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Lingayatism is a Shaivite religious tradition in India.[1][2][web 1] Initially known as Veerashaivas, since the 18th century adherents of this faith are known as Lingayats.

The terms Lingayatism and Veerashaivism have been used synonymously,[note 1] but Veerashaivism may refer to the broader Veerashaiva philosophy which predates Lingayatism,[3] to the historical community now called Lingayats,[4] and to a contemporary (sub)tradition within Lingayatism with Vedic influences.[web 2][note 2] Meanwhile, Lingayatism may refer to the whole Lingayat community, but also to a contemporary (sub)tradition dedicated to Basava's original thought, and to a movement within this community which strives toward recognition as an independent religion. While some Vedic oriented Veerashaivas consider the two contemporary (sub)traditions to be "one and the same community" belonging to Hinduism,[web 3] Lingayats striving toward recognition as an independent religion regard Lingayatism to be different from Veerashaivism and Hinduism.

Lingayatism was founded, or revived,[note 2] by the 12th-century philosopher and statesman Basava in Karnataka.[5] Lingayat scholars thrived in northern Karnataka during the Vijayanagara Empire (14th-18th century). In the 21st century, some Lingayats have sought legal recognition as a religion distinct from Hinduism and Veerashaivas,[6][web 1][note 3] a request which gained support from the Karnataka government in 2018.[web 3][web 2]

Lingayatism is often considered a Hindu sect,[7][web 1][note 4] sharing beliefs with Indian religions,[6][8][note 5] but it rejects the authority of the Vedas, the caste system, and Hindu beliefs such as reincarnation and karma.[8] Worship is centred on Shiva as the universal god in the iconographic form of Ishtalinga.[1][note 6] Lingayatism emphasises qualified monism, with philosophical foundations similar to those of the 11th-12th-century South Indian philosopher Ramanuja.[web 1]

Contemporary Lingayatism is influential in South India, especially in the state of Karnataka.[9] Today, Lingayats, along with Shaiva Siddhanta followers, Naths, Pashupaths, Kapalikas and others constitute the Shaiva population.[web 4][note 7]


The adherents of Lingayatism are nowadays known as Lingayats. Both the terms Lingayatism and Lingayats are derived from Kannada word lingavanta for the "one who wears a iali?ga (Kannada: )". The Lingayat iali?ga is an oval-shaped emblem symbolising Parashiva, the absolute reality, and is worn on the body by a cord hung around the neck.

Historically, Lingayats were known as Virashaivas,[4] or "ardent, heroic worshippers of Shiva."[10] According to Blake Michael, the term Veerashaivism refers both to a "philosophical or theological system as well as to the historical, social and religious movement which originated from that system." Lingayatism refers to the modern adherents of this religion.[3] The term Lingayats came to be commonly used during the British colonial period.[4]

In 1926, the Bombay High Court ruled that "the Veerashaivas are not Shudras; they are Lingi Brahmins [Brahmins who wear the Linga] of the highest order." While the administrators of the 1931 Census "were instructed to list them as Lingi Brahmins," the term was not being used by Lingayats to describe themselves.[11]

Lingayatism and Veerashaivism

The terms Lingayatism and Veerashaivism have been used synonymously,[1][12][13][web 1][note 1] but Veerashaivism may refer to the broader Veerashaiva philosophy which predates Lingayatism;[3] to the historical community now called Lingayats;[4] and to a contemporary (sub)tradition within Lingayatism with Vedic influences, "who form a tenth of the total Lingayat population."[web 2] Meanwhile, Lingayatism may refer to the whole Lingayat community, but also to a contemporary (sub)tradition dedicated to Basava's original thought, and to a movement within this community which strives toward recognition as an independent religion. While some Vedic oriented Veerashaivas consider the two contemporary (sub)traditions to be "one and the same community" belonging to Hinduism,[web 3] Lingayats striving toward recognition as an independent religion regard them to be different strands of thought.

According to a tradition which developed after Basava's time,[14][note 2]Veerashaivism was transmitted by five Panchacharyas, namely Renukacharya, Darukacharya, Ekorama, Panditharadhya, and Vishweswara, and first taught by Renukacharya to sage Agasthya, a Vedic seer.[web 5] A central text in this tradition is Siddhanta Shikhamani, which was written in Sanskrit, and gives an elaboration of "the primitive traits of Veerashaivism [found] in the Vedas and the Upanishads" and "the concrete features given to it in the latter parts (Uttarabhaga) of the Saivagamas."[web 6][17] While Veerashaivas regard the Siddhanta Shikhamani to predate Basava, it may actually have been composed in the 13th or 14th century, post-dating Basava.[web 5]

