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LINGAYATS (Linga-Wearers) were returned in 1931 [In 1921 they numbered 60,911 (TO. 31,901; f. 29,010).] as numbering 74,975 in Kolhapur district, of whom 38,646 were males and 36,329 females. They are chiefly found in the Hatkanangale, Gadhinglaj and Shirol sub-divisions. More than one-third of their population is found in Gadhinglaj on the south-east bordering on Belgaum.

The Lingayata sect which rose in importance during the twelfth century is closely associated with the name of Basava [Followers of Basava consider him an incarnation of Nandi (Siva's bull). According to the traditional account, Basava was born in a Brahmana family at Ingleshwar Bagevadi in the Bijapur district (about A. D. 1125) as the son of Madirajaand Madalambike. He refused to undergo the upanayana ceremony and embracedthe Virsaiva faith. Ho spent his early days at Kappadi. atthejunction of the Malaprabha and Krishna where a shrine stands, dedicated to Sangamesvara. Here Basava is said to have received a divine call to work for the revival of Virasaivism. He found a great opportunity to fulfil his mission when he was appointed prime minister of Bijjala the Kalachuri King (A.D.1156-1168) in succession to his own maternal uncle who had filled that post till his death.] who, though not the founder of the faith, was mainly responsible for making it popular in the Kannada country. Lingayatas claim the linga as the earliest object of worship and look on Basava as the restorer, not the author, of the faith. It is not unlikely that like other guardian emblems or objects the linga has from very early times been worn by the people of the Deccan. [The Brahman story of the origin of the wearing of the linga isthat Brahma asked Rudra or Siva to plana world. Rudra disappeared into the lower world and remained so long thinking how to devise an everlasting world that Brabma weary of waiting himself completed the universe. News came to Rudra that a world had been made. In a fit of paaaion he forced his way through the earth and determined to destroy all that Brahma had done. ' he gods prayed to him to spare it and he relented. He took from the gods their power and made an animal with three horns one of Visnn's power, one of his own and the third of Brahman's Rudra afterwards restored their power to Brahma and Vishnu and wore the third horn round his own neck sailing it atmalinga (soull-essence).] In Kolhapur, Guravs, not Brahmans, who are the ministrants in Saiv shrines, often wear the linga, though most of them are not followers of the Lingayata faith. According to the theory of the faith the worshippers of the linga are equal and distinctions of caste cease. It is said that Basava allowed people of even the lowest classes to join the new sect. Many of the early adherents were men of low caste, the bulk of Lingayata saints being outcastes and women, without a Brahmana among them. But soon after Basava's death, the lower or impure classes were not allowed to join and all other classes who wished to join had to pass a term of proving before they were admitted to be members. Like the doctrine of the equality of believers, many of Basava's other doctrines, if they ever passed beyond theory, are no longer practised. One of his leading doctrines was that there was one God who required neither mediators, fasts, nor pilgrimages.

Basava Faith.

Kolhapur Lingayats worship several gods, among them Basava the founder of the faith whom they consider an incarnation of Nandi (Siva's bull), Ganapati and Virabhadra the sons of Siva, and Ganga and Parvati the wives of Siva. They also worship Yallamma of Hampi in Bellari and Tulajabhavani of Tulajapur in Marathwada. They fast on Sivaratra (Siva's Night) in Magh (January-February) and make pilgrimages to Ulvi in North Kannara and Sangameshvar in Bijapur. In practice the Jagama who acts as priest for the community is no less a middle man than the Brahman from other Hindus.

The word Lingayat is the anglicised form of Lingavant, which is the vernacular term commonly used for any member of the community. The Lingayats have been aptly described as a peaceable race of Hindu Puritans. Their religion is a simple one. They acknowledge only one God, Siva, and reject the other two persons of the Hindu Triad. They reverence the Vedas, but disregard the later commentaries on which the Brahmans rely. Their faith purports to be the primitive Hindu faith cleared of all priestly mysticism. They deny the supremacy of Brahmans, and pretend to be free from caste distinctions, though at the present day case is in fact observed amongst them. They declare that there is no need for sacrifices, penances, pilgrimages or fasts. The cardinal principle of the faith is an unquestioning belief in the efficiency of the lingam, the image which has always been regarded as symbolical of the God Siva. This image, which is called the jangama lingam or moveable lingam, to distinguish it from the sthavara or fixed lingam of Hindu temples, is always carried on some part of the body, usually the neck or the left arm, and is placed in the left hand of the deceased when the body is committed to the grave. Men and women, old and young, rich and poor, all alike wear this symbol of their faith, and its loss is regarded as spiritual death, though in practice the loser can, after a few ceremonies, be invested with a new one. They are strict disciplinarians in the matter of food and drink, and no true Lingayat is permitted to touch meat in any form, or to partake of any kind of liquor. This Puritan simplicity raises them in the social scale, and has resulted in producing a steady law-abiding race, who are conservative of the customs of their forefathers, and have hitherto opposed a fairly unbroken front to the advancing tide of foreign ideas. To this tendency is due the very slow spread of modern education amongst them, while, on the other hand, their isolation from outside influence has without doubt assisted largely in preserving intact their beautiful, highly polished, and powerful language, Canarese i.e. Kannada. [Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Edgar Thruston, Vol. IV, p. 280.]

