The revolutionary who taught that right conduct is heaven. He declared that work is
worship and taught the ideals of simple living and the equality of all men. And he
practiced what he preached.
Author - S.S.Malwad
Do not steal, do not kill. Do not utter lies;
Do not lose your temper. Do not detest others;
Do not glorify yourself. Do no blame others.
This alone is purity within. This alone is purity without;
And this alone is the way to please our Lord Kudalasangama.
These words are very simple. But they contain the very essence of all the moral codes of
the world and of the religion of
man. Our life must be pure both inwardly and outwardly. That alone is the way to win God's
grace. And God's grace fills our life with joy.
The passage given above is called a Vachana'. Basaavanna wrote it. Kudalasangama was his
personal deity. This name appears at the end of every
vachana as a mark of identity. Basavanna wrote many vachanas. Before the birth of
Basavanna it was customary to write religious and ethical texts in Sanskrit. But Basavanna
began to write them in Kannada. This practice enriched the Kannada literature. Till then
it was the custom of Kannada writers to compose poetry. Basavanna wrote in the vachana
form using prose. So modern Kannada prose could develop. Kannada became popular.
Several Shaiva Saints (Shivasharanas) followed the example of Basavanna and wrote
vachanas. These vachanas spread among the people. They contained religious and moral ideas
and explained how society should be built up. These ideas brought about an awakening in
the people. They could now easily understand the moral teachings. A new social order came
up. Basavanna preached that every one should continue in his professional work and at the
same time lead a virtuous and spiritual life. Any professional work done in this spirit,
he said, was Kayaka (work which is worship). As everybody was obliged to take up some
kayaka the country's economy improved. Thus Basavanna brought about a great reformation in
all fields - religion, morality, social life, economics, language and literature. He
worked for reforms of so many kinds all at the same time and was a truly great man.
Basavanna was modest and used to say, 'There
is none smaller than I.' He used to say that he did not want to be praised. He would work
with the people as one of them. He always addressed them, courteously in affectionate
terms, as 'father', 'brother' and so on. He grew to be a great light shedding brightness
not only over our motherland but also over the whole world.