According to Gauri Lankesh,[note 8] "Lingayats are followers of Basavanna," while Veerashaivism is a Vedic Shaiva tradition, which "accepts the Vedic texts and practices like caste and gender discrimination."[web 5] Basava's reform movement attracted Shaivite Brahmins from Andhra Pradesh; a century after Basava, "their descendants started mixing practices from their former religion with Lingayatism."[web 5] Basava's teachings also got mixed-up with Vedic teachings because much sharana literature was lost after the exile of sharana authors from the Bijjala kingdom.[web 5]

According to Gauri Lankesh,[note 8] Veerashaivism is preserved and transmitted by five peethas (Rambhapuri, Ujjaini, Kedar, Shreeshail, Kashi), which play an essential role in the Veerashaiva tradition.[web 5] In contrast, the virakta monastic organisation upheld "the ideals of Basava and his contemporaries."[18][note 9] According to Bairy, the virakta tradition criticised "[t]he Panchacharya tradition, the Mathas which belonged to it and the (upper) castes which owed their allegiance to them" for their support of Brahmins and their deviation from Basava's ideals.[20][note 10]

According to Sri Sharanbasava Devaru of Charanteshwar Mutt, interviewed in 2013, Lingayatism is a separate religion, distinct from the Hindu cultural identity, while Veerashaivism is a Shaivite sect "based on Vedic philosophy."[web 8] Sri Sharanbasava Devaru further states that Veerashaivism "started gaining importance only after 1904 with some mutts mixing Veerashaivism with Lingayatism."[web 8]

According to India Today, while "Veerashaivas' claim that the two communities are one and the same," orthodox Lingayats claim that they are different.[web 9] Lingayats claim that Veerashaivas do not truly follow Basava, accept Vedic literature, and "worship idols of Lord Shiva."[web 9] Veerashaivas further "owe allegiance to various religious centres (mutts), [while] the Lingayats mostly follow their own gurus."[web 9]


Basava (12th century)

Basava, the influential leader of Lingayatism[web 10]

The Sharana-movement, which started in the 11th century, is regarded by some as the start of Veerashaivism.[21] It started in a time when Kalamukha Shaivism, which was supported by the ruling classes, was dominant, and in control of the monasteries.[22] The Sharana-movement was inspired by the Nayanars, and emphasised personal religious experience over text-based dogmatism.[23]

The traditional legends and hagiographic texts state Basava to be the founder of the Lingayats and its secular practices.[24][25][web 1] He was a 12th-century Hindu philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet in the Shiva-focused Bhakti movement and a social reformer during the reign of the Kalachuri king Bijjala II (reigned 1157-1167) in Karnataka, India.[26][web 10][note 11]

Basava grew up in a Brahmin family with a tradition of Shaivism.[25][27] As a leader, he developed and inspired a new devotional movement named Virashaivas, or "ardent, heroic worshippers of Shiva". This movement shared its roots in the ongoing Tamil Bhakti movement, particularly the Shaiva Nayanars traditions, over the 7th- to 11th-century. However, Basava championed devotional worship that rejected temple worship and rituals led by Brahmins, and replaced it with personalised direct worship of Shiva through practices such as individually worn icons and symbols like a small linga.[10]

Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas. Basavanna rejected gender or social discrimination, and caste distinctions,[28] as well as some extant practices such as the wearing of sacred thread,[24] and replaced this with the ritual of wearing Ishtalinga necklace, with an image of the Shiva Li?ga,[29] by every person regardless of his or her birth, to be a constant reminder of one's bhakti (loving devotion) to god Shiva. As the chief minister of his kingdom, he introduced new public institutions such as the Anubhava Mantapa (or, the "hall of spiritual experience"),[27] which welcomed men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds to discuss spiritual and mundane questions of life, in open.[30]

After initially supporting Basava, king Bijjala II disagreed with Basava's rejection of caste distinctions. In 1167 the Veerashaivas were repressed, and most of them left Kaly?na, Bijjala's new capital, spreading Basava's teachings into a wider area in southern India.[2]

Consolidation (12th-14th century)

After Basava's death, Shaivism consolidated its influence in southern India, meanwhile adjusting to Hindu orthodoxy.[2] Basava's nephew Channabasava organised the community and systematised Virasaiva theology, moving the Virashaiva community toward the mainstream Hindu culture.[31] Basava's role in the origins of Shaivism was downplayed, and a mythology developed in which the origins of Veerashaivism were attributed to the five Panchacharyas, descending to earth in the different world-ages to teach Shaivism. In this narrative, Basava was regarded as a reviver of this ancient teaching.[2][note 12]

Monasteries of the older Saiva schools, "such as the Kalamukha," were taken over by the Virasaivas.[19] Two kinds of monastic orders developed. Due to their roots in the traditional schools, the gurusthalada monasteries were more conservative, while the viraktas "constituted the true Virasaiva monastic organisation, shaped by the ideals of Basava and his contemporaries."[18]

Vijayanagara Empire (15th-17th century)

