What Is Lingayatism : Religious Identity

March 20, 2018

The terms Lingayatism and Veerashaivism have been used synonymously, but Veerashaivism may refer to the broader Veerashaiva viewpoint, to the historical community now called Lingayats, and to a distinct contemporary Saiva subtradition with Vedic influences. Lingayatism was founded, or revived, by the 12th-century philosopher and statesman Basava and spread by his followers among the Sharanas. Lingayatism is often considered a Hindu sect, sharing beliefs with Indian religions, but it rejects the authority of the Vedas, the caste system, and Hindu beliefs such as reincarnation and karma. Worship is centered on Shiva as the universal god in the iconographic form of Ishtalinga.

What are the cultural differences between Lingayats and Brahmins

Here are some differences

1. We don’t need to go to Temple to worship, God is within you, in the form of ista linga and consider God is with you always and behave yourself in talking to others where God feel good about your talking.
2. There is no hell or heaven, if you follow lingayath practices (good behavior) then you are a lingayath so, you will meet the god (Eshwara) directly. There is no concept of hell or cycle of birth or death.
3. No need to see horoscope and other things like good time etc.. If you decide to do something do it, that time is good time
4. Every animal has God with it (not only human), treat animals well, that’s why lingayath are Vegetarian’s. There are many vachanas associated with it to respect other living beings.
5. All Women are equal in everything, including worship. There is no taboo of any sort or discrimination.
6. Lingayath priest say basic vachanas in his pooja. We don’t use bramins in lingayath temples. (Lingayath own some temples, even though it is not their basic concept.)
7. Vedas, Upanishad’s are disregarded, vachana’s are everything. (Reasons seem to be bramins only knew Sanskrit and hence vedas, it was a secret only known to them, whereas vachanas are in Kannada.).

Lingayat literature

Several works are attributed to the founder of Lingayatism movement, Basava, and these texts are revered in the Lingayat community. In particular, these include various Vachana such as:

1. the Shat-sthala-vachana
2. Kala-jnana-vachana
3. Mantra-gopya
4. Ghatachakra-vachana
5. Raja-yoga-vachana

Saints and Sharanas like Allamaprabhu, Akka Mahadevi, Siddarama and Basava were at the forefront of this development during the 12th century. Other important Lingayat literature includes:

2. Mantra Gopya
4. Karana Hasuge

The Basava Purana, a Telugu biographical epic poem which narrates the life story of Basava, was written by Palkuriki Somanatha in 13th-century, and an updated 14th century Kannada version was written by Bhima Kavi in 1369. Both are sacred texts in Lingayatism.

Lingayat Festivals

1. Siddharameshawar Jayanti Solapur(Jan 14 -Sankranti)
2. Allamaprabhu Jayanti (Ugadi)
3. Maha Shivraatri
4. Basava Jayanti
6. Basava Panchami (known as Nag Panchami) on this day Basava merged with God
7. Neelamma Shashti (Next day of Basava Panchami) on this day Neelagangambike merged with God
8. Madival Machideva jayanti
9. Channabasavanna Jayanti (Deepavali)

Why Lingayats want a minority status

The Karnataka government has decided to favour recognition of one more religious minority in India — Lingayats, so called for their veneration of linga, the icon of Shiva. The state government today accepted suggestions of Nagamohan committee under section 2D of the state Minorities Commission Act. Now the proposal will be sent to the Centre for the final approval. The community has been demanding status of a separate religion for a long time. The issue came at the centrestage last year when Chief Minister Siddaramaiah promised to consider the demand. One part of the community demands the minority status for both Veerashaiva and Lingayats considering them the same, while another wants it only for the Lingayats as it considers Veershaivas to be Hindus. The Nagamohan committee has recommended minority status for only the Lingayats and has kept Veershaivas out. Karnataka State Minorities Commission had formed a seven-member committee, headed by retired high court Judge HN Nagamohan Das on the issue which submitted its report on March 2 stating that Lingayats in Karnataka could be considered as religious minority.

References

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