The founder of the Lingait sect is also known as Basava. Basava was originally an Aradhya Brahman. Basava is well known for his great independency of mind and great moral courage.
Basava was born in a village to the east of Bijapur in the Collectorate of Kalladighee during the middle of the eleventh century. Basava was the prime minister at the Court of Kalayana, the capital of a great empire. The people of Lingait sect, founded by Basava used to wear the Linga. They regarded the Linga to be the true symbol of the Creative divine power.
Basava had great power, popularity and influence throughout. During his time, conversion from Jainism to Lingaitism was unduly favoured. But, king Bajal, Basava's still remained a Jain.
Basava got the power as at that time the priests of the Lingait sect used to get financial assistance from the people whom they taught. Another reason behind the success of Basava was that he addressed chiefly to the lower classes. These people thought that if they embraced the new religion, their social position will improve. And the Hindus in fact accepted the idea that becoming a Lingait was a step towards development.
Since that period of time, the Linga could be worn by the Brahmans only. Basava belonged to the Aradhya Brahmans, who performed the Linga worship. The Lingait sect spread very fast to the neighbouring Telugu and Tamil countries and most of them became the worshippers of Basava. Many books were written in the honour of Basava, which are regarded as very sacred.
The king of Kalyana did not approve this great change by Basava. He hated and persecuted the Lingaits. Hence, two extreme Lingaits abolished the palace of the king. It is said that Basava encouraged them to do so. Thus, a civil war started and the empire of Kalyana fell down. Basava was thus the cause of great revolutions in the Deccan.