/ling gah"yit/, n. Hinduism.
a member of the Lingayata cult.
[1665-75; < Kannada lingayata; see LINGA]

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Member of a Hindu sect that worships Shiva as the only deity.

It has a wide following in southern India. Its followers take their name ("linga-wearers") from the small lingas that both men and women wear on a cord around the neck. The Lingayats' belief in a single deity and their concept of bhakti (devotion) as an intuitive and loving knowledge of God show the influence of Ramanuja. They reject Brahma and the authority of the Vedas; their opposition to child marriage and the ill-treatment of widows anticipated the social reform movements of the 19th century.

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▪ Hindu sect
also called  Vīraśaiva 

      member of a Hindu sect with a wide following in South India that worships Śiva (Shiva) as the only deity. The followers take their name (“liṅga (linga)-wearers”) from the small representations of a liṅga, a phallic figure symbolizing Śiva, which both the men and women always wear hanging by a cord around their necks, in place of the sacred thread worn by most orthodox upper caste Hindu men.

      The sect is generally regarded as having been founded by Basava in the 12th century, but some scholars believe that he furthered an already existing creed. Philosophically, their qualified spiritual monism and their conception of bhakti (devotion) as an intuitive and loving knowledge of God show the influence of the 11th/12th-century thinker Rāmānuja. It is in their cult and social observances that their split with orthodoxy is most apparent.

      The Liṅgāyats' earlier overthrow of caste distinctions has been modified in modern times, but the sect continues to be strongly anti-Brahmanical and opposed to worship of any image other than the liṅga. In their rejection of the authority of the Vedas, the doctrine of transmigration of souls, child marriage, and ill treatment of widows, they anticipated much of the viewpoint of the social-reform movements of the 19th century.

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Universalium. 2010.

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