Basavanna Birth

- ✍ Her Holiness Maha Jagadguru Dr. Maate Mahadevi
ಪೂಜ್ಯ ಶ್ರೀ ಮಹಾಜಗದ್ಗುರು ಡಾ|| ಮಾತೆ ಮಹಾದೇವಿ.

2. The Birth

Guru Basava Birth

Bagewadi, a small village situated in modern Bagalkot, was a flourishing town with many great scholars. This was also called as Ingaleswara Bagewadi. Agrahara (Agrahara was a place or an area or a colony given by kings to Brahmins as a gift. Tax collected from the people who lived in this place was enjoyed by those Brahmins to whom this place was donated) was an important place in this town. The house of Madaraja the chief of the township was situated here.

Descended on earth and gained glory,
Has become the head of Brahmin's community,
His abode well versed with Aagamas and epic on Shiva,
Has attained mastery over texts, mantras on Shiva and music,
Was living in Agrahara in Bagewadi
This great person from Kamme clan,
Is Madiraja, a Brahmin and his wife
Was Madalambe, a unique and pious lady.

Thus, Madarasa with his wife Madalambike who was from a good clan was living in Agrahara which was humming with recitation and study of religious texts. They were Shaiva Brahmins belonging to Kamme clan.

Though they were blessed with glory, wealth, knowledge and high status due to their reputed clan, they did not lead satisfactory life. They did not have a male issue. They had a daughter, Nagalambike but did not have a son to carry on priesthood which was a traditional occupation of their family. If this was Madarasa's agony, Madalambike was emaciated mentally due to her own reason. She was under the impression that if she did not leave a son behind to perform the last rites, she would not be accepted in heaven. She had acquainted with this belief as she used to listen to the recitation of epics. Some incidents in the epics depicting the rejection of souls from the heaven since they had no male issue and the fear due to people's abuse and accusations increased her agony.

Nandeeswara was the deity of the town Bagewadi. Madalambike used to go to the Nandeeswara temple everyday. One day, when she was listening to the recitation of "Nandi Purana"- an epic on Nandeeswara, she heard that, if any one who does not have a son perform Nandi Vratha (a form of observance in the name of Nandeeswara deity) would get a male issue. Instantly she decided in her mind to perform the same. From that day itself she started the observance of the rite strictly. After the observance was over, she had gone to the temple. There, a flower from the idol dropped down. Immediately the priest gave that to Madalambike and said "Your dream has come true, your appeal has been, honoured. Definitely your expectation will be met with". Madalambike was overjoyed and there were no bounds to her happiness.

On that night, she had a dream in which Lord Shiva had seated amidst the beautiful silvery-snow covered mountain. As soon as Shiva ordained his favourite disciple Nandi to take birth on the earth for the welfare of the whole world, snow-white coloured majestic Nandi started descending on to the earth happily. Eventually, it took the form of a effulgence and entered into her body. With great surprise and joy she narrated the whole sequence to her husband Madarasa. He too became very happy and offered pooja to the deity. This news was soon spread in all parts of the town.

As the dawn is followed by sunrise, this dream was followed by Madalambike's pregnancy. This brought a great joy to the family and the town. Madalambike's joy was that a son will be born and the progeny would continue. While Madarasa felt happy anticipating a son who will arrive and take over his mantle as the chieftain, God was happy as a new visionary will be born on the earth to enlighten the whole world.

Meanwhile, not only physical changes but also mental, behavioural changes started taking place in Madalambike's attitude. She not only became introvert and contemplative, but was involved in prayer, observance and study of the epics. After nine months were over, a male-baby was born on the third day of Vyshakha month of the Anandanama year in Rohini star. [The year coincides with 1134 A.D. After studying some specific Vachanas which spread light on time (Kalagnana Vachanas), these calculations were arrived at. Since a new era began with the birth of the great prophet Basavanna, the people have adored that year as 'Basava Era' . Date of Birth is 30th March 1134].

