12th century Karnataka witnessed a great revolution called a socio-religious movement headed by Basavanna and other Sharanas assembled in Kalyana, Bijapur district. Before this movement,the whole society was divided based on caste, creed, class etc. The ladder system of society was prevailing. Birth-pride, caste pride took precedence over merit. The condition of women was miserable.Untouchability was prevailing. The state of affairs in the society was at its worst. There was no peace as there was great disparity amongpeople. there was a gulf between the rich and poor on the one side,high caste and low caste on the other. The position of Shudras was worst. The upper class in the society engaged all benefits and the suppressed classes were forbidden.
Basavanna, a great humanitarian came. He was a statesman, a social and religious reformer. In him one can find a rare combination or fugitiveness of a mystic with the precision of a scientist. The life and teachings of Basava have revealed the truth that he was one of the greatest reformers that India has ever produced. His contribution for establishing social justice, peace and harmony among different castes and his efforts to uplift the downtrodden were remarkable.
Indian history records with pride 12th century of Karnataka where human life was converted into a laboratory to experiment the human values in the day to day life. This unique experiment was headed by Basavanna and supported by Sharanas who came to kalyana from far of the places.
Basavanna was a practical philosopher. He said that all human beings are equal. He educated and inspired people to think freely and act accordingly. He wanted to establish peace and happiness in society by adopting universal brotherhood. Through monotheism, He tried to find unity among people. ‘There is only one god but names are several’, he said. His vision of one God enabled him to envisage one humanity.
Another important reformation they brought to improve the economy of society was improvement in the condition of labour. He said ‘All professions are equal, everyone has to work honestly’ “Work is worship”. Thus Sharanas put in to practice the method of curing the economic evils of the country. Basava was the first prophet who preached that poverty is not a sin, but it is a social evil. He proved that by hard work and sincere labour one can get salvation. “Kayakave Kailasa- Work is worship” was the slogan of the day.
Another important contribution of Basava and other Sharanas to the economy of the world is ‘Dasoha’- distribution of wealth to the needy and disabled in the society. Sharanas said that for a self sufficient society, hoarding instinct is bad. Accumulation of wealth is a sin. We have to share wealth with others. In the opinion of Sharanas capital is static and labour is dynamic.
The ideas of Sharanas are not mere utopia. They are most practicable. They set a role model by their way of life. Chaitanya sanskrithi, by its simplicity, honesty and humour sentiment is very apt even to the day, one can find solution to many of our present day problem. So the ideas of Chaitanya culture put forth in Sharanas are relevant today.
Sharanas expressed their views regarding the human values their vachanas. Vachanas are in very simple language in a distinguished form. Vachanas contained the quintessence or Upanishads teachings. More than 300 sharanas and 30 women saints wrote valuable vachanas. This literature is considered as unique to the world literature.
Vachanas are mouth pieces of chaitanya culture which emphasis the human values by direction to adherence to truth, humanity, good action, faith to God, respect for women, purity into internal and external.
So Chaitanya culture put forth by sharanas, make the people to lead fruitful life and to love one and all.