One of the leading doctrines of Basav's faith was that nothing could make the bearer of the linga impure. To the true believer the observance of ceremonial impurity in consequence of a woman's monthly sickness, a birth or a death was unnecessary. In actual practice, many Kolhapur Lingayatas are found to observe the practice. Another of Basav's leading doctrines was that as she wore the linga the Lingayata woman was the equal of the Lingayata man; that therefore she should not marry till she came of age; that she should have a say in the choice of her husband; and that she, equally with the man, might be a guru (Lingayata teacher). In practice; however the position of a Lingayata woman hardly differs from the position of a woman in a npn-Lingayat Hindu household. According to the theory of the Lingayata faith the wearer of the linga safe from all evil influences, neither stars nor evil spirits can harm him. In practice many Lingayatas consult astrologers and fear and guard against evil spirits. The chief point of other difference between Kolhapur Lingayatas and Hindus is that a Lingayata worships fewer gods, has fewer fasts and feasts and fewer ceremonies, especially death ceremonies and purifying ceremonies; that both men and women wear the linga and neither man nor woman the sacred thread; that both men and women rub their brows with cowdung ashes; that they neither eat animal food nor drink liquor; and that they show high respect to Jangamas, their own priests. In having a linga binding, an initiation for priests, and a purifying ceremony for all instead of the sixteen samskaras (sacraments), Lingayatas differ both from Hindus. In their respect for life, in the strictness of their rules against the use of animal food and liquor and in the little regard they show to the dead, Lingayatas are like Jains.


Kolhapur Lingayatas belong to four classes:-(1) Jangams as (priests), (2) Vanis (traders), (3) Pancams or Pancamsalis (craftsmen, husbandmen and herdsmen), and (4) an unnamed class including servants, barbers, washermen, and Mahars.


Lingayata priests of Kolhapur include five sects or schools Ekoramaradhya, Marularadhya, Panditaradhya, Revanaradhya, and Visvaradhya. The founders of these schools Ekorama, Marula, Pandita, Revana and Visva are believed to have sprung from the five mouths of Siva and to have been great spreaders of the Lingayata faith. The heads of these sects seldom meet and there is no show of rivalry. To laymen all Jangamas are holy and they worship all without much inquiry as to their schools. Each of the five schools includes thirteen bagis (divisions). [The bagis (divisions) of the Ekoramaradhya school are Bhasma, Chandragundi Katiyemba, Khadgi, Khastak, Lambonemba, Mrityakanti, Rajyu, Ramgiri, Raupya, Shikhari, Triputi, and Vasam. The divisions of the Marularadhya School are Bilvasutra Bhaitraya, Chakari, Kattar, Kavach, Koraban, Kukshakanta, Kutar, Malli, Masani, Niikanti, Singi, and S arnakanthi. The divisions of the Panditaradhya School are Bedadi, Bhagini, Danti, Gonikati, Jalkanti, Jathar, Keshkanti, Lallat, Lochan, Mnkta-guchha, Natija, Trigun, and Vijaprakanti. The divisions of the Revanaradhya school are Bhikti, Digambar, Mahni, Murath, Musadi, Nat, Panchakanti, Padvidi, Puran, Shadga, Shori, Surgi, and Veni. The divisions of the Vishvaradhya school are Dash-mukh, Gagan, Gochar, Gurjarkanti, Kambli, Panchvaktu, Panchvani, Lagudi, Musali. Pashupati, Shitali, and Vrishabh. The chief details of the five leading schools are:-






Sutra or Branch.

Pravar or Founder.

Ekoramaradhya. Draksharam Kshetra. Kedar Bhringi Lambak Virshaiv. Narularadhya Shri Sidhavata Ujjain Nandi Vrishtika. Vireshvar. Panditaradhya. Shuddhkundi. Shrishail Parvat. Vrishabh. Muktagu-chha. Virshaiv. Revanaradhja. Kolupakish. Kadalipur Balehalli. Vir Padvidi. Virshaiv. Vishvaradhya. Vishvesha Ling. Kolipake. Skand Panchvarna. Virshaiv. ] " It is a peculiarity amongst the Lingayats that they esteem the Jangam or priest as superior even to the deity." [Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Edgar Thruston, Vol. IV, p. 280.]


