Basava Jayanti 2024

10 May 2024
Karnataka    Regional holiday

Basava Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Basavanna, a 12th-century poet-philosopher. He was the founding saint of the Lingayat sect. It is a regional festival of Karnataka and a state holiday observed in this state. The Lingayats are a Hindu sect with a wide following in southern part of India that worships Shiva as the only deity. Basavanna was born in 1105 CE to a Kannada family devoted to Shiva, in the northern part of Karnataka. He grew up in Kudalasangama and married the daughter of the prime minister. As the administrator of the royal treasury, Basava helped to spread the Lingayat sect by teaching and by dispersing funds to Lingayats.

Many important Lingayat works are credited to Basavanna, including Vachana such as the Shat-sthala-vachana, Kala-jnana-vachana, Mantra-gopya, Ghatachakra-vachana and Raja-yoga-vachana. Basavanna believed that every human being was equal, irrespective of caste, creed or religion and that all forms of labour were equally important. Basava advocated the wearing of a necklace with a pendant that contains a small votary object symbolizing Shiva called a Linga, from which the Lingayats get their name. He is also known as Bhaktibhandari, literally meaning, the treasurer of devotion, or Basaveswara.

On November 14th 2015, the Prime Minister of India inaugurated the statue of Basavanna along the bank of the River Thames at Lambeth in London. Basavanna also holds the distinction of being the first Kannadiga to have a commemorative coin, which was minted in recognition of his social works and reforms. Basava Jayanti is celebrated to honour the life and works of Basavanna. People read and idolise the teachings of this great poet-philosopher. It is also observed in some parts of Telangana, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. It falls on the 3rd day of Baisakh month.