New Delhi: Basava Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Lord Basavanna, the 12th-century poet-philosopher, and the founding saint of the Lingayat faith. The festival is observed by people of the Lingayat community mostly in Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with much fanfare. This year, however, the celebrations have been marred by the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
On this day, people exchange greetings, meet each other and remember Lord Basavanna, recite his teachings and vachanas. The objective of the festival is to pass the message of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (universal brotherhood). His message found expression in the form of Vachanas that define a new way of looking at God and life.
Long before the concept of people’s participation in decision took root in Europe, the Indian saint also built the world’s first Parliament, that also gave equal representation to women.
Basavanna staunchly believed in a caste-less society where each individual had equal opportunity to rise up in life. To give force to the noble mission, he conceptualised Anubhava Mantapa – an academy of mystics, saints and philosophers of the Lingayata faith and acted as the fountainhead of thoughts on common human values and ethics.
Presided over another great mystic Allama Prabhu, the Anubhava Mantapa also had numerous Sharanas – people from the lower strata of society – as participants.
Basavanna himself joined as a participant in the Anubhava Mantapa with other greats like Akka Mahadevi and Channabasavanna.
Basava Jayanthi is observed as a holiday in Karnataka.