Bengaluru: Water Resources Minister M B Patil on Monday said that he made a mistake signing a memorandum seeking separate religion status and census code for the two communities.
On Saturday, M B Patil addressing the gathering at Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha stated that after reading the 12th century social reformer Basavanna’s literary works he felt that Veerashaivas and Lingayats are not the same.
The works of the late scholars Hiremallur Ishwaran and Prof M M Kalburgi also point to Lingayat being a religion in itself, he stated. “The Lingayat religion, which goes back 800 years before the Indian Constitution, finds mention in the British records and Ferdinand Kittel’s dictionary identifying Basavanna as the religion’s founder.”
“Veerashaiva Mahasabha must understand that Veerashaiva-Lingayat will not get a separate religion tag. The demand has to focus on separate religion status for the Lingayats,” Patil wrote.
Who are Veerashaivas?
Veerashaivas are worshippers of Lord Shiva. They precede Basavanna, the founder of Lingayatism. Veerashaivas do not worship any God other than Shiva and can be found spread across India. Pashupatha Shaiva, Soma Shaiva, Dakshina Shaiva, Kala Mukha Shaiva, Lakula Shaiva, Yavala Shaiva, Samanya Shaiva, Mishra Shaiva, Shuddha Shaiva, Adi Shaiva, Anu Shaiva, Avantara Shaiva are some of the sects within Shaivism. Veerashaiva is one such sect and people from the community are found largely in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. All sects of the Veerashaiva follow the 'Pancha Peeta', five mutts. Kashi mutt, Rameshwaram Mutt, Ujjaini Mutt, Rambhapura Mutt and Srishaila Mutt are the core holy places for the community.
Who are Lingayats?
Lingayats are followers of Basavanna and his teachings. Veerashaivas in Karnataka, influenced by the preachings of Basavanna adapted the same into their lives and faith. Basavanna's teachings were incorporated to base sects that led to the formation of new sects like Banajiga Lingayat, Panchamasali Lingayat, Ganiga Lingayat, Gowda Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat. Veerashaiva worship Lord Shiva, the one mentioned in Hindu mythology. But the Shiva that Basavanna referred to is not the Hindu mythological Shiva. Basavanna's Shiva is a formless, seamless figurative entity. Lingayats argue that this was the very reason that Basavanna never mentioned about the Hindu mythological Shiva in any of his Vachanas. In terms of religious practice, Basavanna propagated only the worship of Ishta Linga. He did not encourage rituals and ceremonies of offering, prayer and sacrifice. Veerashaivas, however, encourage such rituals in stark contrast. Basavanna had suggested wearing of the Ishtalinga on one's neck but Veerashaivas have done away with the practice.