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  1. Linga Dharana Chandrika of Nandikeshwar Shivacharya - Ed Vraj Vallabha Dwivedi
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Chavara studies, respectively.

Linga Dharana Chandrika of Nandikeshwar Shivacharya - Ed Vraj Vallabha Dwivedi

The use of this article indicates your acceptance of the terms and conditions of use available at the Dharmaram Journals website. It was Basava who gave a definite shape to this tradition in the 12th century in Karnataka. The aim of this essay is to give a short and comprehensive account of Virasaivism with a view to shed some light on the multi-faceted development of popular Hinduism. The historical roots Virasaivism has its roots in Saivism which has the special characteristic feature of worshiping God Siva in the symbol of linga. The origin of this worship is from pre-historic times.

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The findings at Mohanjadaro and Harappa show that the cult of Siva and the worship of linga existed as early as Indus Valley civilization, which is considered to be pre-Aryan, around BC. This close association of the mother-goddess and Siva in the form of linga and yoni has given the basis for the later theologies of Saivism and Saktism. The mother goddess, the principle of fecundity and generation, has transformed herself in Saktism into reality, in Brahmanism into Durga-kali, in philosophy into maya, the cause of the existence of the world, and in Samkhya system into the doctrine of purusha and prakrti.

The close affinity of Siva and the mother goddess in the form of linga and yoni further symbolized the unification of all polarities. The whole doctrine of linga later gets a spiritual transcendence and becomes symbolic of the union of man and God in bliss ananda. I, p, The four vedas and the twenty-eight agamas sacred tradition and the Tantras are the canonical writings of the Saivites. These are believed to be revelations from the supreme Lord Siva.

The Vedas with different gods and diverse practices meet the needs of souls in the initial stages. The Saiva-agamas 2 with Siva as the only God, are meant for those who are in an advanced spiritual stage. The tantras give us transcendental knowledge that liberates us from the pain of existence in history. Saivite cult existed already in vedic period. Its influence on Brahmanism is seen in the Upanishads. Mahabharata mentions certain modes of agamic worship. This does not mean that the ideas contained in these books belong to this period, but it only means that Saivism took a definite shape and got established as a separate religious sect with agamas and tantras.

Schools of Saivism Saivism gave rise to many schools of philosophy, the important among them are: 1 Pasupata of Gujarath, 2 Saiva Siddhanta of Tamilnadu, 3 Sivadvaita of Kashmir and 4 Virasaivism of Karnataka. First reference to this sect are found in the great epic Mahabharata c. In the Dronaparvam of Mahabharata Siva is described as an abnormal and insane character. He is pictured as one moving into the Devadaru forest with red-eyes, body full of ashes and fire in hands. While moving in the forest, he danced, sang and made amorous gestures.

An agama consists of four kandas sections. Jnanakanda is related to the knowledge of God, Yogakanda concerns itself with concentration on an object, kriyakanda enumerates the different works connected with Siva-bhakti devotion to Siva, and Karya kanda explains the details of worship. Believing in austerities and ascetical practices, a Pasupata is expected to smear his body with ashes, to live in solitary places, to clothe his body with one single garment.

The eating of meat is not prohibited. He must be initiated into the secrets of Pasupatism through a guru. The guru is considered to be much superior to the scriptures. After the initiation, the disciple must live under the trees, in forests, in temples; through begging, he should procure his food; he must take daily bath, smear his body with ashes and repeat the Sivamantra or the name of Siva; he has to wear rudraska leads, carry a staff and bowl in his hands; has to observe all the yamas and niyamas, that is, ethical and yogic disciplines.

These practices are said to result in internal purification and thereby lead the aspirant to liberation. Karana is the cause of everything and this cause is god, known as pati. His creation, karya effect is the world and soul pasu - bounded soul. Yoga is a method of discipline which relates the soul to God through the faculty of understanding. The Vidhi is concerned with the practice of religious rituals and rites. All these lead the soul to the final stage of dukhanta or cessation of pain or liberation.

The earliest reference to Tamil Saivism is found in the grammatical work Tolkappiyam of 3rd c. Its historical origin can be traced from 6th c. These books deal with all subjects, especially with the philosophy and religion of Tamil Saivism. Tamil Saivism as presented by these sources is fundamentally a religion of bhakti devotion , 7 also cf.

Mahabharata, Santiparvam. Snkhare transl. Linga-dharanachandrika of Nandikeswara. Belgaum : Mahavir Press, , p. It is through these devotional songs that Tamil Saivism was popularized and propagated by its saints. Saiva Siddhanta, as a system of philosophical thought, is both realistic and pluralistic in its approach to reality. It accepts the reality as triad, namely God, soul and the world.

