Creator of Ishtalinga ( ಇಷ್ಟಲಿಂಗ )


Dharama Guru Basavanna

ಮುನ್ನಿನ ಜನ್ಮದಲ್ಲಿ ಗುರುಲಿಂಗಜಂಗಮವ ಪೂಜಿಸಲರಿಯದ ಕಾರಣ
ಬಹು ಜನ್ಮಕ್ಕೆ ತಂದು ಇಕ್ಕಿದೆಯಯ್ಯಾ ಎನ್ನನು
ಎನಗೆ ಗುರು ಪಥವ ತೋರಿದವರಾರು?
ಲಿಂಗ ಪಥವ ತೋರಿದವರಾರು?
ಜಂಗಮ ಪಥವ ತೋರಿದವರಾರು?
ಪಾದೋದಕ ಪ್ರಸಾದ ಪಥವ ತೋರಿದವರಾರು?
ತೋರುವ ಮನವೆ ನೀವೆಂದರಿತೆ ,
ಎನ್ನಗಿನ್ನಾವ ಭವವಿಲ್ಲ, ಕೂಡಲಸಂಗಮದೇವ. :- ಸ. ವ. ಸಂ.-೧ ವಚನ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆ: ೮೩೩

Confusion regarding the founder of Lingayath religion became so strong that the majority of the society and even the Lingayath’s are in dilemma about founder of Lingayath is Guru Basaveshwara, because they are unaware of the ethics, history, practices of Lingayath religion. It is a very important to know about founder. But unfortunately same is being neglected, misguide and mislead by the unstable, ignorant and selfish preachers, as well as prelude minded persons who intend to grow personally on the name of religious organization and restricted minded communal powers.

Basic concepts of the Lingayath religion to strengthen and propagate are turn back to harm same religion. Hiremallur K. Ishwaran [1] in his book Lingayatha Dharma: Ondu Adhyayana furnish the information “At the time of Basaveshwara Jangama was one who indulges himself in duty of Jangama willingly and became so. But at present Jangama is one who takes birth in Jangama caste. The Ladder types of classes were framed by Jangama instead of eradicate that”. Shivayoga Mandira has played major role in dividing Jangama by giving education to by birth Jangama only.

Hazardous situation is being created artificially relating to the founder of the Lingayath religion. Proff: V. V. Sangamad [2] Problem regarding the founder of Veerashaiva/ Lingayath religion is harassing continuously Lingayath society since from one and half century. This is cause to divide society into Guru-Virakta and Bhakta-Jangama. Within these divisions’ action and reaction so many caste and tribe are taken birth.

All the divisions are became obstacle for unity and development. Without solving this there is no future for Lingayath society. By this problem society is facing severe failure in ethics, religious, social, education, cultural,economical and political as well as various fields. And it lost position at national level. The community is spread over south India. Major in Karnataka, in Maharastra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala is found followed by masses. In North Jain religion is spread over Gujrat and Rajasthan, Sihkism in Panjab, Boudh is surrounded by Uttar Pradesh. By the view of nationality these religions are smaller then Lingayath by extent, and are spread only in particular states. They are highlighted at national level then the Lingayath which is followed wholly by southern India.

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The general concept of a religion is that the religion is known after the name of its founder or its major ethics. So in Lingayath religion also we find joint venture of foundation of Lingayath religion and invention of the Istalinga are two major ethics. The Istalinga is the central power of the ethics, celebrity, worship, identity, Name of the religion, practices, and medium to practice equality, emancipation of women, universal fraternity, symptom of the Lingayath religion and each every aspect related to Lingayaths. As Lingayath religion starts with the Istalinga Deksha religious consecration) Linga + Ayata. It will conclude with Istalinga at death by name Lingaikya (one ness with God). So it pays very significant role to define/decide both. Founder of Istalinga is nothing but founder of the Lingayath religion.

Clarification through Vachana literature.

