What is Lingayatism ?
If 'Lingayat Dharma' is the name of the religion, the Lingayat is the name for the follower of this religion. Some other words used synonymously are 'Lingavanta Dharma', 'Basava Dharma' and Vachana Dharma. 'Lingavata' means a person who wears Istalinga - i.e. a miniature globular emblem of worship, either in a silver box or in a piece of cloth, around his/her neck. ' Lingayat' carries a deeper meaning than the preceding one. It signifies the fact that the follower is not only wearing Istalinga, but that he has obtained it through an initiation or Diksha ceremony. ' Basava Dharma' means the faith founded by Lord Basava, a great prophet of the twelth century. 'Vachana Dharma' conveys the menainf of, the faith preached in Vachan literature, which forms the original and authentic scriptural source for this religion.
Lingayatism is an independant religion like Buddism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism etc by vitue of having its own metaphysical theories, which differ from advaita, Dvaita, and Visistadvaita of Vedanta. The Philosophy of this religion is known as saktivisistadvaita, where god is conceivedto be qualified by sakti or cosmic energy. yoga or the path of meditation is known as Sivayoga, whihc differs from all other Indian yogas. but at the ssame time is a harmonious confluence of all other yogas, including Kundalini yoga. Scriptural texts of Lingayatism are the vachanas and the literature based on vachanas. Both in ritualistic pattern and socio-cultural practices, Lingayatism differs from traditional Hinduism and all other Indian religions. Lingayath society does not consist of one cast, but is a congregation of several castes, with its followers practicing multifarious occupations.
Tents of Lingayatism :
1. Founder Prophet - Lord Basavanna, who preached equality of mankind.
2. Religious scripture - Vachana literature that preaches fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man.
3. Religious Object of Worship - Istalinga a dark polished hyperbola symbolising the cosmic soul of God, worn on body and worshipped.
4. Religious Centre - Kudala Sangama, the holy place where Lord Basavanna became one with God..
5. Religious Flag - Satsthala Dhwaja with Guru Basava's sacred chant in a six angled star.
6. Aim of the Religion - Kalyana Rajya Nirmana buiding up a casteless and classless society on this earth..
Who is Lingayata ?
Who is Lingayata? As explained by poojya Mataji in her papers prepared for "Symposium on Indian Religion: held at London, which is altogether printed in her book called "Lingayathism"
1. Lingayatha is he who, with a form belief that Lord Basavanna, the proponent of equality of mankind, saviour of humanity and universal teacher is the Primal Guru of Lingayath religion, surrenders to his divine feet, regarding him as one's sole protector.
2. A Lingayata is he who, with implicit faith, looks upon the vachanas of Lord Basavanna, Allamaprabhu, Akka Mahandevi, Siddharameshwara, Chinmaya Gynani Chennabasavanna, Madivala Machayya and other sharanas of basava era, as well as followers of path of basava as the scriptural texts of Lingayath religion, and studies vachana shastra, recites tha vachanas. and acts accordance with their teachings.
3. A Lingayata is he who, hbaing faith with the existence of Almighty God who is the creator, preserver and destroyer of universe of created things - living as well as nonliving, wiht earnestness wears on his body and worships Istalinga, in which spherical shape Lord Basavanna conceived God and presented to humanity.
4. He who looks upon "Om Namahshivaya" the shadakshari mantra as devine incantation. and "Om sri guru basavalingayanamah" the dwadasakshara as the Guru mantra and recites them with implicit faith and fervor, is a Lingayatha.