Jangamas of the some school division (bagi) do not intermarry. Jangamas include five classes, Viraktas (renouncers of worthy pleasures), pattadevrus (head priests), ayyas (teachers), carantis (wanderers) and maris (acolytes). Viraktas were the loin cloth and short loose shirt and spend most of their time in devotion and study. Pattadevrus were a waistcloth instead of a loin cloth and are less retired than viraktas. Ayyas are married and live chiefly by begging. Carantis (wanderers) go from place to place and gather contributions from the Lihgayata laity for the support of mathas (monasteries). maris (acolytes) are celibates and wait on viraktas. After the death of a virkta, the most learned and fittest among his Mahis is raised to his seat. Unlike Bijapur Lingayatas, Kolhapur Lingayats have no Ganacharis (monastery managers), Mathapatis (Lihgayata beadles) and Calvadis (Mhar standard-bearers). In Kolhapur the heads of small monasteries are called Matha-dayyas. Vanis and Panchams or Panchamsalis can become Jangamas but it is only when a Jangama has no child or relation that he adopts a boy from these classes. The boy must be unmarried and must not be the child of a widow by her second husband. Ayyas (married Jangamas) may take food from any Lingayata except from members of the barber, washerman and mahar classes, and in some cases from oilmen and ferrymen. When a jangama gives a feast, all except these three classes come and eat together. The same freedom is observed when a feast is given in a matha (monastery). In Kolhapur the word Jangama is generally applied to the Jangama's assistants, and the head local Jangama is called svami (lord), a title which in other districts belongs to the provincial high priest. The house in which the mathadayya (local head priest) lives is called a matha (monastery). In places where there are many Lihgayatas the monastery is a large building of stone or burnt brick, an open quadrangle generally shaded with trees among which the bel (Aegle marmelos) is conspicuous. The four verandas of the quadrangle are covered with tiled roofs one of which is set apart as a linga shrine with a Nandi (bull) in front. In the central hall a place is set apart for the svami (chief priest), whose authority extends over several villages. In the outer verandas a school is generally held where Kannada and sometimes Sanskrit are taught. In the open ground behind the monastery are generally a well, and at some distance the tombs of previous svamis, cube-shaped stone structures with a linga on the top. The hindpart of the enclosure is generally surrounded with a wall. At each corner of the building is a stone called the lingmudrikallu (linga-marked stone). Lihgayata strangers can almost always find a meal at a monastery. No non-Lingayat can get a meal at a monastery and no Lingayata stranger can remain at a monastery more than two days. The income of the head of the monastery is generally partly paid by government, most of it is collected from the local Lingayatas chiefly on marriage and other festive occasions, from trade fees, and from gifts at religious ceremonies. The head of the monastery often gets presents of cloth from cloth dealers and grain from husbandmen and landowners. A stranger who visits the head of a monastery is generally requested to lay some silver coins before his feet. If the svami expresses a wish for anything his wish is promptly gratified by one of his followers. He generally takes his mid-day meal at a follower's house and sometimes takes a little at several houses; his evening meal he takes in the monastery. He has servants and attendants who exact prompt obedience from the svami's followers. The svami is always careful on all occasions to press on his followers the need of keeping their faith and of unquestioning obedience to all its rules. In the afternoon he generally reads some sacred book, old people almost always coming to hear. In Sravana the congregation is specially large and is generally chiefly composed of old women. The Purana is finished in Bhadrapad, when the hearers give cash and clothes, and a feast is held.


The class of Lingayatas who rank next to Jangamas are the Vanis (traders). They are divided into Silavantas (rule-keepers) and Lokavantas (common people). [Silavanta is said to come from the Sanskrit sila (good disposition) and to mean these who obey religions rules. The word Lokavanta is from the Sanskrit loka (people) and means of the masses.] Silavanta rank next to Jangamas and can become Jangamas by passing the purifying ceremony called diksa. Lokavantas who rank next to silavantas can also become Jangamas. Except when a Jangama is the host or when the feast is held in a religious house, neither Silavantas nor Lokavantas eat with members of the lower classes.

The third division includes Pancamas or Pancamasalis, Teli (oilmen), Ambis (ferrymen), Gavalis (cowherds), Malis (gardeners), and Kumbhars (potters). A Jangama may adopt a Pancam boy. The fourth or lowest class includes Nhavis (barbers), Parits (washermen), and Mahars.

The names in common use among men are generally taken from the names of Siva such as Rudrappa and Sivalingappa, some from Basava and Guru such as Basappa, Vir Basappa and Gurusidhappa. If a woman has lost several children she gives her next child a mean name, as Kallappa from kullu (K.) stone and Kadappa from kad (k.) forest. The names in common use among women are Basavva from Basav, Gangavva from the heavenly Ganga, Kallavva from kallu (K.) stone, and Parva-tivva from Parvati the wife of Siva. Their surnames, when they have surnames, are place and calling names as Lokapuri, a dweller in Lokapur or Tenginkai, a cocoanut seller. The lay followers of a guru (teacher) adopt his gotra (family stock),


Lihgayatas of Gadhinglaj in the south speak correct Kannada. The home tongue of the rest is a somewhat impure Kannada spoken in a Marathi tone. Out of door most speak a fairly correct Marathi. In general appearance, Kolhapur Lihgayatas as a class differ little from Marathas. The men are dark-brown and women are often fair and handsome. Their houses are simple and clean and are occasionally two-storeyed. They are divided into several dark and ill-aired rooms, a cooking and a store-room, a sitting and office room, and bed rooms. Near the cook-room are niches in the wall with folding doors where pickles and sun-dried sandge-papad are kekpt. A portion of the centre hall is set apart as a shrine where the Jangama is worshipped. No one but a Lingayata may go into the cook-room or into the Jangama shrine. LingSyatas have a great dislike to leather. They allow no leather in their saddles; no shoe may be brought into the inner part of the house, and if any one touches a shoe he must wash. The privy, if there is a privy, is at some distance from the house. Cattle are not kept in the house but in a separate shed.


