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v t e

Basavanna (ಬಸವಣ್ಣ) was a 12th-century Lingayat philosopher, statesman, Kannada
Kannada
poet in the Niraakaara Shiva-focussed Bhakti movement
Bhakti movement
and a social reformer during the reign of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala I in Karnataka, India.[2][3][4] Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas. Basavanna rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions and rituals such as the wearing of sacred thread,[1] but introduced Ishtalinga
Ishtalinga
necklace, with an image of the Shiva
Shiva
Liṅga,[5] to every person regardless of his or her birth, to be a constant reminder of one's bhakti (devotion) to Shiva. As the chief minister of his kingdom, he introduced new public institutions such as the Anubhava Mantapa (or, the "hall of spiritual experience"),[6] which welcomed men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds to discuss spiritual and mundane questions of life, in open.[7] The traditional legends and hagiographic texts state Basava
Basava
to be the founder of the Lingayats. However, modern scholarship relying on historical evidence such as the Kalachuri inscriptions state that Basava
Basava
was the poet philosopher who revived, refined and energized an already existing tradition.[1][2][8] The Basavarajadevara ragale (13 out of 25 sections are available) by the Kannada
Kannada
poet Harihara (c.1180) is the earliest available account on the life of the social reformer and is considered important because the author was a near contemporary of his protagonist.[9] A full account of Basava's life and ideas are narrated in a 13th-century sacred Telugu text of Lingayat community, the Basava purana
Basava purana
by Palkuriki Somanatha.[10] Basava
Basava
literary works include the Vachana Sahitya
Vachana Sahitya
in Kannada
Kannada
Language. He is also known as Bhaktibhandari (literally, the treasurer of devotion),[11] Basavanna (elder brother Basava) or Basaveswara (Lord Basava).[12]

Contents

1 Early life 2 Literary works

2.1 Hagiography 2.2 Authenticity

3 Basava
Basava
Philosophy

3.1 Bhakti
Bhakti
marga as the path to liberation 3.2 Roots in the Vedanta
Vedanta
philosophy

4 Legacy and influence

4.1 Social reform 4.2 Synthesis of diverse Hindu traditions 4.3 Icons and symbols

5 Monuments and recognition 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links

Early life[edit]

Arjunavad inscription of the Seuna king Kannara, dated 1260 A.D. An inscription related to Basava
Basava
and his family details. Names references Basavaraj and Sangana Basava.

