The Philosophy of Lord Basava

-Ramjan Darga

* Spiritual Materialism.
* One Invisible God, One Universe, Single Humankind.
* Equality thorough Kayaka , PRASADA and DASOHA.
* ISHTALINGA is the symbol of Universe, which is against all evils.
* Gender, Class and Racial discriminations are great evils.
* Everything is the product of 5 elements of Nature.
* Nothing is greater than anything. None is superior to another.
* One who wears ISHTALINGA should challenge all discriminations.
* A SHARANA is one who is never afraid of anything or anyone in fighting for justice, who lives by carrying out his Kayaka and who decides that the returns he obtains from his Kayaka are meant for him, his family and the society which are organic parts of his life.
* JANGAMALINGA is the God in the form of egalitarian society.
* ANUBHAAVA is the metaphysical experience. ANUBHAVA is the physical (material) experience. Metaphysical or Spiritual experience is based on the physical (material) world. Spiritualism is not out of Materialism.
* ARIVU is an outcome of spiritual experience. ARIVU means conscience.
* PRAJNA is an out-come of material experience. PRAJNA means consciousness.
* ARIVE Guru means “conscience (ARIVU) is our Master ( Guru )”. Guru is the guiding force inside us in the form of conscience. The origin of the Guru (conscience) is God. ARIVU, Guru and God are different forms of Conscience. There is no God without conscience. There is no conscience without energy (spirit) and matter. * No MOKSHA (No Salvation after death)
* Salvation is also an illusion like Hell, Haven, Sin and Religious Merit.
* These are all products of Karma theory. Karma is the result of our so called previous births. We get fortunate or unfortunate life according to the result of our so called Karma. )

LORD BASAVA of 12th century taught the World, about the importance of Enlightenment, Work Culture, Democracy, Human Rights, Gender and Racial equality to form an egalitarian Society. He was a great thinker who formed a Model Classless Society and called it “SHARANA SANKULA”. SHARANA SANKULA was a society of the people, who denied gender, caste, racial and class discriminations. SHARANAS were the pious people. Most of them were from working class and from lower strata of the society. They believed that God is in our duties and in our body in the form of conscience. There should not be any kind of discrimination among different types of works. There should be an equal respect for a Prime Minister and a Cobbler. A Prime Minister must perform his duties as perfectly as a cobbler does his work. He should understand that anybody’s work which is useful to the society is nowhere inferior to his duties. When everybody understands the importance of talent and skills of different workers, then only the egalitarian society will come into reality. LORD BASAVA, who was the Prime Minister of KALYANA, under King BIJJALA of KALACHURI dynasty thought on these lines. Any work with this concept is called “ Kayaka ”. If a person does some kind of work and produces something which is against the ethics is not called Kayaka . The SHARANAS while doing their Kayaka achieved the heights of the enlightenment which indicates “One Invisible God, One Universe and Single Humankind”. They achieved this on the basis of BASAVA Philosophy. They realized the “Philosophy of Universal Oneness”, which was taught by LORD BASAVA through experience of Kayaka . Kayaka is important to understand the BASAVA Philosophy. The entire universe is the product of Kayaka of Nature. The sun, the Moon, an Ocean, a Forest, a Bee, an Earthworm etc., are exist because of their duties which are inherited from Nature. So the human beings should do their duties. “The fruit of Labor ( Kayaka ) is the Gift of the God”, should be their feeling towards the outcomes of their duties. The gift is called “PRASADA”. When more social wealth is produced than what can be consumed by the SHARANAS of SHARANA SANKULA, then the excess wealth becomes societal surplus. According to LORD BASAVA’S ideal society, the surplus should become part of the social fund i.e. SHIVANIDHI. The SHARANAS should give their surplus to SHIVANIDHI in the form of DASOHA. This kind of egalitarian Society is called JANGAMALINGA. His philosophy is based on Spiritual Materialism. Almost 850 years ago, LORD BASAVA understood that there is no matter without energy. Matter and Energy are inseparable. Energy is invisible form of Matter. And Matter is visible form of Energy. Including galaxies everything has emerged from energy and at last everything will end up in energy. What we call energy in science becomes Spirit in BASAVA Philosophy. He says there is no spirit without matter. That is why I call his philosophy “SPIRITUAL MATERIALISM”.