They exist independently in relation to their mutual dependence. It is because of the mutual dependence and relatedness that all the three entities own their distinct nature. When one achieves the state of Karmasamya, equilibrium of action, the grace of Siva descends upon the soul and leads it to liberation.

One can dispose oneself to receive the grace of Siva through, 1 Karyamarga, a path of service. It consists mainly in participating in all the religious events in the temple and in placing oneself at the disposal of Siva to serve in the temple, 2 Kriyamarga performance of rituals in the temple or at home: This path frees one from egoism and leads to samipya or closeness to Siva, which brings about liberation 3 Yogamarga, a path leading a soul to union with Siva: Through yogic practices the disciple attains sarupya or similarity with Siva, and 4 Jnanamarga, a transcendental path: Here one transcends all the materiality and concentrates on the atmalinga linga in the heart.

One becomes intensely aware of the presence of God within and forgets himself and the world, seeing and experiencing nothing but Siva everywhere. It is also known as Trika Sastra because of its acceptance of many trinites trikas , such as the trinity of scriptures 3 agamas, ie. With its vast variety of religious literature and philosophical thoughts, Kasmere Saivism is a systematic religion with a large following.

We shall give here only the main sixfold religious discipline or method aimed at spiritual growth: 10 For details cf Motilal Pundit, op. By practising the way of devotion, one may experience a close intimacy with Siva. This exercise is said to result simultaneously both in physical enjoyment and spiritual liberation. This method accepts both physical enjoyment and spiritual development resulting in the attainment of supernatural powers. This method is regarded as superior to all other methods. Besides Kundaliniyoga is also practiced to experience the bliss of Siva-sakti union.

The real spiritual knowledge paurusha jnana is attained when one transcends the sense of duality. This is attained through the study of monistic Saiva philosophy and through the experience of Paramsiva. Devotion is love and attachment to Siva, expressed in ritual practices, which in turn procures the grace of Siva for the devotee. This yoga brings with it the serene bliss of self-awareness and liberation.

Virasaivism, also known as the Lingayat religion, is one such sect that flourished in South India. Apart from the three schools of Advaita, Vishistadvaita and Dvaita, there arose and flourished in the 12th century A. Lingadharana Chandrika, p. Pandit, op. The tenets and philosophical content came to be known as Saktivisishtadvaita. Yet as a separate religious sect, Virasaivism has the following distinctive features: a. The highest importance was attached to devotion to Siva. Women are given equal status in religious worship in as much as they were ordained to deeksha initiation and the wearing of the linga.

The rigidity of the varnashramadharma caste system was very much loosened amongst the followers of Virasaiva faith. Attempts were made to uplift the Harijans low caste people by giving them equal status in worship and religious practices. Vegetarian food and ban on intoxicants were emphasized. Religious literature in the regional language Kannada was developed and propagated. It favoured an enterprising spirit among its followers by introducing a liberating ethos. Meaning of Virasaiva and Lingayat It is difficult to give a correct interpretation of the compound term Virasaiva, as there is no unanimity among the scholars regarding its meaning.

The Sanskrit word vira means brave and Saiva means the follower of Siva. A Virasaiva is, therefore, a brave or virile follower of Siva. This explanation stems from the fact that in the beginning the 12 R. XVIII, no. Church and Society in Kerala Unpublished doctoral thesis Pune. Sometimes they were also militant crusaders against brahmanism and social evils.

Because of this militancy and revolt they were called Virasaivas. The followers of Saivism who find delight in such knowledge are Virasaivas. Again, vi is interpreted as doubt, delusion and ra as without. Virasaivism, therefore, is a faith and philosophy free from doubt and false perception.


Do not part with it, so long as you live. Such a disciple is a Virasaiva. Now, this interpretation brings us to the second important term Lingayat. Lingayat is a popular designation for Virasaiva in English which comes from an equivalent Kannada word lingavanta meaning the one who wears the linga. Literally linga means a sign or a mark of gender in grammar. Hence many interpret linga as phallus or male generative organ.

The Virasaiva founders do not accept this interpretation. For them linga is Siva, the symbol of the parabrahma of the Upanishads, the cosmic principle which is the source of the universe, the visible symbol of the invisible consciousness, chaitanya, existing internally in the beings. Founders and Scriptures The religious tradition is that vira-saivism was founded by five sages acharyas Revana, Marula, Ekorama, Panditaradhya, and Visvesvara regarded as the mythical founders of five monasteries in different 15 Motilal Pandit, Saivism Diwakar, Karnataka Through Ages, p.