Soon after the baby was born, an interesting and a special event took place. A cow had died in a colony where high caste people lived. They had asked an untouchable to take away the carcass. An untouchable youth had come to finish off this job. But, when he heard a melodious chanting of mantras, out of curiosity, he climbed on to a threshold of a Brahmin's house and peeped. When the Brahmins who were engaged in chanting looked at the door steps accidentally, they found the untouchable listening to the chanting of mantras. They rose in great anger and started shouting that the sanctity of the religious texts was polluted. The innocent untouchable started shivering. The complaint reached the chieftain-Madarasa and enquiry began. The boy's father confessed that the mistake was committed unknowingly. The complainants did not agree. "Unknowingly if hand is put in the fire does it not burn? Have not the authors of the religious texts said that if an untouchable recites religious texts, his tongue should be slit and if he listens to the recitation, molten lead should be poured into his ears ?" They argued vehemently. Kind hearted Madarasa's soul was not ready to administer such a cruel punishment. At the same time he feared the revolt of Brahmins. When Madarasa was irked in this dilemma, a servant came running and said : "Master, a son is born to you. He is born in Rohini star". Madarasa became overwhelmingly happy and suddenly an idea flashed in his mind. And immediately he said "Gentlemen, you both have argued to arrive at whether this boy has committed a mistake or not. Even if we decide that the boy has committed a sin, since a male baby is born to me it has brought me a tremendous joy and hence I cannot afford to do an inauspicious work by administering such a cruel punishment. On the occasion of this joyous moment I pardon and release him. I hope this would make you all happy". The Brahmins were literally tied, and they could not speak anything more. Realising that no more pressure could be brought on him, they silently dispersed.

This news reached the colony of untouchables and brought great joy to each and every one. The boy's father became overwhelmingly happy and uttered : " Hey, great person, it seems you have born to liberate us. Your birth became the cause for our liberation. May you live for ever...!"

After finishing the meeting, Madarasa came home joyfully with greater eagerness to see his lovely baby-son. But the moment he saw that baby he became crestfallen and his joy, happiness everything came to standstill. Though the baby was pretty, it was still, neither had opened eyes, mouth nor had any movement. It was difficult to make out whether the baby was alive or not. When all were perplexed and fearsticken, a loud chanting "Hara Hara Mahadeva", was suddenly heard. Recognising the familiar voice, Madarasa came out in great joy and saw Jataveda Muni at the doorsteps. Madarasa was very happy. "Oh ! my Gurudev, what an unexpected visit !", obviously he was greatly relieved. He washed Gurudev's feet with water and offering his salutations, he welcomed him.

Clad in saffron clothes, with his hair tied over the head and his forehead anointed with vibhoothi, the great Shaiva guru, Jataveda Muni entered the house with a pleasant smile saying , "Not unexpected Madarasa, all ordained by Lord Shiva. You have been blessed with a baby son, is it not ? He is born with the blessings of the Lord." Jataveda Muni was a great scholar and he was not only the head of Koodala Sangama- a pilgrimage centre but also the preceptor of Madarasa's family. He had foreseen the descent of this great soul through his mystic power and had come to bless the baby. He looked at the baby placed in a tray made of bamboo with great affection. The baby was sleeping with its eyes closed, it was just like a doll. He smiled at the baby and took out bhasma (vibhoothi) from his wallet and anointed the baby's forehead with it. Next, he placed his hand on the baby's forehead and the moment he whispered the mantra "Om Namaha Shivaya" into its ears the baby immediately opened its eyes and as a symbol of liveliness it started crying. The child was behaving as if the descended soul did not want to see anything else without having at first the glimpse of Guru. The parents became very happy. Jataveda Muni started preaching them : "My dear devoted couples, this baby belongs to Shiva. You have got him since you have carried the observance successfully in the name of Nandeeswara. Nandi is the symbol of Dharma. Nandi is Shiva's vehicle. It means God rides on Dharma. Therefore, this baby is a Dharmic being. You are just his parents, only for the sake of name. Without confining him in your love and recognise him that he is for the welfare of the whole world. Since he is born with the blessings of Vrishabha you name him as BASAVA". The Guru blessed the couple and went back. Madarasa and Madalambe named their lovely baby as BASAVARASA. They started nursing him with great care and affection. In the future when he became the great Guru, he was known as Basaveswara. Moved by his struggle and sacrifices for the emancipation of the under-privileged, people considered him as their own ANNA (elder brother) and eventually, he came to be popularly known as Basavanna.

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