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Basava Purana

Basava Purana is a Sanskrit text narrating the life and activities of Basava, founder of the Virashaiva movement and the lives and activities of the sixty three Shaivite saints, Nayanmars, in Puranic  (legendary) style.

Basava Purana is also called Nandikesvara Vijaya or Vrishabhendra Vijaya. Though Basava lived in the second half of the 12th century CE, the Punara was composed after the time of Sripati Pandita in the pre-14th century CE by Shankaracharya of Kanchi. It is based on the Kannada Basava Purana of Bheemakavi. This Kannada version is itself based on Palkurike Soma’s Telugu work of the same name.

In Basava Purana, it is said that at one time Narada reported to Shiva, that the Shaiva faith was dying out among the Brahmins and other jatis. Then Shvia asked Nandi to incarnate himself as Basava to take the Virashaiva faith in accordance with the varnashrama system. Basava Purana also says that Basava was taken before the assembly of pundits for the performance of the rite of initiation of the holy thread at the age of eight according to the custom of compulsory initiation among the Brahmins. Even at that time Basava protested against the rite of initiation, saying that the holy thread could purify neither the self nor the body. But there is not account of his attacking Hindu customs and manners or his being against Brahmanism.

According to Basava Purana, the practice of wearing the linga (linga dharana) was in vogue even before the period of Basaveshwara.

Basava Purana 13th-century Telugu Poem

The earliest known Basava Purana is the 13th century Telugu poem and it was written by Palkuriki Somanatha. It is a sacred text of Lingayat. Somanatha adopted the native style and composed the purana in couplets, a meter popular in oral tradition and closely related to folk songs.

The text is also an anthology of several Lingayat saints (also known as Shiva Sharanas, devotees of Lord Shiva) and their philosophies.

Basava Purana Of Bhima Kavi In kannada

Telugu Basava Purana was translated by Bhima Kavi into Kannada in the 14th century CE. This version contains detailed description and in time was considered the standard biography of Basavanna.