Veerashaiva Samaja of United Kingdom (V.S.U.K.) hosted a big function on saturday, 21st July 1990 at Preston (St. Clare's Church Hall, Sharoe Green Road, Full-wood, Preston).
This was attended by a large gathering, who are all the members of V.S.U.K. It was unanimously agreed to launch an international scheme to spread the message of Basavanna who is variously known as Vishwaguru (Universal Master), Vishwa Dharmi (Universal Brotherhood), Jagatjyothi (Light of the World) etcetera.
This mission is to be called as "Basava International Foundation." The headquarters of this mission would be London and the main active branches would be at Bangalore, capital city of Karnataka and Basavakalyana, Bidar District, Karnantaka. A branch would soon be opened in America. One of the philanthropist of Karnataka, South India has pledged Rs. 2m for this purpose. His Holiness Sri Belimutt Swamiji who was one of the participants in this function has announced to earmark a big plot of 75 acres (situated near Bangalore) for the Foundation's activities.
His Holiness Ilakal Swamiji who is most popular in Karnataka and also known as the Reincarnation of Basavanna has pledged to be the spiritual head of this mission.
Prof Siddanna Langoti and Sri B L Patil, advocate, who were taking part in this function as invited guests, have promised to work as full-time missionaries for this project. Sri S Mahadeyaiah, secretary of V.S.U.K. who was mainly responsible for this visit by the two Swamijis and the two scholars to the UK has also taken a pledge to give his full time devotion to its activities in London. All the members of V.S.U.K. have unanimously agreed to give their help and cooperation.
V.S.U.K. was formed in 10th August 1988. It has about 100 families spread all over the UK, and come from the State of Karnataka, South India. It was formed mainly for the benefit of youngsters - born and brought up in UK and who are in a state of confusion in the sense that they are exposed to two different, diverging cultures and religions - one in their educational institutions and among their western friends and the other one at their home living with their parents. V.S.U.K. has been trying to help the youngsters and make them feel proud of their identity, to remember their roots, their rich culture, customs and traditions. Basavanna, who was the founder of this religion called 'Veerashaiva Dharma' was living in the 12th century. The basic tenets are equality, brotherhood, equality among sex, professions, eradication of caste and class in society, dignity of labour and divinity of labour by the declaration "Work Is Worship", wearing and worshiping Ishtalinga, stop building temples and avoid going on pilgrimages. In the last 5 years, number of IT Engineers have come to UK and the total number of V.S.U.K. number has increased to about 250.
With these Basavanna made several revolutions - all at a time involving economcal, cultural, religious, educational, social, political and literary aspects. He revolted against ignorance and superstitions. He was very unhappy about all the scripts being in Sanskrit and introduced Vachana Sahitya - (Vachanas are sort of poems in a simple and chaste Kannada language). Vachanas are based on the spontaneous expression of one's intensive feelings. Vachana literature is very rich and there were about 175 Vachana writers (called sharanas) including 37 women writers - who were all the contemporaries of Basavanna.
The greatest contribution of Basavanna was the creation of "Anubhava Mantapa" - The Hall of Spiritual Experience - which is a sort of open parliament. The very first in the history of the world who introduced the concept of parliament in Basavanna. The concepts of Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (restructuring) were preached and practiced by Basavanna during the 12th century.
Though there are several reformers in various countries and at various times in the past; the revolutions they brought about restricted to one sphere or one compartment so much so certain aspects were subservient to others. Basava was the first one to bring about "Overall Revolution" in its entirity comprising all aspects of our life. Who introduced the concept of parliament IS Basavanna.
All the written works of the Sharanas (12th to 19th century) have been written in kannada language (Official Language of Karnataka State) Only about 60 million people in the world knows kannada language. Basava is not well known in many parts of India and the west hardly heard about Basava, Sharana and Vachana. BIF would like to Introduce Basava Philosophy in the west and make it popular.
Vachana literature is as sacred as bible, quaran, bhagwad gita etc. There is lot of resemblance of Basava thinking to that of Sufism and diverse philosophers. One of the well known research professors in Karnataka says "All the known religious thinking, religious philosophy has been flown into the Basava's works and all the new world thinking has been flowing out of Basava's Teachings.
According to Hardekar Manjappa, a devoted social worker of Karnataka, who was very much closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi introduced Basava's life and works to Gandhiji. After hearing about Basavanna, Mahamta Gandhi, during his tour of Karnataka, said "If I could achieve at least one tenth of what Basava has been able to achieve, I will be very happy". Basava's Philosophy is based on the theory of Karl Marks, Adam Smith, Buddha, Mao-Tse tuag, even 800 years before Basava had pioneered the works of Karl Marks, Adam Smith, Mao-Tse tuag and Mahatma Gandhiji.
Human dignity, giving identity to the down trodden, declaring that all the trades and professions, including the spiritual matters, educating the public, introducing to the world the concept of Represent and Representation, democracy, open parliament, creating the post of speaker in an open assembly, creation of wealth (Layaka Dharma) and equitable distribution of wealth (DASOHA concept)(Giving help to others regularly) are some of the authentic works of Basavana. He is known as Vishwa Dharmi (Believer in one world religion) Vishwa Guru (prophet to the whole world) and Vishwa Manava (Staunch believer whole world is a village concept). Magna Carta was given to the world in 1215, by king john II but Basava produced his own Magna Carta about 70 years early.
Since it's inception BIF has raised about 78 lakhs rupees (7.8 million) and donated to various charities.
Charities Supported: Vimochana Sangha, Athani, Belgaum Dist. Patel Savandaiah Trust, Kannalli, Near Bangalore. Veerashaiva Shaiva Vichara Vedike Bangalore. Siddarabetta Orphan Centre. Near Tumkur. Tsunami Victims of Ceylone and Tamilnadu. War on want. World Development Movement. Green Pace, Friends of the Earth. Mentally retarded school, near kengeri, Bidadi Towns, Medical Aid for Palestinians, Oxfam, Ghandi World Hunger Fund, Mother Theresa Children Foundation, Save the Children, Concern World Wide, Breadline Africa, etc. etc. During 2005-2006, Tsunami disaster, B.I.F. sent 1.5 million rupees to the victims in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.