Basavanna was a 12th century philosopher, a Kannada social reformer and a renowned Shaivite. He is said to be an incarnation of Nandikeshwar by his followers. Basavanna is said to have found the Lingayata sect, a Shaivite sect which rejects the authority of the Vedas and downplays caste-system.

My question is whether or not did Basavanna outrightly reject the Vedas in any of his works? I am asking this since Shakyamuni too was said to have rejected Vedas but with a closer look and proper interpretation of his teachings reveal otherwise.So did Basavanna outrightly reject Vedas? If not outrightly, please provide his quotes on the authority of the Vedas.


2 Answers 2


Here is what Basava says in one of his poems:

Do not say, out of conceit, that the gods number two or three
For He is but one, and to say there are two is a lie
The Veda avers: there is none but Kudalasangamadeva

The fact that he cites the Vedas as proof of something suggests that he thinks they are authoritative.

On the other hand, he speaks ill of the Veda in another poem:

Shall I say that the Sastra is supreme? It glorifies karma!
Shall I call the Veda great? It talks about animal sacrifice!
Shall I call Smriti great? It is turned towards the future!
Since you abide nowhere there
Only in the three modes of services You are present Kudalasangamadeva.

So he seems to have had ambivalent feelings towards the Vedas.

EDIT: Here is what he says in another poem of his:

I shall sheathe the Vedas, fetter the Sastras,
Put Tarka in tongs, deface the Agamas.
Look father, most generous Kudalasangamadeva,
I am a son of Madara Chennayy’s family.

  • You can add this also - I shall sheathe the Vedas, fetter the Sastras, Put Tarka in tongs, deface the Agamas. Look father, most generous Kudalasangamadeva, I am a son of Madara Chennayy’s family. Jan 1, 2018 at 13:05
  • Now due to politics & desire for separate identity many have started saying Siva whom they worship is not the Hindu Shiva. It is formless God like Allah. Jan 1, 2018 at 13:19
  • @Tamas. Yeah, many Lingayats consider themselves to be completely separate from Hinduism. Jan 1, 2018 at 13:21
  • Yes. quora.com/… Jan 1, 2018 at 13:25
  • Could you please tell the translation you used? Which book, etc. is it from?
    – Bingming
    Dec 16, 2023 at 15:16

When Basavanna said " Do not steal, do not kill, do not lie Do not be angry, do not be scornful of others Do not glorify yourself, do not insult others These are the means to inward purity, these are the means to outward purity These are the means to please Kudalasangamadeva"

Do not insult others. How well it can be accepted that he made insulting others a rhetoric in all his vachanas? Much of the consolidation of vachanas had taken place 200-300 years after his death and there is ample chance that Shaivaites started quarreling with the Madhva dvaitis in northern Karnataka who worship Vishnu-Lakshmi alone. Madhva dvaitis are known to amass wealth in the delusion that Vishnu resides where wealth Lakshmi resides and practice discrimination to the core, which is non-vedic. When Basavanna said the body is a temple of God, he might have been aware of the vedic verse: Deho devalayaprokto dehidevo niranjana.

  • 2
    Welcome to Hinduism Stack Exchange :) You should only answer a question when you're actually answering it. So delete this answer and write it in the comment section above.
    – user9969
    Mar 31, 2018 at 13:36
  • @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury New users can't comment directly. Please check the comment before you press enter. Mar 31, 2018 at 17:02
  • The answer is irrelevant to the question. Being new to Hinduism Stack Exchange, there should be some relevance to the question answered, even if it is not 100%. Deserves a Down Vote, but as anew user the sme is not awarded. Apr 1, 2018 at 4:27

You must log in to answer this question.