Veerashaivism orLingayatism is one of the important Shaivite sects having its followers in the state of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Veerashaivism was founded by Basava, a minister of King Bijjala Kalchuri who usurped the throne of Chalukyas of Kalyani in 1156. The theology of this sect is ‘qualified monism’. However, it is more famous for its social doctrines. Basava repudiated caste system instituted complete equality among his followers, opposed image worship, pilgrimage, sacrificial rituals.
In Veerashaivism, the linga of Shiva is the only sacred symbol a small specimen of which is carried around the neck of the adherents. Here authority of the Vedas is rejected and the followers of either sex are allowed to remarry after the death of their spouses.
Basava also condemned cremation of the dead and burial is the usual practice among its followers even today.
In recent years, orthodoxy has crept into Veerashaivism to some extent. The sacred literature of the sect is primarily composed in Kannada and Telugu.