Sargant, The Lingayats, p. Historically it took a definite shape in 12th c. Basava, the chief minister of King Bijala of Kalyana, was the champion and the main spring of the movement. His aim was not to oppose any religious or philosophical system, but to show the people the existing social and religious evils in the society and if possible to remove them.

He established at Kalyana the Anubhavamantapa the assembly of religious experience, which attracted the attention of many religious minded people of all walks of life from all over the country. Basava the politician, the revolutionary, the mystic and the philosopher convinced the common people at large of the true faith in such a way that during his life time and within few years after his death, Virasaivism spread all over Karnataka and neighbouring states.

In John Howe v. Charlotte Howe I. Maung Mya Khin [] A. In this case there is evidence that Maralshiddavva had been long deserted by her husband. But even assuming that he had met her a week before his death, as she alleges, the defendant, born days after his death, must be held to be not born to him. Moreover Maralshiddavva admits that a year after the defendant was born she had criminal intimacy with her sister's husband Chanbasangowda and gave birth to an illegitimate son.

But she asserts that she had nothing to do with Chanbasangowda before the defendant was born. It must, therefore, be held that the defendant is her illegitimate child with an undisclosed father. Maralshiddavva admits that she lived with her husband for five or six years after her marriage and then returned to her brother Shidlingappa at Chelgeri.

She never went back to her husband thereafter but lived with Shidlingappa. So out of paternal affection for her he brought up the defendant and took him in adoption though he must have known that he was her illegitimate son. The factum of the adoption is not disputed in this Court. Being the watandar patil of the village, Shidlingangauda must have been wielding some influence and no one then questioned the propriety of his action.

The parties are Lingayats and the Lingayat community accepted the defendant as Shidalingangauda's adopted son. There is no substance in the plaintiff's allegation that the defendant and his mother were excommunicated. There is sufficient evidence to show that they are still treated as respectable members of the Lingayat community. The defendant was given diksha by a Lingayat Mathastha, his wife comes of a good Lingayat family and is related to plaintiff No. As stated by the witness Andaniswami, even an illegitimate child can be given diksha and admitted into the Lingayat religion.

Thus it is clear that the defendant and his mother are still Lingayats and not outcastes. The question that next arises for decision is whether an illegitimate son can be validly given in adoption by his mother.

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Our attention has been called to only one reported case of such an adoption among the Lingayats. It is Kallyantai v. Shivappa [] A. As he was held to be a dasiputra, not entitled to the gadi of the Math, Maralswami took him in adoption and then made a gift of all his property to him as his son "given in adoption to him by the natural mother". It was held that the gift failed, as the adoption was " clearly invalid ".

The learned trial Judge distinguished this case as follows That adoption was held invalid on the ground that the illegitimate son was incompetent to perform the funeral ceremonies. No such question arises in the case of Lingayats who are also Shudras. The evidence of the defendant and his witnesses proves beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt that there are no Such ceremonies as shraddhakarma, pind amongst the Lingayats. There is no justification for drawing such a distinction, since the parties in that case also were Lingayats.

But in fact the point was not decided there, as it was assumed that the adoption was "clearly invalid". The only question considered was whether in view of the invalidity of the adoption the donee was entitled to the property which had been given to him "as the adopted son capable of inheriting in the same way as a natural born son and capable of perpetuating the line and looking to the performance of religious duties".

Hence that case cannot be treated as an authority in support of the invalidity of the adoption of an illegitimate son among Lingayats. The recent case of Apya Shettya v. Rammakka Apya 43 Bom. It was a case of Mahars or Holers who are governed by the Hindu law as applicable to Shudras. It was held that under Hindu law even among Shudras a woman is incompetent to give in adoption her son born of adulterous intercourse. One of the reasons on which this decision was based by Wassoodew J. This a son born in adultery cannot do, for he has no known father.

The rituals too do not permit a son to offer sraddha to his mother independently of the father If, therefore, he has no genitive father to whom he can offer pinda, he will not be able to perform the ' sapindi-karana' of the adoptive father. The learned trial Judge has refused to follow this ruling on the ground that it cannot apply to Lingayats who do not believe in religious rites, the offering of funeral cakes and libations of water to deceased ancestors and amongst whom adoptions are made only for secular purposes.