Lingayatas never use animal food or spirituous drink. Their daily food includes rice, millet bread, pluse curry, vegetables, and milk, whey, curds, butter and clarified butter. No one but a linga-wearer may touch or even see a Lingayata's food. On holidays and at small parties they have rich dishes. Their caste feasts are plain. The two chief dishes are huggi that is wheat and milk boiled together and seasoned with raw sugar and holagis (rolly-polies), that is wheat cakes stuffed with gram flour and raw sugar. A Lingayata when alone or one of a small party sits to eat on a low wooden stool and generally eats his food off a brass plate set on an iron or brass tripod. Except in travelling when metal plates are not easily got and leaf plates are used, Lingayatas do not use leaf plates. At dinner, before he eats, a Lingayata holds his linga emblem in his left hand and bows to it. At caste dinners the guests sit on matting instead of on stools, and except Jangamas, lay the plate on the ground and not on a tripod. At caste dinners before guests have sat to it, tirtha (holy water), that is water in which a Jangam's feet have been washed, is poured over the guest's hands. The guests sip the holy water, shout Har Har Mahadev and begin to eat. In eating, the right hand is alone used. The small waterpot which must never touch the lip is raised in the left hand. Women dine after men. They sit on stools, and generally lay their plates on the ground. In orthodox families for a young married couple to talk together in the presence of olders is considered immodest. The religious minded elderly men grow short topknots or shave the whole head and face except the moustache and eyebrows. They mark the brow with white ashes called vibhuti literally the great power. [Among Kolhapur Lingayatas, according to the time when they are used, the cowdung ashes have different degrees of holiness. The ashes whioh Lingayatas rub without bathing are simple ashes, have no texts said over them, and can be touched by any Lingayata. The ashes rubbed after bathing are holier, have texts said over them, and can be touched only by Lingayatas, who have bathed. The ashes rubbed at the time of linga worship are still holier, have many texts said over them, and can be touched only at the time of linga worship.] The ashes which are rubbed on the brow are specially prepared by the Jangamas (priests). Pure cowdung is dried and burnt and the ashes soaked in milk for six or seven days and rolled into balls about the size of a mango. Before they are used, the Jangama purifies the ball by sprinkling it with sacred water and saying texts over it. They cannot be sold by the person who gets them from the Jangama, and they cannot be passed to any one else.


Virakta (unwed Jangamas) wear a loincloth hung from a waistband and ochre-coloured shoulder and head cloths. Laymen and married priests generally wear a somewhat scrimp waist-cloth, and a headscarf. They do not colour their cloths with ochre. Husbandmen generally wear a loincloth or short trousers, a blanket, a headscarf. Lingiyata women tie the hair in a knot at the back of the head. They rarely deck their hair with flowers or ornaments. They wear the ordinary coli (bodice) with a back and short sleeves and the ends tied in front on the bosom, and ordinary sari, the skirt of which falls like a petticoat and is seldom drawn back between the feet. Lingayata women are also careful to draw the upper end of the robe over the head. Like the men, women mark the brow with white cowdung ashes. Except that the women wear no head ornaments, the ornaments worn both by men and women are more or less the same as those worn by other Hindu communities.

Daily Rites.

An orthodox Lingiyata rises early, marks his brow with ashes and goes to the monastery to pay his respects to the svami. He works till eleven, bathes, and, sitting on a white blanket in the central hall near the Jangama shrine, worships the linga for about half an hour and then dines. In the evening he visits the monastery and bows to the head priest. [When a Lingayatlayman pays his respects to hishead priest, he prostrates himself before him; and when he meets an 01 dinary jangama he places both his palms on his head and the head on the Jangama's feet. Neither the head priest nor an ordinary langama does or says anything. When a Lingayat layman meets another Lingayata laymen, both of them join their hands, raise them to their heads and say Saranarth probably from saranarthi that is asking refuge. When two jangama meet they salute each other like laymen. Laywomen do not salute each other; but if one meets a jangama woman a lay woman salutes a Jangama. Like laywomen, jangama women do not salute one another. Before he starts on a journey, a Lingayata prostrates himself before his gods and elders and his younger relations prostrate themselves before him.] Priests and a few pious laymen worship the linga in the evening with the same detail as in the morning. But the bulk of the laity simply wash their hands and feet and then wash the linga and eat their supper.

