Basavana Bagewadi in Bijapur district, Karnataka, India
Kudalasangama, Karnataka, India
|Quotation||Work is Worship|
|History of Lingayatism|
|Basava · Allama Prabhu · Akka Mahadevi
Siddharama · Channabasavanna · Siddalinga
Chamarasa · Somanatha
|Beliefs and practices|
|Guru · Linga · Jangama
Ashtavarana · Shatsthala
Panchachara · Ishtalinga
Daasoha · Sharana
Karana Hasuge · Basava purana
Shunyasampadane · Basava Vachanas
List of lingayats
Basava (Kannada: ಬಸವ) (also known as Bhakti Bhandari Basavanna (Kannada: ಭಕ್ತಿ ಭಂಡಾರಿ ಬಸವಣ್ಣ ) or Basaveshwara (Kannada: ಬಸವೇಶ್ವರ), (1134–1196)) was an Indian philosopher, Statesman and a social reformer from what is now Karnataka, India. Basava fought against the practice of the caste system, which discriminated against people based on their birth, and other rituals in Hinduism. He spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas. Basavanna used Ishtalinga, an image of the Śiva Liṅga, to eradicate untouchability, to establish equality among all human beings and as a means to attain spiritual enlightenment. These were rational and progressive social thoughts in the twelfth century. Basaveshwara is recognised by some as a pioneer of Indian Democracy. He created a model Parliament called the " Anubhava Mantapa," which not only gave equal proportion to men and women, but also had representatives from different socioeconomic backgrounds. He was a man ahead of his time, who believed that conflicts in a society should be resolved by debate and not violence. He advocated mercy towards both humans and animals.
Classical Hindu theologists interpret the Vachanaas 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, unlike Gautama Buddha, 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.
Basavanna(Basaveshwara) is called Vishwaguru due to the fact that he is the first ever to know the practicality of transcending to Godliness and demonstrated the technique of becoming God through around 800 Sharanas. Basavanna is Vishwaguru due to the fact that only he universalised the concept of path of becoming God through four levels of divinity that exists in one'sown own body- Unmanifest Chaitanya(Guru), Manifest Chaitanya-Shakti(Linga), Consciousness of the manifest chaitanya-shakti in Prana( Jangama), and the Individual consciousness(Jeevatma/Mind). Basavanna taught Sharanas the technique of transcending mind with ones own prana through a process of Ishtalinga, Pranalinga and Bhavalinga saadhana and confirmed the world that anybody in the world, irrespective of caste, creed, merit, nationality, etc., can transcend and become God by being in unioin with Prana. So far only he is the only person on record to demonstrate the feasible path of transcedence to a very common man. His followers in 12th centuray became Sharanas just by following his technique of being with prana and evloving through. One can witness his ability to understand spirituality as it is, and practice the specifics to the extent that about 800 sharanas wrote their experiences which converged into what is detailed by ancient texts - Vedas, Upansiahads, Darshanas, Geetha, Puranas in terms of the devata conscious elemenents in the Body iteself. Having understood the spirituality and its apt application,Basavanna is just more than what anybody and everybody understands as.
He himselef declared that he is playing only the elder brothers role and that is how the name Basavanna (Basava ANNA). He is popularly called as Bhakti Bhandari (Champion of Devotion). People also called him as a "Kranti Yogi" as he made the revalution in dharma. 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 or social status. 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 in Kannada Language which are derived from the Upanishads and Vedanta. He was a mystic by temperament, an idealist by choice, a statesman by profession: as 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.
Early life 
It is believed that Lord Basava was born into a Shaiva Brahmin called madarasa and Madalambike family, residing in a small town, Basavana Bagewadi in Bijapur district of northern Karnataka state, India in 1134 AD. Basava, said to have grown up in an orthodox Hindu religious household and rejected many practices in Vedic society based on some of the religious Scriptures called Agamas, Shastras, and Puranas in Sanskrit language.
He left Bagewadi and spent the next 12 years studying Sangameshwara, the then-Shaivite school of learning at Kudala sangama. There, he conversed with scholars and developed his spiritual and religious views in association with his societal understanding. Játavéda Muni, also known as Eeshánya Guru, was his guru. Basavanna invented Ishtalinga. He was driven by his realisation; in one of his Vachanas he says Arrive 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.
Religious Developments 
Basavanna used Ishtalinga (image/linga of god in one's body) to eradicate untouchability, established 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 caste system 
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 towards Kudala 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.
