Vachanas Summary Notes

Vachanas Author

Devara Dasimaiyya or “God’s Dasimaiah” was probably the earliest of the Vachana poets. He is said to have been bom in Mudanuru, a village full of temples in the tenth century. His village also has a Ramanatha templed dedicated to Shiva as worshipped by Rama, the epic hero, an incarnation of Vishnu. Every Vachana of Dasimaiah is addressed to Ramanatha, Rama’s Lord, Dasimaiah is known for the deft handling of homely metaphors picked from everyday life. About one hundred Vachanas of Dasimaiah exist.

Vachanas Summary

A man filled grain
in a tattered sack
and walked all night
fearing the toll – gates
but the grain went through the tatters
and all he got was the gunny sack
It is thus
with the devotion
of the faint-hearted
O Ramanatha.
Vachanas contain Morals and Aphorisms explained in a simple and lucid manner that could be understood by the common man. Dasimayya was the leading Vachana Composer of his period. His Rachanas are addressed to Ramanatha, Lord Rama. Dasimaiah is known for the deft handling of homely metaphors picked from everyday life.

Once a man filled grain in a tattered sack and took it to the market. He did not want to pay tax at the toll gates. So he took a circuitous route through the forest to avoid the playing toll. He walked all night to reach the market. When he reached the market he found that all the grain had gone through the holes in the tattered sack and nothing was left for him to sell. Whatever remained was only his tattered sack.

These words of Devara Dasimayya imply that a man should be sincere in every way and form, be it in spirituality or in real life. It is necessary for every human being to be truthful. One cannot be a devotee of the Lord without following the path of truth. A man with an immoral and mean mind cannot be a devotee, similar to the man with the tattered sack full of grain. He wasn’t truthful in life and ended up with an empty sack. Without being time to oneself devotion is empty’.

Vachanas Glossary

Tattered            : old and torn
Toll-gates         : tax-leavying points
Gunny Sack      : an inexpensive bag made from jute
Faint-hearted   : not confident or brave

Comprehension

Question 1.
What happened to the grain in the sack?
Answer:
The grain which was filled in a tattered sack went through the tattersall along the way and the farmer was only left with the tattered gunny sack.

Question 2.
Why did the man walk all night?
Answer:
The man walked all night fearing the toll – gates.

Question 3.
What was the wiser way to save the grain?
Answer:
The wiser way to save the grains was by going through the toll – gates of the town after paying the tax. The farmer would have saved the grains from going through the holes of the sack. He would have noticed the hole in the sack at the toll – gate and mended the holes in the sack, thereby saving the grains.

Question 4.
The faint-hearted are consistent devotees. True/False?
Answer:
False.

Question 5.
Draw the comparison between the man with grain and the faint-hearted devotee.
Answer:
In the given Vachana by Devara Dasimaiah, a farmer fills grain in a tattered sack and walks all night to the market to avoid paying taxes at the toll-gates. In the darkness of the night, the farmer did not notice that the grain had gone through the holes of the sack. His only thought was about avoiding paying the toll, but in the end, he got only his tattered gunny sack. He did not get any profit from his excursions. He does not have the realization that paying a small amount of tax would save the grain.

His greediness ied to his downfall Similarly, Devara Dasimaiah Compares the feeble – mind oi a man to a tattered sack. A true devotees should be fearless. He must be ready to face any consequences. If he is truly devoted to his diety. He should be brave enough to lead a truthful life. A true devotee is expected to be truthful in his actions and thoughts. An immoral and mean mind cannot be devoted to God.

Question 6.
How would paying at the toll – gate be a wiser way of saving the grain?
Answer:
The man with the tattered sack full of grain was feeble-minded. He was not brave enough to be truthful. A mind without fear is the temple of God. He feared paying tax at the toll – gate and walked with the sack all night. In the end, he was left with only the tattered sack. Devara Dasimayya implies that a feeble mind full of fear, greed, immoral, dishonest, and unrighteous thoughts is like a tattered sack that cannot hold true devotion to god.

Question 7.
According to Dasimaiah, devotion based on guilt or fear eventually fades. Discuss.
Answer:
Devotion-based guilt or fear eventually fades. Vachanas contain Morals and Aphorisms explained in a simple and lucid manner that could be understood by the common man. Dasimayya was the leading Vachana Composer of his period. His Rachanas are addressed to Ramanatha, Lord Rama. Dasimaiah is known for the deft handling of homely metaphors picked from everyday life.

