BIDAR: Over 2 Lakh people from the Lingayat community took to the streets demanding delinking of Lingayatism from Hinduism.
On the theme “Lingayat Dharma Swatantra Dharma” (Lingayat Religion – Independent Religion), a massive rally was held at Bidar’s Nehru Maidan demanding independent religion status for the Lingayat sect.
Mate Mahadevi said that “Lingayats are not Hindus or sub sects of the Hindus. We are an independent religion.”
“Lingayatism is an independent religion founded by Basaveshwara in the 12th century. It has never been part of Hinduism. It has fought Hinduism,” Shivalinga Shivacharya, Lingayat seer from Maharashtra, said at the rally in Bidar. “We want the status of an independent religion. The CM should a recommend this,” said Panchamasali Jagadguru of Koodalasangama Mutt.
The community leaders and heads of Lingayat mutts gathered at the rally and also submitted a memorandum at the office of Deputy Commissioner addressing to the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
“If one is a Hindu one must accept the Vedic authority. Those who have rejected the Vedic authority are non-Hindus (Avidikas). The Buddhists, for example, who reject the Vedas rely on their own scriptures, Tripitakas, and are branded as heretics (i.e Non Hindus) . If this argument holds, then the Lingayats who reject the Vedic authority and accept the authority of the Kannada Vachanas must be regarded as heretics (Non Hindus).” Said the protesting Dharam Gurus.
“The religion of the Vedas is clearly polytheistic. The Vedic people believed that there are 33 crore gods and goddesses, of whom only 33 are important. Lingayats are strict monotheists. We worship only the Linga. The Linga is a formless god and we are in no way Hindus,” Basavalinga Pattadevuru said.
“Logically, Lingayatism is a non-Vedic, independent religion. But as time passed it was influenced by Vedic culture and its followers started taking pride in being part of that culture. Lingayat should remain an independent religion as the philosophy itself preaches non-Vedic practices. Jainism and Sikhism too have Vedic influence but still enjoy the status of independent religions,” rationalist MM Kalburgi had told TOI in 2013.
“There is a general misconception that Lingayatism is a sub-sect of Shaivism, which is itself a sect of Hinduism and that Lingayats are Shudras. But the truth based on textual evidence and reasoning is that Lingayatism is not a sect or sub-sect of Hinduism, but an independent religion” said the protesters led by Lingayat Dharam gurus.
(With inputs from Deccan Digest, The News Minute)