In the 14th-15th century, a Lingayat revival took place in northern Karnataka in the Vijayanagara Empire.[18][32] The Lingayats likely were a part of the reason why Vijayanagara succeeded in territorial expansion and in withstanding the Deccan Sultanate wars. The Lingayat text Sunyasampadane grew out of the scholarly discussions in an Anubhava Mantapa, and according to Bill Aitken, these were "compiled at the Vijayanagara court during the reign of Praudha Deva Raya".[33] Similarly, the scripture of Lingayatism Basava Purana was completed in 1369 during the reign of Vijayanagara ruler Bukka Raya I.[32]

Caste status debates (19th-20th century)

In the 1871 and the 1881 census, Lingayats were registered as shudras,[34][note 13] resulting in claims from the Lingayats for a higher caste status,[34] which were objected and ridiculed by the Brahmins.[37] Lingayats persisted in their claims for decades,[34] and their persistence was strengthened by Lingayat presence within the government, and a growing level of literacy and employment in journalism and the judiciary.[38] In 1926, the Bombay High Court ruled that "the Veerashaivas are not Shudras."[11]

According to Schouten, in the early 20th century Lingayats tried to raise their social status, by stressing the specific characteristics of their history and of their religious thought as being different different from the Hindu-culture.[39] According to Gauri Lankesh[note 8] "early in the 20th century, the head of the Hangal Math established the Akhila Bharatha [All India] Veerashaiva Mahasabha and declared that it was the representative body of all Lingayats and Veerashaivas." In 1904 "a resolution was passed saying Lingayats and Veerashaivas were Hindus." But in 1940, "the mahasabha passed a resolution saying Lingayats were not Hindus."[web 5] In the 1910s, the narrative of Basava and Allama as the "founding pillars" of the Lingayats gained new importance for the identity of parts of the Lingayat-community, with other parts responded with rejection of this "resurrection."[38]

Separate religious identity (21st century)

According to Ramanujan, "A modern attempt was made to show Lingayats as having a religion separate from Hindu when Lingayats received discrete entry in the Indian constitution of 1950."[6][web 12][web 1] In the 2000s, the call for a separate religious identity gained new momentum.[note 3]

In 2000, the Akhila Bharatha [All India] Veerashaiva Mahasabha started a campaign for recognition of "Veerashaivas or Lingayats" as a non-Hindu religion, and a separate listing in the Census. Recognition as a religious minority would make Lingayats "eligible for rights to open and manage educational institutions given by the Constitution to religious and linguistic minorities."[web 12][note 14] In 2013, the Akhila Bharatha [All India] Veerashaiva Mahasabha president was still lobbying for recognition of Lingayatism as a separate religion, arguing that Lingayatism rejects the social discrimination propagated by Hinduism.[web 13]

In 2017, the demands for a separate religious identity gained further momentum on the eve of the 2018 elections in Karnataka.[web 14] While the Congress party supports the calls for Lingayatism as a separate religion,[web 15] the BJP regards Lingayats as Veerashaivas and Hindus.[note 15] In August 2017, a rally march supporting Lingayatism as "not Hinduism" attracted almost 200,000 people,[web 14] while the issue further divides the Lingayat and Veerashaiva communities,[web 9] and various opinions exist within the Lingayat and Veerashaiva communities. According to India Today, "Veerashaivas claim that the two communities are one and the same," while orthodox Lingayats claim that they are different.[web 9] Veerashaivas further "owe allegiance to various religious centres (mutts), [while] the Lingayats mostly follow their own gurus."[web 9] Nevertheless, some mutts support the campaign for the status of a separate religion, while "others content to be counted as a caste within Hinduism."[web 14]

In March 2018, the Nagamohan Das committee advised "to form a separate religion status for the Lingayats community." In response, the Karnataka government approved this separate religious status, a decision which was decried by Veerashaivas.[web 3][web 2] It recommended the Indian government to grant the religious minority status to the sect.[web 19][web 2]


Lingayatism is often considered a Hindu sect,[7][6][web 1][note 4] because it shares beliefs with Indian religions,[6][8][note 5] and "their [Lingayats] beliefs are syncretistic and include an assemblage of many Hindu elements, including the name of their god, Shiva, who is one of the chief figures of the Hindu pantheon."[6] Yet, Lingayatism also "makes several departures from mainstream Hinduism,"[8] and rejects the authority of the Vedas, the caste system and the Hindu concepts of reincarnation and karma.[8] Its worship is centred on Hindu god Shiva as the universal god in the iconographic form of Ishtalinga.[1][note 6] They believe that they will be reunited with Shiva after their death by wearing the lingam.[40]


