Viswaguru Basavanna, the Dharma Incarnate and the blessed child of Almighty bestowed the world with a new revolutionary religion. He was born in the summer of 1134 A.D. the day and time in the traditional (almanac) calender being the Rohini period of the third Akshaya day of Vyshakha month, Anandanama Samvatsara (30-4-1134), to parents Madarasa and Madalambike belonging to a Shaiva Brahmin family of Ingaleswara Bagewadi in Karnataka State. Since the boy did not agree with the blind beliefs and irrational traditions, he left the house, the parents and relatives in search of truth and knowledge and went to Koodala Sangama in Bagalkot District of Karnataka State and joined Gurukula-educational centre there as a student. He was a youth of 21 years, by the time he finished his studies on scriptures. He was deeply pained to see ignorance, meaningless traditions, casteism and untouchability deep-rooted in the society and started thinking seriously to find out remedy for the same.
On 14-1-1155 he had divine vision and was blessed when he realised that it was not correct to give human/animal form to God who is formless and that the universe, the creation of God is hyperbolic in form and as such it is correct to worship God in the form of the universe i.e. hyperbolic form. Thus he gave the concept of Ishta-Linga. With the intention of making this concept as an instrument to overcome discrimination between caste, class, creed, sex etc., and transform them into Sharanas, Basavanna declared it as an emblem of the religion-Lingayatism.
After revelation, Basavanna entered into his field of work at Basava Kalyana in Bidar District with fullfledged plan in his mind for the establishment of an ideal welfare society. He married Sharane Neelaganga, the daughter of his maternal uncle, Baladevarasa and took the job of accountant in the palace of king Bijjala. Thereafter he rose to the position of Finance Minister and finally to the post of Prime Minister. He established the unique and glorious Anubhava Mantapa , an Academy of Socio-Spiritual and Religious experience and propagated the revolutionary religion, the religion accessible to all irrespective of their original caste or creed. He was responsible for the flow of Dharma Ganga to every door and to the minds of all. Everybody who got initiated to his religion was treated equal. As an ideal example he encouraged a marriage to be solemnised between two families who embraced the new religion. Originally, one family i.e. that of Sharana Madhuvarasa belonged to Brahmin and the other family. i.e. that of Sharana Haralayya belonged to cobbler. This made the traditionalists very much upset and they instigated the king Bijjala to condemn and exile Dharmaguru Basavanna. After Dharmapita Basavanna left Kalyana obeying the punishment-order given by the king, all the three, Haralayya, Madhuvarasa and Sheelavanta-the bridegroom were sentenced to death in a very cruel way. They had a tragic end. Their eyes were plucked; legs tied together were dragged along in the open field by an elephant till they succumbed to death. Thereafter the traditionalists hatched another plan to destroy the Vachana literature, the holy scriptures. But heroic mother, Akkanagalambike, the enlightened soul Channa Basavanna and vindictive natured Madivala Machideva fought bravely to save the canonical scriptures to the posterity. Today it is the esteemed treasure not only for Karnataka but for the whole world as well.
Such a glorious personality-Viswa Guru Basavanna, the founder of Lingayath religion, a great prophet and the divine spell incarnate lived for 62years, 3months and 2 days and ultimately merged with Lord, the Almighty as camphor in the flame on Shravana Shuddha Panchami day of Nalanama Samvatsara (30-7-1196).
Basavanna was a great saint, a true visionary and a revolutionary who gave universal religion to the mankind. He fought for the freedom of an individual. He created tremendous awareness among the people by declaring, "None is high or low just by birth. Greatness can be acquired only through personality and pursuit of principles.
Basavanna, keeping Welfare as the ultimate aim, decided to start a revolution relying upon religion as the main instrument. But, when he learnt that people were not attracted by religion, he expedited programmes to take religion to the people. By preaching and writing religious literature in the mother tongue (Kannada), he inspired and facilitated the people to sing their soul elevating experiences and realisations in the language of the soil. As a result of Basavanna's sustained efforts, the spiritual stream which flowed in the mother tongue took the form of the VACHANAS. This flowed like a perennial river giving a new fresh breeze of life to innumerable number of exploited people. Brimming with confidence, they arose and attained solvation to shine eternally as sources of confidence.
Basavanna was a fortune of this earth. He, as an harbinger of a new heritage, as a 'humangod', as a saviour of sufferers, as a hope of oppressed, whipped up the confidence in them. This great soul lived in the 12th century.
Whatever legend may say about Basava the fact is pretty clear that he was the first Indian free thinker. He might be called the Luther of India the acknowledge leadership of the priests was in full swing when Basava came upon the scene and there was a movement on foot to replace caste and priestly authority with intelligence and free thinking Basava a sivaite Brahmin, was in the camp of liberals.
He mounted the rostrum for the abolition of caste and ceremonies and preached that all men by birth equal that one sex was important as another. That child marriage was wrong and widows should be permitted to re marry he promised the Lingayat's the freedom of individual action. All wherever of divine Linga , where to occupy a common level. They were to eat together and intermarry.
(Land of Lingama, London 1933 P-iii)
It is no exaggeration to say that message of Basava is like a reservoir into which all previous thoughts flowed in and from which all later thoughts flowed out. Kind like Buddha, simple like Mahaveera, gentle like Jesus, Bold like Mohammad. Basava strikes us as almost as a wonder of creation. But what attracts us almost to him are those teachings of his in which he anticipated the greatest of modern thinkers Karl marks & Mahatma Gandhi.
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