|| Shri Guru Basavalingaya Nama || Basava Dharma
Principles of Basava Dharma
Basava Dharma  
Sri Basaveshwar  
Basava Dharma has eight basic principles:
1. The first basic principle - Religion is as necessary for human beings as food is.
2. The second basic principle – Religion is a personal affair, the affair of Jiva - male or female - in order that it may be free from the trammels of the ever-recurring births and deaths and miseries thereof.
3. The third basic principle – Equal opportunities for both sexes, male or female. This principle is very fundamental, and argues that males and females are created in the images of God, and hence both are equally the children of God.
4. The fourth basic principle – Universal brotherhood of man in matters of religion. The true religion keeps its door open to all people without any distinction.
5. The fifth basic principle – Life in this world is no way incongruous with the practice of true religion. It is not necessary for any one go to the forest, sacrificing everything, to attain Moksha. Trough Kayaka one can attain Moksha.
6. The sixth basic principle – The simplicity and suitability of practice - the self-realization can be achieved by simple and definite techniques of Shatsthala, through which Jiva can advance, as far as one wishes, up the spiritual ladder.
7. The seventh basic principle – Ahimsa or non-injury. All beings are entitled to the same treatment of happiness and kindness in life. Hence, it is Papa (injustice) to harm any creatures.
8. The eighth basic principle – Unity of thought and action or perfect coordination between knowing and doing. This is the most significant aspect of the Veerashaivism. The knowledge without action is stagnation while action without knowledge and insight is disaster.


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 tenets are:

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 for details).

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