Religion and Philosophy.

The religious creed which Lingayatas follow is known as Virsaivism-the Saivism of the Stalwarts or heroic Saivism- and hence they are called Virasaives as distinguished from other three classes of Saivas viz. Samanya, Misra and Suddhasaivas. The first two of these classes worship Siva and Visnu, while Suddha and Vira Saivas worship Siva alone. Because of the linga they wear on their person, which the Suddhasaivas do not, Virasaivas get the name of " Lingiayats " and the cult itself is called Lingayata.

The Virasaiva philosophy is called Sakti-visistadvaita a term which means the non-duality of God (viz. Paraj-Siva) as qualified by Sakti (power). According to this system, God and Soul are in an inseparable union through the inalienable power called Sakti; the individual soul is neither absolutely identical with nor entirely different from God. Sakti is the power which eternally resides in Para-Siva as His inseparable attribute. The individual soul or Jiva is anisa (part) of Siva; and it imagines itself to be different from him on account of avidya. (ignorance). The final goal of the soul as conceived in the Virasaiva system is its aikya (unity) with Para-Siva, the Supreme reality. It is an experience of unexcellable bliss technically called linganga-samarasya, of i.e., identity in essence between linga (Siva) and anga (soul).


Guru, Jangama and linga are the three terms which occur most often in Virasaiva writings. The guru is the preceptor who imparts to the aspirant spiritual knowledge. The jangama is the realised soul or the human abode of this deity and the linga is the store home deity, Siva. As aids to progress in faith, Virasaivism (Lingayatism) attaches great importance to the observance of eight rules called astavarna : (1) obedience to the auru, the spiritual gu'de who initiates the novice into the Virasaiva fold with due forms; (2) worship of the linga, an emblem of the supreme God; (3) reverence for the Jangama as for an incarnation of Siva; (4) smearing of vibhuti (holy ashes) prepared of cowdung; (5) wearing of a rosarv of rudraksa beads: (6) padodaka sipping the water in which ahe feet of a guru or Jangama have been bathed; (7) prasada, offering food to a guru, linga or a Jangama, par-taking sacamentally of what is left: (8) mantra, the sacred formula of five syllables (pancaksara) "namah Sivaya" meaning "obeisance to Siva". These eight modes of piety are taught to every Lingayata child at the diksa ceremony.

All Lingayatas, both men and women, from childhood to death wear, hung to a string passed round the neck a small slate-stone linga, a double disc with a small pea-like knob on the upper disc, hid under a betelnut-like coating of cowdung earth and marking nut, and wound in a cloth or laid in a silver or rarely in a gold box? A Lingayata is very careful not to lose his linga. In theory a man who loses his linga is degraded and cannot again become a Lingayata. In practice if the linga is accidentally lost the loser has to give a caste dinner, go through the ceremony of suddhi [The lingas worn by Lingayatas are generally of a light gray slate brought from Parvatgiri in North. Arkot. The ling" which is turned on a lathe is of two discs one lower circular about an eighth of an inch thick the upper slightly elongated each disc about three-quarters of an inch in diameter and separated by a deep groove about an eighth of an inch broad. From the centre of the upper disc which like the lower disc is slightly rounded, rises a pea like knob about a quarter of an inch high and three-quarters of an inch round giving the stone linga a total height of nearly three quarters of an inch. This knobis called the Srareorarrow. The upper diso is called a Wonthatis the water-drawer because this part of a fullsi zed linga is grooved for carrying off the water which is poured over the central knob. It is also called pith that is the seat and pithak the little seat. Over the stone linga. to keep it from harm, is plastered a black mixture of clay cow-dung ashes and marking-nut juice. This coating, which is called kanthi or the cover, entirely hides the shape of the enclosed stone linga. It forms a smooth black slightly truncated cone not unlike a dark betelnut about three-quarters of an inch high and narrowing from three quarters ofaninchat the base to half an inch across the point which is cut flat and is slightly hollow. The simplest linga oosts (4a) and its usual price is (Rs. 6). To the c'ay. ashes, and marking-nut juice the rich add powdered gold, silver, coral, pearls even diamonds, raising the value of the linga sometimes to (Bs.200).] (cleansing), and receive a new linga from the guru. Jangamas (Lingayata priests) marry and bury Lingayatas and conduct almost all Lingayata rites and ceremonies. The Jangama is succeeded by his son or near kinsman, or if he has no near kinsman by a disciple. The head pontiff of the Lingayatas is the Ayya of the Chitra-kaldurga monastery in north-west Mysore. He is greatly respected and when he visits Kolhapur is received with enthusiasm. The guru is a married Jangama and seems to be the direct descendant either by birth or by adoption of-the first head of several fanrlies. The gotra (stock) of these families and of their guru is the same and the families cannot intermarry. The guru is required to be present at every family ceremony. If he is not present his place is taVen by an ordinary ayya who conducts the ceremony. Besides everybody's own linga which is worshipped by the wearer at least once a day, in Kolhapur almost every Lingayata household has a wooden shrine for the house gods, who are worshipped every morining by a man of the house. The shrine is placed in majaghar (central hall) close to the Jangama shrine. The house rods are small brass images generally representing Siva's family, Siva himself, his two wives Ganea and Parvati his two sons Ganapati and Virbhadra. and his bull the Nandi. The worshipper bathes, wears a silk, woollen [Unlike Jains and like Brahmahs Lingayata hold that silk and woollen cloths are not made impure by touch.] or freshly-washed cotton waistcloth, marks his brow with cowdung ashes, and begins the worship. He bathes the images in a brass or copper saucer, wipes them with a piece of cloth, and sets them on their proper seats in the shrine. He marks the images with cowdung ashes, lays flowers on them, throws coloured rice on their, heads, burns frankincense before them, waves a small lamp fed with clarified butter about them, and offers them sugar, milk, or molasses. He recites different texts during the different parts of the worship. The linga worship is performed close to the shrine of the house gods. The worshipper bathes; puts on a sacred cloth, marks his brow with cowdung ashes, and produces a cane basket. From the cane basket he takes a white blanket which is wrapped round a number of small worship pots, a number of large and small rudraks bead strings, and a bag of cowdung ashes. He sits on the white blanket, marks his brow and generally smears his whole body with ashes, and in the small pots which are shaped to hold the different articles of worship puts flowers, red rich, and other articles. He puts the rudraks bead strings round his neck, wrists, ears, and arms, and small string round the linga. He worships the linga in the same way as he worships his house gods. After worship he folds the pots, the bead strings, and the ash-bag-in the white blanket, puts them in the carte basket, and places the cane basket in the niche. Except that she says no texts a woman in worshipping her linga goes through all the details given above. Most Kolhapur Lingayatas, if they happen to pass by Rama's, Vithoba's, Maruti's or a boundary god's, or Laksmi's or a village goddess' temple, bow to the deity. They fast on Sivaratra in Magh. On Sravan Mondays they take only one evening meal. Most of them go on pilgrimage to Kedarling on Jotiba's hill in Vadi-Ratnagiri about nine miles north-west of Kolhapur, to Nidsushi near Sankeshwara in Belgaum, to the math or monastery of Siddhgiri in Kadappa about six miles south of Kolhapur, and to Yedur in Chikodi in 'Belgaum. A few go to Gokarn in North Kanara and Ulvi twenty-five miles south of Supa in North Kanara.

