Veeraswamy Krishnaraj


Basava (12th century)

Basava a Kannada form of Sanskrit Vṛishabha, the Bull carrier of Lord Śiva.

He was born Śaiva, well-versed in Śaivism and worked as chief minister of the king. He is the founder of Anubhava Maṇḍapa (Hall of Spiritual Experience). He spoke Vachanas in Kannada. The VacBasava-Lingayatismhanas (reminiscences) were in oral tradition and written down later, in the 15th century...  He is called by his endearing name, Basavanna (Elder Brother Basava). He was married.

He is the architect of Vīraśaivas (Heroic worshippers of Śiva). He was against caste stratification and hierarchy, temple worship, rituals, gender inequality... He propagated personal worship of Śiva, wearing icon of liṅga.

To him temples are static and fixed, while the tenets are dynamic and illuminating.

The Lingayatism followers wear the icon of Siva, the liṅga. He rejected his high birth, shed his sacred thread and cultivated his closeness to the oppressed castes. "Cannayya (the untouchable) is my father and Kakkayya (the tanner) is my uncle.”

A Dalit boy married a Brahmin girl. The fathers were sentenced to death by the king. Riots ensued and the king Bijjala was killed.

Lingayatism is qualified monism and loving devotion (Bhakti). There are Ligayats in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.