An idol of Akka Mahadevi holding Ishta Linga in her left hand

Lingayatism worship is centred on the Hindu god Shiva as the universal god in the iconographic form of Ishtalinga.[1][note 6] The Lingayats always wear the Ishtalinga held with a necklace.[web 1] The Istalinga is made up of light gray slate stone coated with fine durable thick black paste of cow dung ashes mixed with some suitable oil to withstand wear and tear. Sometime it is made up of ashes mixed with clarified butter. The coating is called Kanti (covering).[] The Ishtalinga is a symbolism for Lord Shiva.[web 1]



Lingayatism teaches a path to an individual's spiritual progress, and describes it as a six-stage Satsthalasiddhanta. This concept progressively evolves:[41]

  • the individual starts with the phase of a devotee,
  • the phase of the master,
  • the phase of the receiver of grace,
  • Linga in life breath (god dwells in his or her soul),
  • the phase of surrender (awareness of no distinction in god and soul, self),
  • the last stage of complete union of soul and god (liberation, mukti).

Thus bhakti progresses from external icon-aided loving devotional worship of Shiva to deeper fusion of awareness with abstract Shiva, ultimately to advaita (oneness) of one's soul and god for moksha.[42]


While they accept the concept of reincarnation,[43] they believe that Lingayats are in their last lifetime,[43][44] and believe that will be reunited with Shiva after their death by wearing the lingam.[40][43][44] Lingayats are not cremated, but "are buried in a sitting, meditative position, holding their personal linga in the right hand."[43]

Shiva: non-dualism and qualified monism

A necklace with pendant containing linga symbol of Shiva are worn by Lingayats. Rudraksha beads (shown above) and Vibhuti (sacred ash on forehead) are other symbols adopted as a constant reminder of one's principles of faith.[45]

Qualified non-dualism

Shunya, in a series of Kannada language texts, is equated with the Virashaiva concept of the Supreme. In particular, the Shunya Sampadane texts present the ideas of Allama Prabhu in a form of dialogue, where shunya is that void and distinctions which a spiritual journey seeks to fill and eliminate. It is the described as state of union of one's soul with the infinite Shiva, the state of blissful moksha.[46][47]

This Lingayat concept is similar to shunya Brahma concept found in certain texts of Vaishnavism, particularly in Odiya, such as the poetic Panchasakhas. It explains the Nirguna Brahman idea of Vedanta, that is the eternal unchanging metaphysical reality as "personified void". Alternate names for this concept of Hinduism, include shunya purusha and Jagannatha in certain texts.[46][48] However, both in Lingayatism and various flavors of Vaishnavism such as Mahima Dharma, the idea of Shunya is closer to the Hindu concept of metaphysical Brahman, rather than to the nyat? concept of Buddhism.[46] However, there is some overlap, such as in the works of Bhima Bhoi.[46][49]

Sripati, a Veerashaiva scholar, explained Lingayatism philosophy in Srikara Bhashya, in Vedanta terms, stating Lingayatism to be a form of qualified non-dualism, wherein the individual Atman (soul) is the body of God, and that there is no difference between Shiva and Atman (self, soul), Shiva is one's Atman, one's Atman is Shiva.[45] Sripati's analysis places Lingayatism in a form closer to the 11th century Vishishtadvaita philosopher Ramanuja, than to Advaita philosopher Adi Shankara.[45]

Qualified monism

Other scholars state that Lingayatism is more complex than the description of the Virasaiva scholar Sripati. It united diverse spiritual trends during Basava's era. Jan Peter Schouten states that it tends towards monotheism with Shiva as the godhead, but with a strong awareness of the monistic unity of the Ultimate Reality.[41] Schouten calls this as a synthesis of Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita and Shankara's Advaita traditions, naming it Shakti-Vishishtadvaita, that is monism fused with Shakti beliefs.[41] But Basava's approach is different than Adi Shankara, states Schouten, in that Basava emphasises the path of devotion, compared to Shankara's emphasis on the path of knowledge--a system of monistic Advaita philosophy widely discussed in Karnataka in the time of Basava.[50]

Ethical conduct


Kudalasangama in Bagalkot district, a temple and pilgrimage site linked to Guru Basavanna

The Panchacharas describe the five codes of conduct to be followed by the Lingayats. The Panchacharas include:[51]

  • Ling?ch?ra - Daily worship of the individual Ishtalinga icon, one to three times day.
  • Sad?ch?ra - Attention to vocation and duty, and adherence to the seven rules of conduct issued by Basavanna:
    • kala beda (Do not steal)
    • kola beda (Do not kill or hurt)
    • husiya nudiyalu beda (Do not utter lies)
    • thanna bannisabeda (Do not praise yourself* i.e. practice humility)
    • idira haliyalu beda (Do not criticize others)
    • muniya beda (shun anger)
    • anyarige asahya padabeda (Do not be intolerant towards others)
  • Siv?ch?ra - acknowledging Shiva as the supreme divine being and upholding the equality and well-being of all human beings.
  • Bhrity?ch?ra - Compassion towards all creatures.
  • Gan?ch?ra - Defence of the community and its tenets.


