25 Facts About Basava


Basava was active during the rule of both dynasties but reached the peak of his influence during the rule of King Bijjala II in Karnataka, India.


Basava spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas.


Basava rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions and rituals but introduced Ishtalinga necklace, with an image of the Shiva Linga, to every person regardless of their birth, to be a constant reminder of one's bhakti to Shiva.


The traditional legends and hagiographic texts state Basava to be the founder of the Lingayats.


However, modern scholarship relying on historical evidence such as the Kalachuri inscriptions state that Basava was the poet philosopher who revived, refined and energized an already existing tradition.


Basava was named Basava, a Kannada form of the Sanskrit Vrishabha in honor of Nandi bull and the local Shaivism tradition.


Basava grew up in Kudalasangama, near the banks of rivers Krishna and its tributary Malaprabha.


Basava spent twelve years studying in the Hindu temple in the town of Kudalasangama, at Sangameshwara then a Shaivite school of learning, probably of the Lakulisha-Pashupata tradition.


Basava's father was the provincial prime minister of Bijjala, the Kalachuri king.


Basava began working as an accountant to the court of the king.


Basava composed poetry in local language, and spread his message to the masses.


Several works are attributed to Basava, which are revered in the Veerashaiva Lingayat community.


Scholars state that the poems and legends about Basava were written down long after his death.


However, Basava championed devotional worship that rejected temple worship and rituals led by Brahmins and replaced it with personalized direct worship of Shiva through practices such as individually worn icons and symbols like a small linga.


Basava emphasized constant personal spiritual development as the path to profound enlightenment.


Basava 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.


Basava's approach is akin to the protestant movement, states Ramanuja.


Basava's philosophy revolves around treating one's own body and soul as a temple; instead of making a temple, he suggests being the temple.


Basava's trinity consisted of guru, linga and jangama.


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 shared their achievements and spiritual poems in the local language.


Basava questioned rituals, dualism, and externalization of god, and stated that the true God is "one with himself, self-born".


Basava taught that every human being was equal, irrespective of caste, and that all forms of manual labor was equally important.


Basava insisted on ahimsa or non-violence and vehemently condemned all forms of sacrifices, human or animal.


Basava is credited with uniting diverse spiritual trends during his era.


Basava advocated the wearing of Ishtalinga, a necklace with pendant that contains a small Shiva linga.