Basaveshwara – UPSC Prelims

Brief Profile:
  • Basaveshwara (1134-1168) was an Indian philosopher, social reformer and statesman who attempted to create a casteless society and fought against caste and religious discrimination.
  • Basava Jayanthi is an annual event celebrated in the honour of the birth of Vishwaguru Basaveshwara.
  • He was born in Bagevadi (of undivided Bijapur district in Karnataka).
  • The tradition of Lingayatism is known to have been founded by him.
  • His spiritual discipline was based on the principles of Arivu (true knowledge), Achara (right conduct), and Anubhava (divine experience) and it brought social, religious and economical revolution in the 12th century.
  • This path advocates a holistic approach of Lingangayoga (union with the divine). This comprehensive discipline encompasses bhakti (devotion), jnana (knowledge), and kriye (action) in a well balanced manner.
  • He went to Kalyana (now called Basavakalyan) probably in the year A.D. 1154. His achievements in the short span of twelve or thirteen years of his stay at Kalyana are striking.
  • The Gates of Dharma were thrown open to all without any barriers of caste, creed or sex (Kalyana Rajya – Welfare State).
  • He established the Anubhava Mantapa, which was a common forum for all to discuss the prevailing problems of socio, economic and political strata including religious and spiritual principles along with personal problems.
  • Thus, it was the first and foremost Parliament of India, where Sharanas sat together and discussed the socialistic principles of a Democratic set up.
  • He gave two more very important socio-economic principles. They are:
    • Kayaka (Divine work): According to this, every individual of the society should take up the job of his choice and perform it with all sincerity.
    • Dasoha (Equal distribution):
    • There must be an equal income for equal work.
    • The worker (Kayakajeevi) may lead his day-today life by his hard earned income. But he should not preserve the money or property for tomorrow.
    • He must utilise the surplus money for the society and poors.
  • Vachana Reformist Movement:
    • The main aim of the Vachana (poetry) movement, led by Basaveshwara in 12th century, was welfare of all.
    • It attempted to address class, caste and to some extent gender issues in a given societal milieu.

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