The Ashtavaranas, the eight-fold armour that shields the devotee from extraneous distraction and worldly attachments. The Ashtavaranas include:[51]

  • Guru - obedience towards Guru, the Mentor;
  • Linga - wearing the Ishtalinga on your body at all times;
  • Jangama - reverence for Shiva ascetics as incarnations of divinity;
  • P?dodaka - sipping the water used for bathing the Linga;
  • Pras?da - sacred offerings;
  • Vibhuti - smearing holy ash on oneself daily;
  • Rudr?ksha - wearing a string of rudraksha (holy beads, seeds of Elaeocarpus ganitrus);
  • Mantra - reciting the mantra of "Namah Shivaya: (salutation to Shiva)"

Motto: K?yakav? Kail?sa

Kayakave Kailasa in Kannada

Kayakave kailasa is a slogan in Virasaivism. It means "work is heaven" or "to work [Kayakave] is to be in the Lord's Kingdom [Kailasa]". Some scholars translate Kayaka as "worship, ritual", while others translate it as "work, labour". The slogan is attributed to Basava, and generally interpreted to signify a work ethic for all social classes.[52]

D?soha doctrine

Dasoha is the purpose and result of K?yakav? Kail?sa in Lingayatism.[53]Dasoha means "service", and more specifically "service to other Lingayats" including the Jangama. Regardless of one's vocation, Lingayatism suggests giving and donating a part of one's time, effort and income to one's community and to religious mendicants.[53][54]

According to Virasaivism, skilful work and service to one's community, without discrimination, is a means to experiencing the divine, a sentiment that continues to be revered in present-day Virasaivas.[55] According to Jan Peter Schouten, this doctrine is philosophically rooted in the more ancient So'ham Sanskrit oneness mantra related to Shiva, and which means "I am He".[56] This social ethic is also found among other Hindu communities of South India, and includes community provisioning of grains and sharing other essentials particularly with poorer members of society and those affected by natural or other disasters.[57]


Lingadharane is the ceremony of initiation among Lingayats. Though lingadharane can be performed at any age, it is usually performed when a fetus in the womb is 7-8 months old. The family Guru performs pooja and provides the ishtalinga to the mother, who then ties it to her own ishtalinga until birth. At birth the mother secures the new ishtalinga to her child. Upon attaining the age of 8-11 years, the child receives Diksha from the family Guru to know the proper procedure to perform pooja of ishtalinga. From birth to death, the child wears the Linga at all times and it is worshipped as a personal ishtalinga. The Linga is wrapped in a cloth housed in a small silver and wooden box. It is to be worn on the chest, over the seat of the indwelling deity within the heart. Some people wear it on the chest or around the body using a thread.


Lingayats are strict vegetarians. Devout Lingayats do not consume beef, or meat of any kind including fish.[58] The drinking of alcohol is prohibited.[web 20]


  • Siddharameshawar Jayanti Solapur (Jan 14: Sankranti)
  • Allamaprabhu Jayanti (Ugadi)
  • Maha Shivaraatri
  • Basava Jayanti
  • Akkamahadevi Jayanti
  • Basava Panchami (known as Nag Panchami) on this day Basava merged with God
  • Neelamma Shashti (next day of Basava Panchami) on this day Neelagangambike merged with God
  • Madival Machideva Jayanti
  • Channabasavanna Jayanti (Deepavali)


Vachana Sahitya (also called Sharana Sahitya) on a Palm Leaf

Lingayat literature

A vachana (poem) by Akka Mahadevi

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 (literally, "what is said")[24] such as the Shat-sthala-vachana, Kala-jnana-vachana, Mantra-gopya, Ghatachakra-vachana and Raja-yoga-vachana.[59] 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:[]

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.[60]

Vedas and shastras

Lingayat (Veerashaiva) thinkers rejected the custodial hold of Brahmins over the Vedas and the shastras, but they did not outright reject the Vedic knowledge.[61][62][62] The 13th-century Telugu Virashaiva poet Palkuriki Somanatha, author of Basava Purana--a scripture of Veerashaivas, for example asserted, "Virashaivism fully conformed to the Vedas and the shastras."[61][63] Somanatha repeatedly stated that "he was a scholar of the four Vedas".[62]

Lingayatism considers the Vedas as a means, but not the sanctimonious end.[64] It rejected various forms of ritualism and the uncritical adherence to any text including the Vedas.[65]