Guru Basaveshwara is the first one who introduced the words like Guru , Linga , Jangama , Prasada

Guru Basaveshwara is the Lingayat Dharma Guru Creator of Ishtalinga and introduced the Guru, Linga, Jangama and Prasada

ಬಸವಣ್ಣ ಮಾಡಲಿಕ್ಕೆ ಗುರುವಾಯಿತ್ತು.
ಬಸವಣ್ಣ ಮಾಡಲಿಕ್ಕೆ ಲಿಂಗವಾಯಿತ್ತು.
ಬಸವಣ್ಣ ಮಾಡಲಿಕ್ಕೆ ಜಂಗಮವಾಯಿತ್ತು.
ಬಸವಣ್ಣ ಮಾಡಲಿಕ್ಕೆ ಪ್ರಸಾದವಾಯಿತ್ತು.
ಬಸವಣ್ಣ ಮಾಡಲಿಕ್ಕೆ ಈರೇಳುಲೋಕವಾಯಿತ್ತು.
ಬಸವಣ್ಣನಿಂದಾದ ಕಲಿದೇವಯ್ಯ.
--ಮಡಿವಾಳ ಮಾಚಿದೇವ ಸವಸ 8/682

Basavanna madalikke guruvayittu
Basavanna madalikke Lingavayittu
Baavanna madalikke Jangamavayittu
Basavanna madalikke Prasadavayittu
Basavanna madalikke erelulokavayittu
Basavannanindada Kalidevayya.

- Madival Maachideva
Samagra Vachana Samputa 8/682, V No 245


Basava is the cause to form Guru (preceptor)
Basava is the cause to form Linga
Basava is the cause to form Jangama (Priest)
Basava is the cause to form Prasada
(Grace of God, holly food, Phala/return for the good deed)
Basava is the cause to form these seven worlds
Basava is the cause to form Lord Kalideva.

Madivala Machideva was the coeval Sharana of the Guru Basaveshwara. He fought against the communal forces which intend to destroy the Vachana literature during the Kalyana Kranti. His was a washer man at kalian. He also contribute a lot to define rectify the daily practice of Lingayath ethics. In the above Vachana he specify Basaveshwara invented Guru (preceptor), Linga , Jangama (Priest), Prasada (Grace of God, holly food, Phala/return for the good deed) and even seven worlds. In another Vachana Madivala Machideva witness the historical truth in a beautiful manner along with other essential aspects.

Ettate nodiadzattatta Basavanemba balli,
Etti nodidade Lingavemba gonchalu,
Vatti hindidade Bhaktiembarasavayya,
Aayatvu Basavannaninda, Swayat Basavannaninda,
Sannihitavu Basavannaninda
Guru Basavannaninda, Linga Basavannaninda
Jangama Basavannaninda,
Padodaka Basavannaninda, Prasada Basavannaninda,
Atta ballade nivu kelire, etta ballade nivu kelire,
Basava Basava Basava endu majjankkereyadavana bhakti,
Shunya kana Kalidevaradeva.

Wherever you see find creeper called Basava,
If you lift that and see you will find bunch of Linga ,
If you squeeze you will find the juice of Bhakti (devotion),
Aayta (the Istalinga came through preceptor/ Guru ) is by Basavanna,
Swayata (stage of mind achieved through the devotion as Linga is within the self) is by Basavanna,
Sannihita (stage of the mind of a devotee so as one has offered his internal, outer sense to the formless god (Parasiva),
By avoiding all needs getting bliss as each and everything is the Prasada (grace) of God,
state of mind that the God is lying within self) is by Basavanna,
Padodaka (divine water), Prasada (Grace of God, divine food) are given by Basavanna.
Wherever you see devotion that which not worshipping Basavanna is nothing but Shunya (null),
O Kalideva

Guru Basaveshwara is inventor of Linga , Jangama , and Prasada.


Aadi Basavanna, anaadi Lingavedembaru
Husi, husi E nudiaya kelalagadu
Aadi Linga , anadi Basavannanu
Lingavu Basavannana udardalli huttitu
Jangamau Basavannana udaradalli huttitu
Prasadavu Basavannananu anukarisalayittu
Inti trividhakke Basavannane karanavendaridenayya
Koodalachenna Sangamadeva.