Once a man filled grain in a tattered sack and took it to the market. He did not want to pay tax at the toll gates. So he took a circuitous route through the forest to avoid the playing toll He walked all night to reach the market. When he reached the market he found that all the grain had gone through the holes in the tattered sack and nothing was left for him to sell. Whatever remained was only his tattered sack.

These words of Devara Dasimayya imply that a man should be sincere in every way and form, be it in spirituality or in real life. It is necessary for every human being to be truthful. One cannot be a devotee of the lord without following the path of truth, An man with an immoral and mean mind cannot be a devotee, similar to the man with the tattered sack full of grain. He wasn’t truthful in life and ended up with an empty sack. Without being true to oneself devotion is empty.

Basavanna

About the Author

Basavanna, born into an orthodox Shaivite Brahmin family in Bagewadi, became disillusioned with the blind and bigoted conventions of his surroundings at a very young age. He left home in search of refuge and found it in Kudalasangama, the confluence of two rivers. An enlightened sage, Jatavedamuni, headed a very famous institution of learning located here. From him, Basavanna must have learnt the scriptures and sciences of the day. At the same time, he developed a profound devotion to Kudalasangama, a form of Shiva and the deity of the temple at the confluence. Later, as a young man, he went to Managalavede, the capital of Bijjala, the Kalachurya king and feudatory to Taila HI, the Chalukyan emperor ruling from Kalyana. Basavanna took a clerical job at Mangalavede and his efficiency not only brought him fame but also got him the recognition of the king.

Summary

The Master of the house, is he at home, or isn’t he?
Grass on the threshold,
Dirt in the house
The Master of the house, is he at home, or isn’t he?
Lies in the body
Lust in the heart;
no, the Master of the house is not at home,
Our lord of the Meeting Rivers.

Basavanna was a 12th C philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and social reformer during the reign of the Kalachur dynasty rule of king Bijjala in Karnataka.

Basavanna taught me the skills to live a simple and enriched life. He knew that inner strength was the real earning of a human – being and strongly believed that inner qualitative changes only make way for social change. He was a revolutionary who taught that right conduct was heaven. He declared that work is worship. He practised what he preached. He addresses all his Vachanas to his beloved deity ‘Kudalasangama deva’ (Lord of the meeting rivers) In the given Vachana, Basavanna presents the imagery of a house.

He wants to know if the master of the house was present there are not, because he sees grass growing on the threshold of the house and the house is the foil of dirt. It is obvious that the master of the house is not living there. Such an unkempt house does not appeal to any visitor and nobody wishes to live in it.

Similarly, the poet compares our body and soul to a house. If one wishes that God should reside in the house, the body and mind should be bereft of lies and lust. A man whose body and mind is infested with lies and lust is similar to the empty and dirty house,. God does not wish to reside in such a house (body). God manifests only in the soul of a man with pure thoughts and true devotion.

The poet implies that one should not only keep his house and its |g surroundings clean but also his body and mind clear of impure desires.

Glossary

Threshold   : the ground at the entrance to a room or building
Lust            : strong sexual desire

Comprehension

Question 1.
What indications speak of the absence of the master?
Answer:
A house with gross growing on the threshold and dirt inside the house area the indications of the absence of the master.

Question 2.
What confirms the absence of the master?
Answer:
Lies and lust in a soul mark the absence of the master – the Lord Almighty.

Question 3.
Who is the master Basavanna is speaking of?
Answer:
Lord of the Meeting Rivers – The Lord Almighty.

Question 4.
What are the comparisons discussed in the Vachana?
Answer:
The comparisons discussed in the Vachana are of a house, where we can see grass growing on the threshold and dust inside the house. This house appears to be deserted by its master. Similarly, the soul of man which is full of lies and dust is deserted by the Lord Almighty.

Basavanna creates an image of a deserted house with grass growing on the threshold and dust inside the house making the onlooker wonder whether the master of the house is at home or has deserted it. He compares this imagery with the soul deprived of the Lord Almighty. Such a soul is filled with materialistic desires and impure thoughts.

The poet implies that it is necessary to keep the house clean to lead a healthy life similarly a mind bereft of impure thoughts is a house where the Lord Almighty resides and rejoices.

