Vachana Sahitya

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Vachana sahitya (ವಚನ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ) is a form of rhythmic writing in Kannada that evolved in the 11th Century C.E. and flourished in the 12th century, as a part of the Lingayatha 'movement'. Vachanas literally means "(that which is) said". These are readily intelligible prose texts.

Madara Chennaiah, an 11th-century cobbler-saint who lived in the reign of Western Chalukyas, is first poet of this tradition. Later day poets, such as Basavanna (1160), prime minister of southern Kalachuri King Bijjala II, considered Chennaiah his literary father.

Basavaadi Sharana's Vachanas are their experiences in the process of God realization through oneness with the pure consciousness in the prana. About 800 sharanas practiced the technique and wrote their experiences in terms of Guru (Unmanifest Chaitanya), Linga (Manifest Chaitanya), Jangama (Pure consciousness of Lingatattva in one's prana), Padodaka (intimacy with the knower/source of Lingatattva), and Prasada (becoming lingatattva).


uLLavaru shiválaya máduvaru nánénu mádali badavanayyá
enna kále kambha dehavé degula shiravé honna kaLashavayyá
Kúdala Sangama Devá keLayya sthavarakkaLivunTu jangamakaLivilla

The rich will make temples for Shiva. What shall I, a poor man, do?
My legs are pillars, The body the shrine, The head a cupola of gold.
Listen, O lord of the meeting rivers (Kudala Sangama deva), Things standing shall fall, But the moving ever shall stay.


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Updated
May 31, 2019
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