Basava said that the roots of social life are embedded not in the cream of the society but in the scum of the society. It is his witty saying that the cow does not give milk to him who sits on its back, but it gives milk to him who squats at its feet. With his wide sympathy, he admitted high and low alike into his fold. The Anubhava Mantapa established by Basava laid down the foundation of social democracy. Basava believed that man becomes great not by his birth but by his conduct in the society. This means faith in the dignity of man and the belief that a common man is as good a part of society as a man of status.
He proclaimed that all members of the state are laborers: some may be intellectual laborers and others may be manual laborers. He placed practice before precept and his own life was of rigid rectitude. Basava brought home to his countrymen the lesson of self-purification. He tried to raise the moral level of the public life in the country, and he insisted that the same rules of conduct applied to the administrators as to the individual members of the society. He also taught the dignity of manual labour by insisting on work as worship. Every kind of manual labour, which was looked down upon by people of high caste, should be looked upon with love and reverence, he argued. Thus arts and crafts flourished, and a new foundation was laid down in the history of the economics of the land.
The Sharanas had no caste divisions and accepted everyone as equal. Jedara Dasimayya was by profession a weaver, Shankar Dasimayya a tailor, Madivala Machideva a washerman, Myadar Ketayya a basket-maker, Kinnari Bommayya a goldsmith, Vakkalmuddayya a farmer, Hadapada Appanna a barber, Jedar Madanna a soldier, Ganada Kannappa an oilman, Dohar Kakkayya a tanner, Mydar Channayya a cobbler, and Ambigara Chowdayya a ferryman. There were women followers such as Satyakka, Ramavve, and Somavve with their respective vocations. The curious thing was that all these and many more have sung the Vachanas (sayings) regarding their vocations in a very suggestive imagery.
Out of the timeless Parashiva principle
Consiousness was born;
That immaculate supramental consiousness
Is Basavanna; from him
Were Nāda, Bindu and Kalā
When these were made one, the incarnate light,
Integral, perfect, circular shaped,
Became the form of Linga,
Out of this Mahālinga arose
The fivefold Sādākhya. Therefore, I call
The timeless Sarana the Primal Linga,
Because Linga arose from Basavanna.
O Mahālinga Guru Sivasiddhēshvara Lord! 
Basavanna's Vachanas 
ಉಳ್ಳವರು ಶಿವಾಲಯ ಮಾಡುವರು ನಾನೇನು ಮಾಡಲಿ ಬಡವನಯ್ಯಾ
ಎನ್ನ ಕಾಲೇ ಕಂಬ, ದೇಹವೇ ದೇಗುಲ, ಶಿರವೇ ಹೊನ್ನ ಕಳಸವಯ್ಯಾ
ಕೂಡಲಸಂಗಮದೇವಾ ಕೇಳಯ್ಯಾ, ಸ್ಥಾವರಕ್ಕಳಿವುಂಟು ಜಂಗಮಕ್ಕಳಿವಿಲ್ಲ,
uLLavaru shiválaya máduvaru nánénu mádali badavanayyá
enna kále kambha dehavé degula shiravé honna kaLashavayyá
Kúdala Sangama Devá keLayya sthavarakkaLivunTu jangamakaLivilla
- 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 Kudal Sangama deva, Buildings, and even my physical body will wear away, But my soul will never. ?
Below are some of the thousands of Vachanas:
|The power of knowledge destroys ignorance;
|ಜ್ಞಾನದ ಬಲದಿಂದ ಅಜ್ಞಾನದ ಕೇಡು ನೋಡಯ್ಯ
|Don't rob, Don't kill, Never ever lie
|ಕಳಬೇಡ, ಕೊಲಬೇಡ, ಹುಸಿಯ ನುಡಿಯಲುಬೇಡ
The Kudala Sangama Deva is - his insignia of all his vachanas in Kannada.
Ramanujam in his book, speaking of Shiva, has translated Basavanna's insignia Kudala Sangama Deva into Lord of the meeting rivers. But that is only literal translation. It does not fit to the Definition of Kudala Sangama Deva given by Basavanna.
Basavanna Defines GOD as:
- jagadagala mugilagal migeyagal,
- nimmagala, pataLadindattatta nimma shricarana,
- brahmanDadindattatta nimma shri mukuta,
- agammya, agOcara, apramana lingave,
- neevenna karasthalakke bandu
- cuLukadirayya kudala sangamadeva.
In this Vachana, Guru Basava has made it clear that, Kudala Sangamadeva in not Lord of meeting rivers. He is infinite, eternal, and beyond the reach of the physical senses. Basavanna gives perfect shape in the form of Ishtalinga to the formless and absolute GOD. Thus Ishtalinga represents the eternal, omnipresence, and Absolute GOD.
