Basaveshwara, also known as Basavanna was a renowned saint of Karnataka born in a Brahmin family in 1134 A D at Bagewadi in Bijapur District of Karnataka. He is believed to be an incarnation of Nandi who was Lord Shiva’s vehicle. He spread social awareness through his poetry known as Vachanaas.
Even though he was born in a Brahmin family, he showed strong futility towards ritualism. He broke away from brahmanical religious traditions by discarding the sacred thread. His spiritual quest took him to Kudala Sangama, the confluence of Krishna and Malaprabha rivers. Here he met his guru Sangameshwara and undertook severe sadhana for 12 years.
Basavanna became a minister in the court of King Bijjala. He established the Anubhava Mantapa which was a spiritual parliament which encouraged discussion on varied aspects of religion and philosophy. He shaped a literary genre called Vachanas easily understood by the common man. He advocated the equality of all people irrespective of caste, creed and gender.
Basaveshwara taught the great ethical and spiritual truths common to all religions and emphasized the oneness and unity of all Gods. He advocated the human being as the greatest living temple of God and service to him as the most practical spirituality. Even though his methods was persecuted by the orthodox community due to jealousy and envy, his integrity and spirituality triumphed over everything.
Finally Basavanna left for Kudala Sangama in 1167 A D where he passed away shortly after. He remains one of the most remarkable figures of Indian spirituality.