Basava Jayanthi marks the birthday of Bhakti Bhandari Basavanna (Basaveshwara), the founder of Lingayatism, which is a distinct Shaivite denomination. He was also a philosopher, social reformer and poet.
His birth is considered as the beginning of a new era and thus, it is known as 'Basava era.' He was born on 30 March 1134 in Bijapur district, Karnataka.
According to local calendar, his birth falls on the third day of Vaisakha month of the Anandanama year on Rohini (Nakshatra) star. Therefore, this year, his birthday is celebrated on 21 April.
Basava Jayanthi is mainly observed by the Lingayat community and is celebrated in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Apparently, the day is marked as a government holiday in Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Basaveshwara fought against caste system and spread social awareness with his poetry known as Vachanaas. He brought a lot of social reforms in Karnataka region around 900 years ago, which are still followed by adherents.
The philosophy and teachings of Basaveshwara had universal appeal and eternal value and it attracted millions of people. He is called "Vishwaguru" by his followers.
One of his well-known slogan says: "Kaayakave Kailaasa" (Work itself divine heaven).
Read Basaveshwara's Vachanaas below:
Kalabeda, kola beda, husiya nudiyalu beda
Muniya beda, anyarige asahya padabeda
Thanna bannisabeda, idira haliyalu beda
Ide antaranga shuddhi, ide bahiranga shuddhi
Ide namma koodala sangamanolisuva pari.
Don't rob, Don't kill, Never ever lie
Don't get angry, Don't think negative about others
Don't self describe, Don't tease others
This is the way of self-respect, this is the way to get respected by the world.
This is the way of impressing my lord Koodala sangama deva.
Ullavaru shivalayava maaduvaru nanenu madali badavanayya
enna kale kamba dehave degula shirave honna kalasavayya
koodala sangamadeva kelayya sthavarkkalivuntu jangamakkalivilla
The rich will make temples for Shiva. What shall I, a poor man, do?
My legs are pillars, The body the shrine, The head a cupola of gold.
Listen, O lord Koodala Sangama deva, things standing shall fall, but the moving will never perish.