Vacanas

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Vacanas literally means ‘poetical sayings’.

Defintion of Vacanas

The vacanas are a special kind of literary compositions in the Kannada language. They are the religious or semi-religious lyrics in the local colloquial language. They appear like prose but are flavored with poetical grace.

Origin of Vacanas

The credit of discovering and introducing these goes to the Vīraśaiva saints like Basaveśvara,[1] Allamaprabhu,[2] Akkāmahādevī[3] and a host of others.

Significance of Vacanas

The primary purpose of these vacanas is to carry the essential teachings of philosophy, religion, morality and social values to the common folk in their own language. Though the number of the vacanakāras[4] is quite large and their compositions run into thousands, the names of a few more important ones may be mentioned here:

  1. Akkāmahādevī - She lived in 12th century A. D. She composed 365 vacanas.
  2. Allamaprabhu - He lived in 12th century A. D. He composed 1294 vacanas.
  3. Ambigara Cauḍayya - He lived in 12th century A. D. He composed 200 vacanas.
  4. Aydakki Mārayya - He composed 50 vacanas.
  5. Basaveśvara - He lived in 12th century A. D. He composed 1200 vacanas.
  6. Cennabasavaṇṇa - He lived in 12th century A. D. He composed 1500 vacanas.
  7. Devara Dāsimayya - He lived in circa A. D. 1135. He composed 142 vacanas.
  8. Haḍapada Appaṇṇa - He lived in 12th century A. D. He composed 222 vacanas.
  9. Hāvina Hāla Kallayya - He lived in 12th century A. D. He composed 60 vacanas.
  10. Maḍivāla Mācayya - He lived in 12th century A. D. He composed 345 vacanas.
  11. Uriliṅga Peddi - He lived in A. D. 1180. He composed 294 vacanas.


References

  1. He lived in 12th century A. D.
  2. He lived in 12th century A. D.
  3. She lived in A. D. 1130- 1166.
  4. Vacanakāras are the composers of the vacanas.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore