(Last Updated on : 16-02-2018)
Lingayat Community is an Indian Community
that dates back to the 12th century AD and are also known as Virashaivites or militant Shaivite
. This sect was characterised by an anti-Brahmanical sprit. The Kakatiya
kings of Andhra Pradesh
, the Sangama
kings of the Vijayanagar Empire
and others were all Lingayats. Lingayat queens like Rudrama Devi, Chennamma of Kaladi kingdom and others have made a mark in history by their heroism.
The contribution of the Lingayat community to the religion
of India is long standing.
Origin of Lingayat Community
Lingayat Community was founded by Basavanna
in the 12th century AD. The philosophy of the Lingayats was influenced by the teachings of both Shankaracharya
. The followers of this sect gave great prominence to the Shiva linga
and the Nandi
, the bull.
Religion of Lingayat Community
The Lingayat community regards Lord Shiva
as supreme and worship; hence they are called Vira Shaivas or stalwart Shaivas. Reverence is paid by the Lingayatas to the 63 Nayanaras of the Tamil
country whom they regard as elders or Puratanas. They believe that God
is real and that the goal of life is to attune oneself to the Divine and bring harmony into life. They also believe that the body is the temple of the soul. All occupation is a means of worshipping the divine.
Society of Lingayat Community
The Lingayat community observes all major Hindu festivals
such as Vijaya Dashami
, Makar Sankranti
, Ganesh Chaturthi
. Lingayat community also has several exogamous sects. For the Lingayats marriage is a sacrament. They allow widow re-marriage
and divorce. Lingayat community bury their dead and there is no mourning period nor are the yearly shraadh
ceremonies performed as among the Hindus
. The Lingayats believe in rebirth.
They have contributed to the different literatures of the country like Sanskrit literature
, Kannada literature
, Telugu literature
and Marathi literature
through ages. The Vachanas of Basavanna are held in special esteem and the Surya Sampadana is the quintessence of Virashaivism.
Profession of Lingayat Community
Though they are predominantly engaged in agriculture
has also been a lucrative occupation for them. The members of this community deal in grain, cloth, groceries and spices
. Lingayats, in fact, play a dominant role in the economic, educational, social and political life of Karnataka
Over 80 percent of the educational institutions in Karnataka are supported by the Lingayats as are many associations and societies that look after the educational needs of the people. Outstanding educationists from this community have played a special part in the spread of education
. As rulers, ministers and soldiers, the Lingayats were moulders of the political scene in the past.