Ishtaling Lingayatism

Muslim Man Appointed Head Priest At Shiva Temple

KARNATAKA: While Hindu-Muslim conflicts are still one of the most crucial problems in India and growing in South Africa recently people do not fail to set an example of unity time and again. From celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi and Muharram under one roof to Muslim men volunteering to clean Hindu temples, examples of Hindu-Muslim unity are many.

A Shiva temple in Karnataka has appointed a Muslim man as its head priest. The 33-year-old Muslim man, Diwan Sharief Rahimansab Mulla, will take charge as the head priest of the Murugharajendra Koraneshwara Shantidhama mutt in Asuti village in Gadag on February 26, reports News 18.

Lingayatism is a well-known Hindu sect with worship primarily to the Hindu god Shiva as the universal god in the iconographic form of Ishtalinga.

Diwan’s late parents Rahimansab and Fatima Koraneshwa were firm devotees of Basaveshwara, the 12th century Lingayat saint and dedicated years of their life in the devotion of the saint. His father also donated two acres of land in Asuti to build a Mutt dedicated to the teaching of lingayat’s Basava Philosophy three years ago.

After his parents’ demise, Diwan started learning the preachings of lingayat mutt and took ‘deeksha’ on November 10, 2019 after three years of dedicated study of the philosophy.

In a bid to honor his dedication and his parents’ contribution towards the community, Diwan has been chosen to be the pontiff of the mutt. “Principles are important, not the individual. Those who nurture the principles, whichever caste he’s born into, we welcome them. When someone is born, there is no caste. It comes later. So Sharief had that desire to embrace this religion. His father Rahimansaab too had offered support to us,” said Murugharajendra Koraneshwar Shivayogi, pontiff of the Khajuri Mutt.

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“I have been given this sacred thread and the responsibility of the world, nobody should go through the hardships I went through. My parents have dedicated their son to basava. In the same way I would like to propagate his teachings further,” Diwan Sharief told TOI.

Diwan also shared that the villagers and other members of the community have supported him completely. Traditionally, Lingayats priests are supposed to be unmarried monks. But Diwan is a married man with three daughters and a son. His supporters and other members of the community believe that this move will certainly help them set a new example and uphold the true ideals of Basava tatva.

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“I only listen to my Paramatma, who is my atmasakshi. Nobody has opposed my appointment. My friends, my mentor (guru) everyone has extended their support always. Be it for doing poojas or other welfare works, they have all blessed me. Going forward I hope we can all see everyone with that kind of love,” Diwan said.

This is truly inspiring. Our society needs more such examples that strengthen the bond between our people. Kudos, to the Lingayat mutt for such a great move!

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