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An argument somewhat on the same lines was advanced before Wassoodew J. This contention, however, did not prevail, and it was held that even among Mahars an illegitimate son cannot be given in adoption. In view of the tenets of the Lingayat religion, the question whether Lingayats are or are not Hindus is highly debatable. IV, p.

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The Lingayats have been aptly described as a peaceable race of Hindu puritans. Their religion is a simple one. They acknowledge only one God, Siva, and reject the other two persons of the Hindu Triad. They reverence the Vedas, but disregard the later commentaries on which the Brahmans rely. Their faith purports to be the primitive Hindu faith, cleared of all priestly mysticism. Professor M. Sakhare, a Lingayat scholar, has recently published Nandikeshwara's Lingadharanachandrika with an erudite introduction called "History and Philosophy of Lingayat Religion", and after a lengthy discussion of Hinduism and Lingayatism he has come to the following conclusion p.

Image worship is the religion of the Hindus, if religion can be so defined. But herein also Lingayats are not Hindus in religion because they are no image worshippers. Only in one respect they are Hindus in religion, namely in respect of worshipping one of the now Hindu Gods, Shiva. But mere worship of a God is no religion, if it should have philosophy and practice forming its differentia.

And because Lingayat religion has its own philosophy and practice distinct to itself, it cannot be a sub-religion of Hinduism. But Dr. Sir Radhakrishnan, a scholar of international repute, in his foreword to the same book has doubted the correctness of this view. He says :.

The author takes great pains to make out that the Lingayat faith is altogether independent of the Hindu religion which is primarily based on the authoritativeness of the Vedas and the Varnashramadharma. As the Lingavat religion accepts the authoritativeness of the aganws and repudiates the distinctions of caste, it is said to be non-Hindu. I am afraid that this is taking a somewhat narrow view of the spirit of Hinduism. Whether the Lingayats are Hindus or not, we are concerned to see what is the law by which they are governed, and ever since the ruling in Gopal Narhar Safray v. Hanmanl Ganesh Safray I.

There is no other special law applicable to them. It appears from the judgment in that case p. Professor Sakhare at p. The Lingayats of Mysore State and Telugu Districts take pride in being called Lingi Brahmins and "perform all ceremonies, with Vedic hymns chanted in accompaniment. The ruling of Gopal Narhar Safray v.

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Hanmant Ganesh Safray does not, however, make any distinction between the Lingayats of one locality and those of another. It lays down that all Lingayats are governed by the Hindu law as applicable to Shudras. If the Lingayats are governed by the Hindu law and do not belong to the three regenerate classes' of Hindus, then the law applicable to the residuary class-Shudras-must govern them. The decision in Apya Shettya v. Ramakka Apya applies to all those who are governed by Hindu law.

If, as held there, even among Shudras the adoption of an illegitimate son is not permissible under Hindu law, much less is it permissible among the three higher classes. In that case the learned Chief Justice observed at p. Yet he agreed, though, reluctantly, to hold such an adoption invalid since adoption under Hindu law cannot be regarded solely from the standpoint of social expediency, or abstract justice.

The system is based on the religious sentiments of the people and the belief that the soul of the deceased man will derive benefit from the performance of religious ceremonies by his surviving son, natural or adopted, and as an illegitimate son is not qualified to perform the religious ceremonies for his adoptive father, the basis on which a valid adoption must rest is absent. Coyajee relies upon these observations and contends that the decision should not be extended to cases where this reasoning is inapplicable : cessante ratione legis cessat ipsa lex.

But the Privy Council has held in a series of cases that the very foundation of the system of adoption is the need of a son for the performance of religious ceremonies, and if that is not acceptable to Lingayats, all those cases like Balu Sakharam v. Lahu 39 Bom. But a contrary view has been taken by this Court in Lingappa Rayappa v. Kadappa Bapurao 42 Bom. There also the parties were Lingayats and a similar contention was urged, but was disallowed. Wadia J. The adopting widow said in the deed p.

Knowing that without issue there is no deliverance for acquisition of merit in the other world, and for the prosperous continuation of my husband's line, I asked your natural father to give you in adoption. A similar adoption deed executed by a Lingayat is produced in this case as exhibit , which recites that if there is no son, the hell called "Put" cannot be avoided. It thus appears that even the Lingayats do attach importance to the necessity of a son for the spiritual benefit of the father. Moreover the decision in Apya Shettya v. Rammakka Apya is not based merely on the incapacity of an illegitimate son to confer spiritual benefit on the adoptive father, but also upon his mother's incapacity to give him in adoption as not being "a son recognised by the Hindu law.