Basava
Basava
was born about 1105 CE[1] in the town of Bagevadi in north Karnataka, to Madarasa and Madalambike, a Kannada
Kannada
Brahmin
Brahmin
family devoted to Hindu deity Shiva.[8][11][12] He was named Basava, a Kannada
Kannada
form of the Sanskrit Vrishabha in honor of Nandi bull (carrier of Shiva) and the local Shaivism
Shaivism
tradition.[12] Basava
Basava
grew up in Kudalasangama
Kudalasangama
(northeast Karnataka), near the banks of rivers Krishna and its tributary Malaprabha.[8][11] Basava
Basava
spent twelve years studying in a Hindu temple in the town of Kudalasangama,[11] at Sangameshwara then a Shaivite school of learning, probably of the Lakulisha-Pashupata tradition.[12] Basava
Basava
married a cousin from his mother side. His wife Gangambike,[11] was the daughter of the prime minister of Bijjala, the Kalachuri king.[8][12] He began working as an accountant to the court of the king.[11] When his maternal uncle died, the king invited him to be the chief minister. The king also married Basava's sister named Padmavati.[8] As chief minister of the kingdom, Basava
Basava
used the state treasury to initiate social reforms and religious movement focussed on reviving Shaivism, recognizing and empowering ascetics who were called Jangamas.[8] One of the innovative institutions he launched in 12th century, was the Anubhava Mantapa, a public assembly and gathering, which attracted men and women across various walks of life, from distant lands to openly discuss spiritual, economic and social issues of life.[7] He composed poetry in local language, and spread his message to the masses. His teachings and verses such as Káyakavé Kailása (Work is the path to Kailash (bliss, heaven), or Work is Worship) became popular.[13] Literary works[edit] Further information: Vachana sahitya Several works are attributed to Basava, which are revered in the Lingayat community. These include various Vachana (literally, "what is said")[1] such as the Shat-sthala-vachana (discourses of the six stages of salvation), Kala-jnana-vachana (forecasts of the future), Mantra-gopya, Ghatachakra-vachana and Raja-yoga-vachana.[14] Hagiography[edit] The Basava
Basava
Purana, a Telugu biographical epic poem, first written by Palkuriki Somanatha
Palkuriki Somanatha
in 13th-century,[15] and an updated 14th century Kannada
Kannada
version, written by Bhima Kavi in 1369, are sacred texts in Lingayatism.[2][16] Other hagiographic works include the 15th-century Mala Basava-raja-charitre and the 17th-century Vrishabhendra Vijaya, both in Kannada.[8] Authenticity[edit] Scholars state that the poems and legends about Basava
Basava
were written down long after Basava's death.[15] This has raised questions about the accuracy and creative interpolation by authors who were not direct witness, but derived their work relying on memory, legends and hearsay of others. Michael states, "All Vachana collections as they exist at present are probably much later than the 15th-century [300 years post-Basava]. Much critical labor needs to be spent in determining the authenticity of portions of these collections".[17] Basava
Basava
Philosophy[edit] Basava
Basava
grew up in a Brahmin
Brahmin
family with a tradition of Shaivism.[8][11] As a leader, he developed and inspired a new devotional movement named Virashaivas, or "ardent, heroic worshippers of Shiva". This movement shared its roots in the ongoing Tamil Bhakti movement, particularly the Shaiva Nayanars
Nayanars
traditions, over the 7th- to 11th-century. However, Basava
Basava
championed devotional worship that rejected temple worship and rituals led by Brahmins, and replaced it with personalized direct worship of Shiva
Shiva
through practices such as individually worn icons and symbols like a small linga. This approach brought Shiva's presence to everyone and at all times, without gender, class or caste discrimination.[6][18] Basava's poem, such as Basavanna 703, speak of strong sense of gender equality and community bond, willing to wage war for the right cause, yet being a fellow "devotees' bride" at the time of his or her need.[19] A recurring contrast in his poems and ideas is of Sthavara and Jangama, that is, of "what is static, standing" and "what is moving, seeking" respectively. Temples, ancient books represented the former, while work and discussion represented the latter.[20]

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, things standing shall fall, but the moving ever shall stay.

— Basavanna 820, Translated by Ramanujan[21]

Basava
Basava
emphasized constant personal spiritual development as the path to profound enlightenment. He championed the use of vernacular language, Kannada, in all spiritual discussions so that translation and interpretation by the elite is unnecessary, and everyone can understand the spiritual ideas.[6] Basava
Basava
approach is akin to the protestant movement, states Ramanuja.[20] His philosophy revolves around treating one's own body and soul as a temple; instead of making a temple, he suggests being the temple.[20] His trinity consisted of guru (teacher), linga (personal symbol of Shiva) and jangama (constantly moving and learning). Basava
Basava
established, in 12th-century, Anubhava Mantapa, a hall for gathering and discussion of spiritual ideas by any member of the society from both genders, where ardent devotees of Shiva
Shiva
shared their achievements and spiritual poems in the local language.[6] He questioned rituals, dualism and externalization of god, and stated that the true god is "one with himself, self-born".

How can I feel right  about a god who eats up lacquer and melts,   who wilts when he sees fire?

How can I feel right  about gods you sell in your need,   and gods you bury for fear of thieves?

The lord of the meeting rivers, self-born, one with himself, he alone is the true god.

— Basavanna 558, Translated by Ramanujan[22]