Question 5.
What ultimate truth does Basavanna tell us in the Vachana?
Answer:
In the given Vachana, Basavanna presents the imagery of a house. He wants to know if the master of the house was present there are not because he sees grass growing on the threshold of the house and the house is full of dirt. It is obvious that the master of the house is not living there. Such an unkempt house does not appeal to any visitor and nobody wishes to live in it.

Similarly, the poet compares our body and soul to a house. If one wishes that God should reside in the house, the body and mind should be bereft of lies and hist. Aman whose body and mind are infested with lies and hist is similar to the empty and dirty house,. God does not wish to reside in such a house (body). God manifests only in the soul of a man with pure thoughts and true devotion. The poet implies that one should not only keep his house and its surroundings clean but also his body and mind clear of impure desires.

Question 6.
Basavanna tactfully rather than forcibly convys his view. Discuss.
Answer:
Basavanna was a 12th C philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and social reformer during the reign of the Kalachur dynasty rule of king Bijjjala in Karnataka.

Basavanna taught me the skills to live a simple and enriched life. He knew that inner strength was the real earning of a human – being and strongly believed that inner qualitative changes only make way for social change. He was a revolutionary who taught that right conduct was heaven. He declared that work is worship. He practised what he preached. He addresses all his Vachanas to his beloved deity ‘Kudalasangama deva’ (Lord of the meeting rivers) In the given Vachana, Basavanna presents the imagery of a house. He wants to know if the master of the house was present there are not because he sees grass growing on the threshold of the house and the house is full of dirt. It is obvious that the master of the house is not living there. Such an unkempt house does not appeal to any visitor and nobody wishes to live in it.

Similarly, the poet compares our body and soul to a house. If one wishes that God should reside in the house, the body and mind should be bereft of lies and lust. A man whose body and mind is infested with lies and lust is similar to the empty and dirty house, God does not wish to reside in such a house (body). God manifests only in the soul of a man with pure thoughts and true devotion. The poet implies that one should not only keep his house and its surroundings clean but also his body and mind clear of impure desires.

Akka Mahadevi

About the Author

Born into a merchant family in Uduthadi, she grew up into a maiden of great beauty, which intoxicated the local king, Kaushika. Whether or not this devotional-minded girl married Kaushika is a point about which her later hagiographers differ. There is ample evidence though indirect, in her Vachanas that she was forced into this marriage. No wonder it soon broke down. She walked out of the palace through the streets of the town into a vast and hostile world in search of her divine beloved and husband, Channamallikaijuna, the lord of fragrant jasmines.

Summary

“O Sister, listen sister dear
I dreamt a dream, I saw
Rice, betel and coconut
I saw, O dear
A gorava boy
With short matted locks of hair
And shining teeth
Coming home for alms
I went chasing him
Going beyond all boundaries
And held his hands
Seeing Channamallikarj una, I opened
My eyes”.
Akka Mahadevi was a 12th Century Kannada “Bakthi poet, saint and mystic, who followed the Virashaivaite bhakti tradition. She was born in Udutagi, Karnataka to Nimalshetti and Sumati. She was the first woman to have written Vachana in Kannada, with great spiritual depth and passion. She has bestowed the title ‘Akka’ meaning ‘elder sister

Akka Mahadevi was devoted to Lord Shiva, She saw the Lord as her only true love. She named him ‘ Channamailikarjuna meaning,‘Lord of fragrant jasmine. Akka Mahadevi’s experiences, both spiritual and domestic, poured out in the form of simple vachanas in Kannada, filled with true to life similes, Her Vachanas penetrate the conscience of the reader with their depth of meaning and lyrical beauty.

In the given Vachana, Akka’s desire for Shiva knows no difference between day and night, dream and reality. She sees Shiva in a dream and describes him intimately.

One night, Akka dreams of seeing rice, betel, and coconut. She dreams of seeing a handsome gorava boy with short matted locks of hair and a gleaming smile, come to beg alms at her house. Before she could stop him, he moved to the next house to beg. In her madness, she lost all her feminine coyness and ran behind him and held his hand. He turned and flashed a charming smile at her and she saw that he was her Chennamallikaijuna, just as she imagined him to be. She wakes up from her dream.

Akka Mahadevi is obsessed with her quest to see Lord Shiva in his real form. She imagines, Lord Shiva to be her husband. But his real form is elusive to her. She is ever in search of her beloved. She imagines the various forms of her Lord in her dreams. Here she narrates her dream in which she saw the enchanting form of Channamalikkaijuna to her friends.