In theory the Lingayata has no good or bad days. In practice Kolhapur Lingayatas have a belief in good and bad luck and often consult jangama astrologers to find a lucky day to perform a ceremony. They fast on eclipses and bathe before and after the eclipse. Jangamas and a few pious laymen may not believe in ghosts and witchcraft but women and ordinary people have a faith in witchcraft. Some Lingayatas profess to cure diseased part and by tying on the person of the sick a Yantra (magical design) drawn on paper with the name of the god Dattatreya and some other letters on it.


Any suitable room in the house is used as a lying-in-room. When a woman is in labour a midwife is sent for. If the labour is long and trying, jangamas are called to say texts. After birth the room in purified by sprinkling water in which a Jangama's foot has been' washed. The birth-time is noted and a Jangama astrologer is asked to prepare horoscope and is paid according to the means of the family. If a birth takes place at an unlucky time, the evil stars are honoured with offerings. On the fifth day after the birth of a child a Jangama comes, recites verses, takes a lingo, winds it in a piece of silk cloth, and ties it round the child's neck or its upper right arm. The linga is soon after taken off and tied to the child's cradle. In the evening women neighbours come and perform rites in honour of Mother Sixth of Sati to keep off evil spirits. Sati is represented by a sickle with a bodice-cloth wound round it. Near the goddess are laid a cocoanut, a piece of blank paper, a pen, and an inkstand to write the destiny of the child. The paper, pen and ink are kept there during the night. On the twelfth day the child is laid in the cradle and named. The name is generally chosen by the parents or by some elder of the family and is given by women neighbours who come to witness the ceremony. Women fill the mother's lap with wheat, betelnuts, a cocoanut, dry dates and khana (bodice cloth) and are given betel and turmeric and vermilion paste to rub on their cheeks and mark their brows.