While Basava
Basava
rejected rituals, he encouraged icons and symbols such as the wearing of Istalinga (necklace with personal linga, symbol of Shiva), of Rudraksha
Rudraksha
seeds or beads on parts of one body, and apply Vibhuti
Vibhuti
(sacred ash on forehead) as a constant reminder of one's devotion and principles of faith.[23] Another aid to faith, he encouraged was the six-syllable mantra, Shivaya Namah, or the shadhakshara mantra which is Om Namah Shivaya.[23] Bhakti
Bhakti
marga as the path to liberation[edit] The Basava
Basava
Purana, in Chapter 1, presents a series of impassioned debates between Basava
Basava
and his father.[24] Both declare Hindu Sruti and Smriti
Smriti
to be sources of valid knowledge, but they disagree on the marga (path) to liberated, righteous life. Basava's father favors the tradition of rituals, while Basava
Basava
favors the path of direct, personal devotion (bhakti).[25] According to Velcheru Rao and Gene Roghair,[25] Basava
Basava
calls the path of devotion as "beyond six systems of philosophy. Sruti
Sruti
has commended it as the all-seeing. Its subtle form is beyond praise. Its eternally blissful form is the beginning of the beginning. The form of that divine linga is the true God. The guru [teacher] of the creed is an embodiment of kindness and compassion. He places God in your soul, and he also places God in your hand. The six-syllabled mantra,[26] the supreme mantra, is its mantra. The dress – locks of hair, ashes and rudrashaka beads – place a man beyond the cycle of birth and death. It follows the path of liberation. (...) This path offers nothing less than liberation in this lifetime."[25] Roots in the Vedanta
Vedanta
philosophy[edit] Sripati, a Virasaiva scholar, explained Basava's philosophy in Srikara Bhasya, using the Vedanta
Vedanta
Sutra, suggesting Basava's Lingayat theology to be a form of qualified nondualism, wherein the individual Atman (soul) is the body of God, and that there is no difference between Shiva
Shiva
and Atman (self, soul), Shiva
Shiva
is one's Atman, one's Atman is Shiva.[23] Sripati's analysis places Basava's views in Vedanta
Vedanta
school, in a form closer to the 11th century Vishishtadvaita
Vishishtadvaita
philosopher Ramanuja, than to Advaita
Advaita
philosopher Adi Shankara. However, Sripati's analysis has been contested by other scholars.[23] Legacy and influence[edit]

Kudala sangama
Kudala sangama
in Bagalkot district, where Basava's samadhi is located.

The Lingayats, also known as Virasaivas or Veerasaivas, traditionally believe that Basava
Basava
was the founder of their tradition.[1][27] However, modern scholarship relying on historical evidence such as the Kalachuri inscriptions state that Basava
Basava
was the 12th-century poet philosopher who revived and energized an already existing tradition.[1][2][8] The community he helped form is also known as the Sharanas. The community is largely concentrated in Karnataka, but has migrated into other states of India as well as overseas. Towards the end of the 20th century, Michael estimates, one sixth of the population of the state of Karnataka, or about 10 million people, were Lingayat Hindus, or of the tradition championed by Basava.[13] Social reform[edit]

A necklace with pendant containing linga symbol of Shiva
Shiva
are worn by devotees of the tradition championed by Basavanna. Rudraksha
Rudraksha
beads (shown above) and Vibhuti
Vibhuti
(sacred ash on forehead) are other reminder of one's principles of faith.[23]

Basava
Basava
advocated that every human being was equal, irrespective of caste, and that all forms of manual labor was equally important.[28] Michael states that it wasn't birth but behavior that determined a true saint and Shaiva bhakta in the view of Basava
Basava
and Sharanas community.[29] This, writes Michael, was also the position of south Indian Brahmins, that it was "behavior, not birth" that determines the true Brahmin.[29] One difference between the two was that Sharanas welcomed anyone, whatever occupation he or she might have been born in, to convert and be reborn into the larger family of Shiva
Shiva
devotees and then adopt any occupation he or she wanted.[29] Synthesis of diverse Hindu traditions[edit] Basava
Basava
is credited with uniting diverse spiritual trends during his era. Jan Peter Schouten states that Virashaivism, the movement championed by Basava, tends towards monotheism with Shiva
Shiva
as the godhead, but with a strong awareness of the unity of the Ultimate Reality.[30] Schouten calls this as a synthesis of Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita
Vishishtadvaita
and Shankara's Advaita
Advaita
traditions, naming it Shakti-Vishishtadvaita, that is monism fused with Shakti
Shakti
beliefs.[30] An individual's spiritual progress is viewed by Basava's tradition as a six-stage Satsthalasiddhanta, which progressively evolves the individual through phase of the devotee, to phase of the master, then phase of the receiver of grace, thereafter Linga
Linga
in life breath (god dwells in his or her soul), the phase of surrender (awareness of no distinction in god and soul, self), to the last stage of complete union of soul and god (liberation, mukti).[30] Basava's approach is different than Adi Shankara, states Schouten, in that Basava emphasizes the path of devotion, compared to Shankara's emphasis on the path of knowledge – a system of monistic Advaita
Advaita
philosophy widely discussed in Karnataka
Karnataka
in the time of Basava.[31] Jessica Frazier et al. state that Basava
Basava
laid the foundations of a movement that united "Vedic with Tantric practice, and Advaitic monism with effusive Bhakti
Bhakti
devotionalism."[32] Icons and symbols[edit]

