Basava Jayanti – 14th May
Basava Jayanti is celebrated in honor of Lord Basavanna’s birthday by, Lingayats majorly in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra. Lord Basavanna, the Hindu Kannada poet of the 12th century was the founder of the Lingayat faith.
Basava (also known as Basaveshwara or Basavanna 1134–1196 AD) was born on the third day of Vaisakha month of the Anandanama (Samvatsara) in the year 1134 A.D. Since a new time period initiated with the birth of the great prophet Basavanna, the people have cherished that year as the ‘Basava Era’. In the present day, we can see all panchangas used the Basava Era count from Basava birth straight on in 2020 Basava Shake is 879. People refer to the year as the ‘ Basava Era’ or Basaveshwar Era’.
Lord Basava was a social reformer, philosopher, who fought social evils in the society, like the caste system and the ritual practices of Hinduism. He advocated a form of life where the divine experience was the center of life and caste, social status, gender carries no special importance. Basavanna staunchly believed in a caste-less society where each individual had equal opportunity to rise up in life.
Basava was a true humanitarian. He believed, preached, and practiced the modern principles embodying humanitarianism such as compassion, fraternity, and democracy. To give force to the noble mission, he conceptualized Anubhava Mantapa – an academy of mystics, saints, and philosophers of the Lingayata faith and acted as the fountainhead of thoughts on common human values and ethics.
The greatest contribution of Basavanna was the creation of “Anubhava Mantapa” – The Hall of Spiritual Experience – which is a sort of open parliament. The very first in the history of the world who introduced the concept of parliament in Basavanna. The concepts of Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (restructuring) was preached and practiced by Basavanna during the 12th century. Basava has a proponent of the monotheistic concept of formless God. The cornerstone behind his movement was the firm belief in a universal concept of God (Lord Shiva).
Kayaka, meaning work is equated with Kailash – Heaven. Basavanna dreamt of building an ideal society where all individuals must have equal opportunities for religious pursuit or spiritual development, irrespective of their vocation in life. He had to change the prevailing social attitude of estimating the worth of a man by his profession. He proclaimed that there was nothing high or low in occupations, it was honesty and sincerity that decided the merits of the means of livelihood, which he described as ‘Kayaka’.
In Karnataka, one in every five people belongs to the Lingayath religion. In the 3 prominent districts such as Vijapura, Dharwad, and Belagavi of North Karnataka every second person is a Lingayath. In the adjacent districts of Kalabuargi, Raichur, Bidar, Bagalkot, and Ballari the presence of Lingayaths is seen. According to Madara Chennaiah, Kembhavi Boganna, Kondaguli Keshiraja, and Jedara Dasimayya, we have learned that even before the advent of Basavanna there existed the Lingayatha Dharma!
Lord Basava Statue
Basavakalyan town in Bidar district is home to one of the world’s tallest statues of Basavanna measuring 108 feet. The statue was built in October 2012 and is the tallest statue of Basavanna in a sitting posture in India.
How the festival is celebrated
Basava Jayanthi is observed as a holiday in the Indian state of Karnataka. The celebration is focused on spreading the message that Lord Basavanna preached – for an egalitarian society. It is celebrated on the third day of the Vaisakha month each year, to mark the birth anniversary of the 12th-century philosopher Basavanna. The day is celebrated with much spectacle and happiness all over south India, mainly in Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh.
On Basava Jayanti people visit Lord Basaveshwar temples and offer prayers and recite Basava Vachanas, many social works are performed on the occasion. This day holds special importance to Lingayat committees who celebrate the day with various events, exchanging sweets and greetings with each other, and pass the message of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (universal brotherhood).
There are special cultural and spiritual programs held in Basavanna temples. The most auspicious part of the celebration is listening to the Swamiji’s’ enlightening speeches that explain and provide instances of application of Basava philosophy. We earnestly hope that this Basava Jayanti helps us to go back to the wise and much-needed teachings of Lord Basavanna on spiritual democracy, peace, and brotherhood, which is so essential in the world and times that we live in.
Famous quotes by Lord Basava
Make your body the temple of God. – Lord Basavanna
Earn wealth through honest and truthful work. – Lord Basavanna
Live morally. Do not aspire for other’s wealth, women, and god. – Lord Basavanna
Never lose heart while pursuing the path of trust. Live a principled life. – Lord Basavanna
Have faith in the creator of this universe believe that he is omnipresent and Supreme power. – Lord Basavanna
My actions go one way, another way my speech! Look, Lord, there is no trace of purity in me! Where action fitting to the word is found, there, truly, Lord Kudala Sangama dwells – Lord Basavanna.
Listen, O Lord of the meeting rivers, things standing shall fall, but the moving ever shall stay. – Lord Basavanna
There is no hell or heaven somewhere else, the hell is right here when you are dishonest. Heaven is right here when you conduct yourself with honesty and truthfulness. – Lord Basavanna.
In a brahmin house where they feed the fire as a god when the fire goes wild and burns the house, they splash on it the water of the gutter and the dust of the street beat their breasts and call the crowd. These men then forget their worship and scold their fire, O Lord of the meeting rivers! – Lord Basavanna.
If one helps someone without whole-heartedness, if one gives a donation to show off, then it is not truly helping or giving. If you give with your willingness, without expecting anything in return that is true giving. The Lord will bless such actions. – Lord Basavanna.
Suggested Read: Parshuram Jayanti