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Basava (11341196), also known as Basaveshwara, was an Indian philosopher, statesman and social reformer from what is now Karnataka, India. Basava fought against the practice of the caste system, which discriminated against people based on their birth, and other rituals in Hinduism. He spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas.


  • Listen, O lord of the meeting rivers,
    things standing shall fall,
    but the moving ever shall stay.
  • 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!”
  • Though shall not steal nor kill;
    Not speak a lie;
    Be angry with no one,
    Nor scorn another man;
    Nor glory in thyself;
    Nor others hold you to blame
    This is your inward purity;
    This is your outward purity;
    This is the way to win our Lord:

Basavanna's Preachings[edit]

  • Have faith in creator of this universe believe that he is omnipresent and Supreme power.
  • Earn wealth through honest and truthful work.
  • Consume according to your requirements and contribute the rest to the society through Dasoha.
  • Live morally, do not aspire for other's Wealth, Women and God.
  • Never act in breach of trust.
  • Never lose heart while pursuing the path of trust. Live a principled life.
  • Work with a feeling that, there is none lower than me; There is none greater than society of Sharanas.

About Basava[edit]

  • Basava (twelfth century AD), a Saivite saint of South India was a religious teacher, social reformer, and revolutionary who opposed image worship, rejected the Vedas, and the authority of the priests and instituted complete equality among his followers, even equality for women. He was the founder of the Lingayat sect.
  • Basaveshwara taught that each person was in direct relationship with God or with destiny and needs no one’s mediation.
  • Besides promoting a religious movement of unusual fervour, Sri Basaveshwara was also a great literary figure and was one of the makers of Kannada literature.
  • Even at the height of his egalitarian innovation, Basava never called himself a 'non-Hindu' (because such terminology was not yet in use), and he remained faithful to Hindu religious practices, starting with the worship of Shiva. He did promote intermarriage for one or two generations, i.e. a caste equality which was more than merely spiritual. Very soon, his sect simply became one more high and proud Hindu caste, which it has remained till today. Its egalitarianism lasted but a brief moment. This may be sufficient to serve as a selling proposition in the modern religion market, at least among people who go by historical anecdote rather than living social practice. On the other hand, a non-cynical approach of this heritage would be, to say that the hour for the awakening of a long-dormant ideal of casteless Shaivism has struck.
    • Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743

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