The bust of Basaveswara, unveiled in London
London
in 2015, facing the UK Parliament

Basava
Basava
advocated the wearing of Ishtalinga, a necklace with pendant that contains a small Shiva
Shiva
linga.[28] He was driven by his realisation; in one of his Vachanas he says Arive Guru, which means one's own awareness is his/her teacher. Many contemporary Vachanakaras (people who have scripted Vachanas) have described him as Swayankrita Sahaja, which means "self-made". Monuments and recognition[edit]

The then President of India
President of India
Abdul Kalam
Abdul Kalam
inaugurated Basaveshwar's statue on 28 April 2003 in the Parliament of India. Basaveshwara is the first Kannadiga
Kannadiga
in whose honour a commemorative coin has been minted in recognition of his social reforms.[citation needed]The former Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh
Manmohan Singh
was in Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka
Karnataka
to release the coins. On 14 November 2015 The Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister of India
Narendra Modi inaugurated the statue of Basaveshwara along the bank of the river Thames
Thames
at Lambeth
Lambeth
in London.[33][34][35] Basava
Basava
Dharma Peetha has constructed 108 ft (33 m) tall statue of Basavanna in Basavakalyan. According to Arthur Miles, Basavanna was "the First Indian Free Thinker," who "might be called the Luther of India."[36][37] echoing Nicol Macnicol who, in 1915, "equated Basava
Basava
with Martin Luther."[38]

References[edit]