Anubhava Mantapa

The Anubhava Mantapa literally means the "hall of spiritual experience".[10] It has been a Lingayat institution since the time of Basava, serving as an academy of mystics, saints and poet-philosophers for discussion of spiritual and mundane questions of life, in open.[66] It was the fountainhead of all religious and philosophical thought pertaining to the Lingayata. It was presided over by the mystic Allamaprabhu, and numerous sharanas from all over Karnataka and other parts of India were participants. This institution also helped propagate Lingayatism religious and philosophical thought. Akka Mahadevi, Channabasavanna and Basavanna himself were participants in the Anubhava Mantapa.[10]


Lingayats today are found predominantly in the state of Karnataka, especially in North and Central Karnataka with a sizeable population native to South Karnataka. Lingayats have been estimated to be about 20% of Karnataka's population.[7][note 16]

Significant populations are also found in parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana bordering Karnataka, as well as Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Gujarat. The Lingayat diaspora can be found in countries around the world, particularly the United States, Britain and Australia.[web 14]

Today, the Lingayat community is a blend of various castes, consisting of SC, OBC, working classes and various Vaishya castes, that have come together to form the single political entity.[67]

See also


  1. ^ a b Lingayatism-Veerashaivism:
    * Roshen Dalal (2010): "Lingayats or Virashaivas, a Shaivite sect."; "A Shaivite sect, also known as Virashaivas."[1]
    * Encyclopedia Britannica: Encyclopedia Britannica: "Lingayat, also called Virashaiva"[web 1]
  2. ^ a b c Dating of Panchacharyas tradition:
    * Schouten (1995): "The death of Basava certainly did not bring the Virasaiva movement to an end [...] Virasaivism gained a firm foothold in Hindu culture. In this process of consolidation, it was felt to be appropriate to emphasize the agreements, rather than the deviations, with the dominant religion. Hence, the Virasaivas tended to present themselves as pure Hindus who shared the age-old religious tradition. This went so far that the role of Basava as the founder of the movement was downplayed. Virasaivas even claimed that their school of thought already existed long before Basava. In their imagination, they sometimes traced the history of Virasaivism back to primordial times. Legends arose among them which related that five teachers, sprung from the five faces of Siva, descended to earth, in each of the ages of the world under different names, in order to preach the eternal truth of Virasaivism. Basava would have been nothing more than a reviver of this religion which had existed from times immemorial."[14]
    * Bairy: "[Venkatrao, in 1919 the president of the Karnataka History Congress], mentions that many Lingayaths took objections to him mentioning Basava as the founder of Veerashaivism in his writings. Finding that very strange and unfathomable, he asks a Lingayath friend about the reasons for this. The friend tells him how that very question - of whether Basava is the founder of Veerashaivism (accepting which would not only mean that it is dated to as recent as the twelfth century but also subverts the Panchacharya tradition which claimed a more antiquarian past) or just a reformer - was a major bone of contention between the two sections of Lingayaths.[15]
    * According to Aditi Mangaldas, in the 14th century Veerashaivism developed as a sub-sect of Lingayatism.[16]
  3. ^ a b Separate identity:
    * Ramanuja (1973): "A modern attempt was made to show Lingayats as having a religion separate from Hindu when Lingayats received discrete entry in the Indian constitution of 1950.[6]
    * The Hindu (Dec. 11, 2000): "Mallaradhya, who became a prominent politician after his retirement from the IAS, had laid claim to the non-Hindu tag in the mid-Seventies at a time when the Devaraj Urs government had appointed the First Karnataka Backward Class Commission, headed by Mr. L.G.Havanur."[web 12]
    * Encyclopedia Britannica: "In the early 21st century some Lingayats began to call for legal recognition by the Indian government as a religion distinct from Hinduism or, alternatively, as a caste within Hinduism."[web 1]
  4. ^ a b Hindu sect:
    * Encyclopedia Britannica: "Lingayat, also called Virashaiva, member of a Hindu sect"[web 1]
    * Levinson & Christensen (2002): "The Lingayats are a Hindu sect"[7]
  5. ^ a b Shared beliefs:
    Ramanujan (1973): "But we believe Lingayats to be Hindus because their beliefs are syncretistic and include an assemblage of many Hindu elements, including the name of their god, Shiva, who is one of the chief figures of the Hindu pantheon."
  6. ^ a b c Roshen Dalal (2010): "The linga is worshipped by all Shaivites, but it is the special emblem of the Lingayats or Virashaivas, a Shaivite sect."[1]
  7. ^ For an overview of the Shaiva Traditions, see Flood, Gavin, "The ?aiva Traditions", in: Flood (2003), pp. 200-228. For an overview that concentrates on the Tantric forms of ?aivism, see Alexis Sanderson's magisterial survey article ?aivism and the Tantric Traditions, pp.660--704 in The World's Religions, edited by Stephen Sutherland, Leslie Houlden, Peter Clarke and Friedhelm Hardy, London: Routledge, 1988.
  8. ^ a b c Writing for The Wire, and summarising research by of S.M. Jamdar and Basavaraj Itnal.[web 5]
  9. ^ According to Chandan Gowda, these five mathas "predate Basava."[web 7] Yet, according to Schouten, monasteries of the older Saiva schools, "such as the Kalamukha," were taken over by the Virasaivas.[19] Two kinds of monastic orders developed, the more conservativegurusthalada monasteries, and the viraktas which were faithful to "the ideals of Basava and his contemporaries."[18]
