- 02 Apr 2022
- 4 min read
Why in News?
Recently, the Union Minister of Home Affairs inaugurated and participated in the 115th Birthday Celebrations of Dr. Shri Shri Shri Shiva Kumaraswami & Guruvandana Mahotsava in Siddaganga Mutt, Tumkur, Karnataka.
Who was Shivkumar Swami?
- Shivakumara Swami of Siddhaganga Mutt in Tumkur was a revered seer of the Lingayat-Veerashaiva faith and was the Lingayat religious head of Sree Siddaganga Mutt.
- Born on 1st April, 1907, in Veerapura village of Ramanagara (Karnataka), he was well known for his philanthropic activities.
- He worked for 88 years to realize the thought of Basaveshwara and paved the way to bring equality, education and making people spiritually rich.
- In recognition of his social work, he was conferred with the third-highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan, in 2015 and the Karnataka Ratna in 2007.
- He was also conferred with an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by Karnataka University in the year 1965.
- He founded the Sri Siddaganga Education Society Trust, which runs close to 125 educational institutions in Karnataka – from primary schools, school for the blind to colleges of arts, science, commerce and engineering.
- He was known as a "walking god" among his followers.
- He passed away in 2019.
Who are Lingayats?
- The term Lingayat denotes a person who wears a personal linga, an iconic form of god Shiva, on the body which is received during the initiation ceremony.
- Lingayats are the followers of the 12th-century social reformer-philosopher poet, Basaveshwara.
- Basaveshwara was against the caste system and Vedic rituals.
- The Lingayats are strict monotheists. They enjoin the worship of only one God, namely, Linga (Shiva).
- The word ‘Linga’ does not mean Linga established in temples, but universal consciousness qualified by the universal energy (Shakti).
- Lingayats had been classified as a Hindu subcaste called “Veerashaiva Lingayats” and they are considered to be Shaivites.
Why the Lingayats Seek Separate Religion from Hindu?
- Lingayats had distanced themselves from Hindu Veerashaivas because the latter followed the Vedas and supported the caste system, to which Basaveshwara was against.
- Veerashaivas are the followers of the five peethas (religious centers), called Pancha Peethas.
- These peethas are set up on similar lines to the four peethas set up by Adi Shankara.