Among priestly Lingayatas when a boy is between seven and nine years old the aitan (initiation) is performed. A Jangama astrologer is asked to choose a lucky day. The guru comes early in the morning of the day fixed, a square is made with a waterpot in the centre and one in each corner, each standing on a small heap of rice. White thread is passed round the necks of the pots. The boy's head is shaved and he is bathed and seated on a small wooden stool in front of the pot square. The guru recites several texts, whispers into the boy's ear, makes him recite a short hymn. During the ceremony the pipe and drum are played and at the close a feast is given and alms are distributed. After his initiation the boy is a priest and may not eat food without bathing and performing regular lingo worship. Diksa, which means purification, may be undergone by any class of Lingayatas except Jangamas. A diksa raises a Pancam to be a Lokvant, a Lokvant to be a Silavant and a Silavant to be a Jangama. By performing" diksa girls of the Pancam, Lokavant, and Silavant classes may marry into the classes above them. Many Lingayata men and women perform diksa before marriage or at any time before death to cleanse themselves from sin. As in aitan so in diksa the day is fixed by a Jangama astrologer and except that diksa texts and different from aitan texts, the ceremony differs little from oitan. Five metal jars are set on the ground, four of them, one at each corner of a square and the fifth in the centre, each on a small heap of rice. A white thread is wound round the necks of the pots and betel leaves and vermilion are set in their mouths. The man or the woman on whose account the ceremony is performed is bathed and made to sit on a woollen carpet in front of the pot square. The Jangama recites verses and all present throw grains of rice mixed with vermilion over the person's head. The ceremony ends with a feast and the distribution of alms.

Marriage Ceremonies.

Lingayatas have adult marriages at present, though in the past girls were married before they came of age. Usually the offer of marriage comes from the boy's father, but in case the girl's parents aspire for an educated son-in-law, the subject may be broached by the bride's party. Educated and advanced families allow their children some freedom in the choice of the mate, and obtain their consent before finalising the proposal. Before starting any negotiations, matters regarding endogamous and exogamous restrictions are carefully investigated and observed. In the past marriage among Lingayatas was not very expensive as no dowry was required to be paid either to the girl or to the boy. However, in recent years the system has began to make its appearance.

The marriage day is fixed by a Jangama astrologer and marriage booths are raised in front of the boy's and girl's houses. The first pole of the booth is driven in at a lucky moment. A marriage ceremony according to orthodox customs generally lasts for four days. On the first day comes the videghalne (betel-serving) in token of the fact that the marriage settlement is made and is binding. The bride is decked with ornaments and in the presence of Jangamas and other respectable members of the caste is given pieces of sugarcandy. On the second day come the Ganapati worship, the turmeric-rubbing, and the gugul (bedellium gum) ceremonies in honour of Virbhadra. In the gugul ceremony, which either the bride or bridegroom and their mothers must attend, two white-washed earthen jars, in form and size like those in which women fetch water, are cut in two a little below the middle where they are widest. The upper halves are turned upside down standing on their mouths and into the upper half the lower half is dropped so that the open side is upward. The wide-mouthed vessels thus prepared are filled with ashes. The ashes in the middle of each pot are damped and a stick about six inches long is fixed and wrapped round with a piece of cloth like a small torch. The two torches are lighted and the red powders gugul and kunku, gandh (sandal-paste) and flower wreaths are thrown over them. Two Jangamas (priests) or two kinsmen, dancing as they go, carry the pots either in their hands or on their heads in procession, with pipes and drums, to a river or well outside the village. When the pots are placed on the ground near the river or well, the head of the family washes the feet of the svami (monastery head) who goes with the procession, puts flowers on his feet, gives him a cocoanut and money and prostrates himself before him. After the svami worship, the torches are put out and the pots are broken. Betel is served to all present and money is given to the Jangamas. The party go home silently without music. The gugul ceremony was formerly performed only when a vow was made to Virbhadra, but in most Lingayata families it seems to have become a regular part of the marriage ceremony. On the third day comes the devaka (marriage guardian) ceremony. All Lingayat families have the same devaka. It is a winnowing bamboo basket containing rice, turmeric, betel leaves and nuts and a elosed earthen pot whose lid is tied on with cotton thread. The pot contains water and a few copper coins. Sometimes the devaka ceremony takes place a day or two before the marriage. After the guardian is in his place, the bridegroom is bathed and his brow is marked with ashes. He is dressed in rich clothes and a marriage coronet of bhend (water hemp) is tied on his brow. An hour or two before the marriage which is generally in the evening, the bridegroom starts in procession with music for the bride's. At the bride's, the bride and bridegroom sit side by side on ordinary pats (low wooden stools) set in the centre of a square of metal pots like the square made for the purification or diksa. The bride is dressed in a simple white sadi and her brow is decked with a bhend (water-hemp) marriage coronet. The hems of the garments of the pair are tied together. The ayya hands rice mixed vermilion to the guests and recites verses. The guests throw the red rice on the heads of the bride and the bridegroom as long as the ayya recites verses. All this time music is played and muskets are fired. At the close of the recitation the lucky black glass bead string is tied round the bride's neck, the wedded couple are taken to bow to the house-gods and the knot of their garments is loosened. On the fourth night the bridegroom goes to a matha (monastery) with his wife in a great procession both riding on the back of a bullock or of late, on horseback. At the matha (monastery) the couple lay a cocoanut before the svami (head priest) and postrate themselves before him. From the matha the procession goes to the bridegroom's house, where the ceremony ends with a feast and the distribution of alms. On the way they break cocoanuts at places supposed to be haunted by evil spirits and throw to the spirits pieces of cocoanut.

