Lingayat, Veerashaiva are branches of Hindu religion: Vishwesha Tirtha Swami

Mangaluru: Vishwesha Tirtha Swami of Paryaya Pejawar mutt has said that though there were Lingayat and Veerashaiva traditions in the Lingayat community, they were same branches of Hindu religion.

“Though there are two traditions (Lingayat and Veerashaiva) in Lingayat community, they are not separate. They both are same branches of Hindu religion,” he told reporters at Udupi yesterday.

Swamiji said the traditions of Lingayat and Veerashaiva are just like ‘Dwaita’ and ‘Advaita’ schools of philosophy.

“Though the two schools of thought (Dwaita and Advaita) had fundamental differences, they were taken as branches of the same Vedic religion. Likewise, Lingayat and Veerashaiva are two traditions, but are not separate from Hindu religion,” he said.

Lingayats, followers of 12th century philosopher-poet Basaveshwara, are a politically and numerically strong group in the state.

The Pejawar seer said his personal opinion was that the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community could gain more strength if the two traditions were accepted as branches of the same religion.

The Swami also said he was not interfering in the internal matter of the community, but felt that they should take an appropriate decision on the issue.

People belonging to both the traditions were worshipping Lord Shiva as their supreme deity and they could not be different from the Hindu religion, he said.

He also did not take the argument of the Lingayats for being a separate entity as they did not accept the caste system in Hinduism.

Various other traditions among Hindus including Vaishnavism and Shaivism did not accept caste but were part of the religion, he said.

Followers of Sree Ramakrishna Ashram and Arya Samaj also did not accept caste.

He urged all those belonging to Lingayat and Veerashaiva traditions not to separate themselves from Hinduism to protect the Hindu religion and culture.