From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Lord Basaveshwara and his philosophy
Mains level : Six schools of Indian Philosophy
Prime Minister has offered his homage to the 12th-century social reformer Basaveshwara on his birth anniversary.
Vaishnavism and Shaivism are the two most profound strands of Bhakti Movement in Indian history. Enlist all the Bhakti Saints and their theistic philosophy and teachings. Try to spot the minute differences between them.
- Basaveshwara or Basavanna was an Indian 12th-century statesman, philosopher, a poet and Lingayat saint in the Shiva-focussed Bhakti movement and a social reformer in Karnataka.
- He lived during the reign of the Kalyani Chalukya/Kalachuri dynasty.
- He was active during the rule of both dynasties but reached his peak of influence during the rule of King Bijjala II in Karnataka, India .
Founder of Lingayat cult
- The traditional legends and hagiographic texts state Basava to be the founder of the Lingayats.
- However, modern scholarship relying on historical evidence such as the Kalachuri inscriptions state that Basava was the poet-philosopher who revived, refined and energized an already existing tradition.
- Basava’s Lingayat theology was a form of qualified nondualism, wherein the individual Atman (soul) is the body of God, and that there is no difference between Shiva and Atman (self, soul).
- Basava’s views finds places in Vedanta school, in a form closer to the 11th century Vishishtadvaita philosopher Ramanuja.
- Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas.
- Basavanna rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions and rituals but introduced Ishtalinga necklace, with an image of the Shiva Liṅga to every person regardless of his or her birth.
- As the chief minister of his kingdom, he introduced new public institutions such as the Anubhava Mantapa (or, the “hall of spiritual experience”) which welcomed men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds.
Back2Basics: Bhakti Movement
- The Bhakti movement refers to the theistic devotional trend that emerged in medieval Hinduism.
- It originated in eighth-century south India and spread northwards.
- It swept over east and north India from the 15th century onwards, reaching its zenith between the 15th and 17th century CE.
- It has traditionally been considered as an influential social reformation in Hinduism, and provided an individual-focused alternative path to spirituality regardless of one’s birth or gender
- Salvation which was previously considered attainable only by men of Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya castes, became available to everyone.