have to work.' It is quite possible that Basavanna had preached these thoughts to those Jangamas. This act of transforming the minds of those poeple might have been done by his missionaries or by himself. Then those Jangamas might have realised their instances, got dejected and became ready to sacrifice and perhaps might have followed Basavanna to Kalyana. There was a necessity of large people joining the movement to spread Basavanna's revolutionary ideals. When these people got involved in that service, they might have developed a sense of national consciousness, work consciousness, society consciousness and realised the responsibility of life. Therefore they must have developed a feeling not to go back to Sapadalaksha to lead the lazy life. Thus, the episode of carrying Jangamas in the bag of his heart like a legendary pied piper has been described as a special miracle in epics. From this description of the miracle, it is quite clear that Basavanna was attracting the people by his magnetic personality and valuable message without hypnotism, back-witch or any manthra.

[1] The legendary cow of plenty whose capacity to grant boons is inexhaustible.
[2] A heavenly tree which grants all desires.
[3] Talisman - A stone which protects from dangers
[4] A legendary grass bring back lost life.

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