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Anubhava Mantapa,Bidar,Karnataka

Anubhava Mantapa

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Even at the time he came to Kalyana, Basavanna had chalked out in his mind a program of spiritual awakening. Beliefs of high and low had broken the society into pieces. Meaningless rituals had become important. And there was no equality in the society, no social and economical justice But Basavanna studied all these very well. The essence of religion had slipped to the background. Real devotion and virtuous life had disappeared. All did not have the right to perform 'Puja' (worship) or to receive religious education. So Basavanna made the principle of the equality of all, the basis of his religious life.

He formed a new spiritual institution on a democratic foundation. And that was 'Anubhava Mantapa'. Any one, whatever his caste by birth, could become a member. Women, too, were allowed to join it. Piety and good character alone were required of any one who came to Anubhava Mantapa. Everybody was to take up some work or the other for livelihood. They were not to have any caste feelings or feelings of untouchability. These were some of the principles they were expected to follow.
Anubhava Mantapa soon became popular. Many devotees from different parts of Karnataka and India came to Kalyana and joined the new order. These devotees were provided with food and facilities for puja in 'Mahamane'. The residence of Basavanna. The two wives of Basavanna, his sister Akkanagamma, his nephew Channabasavanna and some other devotees were in charge of various arrangements both in the Anubhava Mantapa and in the Mahamane. Discussions on religious and spiritual matters were held in Anubhava Mantapa. The number of participants increased every day.

Basavanna continued his mission for the formation of a new society, through Anubhava Mantapa. This work was based on certain noble principles. Some of them were as follows: There is only one God. He has many names. Surrender yourself completely to Him in devotion. Compassion is the root of all religions. Treat all living beings with kindness. Live for the welfare of all. Do not live for selfish and personal interests. Those who are acceptable in this world will be acceptable in the next world too. People should lead a proper life as householders, only then they will be fit for spiritual life. One need not give up the family and become a monk. No man should be proud thinking 'I give this' or 'I do that'. What a man does he should do not of devotion in his heart. It should not be for the sake of show or publicity; nor even to win public praise.

All people should have equal opportunities for religious life. Birth, profession, position or sex should make no difference. One should not eat or drink just to please the tongue. Food and water should be taken as 'Prasada' (the gracious gift) of Lord Shiva. Humility is God's love. Never try to show off your power and position; and do not be vain. Everyone should take up a fair and honest means of livelihood. No one should beg. Out of the daily earnings one should take only as much as is needed for the maintenance of the family.

These teachings were not just words in speeches or books. They were practiced in daily life by all the members of the Anubhava Mantapa. There were men and women of different professions and social ranks among them. Basavanna was a minister; Prabhudeva, a shining spiritual leader; Siddharama a Karmayogi (dedicated to work and service); Channabasavanna, a scholar of spiritual eminence; Akkamahadevi, a fiery ascetic; Machayya, a washerman; Chandayya, a ropernaker; Ramanna, a cowherd; Muddayya, a farmer; Remmavve, a weaver; constable Ramideva, oil miller Kannayya, physician Sanganna, carpenter Basappa, tanner Kakkaiah, cobbler Haralayya, pot maker Gundayya all these were there in the Anubhava Mantapa as brothers and sisters.

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