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Kayaka In Virashaivism - Life Involving Human Labor

Kayaka as a concept and practice is a part of Virashaivism and is a way of life involving human labor of the right kind. The Sanskrit word kaya means the body; with the addition of the suffix ka the world connotes labor in the Virasaiva philosophy. The body includes the mind as well, and both are treated as holy because they are the prasada or gifts of God to man. The term implies, simultaneously, metaphysical, religious, ethical and social aspects of human thought and action. It was coined with reference to the new way of life designed, practiced and propagated by Sivasaranas (devotees of Shiva), who strove to establish an egalitarian and democratic social order in the 12th century CE. Kayaka, along with Dasoha (the servant of God) is at the heart of the Virasaiva trinity, namely, Ashtavarna, Satsthala and Panchacara.

Kayaka expects all living beings, including holy men, to earn their livelihood without depending on another’s labor. It is a process by which the accumulated impurities, both internal and external, of a person are washed away. It revolutionized the action and thought related to life here on the iha (earth) and there in the para (heavens).

Any kind of labor cannot be treated as Kayaka unless it passes through or fulfils the following tests or conditions: it must be conscious, truthful and pure, there must be complete absorption/involvement, absence of egoism, an unwavering mind, non-expectation of results, remuneration equivalent to and not more that the worth of labor and non-hoarding of wealth.

The twin concepts of Kayaka and Dasoha are meant to perfect a human being, as the Virashaivas believe that life on this earth is not a maya (delusion) but a reality to be lived fully.