^ a b c d e f g h Carl Olson (2007), The Many Colors of Hinduism: A Thematic-historical Introduction, Rutgers University Press, ISBN 978-0813540689, pages 239–240 ^ a b c d Basava
Basava
Encyclopædia Britannica (2012), Quote: "Basava, (flourished 12th century, South India), Lingayat religious reformer, teacher, theologian, and administrator of the royal treasury of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala I (reigned 1156–67)." ^ A. K. Ramanujan (1973). Speaking of Śiva. Penguin. pp. 175–177. ISBN 978-0-14-044270-0.  ^ Gene Roghair (2014). Siva's Warriors: The Basava Purana
Basava Purana
of Palkuriki Somanatha. Princeton University Press. pp. 11–14. ISBN 978-1-4008-6090-6.  ^ Fredrick Bunce (2010), Hindu deities, demi-gods, godlings, demons, and heroes, ISBN 9788124601457, page 983 ^ a b c d Jan Peter Schouten (1995), Revolution of the Mystics: On the Social Aspects of Vīraśaivism, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120812383, page 4 ^ a b SK Das (2005), A History
History
of Indian Literature, 500–1399: From Courtly to the Popular, Sahitya Akademi, ISBN 978-8126021710, page 163 ^ a b c d e f g h i Edward Rice (1982), A History
History
of Kannada Literature, Asian Educational Services, ISBN 978-8120600638, pages 52–53 ^ Shiva
Shiva
Prakash (1997), p. 179 ^ Velchuri Rao and Gene Roghair (2014), Siva's Warriors: The Basava Purana of Palkuriki Somanatha, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691604879, pp. 1–14 ^ a b c d e f g Jan Peter Schouten (1995), Revolution of the Mystics: On the Social Aspects of Vīraśaivism, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120812383, pages 2–3 ^ a b c d e SK Das (2005), A History
History
of Indian Literature, 500–1399: From Courtly to the Popular, Sahitya Akademi, ISBN 978-8126021710, pages 161–162 ^ a b R Blake Michael (1982), Work as Worship in Vīraśaiva Tradition, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 50, No. 4, pages 605–606 ^ Edward Rice (1982), A History
History
of Kannada
Kannada
Literature, Asian Educational Services, ISBN 978-8120600638, pages 53–54 ^ a b Velchuri Rao and Gene Roghair (2014), Siva's Warriors: The Basava Purana
Basava Purana
of Palkuriki Somanatha, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691604879, pages 21–23 ^ "hjhlhin Literature". Lingayatreligion.com. Archived from the original on 27 May 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.  ^ R Blake Michael (1992), The Origins of Vīraśaiva Sects, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120807761, page 64 footnote 19 ^ R Blake Michael (1992), The Origins of Vīraśaiva Sects, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120807761, pages 1–5 ^ AK Ramanujan (1973), Speaking of Śiva, Penguin Classics, ISBN 978-0140442700, page 29 ^ a b c AK Ramanujan (1973), Speaking of Śiva, Penguin Classics, ISBN 978-0140442700, pages 19–22 ^ AK Ramanujan (1973), Speaking of Śiva, Penguin Classics, ISBN 978-0140442700, page 19 ^ AK Ramanujan (1973), Speaking of Śiva, Penguin Classics, ISBN 978-0140442700, page 28 ^ a b c d e Carl Olson (2007), The Many Colors of Hinduism: A Thematic-historical Introduction, Rutgers University Press, ISBN 978-0813540689, pages 243–244 ^ Velcheru Rao and Gene Roghair (2014), Siva's Warriors: The Basava Purana of Palkuriki Somanatha, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691604879, pages 55–58 ^ a b c Velcheru Rao and Gene Roghair (2014), Siva's Warriors: The Basava Purana
Basava Purana
of Palkuriki Somanatha, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691604879, pages 57–58 ^ Om Namah Shivaya, see: Carl Olson (2007), The Many Colors of Hinduism: A Thematic-historical Introduction, Rutgers University Press, ISBN 978-0813540689, pages 243–244 ^ Velcheru Rao and Gene Roghair (2014), Siva's Warriors: The Basava Purana of Palkuriki Somanatha, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691604879, pages 3–5 ^ a b MN Srinivas (1980), The Remembered Village, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520039483, pages 307–308 ^ a b c R Blake Michael (1992), The Origins of Vīraśaiva Sects, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120807761, pages 7–9 ^ a b c Jan Peter Schouten (1995), Revolution of the Mystics: On the Social Aspects of Vīraśaivism, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120812383, pages 9–10 ^ Jan Peter Schouten (1995), Revolution of the Mystics: On the Social Aspects of Vīraśaivism, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120812383, pages 111–112 ^ Jessica Frazier et al (2014), The Bloomsbury Companion to Hindu Studies, Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN 978-1472511515, page 281 ^ T.V. Sivanandan (11 February 2011). "Basaveshwara's statue may come up in London". The Hindu. Retrieved 7 September 2013.  ^ http://www.lambethbasaveshwara.co.uk/ ^ Image of the Prime Minister paying homage to Basaveshwara statue in London
London
The Hindu (November 14, 2015) ^ "Full text of "The Land Of The Lingam
Lingam
By Arthur Miles"". archive.org. Retrieved 2018-03-08.  ^ "Vachana literature of 12th century is an asset to Indian literature Odisha Live". Odisha Live. Retrieved 2018-03-08.  ^ "Full text of "A Handbook Of Virasaivism Nandimath S. C. MLBD"". archive.org. Retrieved 2018-03-08. 

Further reading[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Basava

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: ಬಸವಣ್ಣ

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Basava.

Speaking of Siva, by A. K. Ramanujan. Penguin. 1973. ISBN 978-0-14044-270-0 Shiva
Shiva
Prakash, H.S. (1997). "Kannada". In Ayyappapanicker. Medieval Indian Literature:An Anthology. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 81-260-0365-0. 

External links[edit]

Understanding Basava: history, hagiography and a modern Kannada
Kannada
drama, Julia Leslie (1998), Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume 61, Issue 2, pages 228–261 "Linga" as Lord Supreme in the Vacanas of Basava, R Blake Michael (1982), Numen, Volume 29, Issue 2, pages 202–219 Lingayats as a Sect, William McCormack (1963), The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 93, No. 1, pages 59–71 Work as Worship in Vīraśaiva Tradition, R Blake Michael (1982), Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 50, No. 4, pages 605–619

v t e

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History

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Basavanna Allama Prabhu Akka Mahadevi Siddharama Channabasavanna Palkuriki_Somanatha Sarvajna

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Ashtavarana Shatsthala Panchachara Ishtalinga Kayaka Daasoha

Scriptures

Karana Hasuge Mantra
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Gopya Shunyasampadane Vachanas Shaivaite Agamas Basava
Basava
purana Basavarajavijaya Channabasavapurana Prabhulingaleele

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Koodalasangama Basava
Basava
Kalyana Ingaleshwara Srisailam Ulavi Yedeyur Basavana Bagewadi Solapur

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