Lord Basava

Basava (also known as Guru Basavanna or Basaveshwara), (1134-1196)) was a philosopher and a social reformer. He is also called Vishwa Guru and Bhakti-Bhandari. His teachings and preachings which are universal, go beyond all boundaries of belief systems. He was a great humanitarian and preached a new way of life wherein the divine experience being the center of life regardless of gender, belief, tradition, religion, caste,social status or whatever. The key aspect of his preaching is monotheistic concept of God A true visionary with ideas ahead of his time; he envisioned a society that flourished enriching one and all. He was a great mystic,of his time and originated a literary revolution through his literary creation called Vachana Sahitya. He was a mystic by temperament, an idealist by choice, a statesman by profession,(He was the Prime Minister of the Southern Kalachuri Empire in South India) a man of letters by taste, a humanist by sympathy, and a social reformer by conviction. Many great yogis and mystics of his time joined his movement enriching it with the essence of divine experience in the form of Vachanas.

Basava fought against the inhuman practice of caste system,which discriminated people based on their birth, and certain rituals in Hinduism. He spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas. These are rational and progressive social thoughts coupled with established perception of God in Hindu society.

Basava spread social awareness through his poetry Known as VACHANAAS. These are rational and progressive social thoughts coupled with established perception of God in Hindu society. "Brahminical thought" interpret the VACHANNAS as essence of vedic knowledge while attempting to explain the social revolution, Basava was able to bring in. But this theory however fails to explain why other well known religious leaders like Shankaracharya and Madhwacharya, who were very well acquainted with vedic knowledge did not address the issues, that Basava did in later part of the history in 12th century. Basava, like Gautama Budda, did not preach people the intricate aspects of spirituality; but, he taught people how to live happily in a rational social order later came to be known as Sharana movement. Unfortunately, the lingayatha or veerashaiva dharma has turned out be another exploiting caste in Casteist Hindu society, washing away the efforts of Basava. Basavanna has been reduced to another deity.

Religious Developments

Basavanna used Ishtalinga to eradicate untouchability, establish equality among all human beings and a means to attain spiritual enlightenment. Ishtalinga is very much different from Sthavaralinga and Charalinga. Ishtalinga is the universal symbol of God.Sthavaralinga represents Shiva in Dhyana Mudra. Charalinga is a miniaturized form of Sthavaralinga. Guru Basavanna started his career as an accountant at Mangalaveda in the court of Kalachuri king Bijjala, a feudatory of the Kalyani Chalukya. When Bijjala acquired the power at Basavakalyana, by overpowering Tailapa IV (the grandson of Vikramaditya VI, the great Chalukya king), Basavanna also went to Kalyana. With his honesty, hard work and visionary mission, Basava rose to the position of Prime Minister in the court of king Bijjala, who ruled from 1162—1167 at Kalyana (presently renamed Basavakalyana). There, he established the Anubhava Mantapa, a spiritual parliament, which attracted many saints from throughout India. He believed in the principle Káyakavé Kailása (Work puts you on the path to heaven, Work is Heaven). It was at this time that the Vachanas, simple and easy-to-understand poetic writings which contained essential teachings, were written.

Fight against casteism

Basava created much controversy by actively ignoring the societal rules associated with the caste system, which he wished to abolish. By allowing untouchables to have lunch at his residence and praising the historic marriage of a Brahmin woman and an untouchable man, Basava caused orthodox members of King Bijjala's court to go to the king with such stories, some true and some false. Bijjala, afraid of a possible uprising in orthodox society, ordered the newly married couple to be harshly punished. Before punishing the couple, Bijjala asked Basava to agree with the caste system; but Basava strongly opposed the caste system and said both Haralayya and Madhuvaras were Lingayats and the rules of the caste system were not applicable to them. Bijjala did not agree with Basavanna's ideas, and asked Basavanna to be silent and accept the punishment to the couple or leave Kalyana. The "Being punished" (Danda-gonda) Basavanna left Kalyana with a heavy heart and marched towardsKudala Sangama. He left Kalyana in 1196 A.D. of Rakshasa nama samvatsara, phalguna masada 12th day for Kudala Sangama and en route to Kudala sangama, he preached to the people about the humanity, morality, honesty, simplicity, and the dignity of labour, equality among all human beings, human rights, etc. Being a perfect yogi, he released the bonds of the body and soul and took nirvana (Lingaikya) on 30-7-1196 A.D. (Hindu Calendar: NaLanama samvatsarada Shravan shuddha panchami), in response to the call from Kudala Sangama Devá , the Almighty.