This is the foundation of LORD BASAVA’S Egalitarian Society. Since everything originates from a single source, then how can we discriminate? Based upon this truth, LORD BASAVA denied all kinds of discriminations. He formed a methodology to bring his philosophy into reality. ISHTALINGA, Kayaka , PRASADA and DASOHA are very important concepts to bring this theory into practice. LORD BASAVA’S ISHTALINGA is the symbol of Universe. It stands for the oneness of mankind including all creatures of the World and it is against all evils. LORD BASAVA argues that the egalitarian society is the visible manifestation of God. The egalitarian society should be formed with the help of Kayaka , PRASADA and DASOHA concepts. Kayaka stands for proper production, PRASADA stands for proper utility and DASOHA stands for proper distribution of wealth in the society. These concepts are based on the BASAVA Philosophy which we call generally ISHTALINGA TATVA which is the religious term. The entire World will be freed from Discrimination, Exploitation and Wars, if people of all countries follow BASAVA Philosophy. It is a leading path towards the Just Society and Economics of Equality. LORD BASAVA was the first visionary of Parliamentary System. He established Anubhava Mantapa . It was the first Socio-religious Parliament of the world. It came into existence in 12th century, whereas the Magna Carta agreement between the Landlords and King John of England was signed in 13th century (1215 AD). The Constitutional experts say that the Magna Charta is the mother of constitutions of all nations of the World. But SHARANAS wrote VACHANAS much before Magna Carta agreement. The VACHANAS were used to be discussed in the Anubhava Mantapa and corrected by the other SHARANAS whenever needed. At last, they used to be accepted by the SHARANA SANKULA as a code of conduct. Many times we call VACHANAS as Vachana SAMVIDHANA ( Vachana Constitution). There were 770 representatives from all cross sections of the society. Farmers, Agricultural Laborers, Barbers, Goldsmiths, Blacksmiths, Weavers, Washer men, Cobblers, Tanners, Sweepers, Boatmen, Potters, Carpenters were among them. Women also took part in the discussions of Anubhava Mantapa . The great intellectual Allama Prabhu , belonging to the NATUVARA community (A low community of temple artists), was made the head of the Anubhava Mantapa . The SHARANAS of the different artisan and other lower communities were necessarily illiterate and they received education in the Anubhava Mantapa and contributed immensely to Vachana literature. Thus this was the First Adult Education Centre in the entire world. Their contributions are in the form of powerful mini poems exhibiting social and metaphysical consciousness. The researchers have found VACHANAS of 33 women writers also. There were many Untouchable Caste and lower caste SHARANAS among Vachana writers. Thus Anubhava Mantapa became the origin of Parliament, The Center of Working Class, Scheduled Caste, Women and Adult Education. It stood for Constitutional Values and Human Rights. All the 30 points of Human Rights declared by the UN0 are in LORD BASAVA’S VACHANAS. The SHARANAS movement of the 12th century was a great challenge to the MANUVADA ideology which supports the VARNASHRAMA System. The system is in support the exploitation of the SHUDRAS (working class). MANUVADA stands on the theory of KARMA. The KARMA theory produced illusionary Hell, Heaven, Sin, Religious Merit and Salvation.

Compassion (DAYA) is the base of LORD BASAVA’S Religion. People should not love God because of the fear of Sin and Hell. They should not love because of the greed of Religious Merit, Haven and Salvation after death. According to LORD BASAVA, our good deeds create Haven in our mind, and the bad deeds will create Hell. There is no question of Sin and Religious Merit because after death the body will mix with soil and the Soul will mix with the Infinite. The SHARANAS of 12th century conducted the marriage of a Cobbler youth and a Brahman girl. The upper caste people protested and killed many SHARANAS in the Capital City of KALYAN. Thousands of bundles of VACHANAS were burnt in the massacre. The researchers have collected about 25 thousand VACHANAS. BASAVA’S ideology should prompt each and every one of us to contemplate seriously upon the root causes of such harsh and striking mass misery in the contemporary world.

Ramjan Darga,
Director, Center for Vachana Studies, Basava Seva Pratishthan,
Sharana Udyan, Sharana Nagar,
Bidar -585 401 Karnataka, India Mobile: 9242470384 E-mail:

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[1] From the book "Vachana", pub: Basava Samiti Bangalore 2012.