  10. ^ Bairy: "The Panchacharya tradition, the Mathas which belonged to it and the (upper) castes which owed their allegiance to them were accused by those espousing the Viraktha tradition of actively collaborating with the Brahmins in order to defame the 'progressive' twelfth century movement, which apparently spoke against caste distinctions and often incurred the displeasure of the upper castes within the Lingayath fold."[20]
  11. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica: "Basava, (flourished 12th century, South India), Hindu religious reformer, teacher, theologian, and administrator of the royal treasury of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala I (reigned 1156-67)."[web 10]
  12. ^ According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "According to South Indian oral tradition, he was the actual founder of the Lingayats, but study of Kalachuri inscriptions indicates that, rather than founding a new sect, he in fact revived an existing one."[web 10][dubious ]
  13. ^ According to S.M. Jamdar, "who is spearheading the demand" in 2017/2018 for recognition of Lingayats as a separate religion,[35] and M.B. Patil,[36] Lingayats were recognised as a separate religion in the 1871 Mysore census, and registered as Hindus in the 1881 census.[35][36] Chandan Gowda also claims that "the Lingayats were recorded as a caste within the Hindu religion for the first time in the 1881 census done in Mysore state."[web 11]
  14. ^ Arguments centre on the wording of legislation, such as "This Act applies to a Hindu by religion... including Veerashaiva, a Lingayat," making a distinction between Lingayats and Veerashaivas. Others opposed the campaign, noting that "the population of Lingayats would be mentioned separately alongside those of Arya Samajists and a few others considered as subgroups of Hinduism in the final Census figures."[web 12]
  15. ^ In July 2017, Congress - the political party in power in Karnataka - formed a team to "evolve public opinion in favour of declaring Veerashaiva Lingayat community as a separate religion", according to The New Indian Express, "to outflank the BJP in a poll year."[web 16] According to India Today, reporting August 2017, the ruling Congress party has publicly endorsed that Lingayatism is a separate religious group, not Hinduism.[web 9] In contrast, the BJP Party leader, former Karnataka chief minister and a Lingayat follower Yeddyurappa disagrees,[web 14] stating that "Lingayats are Veerashaivas, we are Hindus" and considers this as creating religious differences, dividing people and politicizing of religion.[web 17][web 18] According to the Indian Times, "both Lingayats and Veerashaivas have been strong supporters of the saffron party for over a decade," and historian A. Veerappa notes that "Congress has carefully crafted a divide within the Lingayat community by fuelling the issue," cornering BJP-leader Yeddyurappa on the issue, who "has been forced to stress the common identity of Lingayats and Veerashaivas."[web 9]
  16. ^ Levinson & Christensen (2002): "The Lingayats are a Hindu sect concentrated in the state of Karnataka (a southern provincial state of India), which covers 191,773 square kilometres. The Lingayats constitute around 20 percent of the total population in that state."[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Dalal 2010, p. 208-209.
  2. ^ a b c d Schouten 1995, p. 6.
  3. ^ a b c Blake Michael 1992, p. 18, note 1.
  4. ^ a b c d Schouten 1995, p. 71.
  5. ^ Ishwaran 1981, p. 76-78.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Ramanujan 1973, p. 175.
  7. ^ a b c d e Levinson & Christensen 2002, p. 475.
  8. ^ a b c d e D'Souza 2014, p. chapter eight, page 4.
  9. ^ Gall & Hobby 2009, p. 567-570.
  10. ^ a b c d Schouten 1995, p. 1-5.
  11. ^ a b Bairy 2013, p. 145, note 7.
  12. ^ Ahmad & Ishwaran 1973, p. 5.
  13. ^ Ikegame 2013, p. 83.
  14. ^ a b Schouten 1995, p. 5.
  15. ^ Bairy 2013, p. 147-148.
  16. ^ Mangaldas & Vaidyanathan 2014, p. 55.
  17. ^ M. Sivakumara Swamy, translator (2007)
  18. ^ a b c d Schouten 1995, p. 15.
  19. ^ a b Schouten 1995, p. 14.
  20. ^ a b Bairy 2013, p. 145-146 (note 8).
  21. ^ Shiva Prakash 1997, p. 168-169.
  22. ^ Shiva Prakash 1997, p. 168.
  23. ^ Shiva Prakash 1997, p. 169.
  24. ^ a b c Olson 2007, p. 239-240.
  25. ^ a b Rice 1982, p. 52-53.
  26. ^ Ishwaran 1981, p. 76.
  27. ^ a b Schouten 1995, p. 2-3.
  28. ^ Schouten 1995, p. 52.
  29. ^ Bunce 2010, p. 983.
  30. ^ Das 2005, p. 161-162.
  31. ^ Schouten 1995, p. 14-15.
  32. ^ a b Rice 1982, p. 64.
  33. ^ Aitken 1999, p. 109-110, 213-215.
  34. ^ a b c Bairy 2013, p. 143.
  35. ^ a b "Minority status for Lingayats: Who they are and how they affect Karnataka elections". hindustantimes.com/. 2018-03-20. Retrieved . 
  36. ^ a b "M.B. Patil attempts to show Lingayat was separate religion". The Hindu. Special Correspondent, Special Correspondent. 2017-12-10. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved . 
  37. ^ Bairy 2013, p. 144.
  38. ^ a b Bairy 2013, p. 145.
  39. ^ Schouten 1995, p. 16.
  40. ^ a b Sinha & Saraswati 1978, p. 107.
  41. ^ a b c Schouten 1995, p. 9-10.
  42. ^ Schouten 1995, p. 9-10, 111-112.
  43. ^ a b c d Curta & Holt 2016.
  44. ^ a b Malik 0000, p. 263.
  45. ^ a b c Olson 2007, p. 244.
  46. ^ a b c d Dalal 2010, p. 388-389.
  47. ^ Schuhmacher 1994, p. 202.
  48. ^ Das 1994, p. 9, 101-112.
  49. ^ Bäumer 2010.
  50. ^ Schouten 1995, p. 111-112.
  51. ^ a b Klostermaier 2010.
  52. ^ Ramanujan 1973, p. 35-36.
  53. ^ a b Schouten 1995, p. 111-113, 120, 140-141.
  54. ^ Blake Michael 1992, p. 40-45.
  55. ^ Schouten 1995, p. 138-141.
  56. ^ Schouten 1995, p. 113-114.
  57. ^ Vasavi 1999, p. 71-76, 79-81.
  58. ^ Ishwaran 1983, p. 119-120.
  59. ^ Rice 1982, p. 53-54.
  60. ^ Rao & Roghair 2014, p. 21-23.
  61. ^ a b Prasad 2012, p. 104.
  62. ^ a b c Rao & Roghair 2014, p. 7.
  63. ^ Rao & Roghair 2014, p. 7-8.
  64. ^ McCormack 1963.
  65. ^ Ishwaran & (1980, p. 72-76.
  66. ^ Das 2005, p. 161-163.
  67. ^ "Lingayat SCs, OBCs may not welcome minority tag". The New Indian Express. Retrieved . 


