India is a great womb for many religions born in India and as well a great cradle for many religions born outside India. Among many religions born in India, Lingayathism founded byLord Basaveswara in 12th century is a very progressive, rational & independent religion. Lingayat religion has struggled hard to establish an ideal Welfare state (Kalyana Rajya) launching a crusade against casteism, superstitions, inequality, untouchability and exploitation which were going on in the name of religion. Lingayat religion preached Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Humanity uplifting the down trodden, upholding the principles of equal rights for women, fraternity and social justice.
Lingayat religion embraced people from all castes and all occupations from Brahmin to Bhangi through religious consecration- Istalinga Diksha.
Lingayathism does not believe in caste system. It is an independent and perfect religion established by Lord Basavanna during 12th century.
Lingayathism is a very progressive and non-Vedic, a non-Hindu religion with its own special characteristics as detailed below.
||Lord Basavanna (1134-1196)
|Language of the religion
|Name of God, the Creator
||A globular shaped emblem called Istalinga that is worn on body
|Holy religious place
||Kudala Sangama in Bagalakot district of Karnataka, where founder-prophet Basavanna erged with God (Lingaikya)
|Religious annual congregation
|| Sharana Mela -the annual mammoth congregation
|(Just like Huz of Muslims) at Kudala Sangama.
(January 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15)
||Basava (Anubhava) Mantapa
|Rites and rituals
||Worship of Guru-Basavanna, Istalinga-globular Emblem, Jangama- holy person.
|Religious weekly congregation
||Sharana Sangama-weekly prayer
||Hexagonal star with Istalinga on Saffron coloured cloth.
||Sharana heritage started from Lord Basavanna with so many Sharanas and Shivayogis of Lingayat Religion.
||Equality without any distinction of caste, creed, class or sex.
|Aim of Lingayat religion
||To build up a welfare state free from caste, creed, class and based on religious values.
Lingayat religion founded by Lord Basavanna and followed by one lakh ninety six thousand Sharanas at His life time is a non-Hindu, non-Vedic Faith for the following reasons.
- Lingayathism has Lord Basavanna as its founder-prophet.
- Lingayathism is not based on the preachings of Vedas, Agamas, Bhagawadgita, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Bhagawata, Puranas, etc. but based on Vachana literature which opposed four-fold caste system, untouchability, polytheism, inequality and preached equality, monotheism etc. and is the authoritative source of knowledge for Lingayats.
- Lingayat religion totally rejects Homa, Yajna and Sacrifice and opposes such rituals.
- Lingayathism is strictly monotheistic. Basavanna preached consistent monotheism which preaches belief in one only God who is all pervading, omnipotent,
omniscient etc. He insisted to worship the only God in the form of globular Istalinga and nothing else.
- Lingayathism does not consider any such places on earth as holy and any river or pond as sacred and mere dip in water will absolve all sins.
- Lingayathism rejects these 5 pollutions. Pollution of birth, death, caste, menstruation and orts.
- Lingayathism does not believe in astrology, Vastushilpa, horoscope etc.
Lingayathism disbelieves in four fold caste system i.e. 1. Brahmin. 2. Kshatriya 3. Vaishya. 4. Shudra & Untouchables (Asprushya) & considers this classification as man-made and advocates for horizontal type of society based on religions and social equality.
Lingayats have their own
- Metaphysics – Shunya Siddhanta
- Yoga – Istalinga Yoga given by Basavanna
- Mystic philosophy -Shatasthala
- Religious consecration – Istalinga Diksha through which any body can be taken into Lingayat fold.
- Religious fraternity – Equal treatment without any differentiation of caste, creed, class, sex etc. when once consecration is over.