Widow Marriage.

Widow marriage is forbidden among jangamas, silvanats, and lokavants. Pancams occasionally marry widows. Barbers, oilmen, potters, washermen, and mahars allow and practise widow marriage. The Lingayata widow may use a sadi of any colour, continue to wear the bodice and may wear ornaments except the nose-ring, the lucky neck-thread, and toe-rings. Still in the orthodox view a widow is held unlucky and is not asked to marriage and other festive ceremonies.


When a Lingayata is on the point of death he is advised to distribute money in charity and if possible present a jangama with a cow. His body is covered with sacred ashes. If he is well-to-do, the dying man performs the vibhutiville (ashes and betel-giving) at a cost of Rs. 100 or more. This rite is believed to cleanse the sin of the performer and is generally performed by old men and women. If a performer survives the rite he or she has to leave his or her house and pass the rest of their lives in a matha (monastery). Jangamas are not required to undergo this rite as they are considered holy and not to need purifying. Sometimes a Jangama is asked to recite verses. A few minutes before death the dying person is laid on a white blanket a little holy water is put into the mouth. After death the ornaments, if there are any, are removed from the body, the body washed in cold water in an open space near the house and is clad in full dress. The body is laid cross-legged slightly leaning against a wall for two to eight hours, or even longer if the dead is an old and influential person. If the dead is a Jangama or an old man or woman, Jangamas are asked to recite verses and the recitation is accompanied with music. If the dead has a wife, his wife's lucky thread, glass bangles, and toe-rings are taken off her body and laid in the canopied bier (viman) specially prepared for the occasion. Plantain stems are tied to the upright poles of a chair, the leaves are fastened together into arches and the whole chair is decorated with flower wreaths. The dead body is seated cross-legged in the chair and the chair is borne by four friends or kinsmen. No fire is taken with the procession and no women go with it. If the family is well-to-do musicians play ahead in the funeral procession. Music is always employed when a Jangama dies. As the body is borne to the grave men in the procession cry out " Siva Siva", or " Hara Hara", and at intervals betel leaves and copper coins are thrown on the road. Meanwhile the grave is being dug by labourers. The grave is 4� feet long, 2� feet wide and 3 feet deep. In the east side of the grave a niche large enough to held the dead body is cut, and the inside of the grave is cowdunged and purified with padodaka, that is, water in which a Jahgama's feet have been washed. On the outside of the grave, at each corner, is set an earthen linga with an earthen bull in front of each linga. The dead is lowered into the grave by his friends and kinsmen and laid in the niche facing west. The linga worn by the deceased is taken out of its case, which is kept by the heirs, and laid in the body's left hand. The priest washes the linga, rubs ashes, and lays bel leaves on it. He hands bel leaves to all present and drops some on the head of the dead and all drop their leaves after him. If the dead is a svami a note signed by his successor asking that the doors of heaven may be opened to let the dead into the presence of Siva is tied round the neck. The grave is filled with salt and ashes till the body is covered, and then with earth, and over the earth one or two slabs of stone are laid. The priest stands on the stone and the mourners wash his feet, lay flowers and bel leaves on them, and give him money. Money is also given to beggars. When there is music, it goes on till after the priest's feet are worshipped. The whole party go to a river or well, bathe, and return in wet clothes to the house of mourning where each of them sips a little karuna literally grace, which is of higher efficacy than padodaka (foot-water) and over which a large number of texts have been repeated. Jangamas are fed and alms are given to the poor. On the first and sometimes on the fifth day the old clothes of the dead are given to priests and poor men. To the svami are given a pair of shoes, an umbrella, pots, and among this very well-to-do perhaps a cow. On the third, fifth, or seventh day after death Jangamas and the near kinsmen of the dead are asked to dinner, and after this the family are considered pure and strangers may take food in the house. No monthly or yearly sraddhas (mind-rites) are performed in honour of the dead. If the family is well-to-do, a tomb is built with a masonry linga and nandi (bull) on it and they are worshipped daily by some member of the family.

Lingayatas are bound together by a strong fellow-feeling. Social disputes are normally referred to the svami or monastery head whose decision is generally accepted. An appeal lies to the head of the Kadappa matha (monastery) on a hill six miles south of Kolhapur, who is the head Jangama of the province. Modern education has now begun to spread rapidly among Lingayats and they are taking to service and the professions. A large number are weavers, several are retail dealers and some are husbandmen. Except the priests no Lingayata lives on alms and few are labourers.*

  • ಕೆಲವರ ಅನುಮಾನ ಪರಿಹರಿಸಲು ಗೆಜೆಟಿಯರ್‍ನ ನಕಲನ್ನು ಹಾಕಲಾಗಿದೆ.Bschandrasgr (ಚರ್ಚೆ) ೧೬:೦೦, ೯ ನವೆಂಬರ್ ೨೦೧೯ (UTC)