Basic Tenets of Basava Dharma
The tenets are simple and straightforward. Although
these tenets are in existence for thousands of years, they
have been rewritten by Sharanas in the 12th century so that
they can be understood and practiced by common man/woman. These
Initiation: Born to a Veerashaiva family will not make the
child a Veerashaiva. A Guru should initiate the child by providing
Istalinga, the symbol of Shiva. Later Guru or a Jangama will
instill Bhakti and provide instructions to worship the Istalinga.
From that day on Istalinga is worn on the body and is worshiped
as the savior throughout his/her life.
Compassion to all living beings: Everyone should be compassionate
to all living beings including the animal world.
Equality for every one: Soul is part of God. Without soul
one cannot survive. Every person is part of God because his/her
soul is part of God. Any discrimination is considered to be
an act against God. Thus Veerashaivism prohibits discrimination
based on sex, color, creed, national origin, age, richness,
status or any other means. Most importantly, Veerashaivism
treats men and women as equal.
Forbids killing, stealing, lying, and praising oneself, and
scolding or humiliating others: These are instruments of the
materialistic world. They obstruct persons finding the true
path of salvation or eternal happiness and to realize God.
Kayaka (honest work) for earning the daily livings: Every
able-bodied person must engage in work. Work must be beneficial
to the welfare of the community. Through legitimate work, one
should earn his/her livings. Veerashaivism discourages accepting
money not earned by honest work, and also forbids a person
to become burdensome to the community. It provides dignity
by encouraging everyone to engage in Kayaka or honest work.
Dasoha as a means to care for the under privileged
persons: Excess wealth should be distributed for caring the less fortunate
and the disabled. Donating to Dasoha is a way of caring for
the under privileged persons.
Panchacharas: These are five codes of conduct. They should
be practiced by every Veerashaiva (see the Panchachara section