There is a saying Basaveshwara is beginner (Aadi),
Linga existing from eternity (Anadi),
Lie, lie this cannot be heard,
Linga is beginner (Aadi),
Basavanna is senior to Linga (Anadi),
Linga is born in the stomach of Basavanna,
Jangama is born in the stomach of Basavanna,
Prasada is born in the stomach of Basavanna,
I came to notice, Basavanna is the only cause for this three fold ethics,
O Lord Koodalachennasangamadeva.

- Chenna Basavanna
Samagra Vachana Sahitya 3/ VNo5

Like wise number of Vachana ’s written by number of Sharana/Sharane’s we can find which witness the invention of Istalinga is Guru Basavanna as well as by means of that the founder of the Lingayath religion is Guru Basaveshwara.

Now let us see the evidence belonging to the time, after the life span of Basaveshwara. Following historical evidences clarify Lingayath Religion is found by Guru Basaveshwara [3]

  • Poet Harihara (Hampe)1195A.D
  • Palkurike Somnath (1200 A.D., in the Telgu language)
  • Chamarasa-Prabhulinga Leele (1400)
  • Mayidevaprabhu (Magge)[1430]
  • Chaturmukha Bommarasa [1500 A.D ]
  • Gubbiya Mallanaraya-Gururja Charite [1650 A. D]
  • Maritontadarya [1560 A. D]
  • Virupaksh Pandit- Channabasava Purana [1585 A. D]
  • Lakkanna Dandesh-Shivatatva Chintamani[1428A.D]
  • Gururaj [15th Century]( Sanskrit language)
  • Maritontdarya[16th Century] (Sanskrit language)
  • Keladi’s Basavaraj (Sanskrit language)

Hiremalluru Eshwaran [4] clearly deny that there was Lingayathism before Guru Basaveshwara. Proff: V. V. Sangamad [5] in his book Basavannanavaru Lingayath Dharma Samsthapakaru (Basavanna the founder of Lingayath religion) collects some eminent persons belonging to the present time who gave specific notion that Guru Basaveshwara is the founder of Lingayath religion.

  • Dr. Pavate Sidramappa,
  • Sri Hardekar Manjappa,
  • Sri Uttangi Channappa,
  • Sri Halepete Chinatmani,
  • Sri M. R. Srinivasmurty,
  • Sri A. N. Krishna Rao,
  • Sri R. R. Divakar, Patil Puttappa,
  • Dr. Siddayya Puranik,
  • Dr. D. Javaregouda,
  • Sri G. M. Patil Rtd Library officer Dharwad University and etc.

Existence of Lingayath religion is not at all found in any part of India and in literature of any language before 12th century. We can find evidences in and after 12Th century only. So there is no any other way rather then to tell in loud call/out cry that Guru Basaveshwara is the founder of Lingayath religion and its literature. Dr. P. B. Desai in his book “Basaveshwara and his times” concluded by the study of various literatures like stone scriptures, Puranas, Kavya, Vachana literature that Basaveshwara is the founder of Lingayath religion. In the book ‘Yuga Yatr Bharatiya Samskriti’ Published of University of Mysore also tends to say Basaveshwara is founder of Lingayath religion .

[1] Page no 161, **165of Lingayatha Dharma : Ondu Adhyayana,by Hiremallur K. Ishwaran: Published by Priyadarshini Prakashana, Bangalore.
[2] Page no 1 of Basavannanavru Lingayath Dharma Samsthapakaru (Basavanna the founder of Lingayath religion). By: Prof: V. V. Sangamad.Pub: Basava Balaga, Akkamahadevi Road, Davanagere-3
[3] S. Munavalli. “The Veerashiava Religion its practices and principles”, Page 36,
[4] Hiremalluru Eshwaran “Lingayath Dharma; Ondu Adhyana”, Page 85.
[5]V.V.Sangamad. Basavannanavaru Lingayath Dharma Samsthapakaru (Basavanna the founder of Lingayath religion) Page21,
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