Glossary

Matted locks   : hair tangled into a thick mass
Goravaboy      : ascetic; a boy of kuruba community who has taken a special vow and dresses in the traditional overcoat and headgear.

Comprehension

Question 1.
Who did Akka meet in her dream?
Answer:
Akka Mahadevi met a gorava boy with short matted locks of hair and shining teeth, begging for alms. She saw that he was her beloved Chennamallikaijuna.

Question 2.
Who is she addressing in the Vachana?
Answer:
She is addressing her beloved sister in the Vachana.

Question 3.
Why does she open her eyes?
Answer:
Akka Mahadevi saw her beloved Lord Chennamallikaijuna in her dream and opened her eyes.

Question 4.
Describe the gorava boy. Who did he turn out to be after having a closer look?
Answer:
The gorava boy had short matted locks of hair and shining teeth. He was seeking alms at the houses in the village. He turned out to be her beloved Lord Chennamallikarjuna.

Question 5.
Bring out the tone of celebration of the Vachana
Answer:
In the given Vachana, Akkamahadevi addresses her elder sister and jubilantly tells her that she had envisioned her Lord in her dream. She tells her, she saw rice, betel and coconut and a handsome gorava boy with short matted locks of hair. Before she could stop him to give him the alms the mendicant had moved away and she in her madness, lost all feminine coyness and ran behind the mendicant and held his hand. He had turned and flashed a charming smile at her, she saw that he had shining teeth. She saw that he was her beloved Chennamallikaijuna, just as she had imagined him to be. She was astonished at her realization and had opened her eyes or rather she was enlightened by the dream.

Question 6.
Comment on Akkamahadevi’s love for Channa- maDikarjuna.
Answer:
Akka Mahadevi had taken Lord Shiva he spouse. She describes him as Chennamallikaijuna. He fills her being, soul and heart. She goes seeking him through the world, in her dreams and her daydreams. She imagines his form in her mind and longs to be unsted with him She is always in search of her Lord Chennamallikaijuna. In the Vachana, she narrates her dream in which she saw the enchanting form ofher Lord Chennamallikarjuna.

In the given Vachana, Akkamahadevi addresses her elder sister and jubilantly tells her that she had envisioned her Lord in her dream. She tells her, she saw rice, betel and coconut and a handsome gorava boy with short matted locks of hair. Before she could stop him to give him the alms the mendicant had moved away and she in her madness, lost all feminine coyness and ran behind the mendicant and held his hand. He had turned and flashed a charming smile at her, she saw that he had shining teeth. She saw that he was her beloved Chennamallikaijuna, just as she had imagined him to be. She was astonished at her realization and had opened her eyes or rather she was enlightened by the dream

Question 7.
Akkamahadevi’s quest for the unseen face of the beloved is expressed in the Vachana. Elucidate.
Answer:
Akka Mahadevi was a 12th Century Kannada “Bakthi poet, saint and mystic, who followed the Virashaivaite bhakti tradition. She was born in Udutagi, Karnataka to Nimalshetti and Sumati. She was the first woman to have written Vachana in Kannada, with great spiritual depth and passion. She has bestowed the title ‘Akka’ meaning ‘elder sister’s Akka Mahadevi was devoted to Lord Shiva, She saw the Lord as her only true love. She named him ‘Channamallikarjuna’ meaning, ‘Lord of fragrant jasmines’.

Akka Mahadevi’s experiences, both spiritual and domestic, poured out in the form of simple vachanas in Kannada, filled with true to life similes, Her Vachanas penetrate the conscience of the reader with their depth of meaning and lyrical beauty.

In the given Vachana, Akka’s desire for Shiva knows no difference between day and night, dream and reality. She sees Shiva in a dream and describes him intimately.

One night, Akka dreams of seeing rice, betel, and coconut. She dreams of seeing a handsome gorava boy with short matted locks of hair and a gleaming smile, come to beg alms at her house. Before she could stop him, he moved to the next house to beg. In her madness, she lost all her feminine coyness and ran behind him and held his hand. He turned and flashed a charming smile at her and she saw that he was her Chennamallikaquna, just as she imagined him to be. She wakes up from her dream.

Akka Mahadevi is obsessed with her quest to see Lord Shiva in his real form. She imagines, Lord Shiva to be her husband. But his real form is elusive to her. She is ever in search of her beloved. She imagines the various forms of her Lord in her dreams. Here she narrates her dream in which she saw the enchanting form of Channamalikkaijuna to her friends.

English Summary

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