Printed sources


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Lingayat: Hindu sect, Encyclopedia Britannica (2015)
  2. ^ a b c d e Cite error: The named reference thehindu_2017_03_23 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ a b c d Business Standard (March 20, 2018), Karnataka Lingayat religion row: Congress' decision a blow for BJP? updates
  4. ^ shaivam.org, Shaivam
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Gauri Lankesh (5 Sept. 2017), Making Sense of the Lingayat vs Veerashaiva Debate
  6. ^ Amazon.com, Siddhanta Shikhamani: The one hundred one sthala doctrine. A concise composition, by Linga Raju. Kindle Edition
  7. ^ Gowda, Chandan (2018-03-23). "Terms of separation". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved . 
  8. ^ a b Lingayat is an independent religion: Seer, Vijaykumar Patil, The Hindu (2017)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Why Lingayat-Veerashaiva feud is bad news for BJP in Karnataka, India Today, Aravind Gowda, (August 24, 2017)
  10. ^ a b c d Basava Encyclopedia Britannica (2012)
  11. ^ Cite error: The named reference thehindu_2013_03_23 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  12. ^ a b c d Veerashaivas' campaign gaining momentum, The Hindu (11 December 2000)
  13. ^ Ataulla, Naheed (10 October 2013), Lingayats renew demand for separate religion. The Times of India. Retrieve don 28 November 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d e "A medieval poet bedevils India's most powerful political party". The Economist. 21 September 2017. 
  15. ^ "How Religious Minority Status to Lingayats would Impact Karnataka Elections 2018". Kalaburagi Political News. 
  16. ^ Now, government bats for separate religion for Lingayats, The New Indian Express (25th July 2017)
  17. ^ 'Veerashaivas are Lingayats and they are Hindus, no question of separate religion': Yeddyurappa, TNM News Minute (July 23, 2017)
  18. ^ Will welcome it if CM contests from north Karnataka, says Yeddyurappa, The Hindu (SEPTEMBER 18, 2017)
  19. ^ "Karnataka recommends minority status for Lingayat community: Will it impact Congress, BJP in upcoming polls?". 
  20. ^ cultural.maharashtra.gov. "LINGAYATS". 

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