Views on Basaveshwara today 
|“||It has not been possible for me to practise all the precepts of Basaveswara which he taught 800 years ago and which he also practiced… Eradication of untouchability and dignity of labour were among his core precepts. One does not find even shades of casteism in him. Had he lived during our times, he would have been a saint worthy of worship.||”|
The Honourable Speaker of British Parliament said, "Its amazing and extraordinary that Basaveshwara professed, campaigned and advocated genuine democracy, human rights, gender equality way back in the 11th century even before anyone in United Kingdom had even thought about it".-Speaker of The British Parliament Rt Hon John Bercow on Basaveshwara, 21st of Jan 2013 in the Westminister hall following a thanks giving occasion organised by The Lambeth Basaveshwara Foundation.
The Times of India in its issue dated May 17, 1918 paid a glowing tribute to Basava:
|“||It was the distinctive feature of his mission that while illustrious religious and social reformers in India before him had each laid his emphasis on one or other items of religion and social reform, either subordinating more or less other items to it or ignoring them altogether, Basava sketched and boldly tried to work out a large and comprehensive programme of social reform with the elevation and independence of womanhood as its guiding point. Neither social conferences which are usually held in these days in several parts of India, nor Indian social reformers, can improve upon that programme as to the essentials. The present day social reformer in India is but speaking the language and seeking to enforce the mind of Basava.||”|
The movement initiated by Basava through Anubhava Mantapa became the basis of a sect of love and faith. It gave rise to a system of ethics and education at once simple and exalted. It sought to inspire ideals of social and religious freedom, such as no previous faith of India had done. In the medieval age which was characterized by inter-communal jealousy, it helped to shed a ray of light and faith on the homes and hearts of people. But the spirit soon disappeared after the intermarriage that Basava facilitated came to an abrupt end when the couple were punished for the same by the King.
The movement gave a literature of considerable value in the vernacular language of the country, the literature which attained the dignity of a classical tongue. Its aim was the elimination of the barriers of caste and to remove untouchability, raising the untouchable to the equal of the high born. The sanctity of family relations and the improvement in the status of womanhood were striven for while at the same time the importance of rites and rituals, of fasts and pilgrimages was reduced. It encouraged learning and contemplation of God by means of love and faith. The excesses of polytheism were deplored and the idea of monotheism was encouraged. The movement tended, in many ways, to raise the nation generally to a higher level of capacity both in thought and action.
- In honour of Basava, President of India Abdul Kalam inaugurated Basaveshwar's statue on April 28, 2003 in the Parliament of India in New Delhi.
- Basaveshwara is the first Kannadiga in whose honor a commemorative coin has been minted in recognition of his social reforms. The Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh was in Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka to release the coins.
- The British Cabinet Minister for culture, media and sports has approved the planning pernission to erect the statue of Basaveshwara along the bank of river Thames. The Speaker of the British Parliament RT Hon John Bercow has paid tributes to Basaveshwara as a man ahead of his times. Thames at Lambeth in London.
- Basava Dharma Peetha Charitable Trust with the intension of reviving Sharana cultural heritage purchased a land of 3 acres on 21-12-2001 by the side of main road nearby the entrance of Basava Kalyana town. Later on the Trust purchased 17.5 acres just adjacent to the previous land and has built a prayer hall and living rooms. Haralayya Tirtha - an attractive water reservoir is formed.
- Sri Basaveswara cave and Akkamahadevi cave have been chiselled and carved beautifully in laterite rock-soil. Sharana village formed pictures the concept of 12th Century Sharanas engaged actively in their Kayakas(occupations).
- The Trust is running an orphanage. There is a beautiful Hillock which is named as Sharana Shaila. Beautiful rolling land scape is the high light of the place. On Sharana Shaila is erected Lord Basavanna’s statue of 108’ height. It is structured on a pedestal of 24 feet height, 60’ x 80’ size
See also 
- Basava Purana
- Bhakti movement
- Kalachuri kingdom
- Akka Mahadevi
- Allama Prabhu
- Madivala Machideva
- Palkuriki Somanatha
- Vishwaguru Basavanna
- Who is Basavanna?
- Basava Purana Britannica.com.
- Basava in Literature
- Book “Essence of Shatsthala”, Vachana No 53 (Page No.32), Pub: Karnataka University, Dharwad, 1978.
- Basava International School ::
- M. R. Sakhare, History and Philosophy of the Lingayat Religion, Prasaranga, Karnataka University, Dharwad
Further reading 
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Basava|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Basava|
- Lingayat Religion
- Basava: The Great Socio-Religious Reformer
- Path of Guru Basava