Message of S. Radhakrishnan (President of India)

(Foreword to the first edition-1942 of Book “History and Philosophy of Lingayat religion” by M.R. Sakhare. Publisher : Prasaranga, Karnataka University, Dharwad. Page IV)

There is an increasing interest, both in India and abroad in words an India thought. While there are scholarly works in English on many branches of Indian Philosophy and Religion, the Lingayat system has not had many sympathetic and learned expositors. The world of scholars will welcome the publication of this important work on the Lingayt religion by Professor M. R. Sakhare. The book is full of wide and specialised learning and is valuable as a contribution to the study of Shaivism in one of its great developments.

In a long and learned Introduction, the author traces the history of Shaivisim in all its various phases and deals with the Lingayat reform of Brahminical Shaivism with great sympathy and keen insight. He notes how this religious reformer attempted to bring about a social revolution as well. Basava gave to Veerasaivism a prophetic turn and a popular appeal. The author takes great pains to make out that the Lingayat faith is altogether independent of the Hindu religion which is primarily based on the authoritativeness of the Vedas and the Varnashramadharma. As the Lingayat religion accepts the authoritativeness of the Agamas and repudiates the distinctions of caste, it is said to be non-Hindu. I am afraid that this is taking a somewhat narrow view of the spirit of Hinduism.

The book gives us the text of Nandikesvara’s Lingadharanachandrika, with translation and copious notes. The ill-conceived and mistaken notions of Linga worship are ably refuted. The Vishistadvaita metaphysics in its special Lingayat form (i.e. Shaktivishistadvaita-editor) and the disciplinary rules clearly formulated. I had no doubt that Professor Sakhre’s work will continue for long to be of immense use to the students of Indian Philosophy and Religion.

-S. Radhakrishnan

Note: Copies of the book available at: Prasaranga, Karnataka University, Dharwad, Karnataka, India.

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